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Green Alternatives: Eco-friendly alternatives to household products

I have recently learnt about Green Alternatives, which is an eco-friendly online shop in Bristol selling green alternatives to traditional household products. You can buy anything from things for your kitchen such as washing-up alternatives, bamboo cooking utensils to personal items like toothpaste, shampoo bars and eco-suncream. With a growing range of products, it’s definitely a great shop to go and browse for new sustainable ideas for your home.

Meet Andy, the founder of Green Alternatives

Founder of Green Alternatives, Andy Nash who has always been passionate about the environment set up the company to spread the word of plastic alternative products, as when you start looking there are quite a lot of options now out there, the issue is people just don’t know they exist.

If you live in Bristol then chances are you’ll get to meet Andy as he delivers local parcels by foot or bike in a way to reduce the carbon footprint of the products.

Not only that but he is also driven by supporting and caring for his local community, and so you may see him around his home in South Bristol doing regular litter picks. He has actually created a cool invention which he has called the ‘buggy bin’, which is an old pushchair and on it he attaches his garden bin. It’s a great initiative to help lower human impact on his local street and environment, and is setting a brilliant example to his local community, customers and of course family too.

Learn more about this eco shop in these quick fire questions…

When did you launch Green Alternatives, and what was the idea behind it? 

I launched Green Alternatives in January of 2019 although in reality it wasn’t until around April that I actually had a functioning website and social media pages.  The idea was to try and raise awareness that many household products contain plastic, there are many alternatives to these and there is a single place you can get them.

At what point in your life did you get into sustainable living?

I have always been someone who doesn’t like waste and wants to get the most life out of a product as possible.  Over the years this has grown and through the many documentaries I watch I started to share whatever info I could with people.  I started to research more on the internet and incorporate what I could in to everyday life.

One thing I am learning is that there are so many eco products out there! How do you decide which ones to stock?

I start by looking at those that I feel are the biggest benefit and not so widely known.  Everyone knows about refillable water bottles, coffee cups and straws so I didn’t feel a need to be another seller of these.  I have tried to look at products that people may not realise are potential pollutants or damaging in some way and offer something different.  I have some more known items too as I want to be able to offer a wide range so people don’t need to buy from multiple sellers and save on the shipping of products.

How do you teach your children about sustainability? As it is something I’m passionate to embed into my sons day-to-day also.

I have involved my daughters as much as possible in the whole process of the business and they like to help with picking orders and understanding the process.  They are aware of the reason why I wanted to start this business and they understand the need to look for sustainable options when we are food shopping through to recycling as much as we can.  They watch documentaries about the planet and use all the eco products we sell so the hope is that this way of life will always be the norm for them.

What 3 tips would you give to anyone who was looking to implement a greener lifestyle?

The first of the 9 Rs is rethink and the most important.  Always ask yourself whether you need to buy a particular thing, if you do what is the most eco way you can get it, is there different packaging options, do I need to drive etc. Secondly, don’t stress, do what you can.  If it’s just little changes you make then that’s great, the accumulation of many doing these all help. Thirdly, start with the biggest damaging industries first.  Cut down on meat and dairy if you can, fly and drive as little as possible, make clothes last.

Can you walk us through on a typical day what’s your ‘green’ routine?

A typical Monday.  Buy breakfast and lunch for the week early in the morning.  I take produce bags and wax bread wrap and only buy items that are free of plastic.  Working from home in a jumper as I try and keep the heating off when the kids aren’t here, electricity supplied by Ovo Energy and I’m on their 100% renewable tariff.  Lots of tea and coffee to get through the day using proper tea leaves and cafetiere so no plastic tea bags and coffee capsules.  Deliveries of orders, mostly on foot or bike as majority are sold locally.  Evening meal (and others) is vegan, any vegetable peels etc that can’t be used go on the compost heap.

What’s the best eco swap you’ve found so far?

For me it is the washing up items.  We sell a set of 4 dishcloths that are great for washing up and general wiping down of the kitchen and when they are soiled they just go in the washing machine, as there are 4 you always have clean ones to hand.  For the more stubborn food residue is a coconut scourer that works so well and lasts ages.  All these products are home compostable when they do reach the end of their lives. 

Have you experienced any eco fails?

Yes, I have a load of kids toothbrushes I bought from a supplier which arrived individually wrapped in plastic!  I can’t sell them, I will probably give them away free at some point in the future.

What are your hopes for Green Alternatives as we move forward?

I would love to grow the range of products and offer people a genuine one stop shop for all household products as well as trying to just be informative of changes we can all make.  I set myself the challenge of putting an eco tip everyday of 2020 on social media and will add all this to the website too so will serve as an eco living database.

Thank you so much Andy for taking the time out of your busy family life to answer these quick fire questions – brilliant to see a business caring so much about their local community and environment and many lessons we can take to work these in around the country. If you want to see more of Green Alternatives then head to their website or follow them on social media for plenty of sustainable living tips.

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