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      Blog — Plastic-free

      City to Sea

      City to Sea

      We are happy to have made our latest 1% for the Planet donation to City to Sea, a charity based in our hometown, Bristol.

      They are an environmental organisation who provide communities worldwide with practical solutions to stop plastic pollution. The charity’s positive and playful attitude makes their initiatives approachable and achievable, encouraging everyone to take small steps which result in big change.

      As we become more and more aware of the shocking amounts of plastic building up in our oceans, City to Sea aims to stop plastic at source by reducing demand. As well as believing in the power of the individual consumer and helping everyday activists to challenge the system, they are also behind large scale campaigns pushing for change in government legislation and calling out big companies to face their plastic problems.

      Their #SwitchTheStick campaign resulted in all major UK retailers announcing they would only sell biodegradable paper stemmed cotton buds rather than plastic. This was followed by the British government completely banning plastic cotton buds as well as stirrers and straws.

      City to Sea have successfully campaigned for plastic-free period products to be offered to schools as part of the government’s period poverty scheme. They have met with period product brands, retailers and manufacturers, encouraging them to remove single-use plastic and add more reusables to their ranges.

      Cutting out as much plastic as possible from our business has been a priority for the past couple of years. In January we were really pleased to send out our first trade catalogue with a 100% plastic-free and fully recyclable card and stationery range, following us designing new paper packaging for our mini card packs. However there is always more that can be done and we will continue to critically evaluate our company from an environmental and ethical perspective.

      Please take a look at City to Sea’s website to find out more about their work, how to get involved with their campaigns, and see what you can do to reduce everyday plastic consumption.

      Women's Environmental Network

      Women's Environmental Network

      We are happy to share during International Women’s Week and Women’s History Month that we have made a donation to Women’s Environmental Network! This donation was made as part of our membership to 1% to the Planet.

      Women’s Environmental Network is a feminist and community based charity tackling environmental issues. WEN works on both a local and national scale. Based in London, they have supported residents in disadvantaged areas of the borough of Tower Hamlets for over 20 years. WEN recognises the health and environmental issues caused by industrial food production so helps establish community gardens for growing food and provides plant based cooking classes. They also realise the therapeutic benefits of gardening and cooking so their projects also work to reduce depression, anxiety and stress. One programme supports vulnerable women in refuges across East London, allowing them to build and maintain green spaces, and aiding their recovery and development.

      We were particularly interested in WEN’s work defying taboos and educating young people on alternatives to single use plastic based period products. Conventional menstrual products are often filled with toxic chemicals and menstrual pads contain up to 90% plastic. These are frequently flushed causing devastation to our oceans, or they pile up in landfill for thousands of years. WEN promotes reusable and organic options and is also fighting for the 20% tax on period pants to be dropped, as this eco friendly alternative was not included in the abolishment of tampon tax at the beginning of this year.

      Climate change will have consequences for everyone but women and people of colour will be impacted the most. 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Despite this, as with most things, women are not equally included in climate action. The Feminist Green New Deal project addresses this issue by encouraging women’s organisations to engage with environmental issues and the environmental sector to involve a female approach. WEN aims to ensure women, people of colour and other marginalised groups have a say in environmental debates. The Feminist Green New Deal Manifesto will be launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November.

      To find out more about WEN please visit their website here. You can support their work by donating, volunteering or becoming a member. Members now enjoy a 15% discount on our website, as well as discounts on other ethical brands.

      Surfers Against Sewage

      Surfers Against Sewage

      We’ve made another donation as part of our membership of 1% for the Planet, this time to the charity Surfers Against Sewage.

      Starting out as a small community of Cornish surfers, this grassroots movement’s initial aim was to improve water quality in a sea polluted with raw sewage. This turned into a nationwide campaign resulting in the UK benefitting from some of the cleanest beaches in Europe.

      Whilst pursuing their fight for safe waters and continually monitoring sewage spills on beaches around the UK, the charity has also taken on one of the biggest challenges facing our generation: plastic. They say ‘plastic is the new sewage as it is now the biggest threat to our beaches, our precious marine eco-system and our happiness’. Surfers Against Sewage approaches this by working with communities to prevent single-use plastic, promote recycling and organise thousands of beach cleans.

      Plastic is a problem increasingly on our minds here at James Ellis. We’ve been trying to cut back on single-use plastic by adopting alternative packaging and altering our designs. Last September we launched our new Paper Shakies range, reinventing our classic Shakies card to be 100% recyclable and plastic-free.

      To find out more about Surfers Against Sewage, and get involved with their crucial work, please visit their website here.