Thinking about New Year's Resolutions? How about doing more for the Planet?

This article is not meant to review or analyze everything that 2020 brought to the table, because maybe a whole book won’t be enough for that. All we’re going to say is that we’re most grateful for the direct and immediate lessons that our Planet has shown to humanity. 

We were taught how we faint before the power of Nature, and how mighty Her healing powers are! Just in weeks, right before our eyes, we saw waters clear up, city air becoming breathable again, wild animals calmly returning to their natural habitats, and even an Ozone hole shrinking! We cannot express our awe and love towards those outcomes, and we are more inspired to continue working for Global sustainability and waste reduction. You could call that our New Years’ Resolution. We’d love to share some easy-to-follow nature-caring tips with you.

1. Take a well-informed decision when choosing a brand

Everytime you choose to buy a certain brand you’re actually sponsoring it. This sends the brand the message that it’s doing a great job and you’d like it to produce more. Last but not least, you’re also enabling that company to grow, giving it your money. Take the role of a sponsor and buy only from the companies that you truly support. Choosing a local brand stimulates a small business that’s probably producing outstanding value and boutique quality. Also, buying local dramatically shortens the money and resources spent on transportation, infrastructure, and administrative staff. All of this is calculated on your account in the end. 

2. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

Actually, this is a “back to basics” advice. Our ancestors didn’t nearly produce any waste because they were making full use of the products they could get. All of that was because of scarce resources. Now, we’re choking in the overwhelming variety of cheap goods. You’d be surprised with the uses of old packaging. You could make screws, nuts, and nails boxes from used cosmetic containers. The same application goes to jewelry or make-up storage. Find many DIY ideas for home and garden here. 

Reducing your consumption of FMCG can often be healthy and money-saving. The tricky part is that this is entirely up to your awareness and will. Just think of how much food, cosmetics, and all kinds of items you currently have in your fridge, cosmetic shelf, or bathroom. You obviously didn’t need those. We propose the following 3 easy steps to consciously reduce your unnecessary consumption. 

Analyze - carefully review the products in your fridge and home that have been lying around unused for some time. Obviously, this was a poor buying decision and you should memorize those items and the exact thoughts and feelings that made you buy them in the first place.

Plan - Plan the food and goods that you’ll actually use during the next few days. Don’t store. Supermarkets aren’t going anywhere. Even if you incidentally need something, it’s easy to quickly jump to the local store. That’s how you’ll always eat fresh food, save money and gasoline.. 

Control - The manufactured goods offer us lure and temptation. That’s probably how you’ve ended up with those unused items in the beginning. This is where discipline has to kick in. Don’t be impulsive but be wise. That’s what we’re teaching the little ones, so we should be leading the example. 

3. Get yourself a beautiful reusable cup, bottle, and food box

The options are plenty. You can choose from a variety of materials - rubber, metal, glass, or even plastic. Once, there was actually no bottled water in the stores. We all brought one from home or drank from public fountains. We promise you’ll fall in love with the cute reusable cups. Be cool and hand your personal one to the bartender. 

When you have a food box it gives you the liberty of buying in bulk from the supermarket. Remember the trillions of small plastic bags that are impossible to recycle? You really don’t need them if you bring jars or other storing utensils when shopping. See how Samanta does it!

4. Turn off the water while brushing, shaving, and shampooing your hair

These bad habits cost our Planet precious water that we pay to our provider at the end of each month. Remember that in the majority of places tab water is drinking water. Would you just pour our bottled water into the gutter? Well, it’s basically the same but without the plastic. A curious fact is that even though the Earth is the blue planet, only 0,5% of its water is available freshwater. What a perspective, huh?

We’re heading into the new year with those 5 eco-friendly tips and we’ll be delighted if you could share yours on our Facebook page. Stay safe.


What is the difference between "bio", "organic", "eco", "vegan" and "vegetarian" product?

Hello to all environmentally cautious shoppers and the ones who want to be so. We understand that mere goodwill is not enough to transform user behavior into a more mindful and resource-saving one.
Information is the key. Not just any information but credible one, that originates from respected sources. An "eco-friendly" user becomes such when he educates himself through carefully reading the labels and not just jumping in any pseudo-natural trend. Nowadays, marketing techniques like packaging design, brand names, or claims can be, to say the least, misleading. That's why we wanted to shed light on some of the most frequently used terms in the industry of natural cosmetics.

