I used to work as a travel and lifestyle writer for various publishers. I was flying about 30 times a year all over the world, staying in hotels with gold-plated taps and drinking from a mountain of plastic water bottles as I hopped from country to country.

When I hit 30 I had a “what am I doing moment” and became more aware of environmental issues. I started to become interested in organic food systems and ethical fashion and began to see the massive imprint my footprint was having.

So nearly four years ago I started pebble magazine, and we’re now the leading online sustainable living magazine – giving tips on how to live sustainably and sharing other people’s stories.

Everyday living

I’ve swapped flying all over the world to only travelling by train (when I used to travel before lockdown). I buy furniture second-hand and only use organic or natural skincare, toiletries, makeup and sanitary products. Before lockdown I carried my zero waste reusables kit everywhere, which includes reusable cutlery, bottle, cup and bag, to avoid single-use plastic.

I committed to not buying fast fashion three years ago. It made me uneasy paying £3 for a top knowing the person who made it would get almost nothing. I’m now more aware of how a product is made and I focus on purchasing from ethical fashion brands.

They are more expensive and I need to save up more before buying. I probably spend £60-70 on a top and £80-100 on a dress. There is an amazing brand called MUD Jeans, a sustainable denim brand based in the Netherlands, and I’ll typically spend €100 (£92) when I decide to buy a new pair.

Georgina Wilson-Powell runs pebble magazine, an online sustainable living magazine

At one point, I lived in Dubai, but a year ago I bought a flat in Margate with my partner, Beth. We both share the same passion for environmental issues, although admittedly I sometimes feel I’m dragging her along.

We did a lot of work to the flat, putting in a new kitchen and bathroom, and next month we will be installing new windows to help keep the heat in and save energy. I had grand plans to try and be as ecofriendly as possible and wanted to put in worktops made of recycled plastic, for example. However the cost was too prohibitive, which was really frustrating. But we try to buy second-hand furniture and upcycle as much as we can.

Small changes

I’ve become an expert on what our mass consumption is doing to the planet and the importance of how we can all make “small” changes at home. I try to boil only water I’ll need in the kettle and put the lid on the saucepan to conserve energy. I use a cafetiere or our AeroPress machine when making coffee at home, and I have a “keep cup” for when I buy a drink outside.

When it comes to everyday living, we avoid plastic in the bathroom. We use hard bar shampoos and conditioners, or do refills for the liquids. We use safety razors, rather than disposable, and bamboo toothbrushes. Bathrooms are forgotten about by consumers and it’s estimated only 25 per cent of Britons recycle plastic in their bathrooms.

I also shop for organic beauty and skincare. Neal’s Yard, Blomma Beauty and Faith in Nature are my go-to brands. Organic beauty is better for your skin as there are no synthetic chemicals and it’s also better for the people who make it. It’s so interesting learning about which plants help your skin thrive and glow.

It’s also good to see Boots has started to stock more plastic-free brands, including DAME, which sells reusable tampon applicators. I don’t have children but have heard good things about reusable nappies and wipes.

My top resources for people wanting to go green

1. Sustainable podcasts are really handy to understand what others are doing and how. Podcasts include Sustainable(lsh), which shares everyday eco living advice and tips. pebble magazine has a list of the best 20 or so.

2. If you’re interested in also moving away from fast fashion, check out the Wardrobe Crisis website. Founder Clare Press publishes a magazine, website and podcast.

3. For why all of this matters (even if you don’t agree with all of their methods), the Extinction Rebellion book, This Is Not A Drill, is a serious wake up call.

4. The most inspiring book for me last year was Rob Hopkins’ From What Is To What If – about why we need imagination to solve the climate crisis.

5. We need systematic change as well as consumers doing their bit. The Less Is More book by Jason Hickel offers a revolutionary new approach that could help.

When it comes to groceries, I try to use the zero-waste shop down the road and go to local fruit and veg shops. I’m really passionate about sustainable farming and use organic food delivery brands such as Abel & Cole and Riverford. I haven’t gone full vegan because of health issues and I do eat some fish.

In general, I don’t do impulse buying and I spend a lot of time meal planning, which does save money as it’s easier to keep track of spending.

The journey never stops

We got a dog – a Cockapoo called Maggie – four months ago, which made me realise how little sustainable pet brands are out there, aside from food. We buy compostable dog waste bags and we order dog food from organic brand Lily’s Kitchen.

We’ve also just launched our own brand, Maggie’s of Margate, to try and fill the gap in the market. We sell hemp rope dog toys and other goods made from natural rubber and recycled marine plastic. We’re also selling handmade dog biscuits which come in compostable bags and even the sticker labels are biodegradable.

Georgina’s dog, Maggie

Next on my to-do list is to take a look at my money and savings. I’d like to swap from the high street banks to an ethical savings firm, and I’d also like to look into ethical investments.

Running my own business, I haven’t had a pension in years. I’d like to save more but know my money is going into positive change.

This journey never stops. There is always something new to consider and change. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint and like everyone I’m still learning as I go.

Is It Really Green – Everyday Eco Dilemmas Sorted, by Georgina Wilson-Powell, will be published in January 2021 by DK and is available for pre-order on Amazon or Hive.

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