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Earth Day 2021: 7 ethical indie businesses we love

From guilt-free groceries to slow fashion, here’s some of our fave indie businesses across Leicestershire and Rutland doing their bit to make a difference.

With everything going on in the world we couldn’t blame you if you missed Earth Day. It’s today BTW, Thursday 22 April and a good reminder to support indie businesses, especially those who are trying to do their bit to make a difference.

Betty Brown Boutique, Leicester

A vegan and true believer in helping the planet, Betty is relaunching later this year as a Slow Fashion brand with strong ethical values. She’s super passionate about the effects of fast fashion vs sustainable clothing. She’s also big on retailing responsibly and using ethical quality garments that are made to last and she means serious business; this is the woman who travelled to three different countries in one year to find a factory and fabric supplier who align with her ethical beliefs. If you think that sustainable and vegan clothes are hippie or boring think again – just take a look at her Instagram profile and you’ll see what I mean. Also a previous Muddy Award Winner, she uses hand-picked organic cotton so it retains it’s long-form, it’s chemical free, and hypoallergenic – nobody wants nasty chemicals, or allergens on their clothes, do they? Plus, the cooperatives she buys her cotton from, give much-needed health care and support back to their community of loom workers.

Jute Coffee, Market Harborough

Apparently this local coffee roaster is the UK’s first zero-waste coffee company. So what exactly is that? Well they deliver their ‘zero waste coffee’ in a reusable tub. Once you’re done with the tub, they’ll collect it, clean it and refill it. Now even though, their tubs are made from plastic, if used responsibly, they’ll last for years and once they reach the end of their life, the containers can be recycled as they’re made out of HDPE which is one of the easiest plastic polymers to recycle.  Jute Coffee also ethically source from small cooperatives in Ethiopia, Honduras, Brazil and Colombia and for every 500kg of coffee sold, they sponsor a beehive as a little thank you to coffee-pollinating bees. How nice is that?

Gavin Taylor Hair, Rothley, Leics

Not only can you tame you mane at this hair salon in Rothley, but it’s also been kitted out using eco-friendly materials. If that wasn’t enough, owner Gavin also launched his No Ordinary range a few years ago. The products are made using 99% naturally derived ingredients – sourced from small producers and farming co-operatives who ensure all raw ingredients are of the highest standards – the products are cruelty-free, sustainable and fully vegan plus, the packaging is also biodegradable and refillable. When it does come to the end of its life, the bottles are fully recyclable.

Nadinoo Clothing, Rutland

Nadia Izruna’s clothing is inspired by the Japanese principle of Shibui, clothing that is designed to be simple, comfortable, functional, versatile and made to last. As a slow fashion womenswear brand, every garment is made using a variety of natural materials such as organic cotton and OEKO TEX certified linen as well as eco-friendly Corozo buttons, made from a South American nut. Each item of clothing is handmade by Nadia in her Rutland studio and can be tailored to your needs and wishes; Longer hemline? You got it! Shorter sleeves? No problem! She also recently started making smaller sustainable linen hair accessories from left over scraps. Genius! And when it’s ready to be posted out to you? It will of course, arrive in plastic-free packaging

The Flower Bar, Market Harborough

A passion for all that blooms, Philomena has been living, breathing and dreaming everything floral for years. It always baffled her why floristry was more about packaging, rather than flowers, not to mention the amount of waste and plastic that was used. So, when she opened her own flower shop, it was no-brainer that she wanted to make it as eco-friendly as possible. She buys British grown, fair trade flowers and this year, she planted and grew her own spring bulbs and she’s doing the same for her summer Dahlias. She only uses recyclable materials so flowers are presented in luxury eco-friendly kraft paper with a natural raffia bow. Hand-tied boxes are sourced from a company who use only recycled materials and are fully compostable if you don’t want to reuse it. She sells refillable vases and also works with a company who turn their ‘wasted’ leftover flowers into beautiful dried ones which she sells in her shop. Turns out, they’re super popular with customers.

NADA, A Zero Waste Store, Leicester

Lauren Welch has been waging a war on plastic for a few years now. She opened NADA, a zero waste lifestyle store in Leicester and stocks organic and biodegradable goods. During lockdown she even started offering local deliveries – all this while raising two little ones. Inside you can buy bulk items and shop with your refillable jars and buy exactly how much you need – think dry goods such as cereal, muesli, granola, grains and pulses, beans and lentils, nuts, herbs and spices and vinegars and oils. But it’s not just food that she sells, there’s also things like tooth brush, dental floss, mouthwash, kitchen cleaning products, soap and more.

Eco Village, Market Harborough

Run by Beth Lambert and Beth Awdry, Eco Village as an alternative to supermarkets where local, like-minded businesses can sell their own sustainable products. It’s now become a hub of indie shops who have sustainability at their heart – a place where you can re-style the weekly shop with guilt-free groceries, cleaning products, gifts and more with the reassurance of knowing that the goods on offer will be as low impact as possible. Now that lockdown is lifting, they’re also planning to host events, courses and discussions centred around important sustainability issues over the next few months.

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