1. ECO

While strolling around the supermarket isles, we can see the word “eco” popping up from every other product label, whether it is bags, car accessories, bottled water, or shoes. That's because using this word has no explicit legal regulation and a manufacturer can claim it based on his interpretation or desire to sound more natural.
In fact “eco” should refer to something that is ecological and sustainable, whether is the product itself, the impact on the environment or anything else. The term “eco” should bring more of a moral value than a physical characteristic. Our honest advice is to think for a moment when you see that something is “eco” and decide for yourself if you want to be associated with it.

2. NATURAL

Claiming “natural” in cosmetics is better regulated than claiming “eco”, however there’s a lack of a universal definition or harmonized standard, as the European Commission suggests Generally, natural products are expected to be made of natural plant, mineral or animal-related substances. The guidelines of the Council of Europe define a 'natural cosmetic' as a product consisting of natural substances of botanical, mineral or animal origin, exclusively obtained through physical, microbiological or enzymatic methods, with certain exceptions for fragrances and preservatives.

3. BIO/ORGANIC

Let’s see what’s the case with claiming “bio”. Let's first say that "bio" and "organic" are two different words for one and the same thing. Thankfully, one cannot simply print those on his label or promote them around in ads. Bioproducts have to be certified by a registered third party that strictly examines the applicant product, the origin of raw materials, and their documentation. Also, a company has to pay to receive a bio certificate after it has proven the actual usage of biomaterials in the products' recipe. Having a bio certification is the actual filter for evaluating a real eco-friendly brand from a sham.

 

There are several bio stamps that you should be on the lookout for.

 

 ECO CERT COSMOS ORGANIC is the highest level of bio certification one can get. It includes several high standards such as all ingredients being from natural origin, at least 95% of the plants the product contains to be organic, absence of petrochemical ingredients, recyclable packaging, and more. That is why Nordics chose this particular certification for its organic line of toothpastes.

 

This certificate is called “Organic Agriculture Europe” and it’s created for agricultural raw materials and food products. The certified food has a long checklist to cover with requirements such as conservation of soil fertility, respect of natural cycles and animal welfare, and absence of the use of chemical and synthetic products. This sign also means that the food or raw material is compliant with the EU organic regulation EC 834/2007.

 

This is the certification for the US, proving that your personal care products, food, crops, or livestock are organic. This stamp is regulated by USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and can be granted only by an approved certifying agency that audits the company regularly. Here again, a strict list of requirements needs to be covered.  For example, for can see USDA’s full list of banned and allowed substances in organic crop and livestock production.

 

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council® and this is a certificate of Responsible forest management. FSC follows 10 principles and 70 criteria by which it manages the certified forests. These include legislation compatibility, supporting ingenious people's rights, enhancing the well-being of local communities, and preserving the ecosystems. We're introducing this important certificate because an organic product is merely satisfying without an environmentally-friendly packaging.

 

Now that we’ve covered how to easily recognize an actual organic product, we want to give the facts about “vegan” and “vegetarian” in the context of cosmetics. 

Vegan cosmetics (or 100% Vegan) are the ones that don’t contain any animal-related ingredients such as carmine (food colorant), gelatin, honey, beeswax, lanolin (wool wax), snail extract, pearl powder (enamel whitening agent), and the list goes on. This is another claim that's not thoroughly regulated by official authorities, so basically, anybody can put it on his packaging depending on his understanding.
We want to be honest with our customers and to make them feel safe about the ingredients in our products and this is why we partner with one of the biggest and more respected vegan organisations - The Vegan Society UK. They perform a very strict audit on every product and if it covers their standard, it could be labeled as 100% vegan.

Vegetarian cosmetic products exclude animal ingredients but can contain animal by-products that don't affect the animal wellbeing such as colostrum or egg extract.

The idea behind this is that if your consumer credo is that killing animals for fur or food is wrong, then it should be the same for every product.

Well, those are the basics in recognizing true from false, vegan from vegetarian. We hope that we've pitched in your knowledge and contributed to a more informed choice next time.