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Sustainable Living: Green Island

Looking to start your sustainable living journey towards an eco friendly home? We've got you covered with some of our favourite eco brands. Green Island is the place to get your every day essentials to reduce single use plastics. In this blog we've spoken to founder Sheenagh who's given us her sustainable living advice and an insight into running her business.

Sustainable Living
by Florence
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We are so excited to have you feature on our blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself, your brand and how it all started.

I live in Essex on the edge of the forest  with my two teenage boys and our cockapoo Barney. It was during my yoga teacher training in 2018 that I had the idea of starting a sustainable business. I was surrounded by all of these amazing people who really cared about the planet and the footprint they were leaving behind. It all came so naturally to them. I began looking at ways I could reduce my plastic consumption which led me to researching different brands and their products. There were lots of stores out there with huge ranges of products but I couldn’t find all of these products under one brand. It started with me saying to my yoga partner, “I really want to do this myself”. She told me I could and I should and so Green Island was born. 

 

We absolutely love your sustainable products! What’s the design process and where do you find your inspiration for green alternatives?

I look at things I myself, friends and family use the most around the house and see if we can create a plastic free alternative. I have a circle of friends including my sister who I annoy on a daily basis with all of my ideas. I love it when they contact me to ask if we can make something that they need but can’t find a sustainable version. This happened recently with one of my friends and it has led to a whole new range of products which will hopefully launch in June so keep your eyes peeled. We are in the testing phase at the moment and designing the packaging. It’s definitely my favourite part of the job. It is a long process though and I’m not the most patient of people. When I have a new product in the making I want to share it with everyone straight away but there is a lot of back and forth between us and the manufacturers and it always takes longer than you think. It’s worth it in the end though when you see it hit the shelves. 

 

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If someone wanted to begin their plastic free journey, what advice would you give them? Where’s a good place to start?

Just start with one thing at a time. Don’t try to change everything all at once. Have a look in your kitchen or bathroom at the products you use on a daily basis and see if you can switch one. Maybe start using a bamboo toothbrush when your old one needs replacing. Stop using cotton wool pads and try reusable make up remover pads. Use bars of soap instead of plastic bottles. 

Switch out the plastic ziplocks for some reusable silicone ones. Just one change can make a huge difference. The first change I made was to a reusable water bottle and I can honestly say I have never bought a plastic bottle of water since. 

When grocery shopping go for the loose fruit and veg as much as possible and always bring your reusable bags. Meal plan for a few days or the week ahead so that you don’t end up with lots of food waste, and get composting!

 

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Which are your favourite green or eco friendly accounts to follow on instagram?

David Attenborough obviously. Who doesn’t love David? My favourite account for all things slow living is @fioanannal. Fiona lives on the Orkney Islands and her page is a place of peace and calm showing snippets of her days in the most beautiful, natural surroundings.    @zero.waste.collective for daily tips and stories on living a more zero waste life. @simply.living.well for her dreamy home and and inspiration on slow living.

How do you encourage your family and friends to be more sustainable? 

Lots of my friends and family now shop at Green Island which is lovely. They wouldn’t have thought about their plastic consumption as much before I started the business. It makes me so happy to think they have made changes because of my little company. That’s why I am doing this. I tell them the same thing I tell everyone else.  You really can make a difference, one person and one product at a time. 

 

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You have a fantastic partnership with One Tree Planted. Can you tell us a bit more about it? (where the trees are planted or any statistics..etc)

It was important to me when I was planning the business that I was able to give back in some way and of course, lower our carbon footprint. I looked at a few different charities and just loved what One Tree Planted were doing. I particularly liked the fact that we can choose where our trees are planted each month. So far we have planted thousands of trees in the Amazon Rainforest, Australia, India and California. Also in Uganda as part of the Plant Trees For Chimpanzees program with the Jane Goodall Institute. 


This last year has been super tough for small businesses. How has it affected Green Island?

We have been very lucky through the last year. Green Island grew super fast as lockdown hit. 

People were stuck at home and everyone was online so I think that helped. I really think in the last 12 months there has been an increase in people taking more of an interest in the steps they can take to reduce their plastic consumption and live more sustainably. It’s great to see  mainstream media talking about these issues and bringing it into peoples homes. 

We were able to move into a warehouse at the beginning of the year and we are currently working on lots of new products for the summer which is exciting. Hopefully we will continue to grow and make a difference in our own little way. 

 

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How would you describe your home interior style?

I would say it’s a mix of country living and Scandi. I love the mimimal Scandinavian look but we live in a cottage and I’m a cosy country girl at heart so I like to mix the two with some simple pieces and lots of layers. Rugs, throws and cushions for a luxe fee.  I love my floor to ceiling book shelf which is full of cookery books that I recently colour coded. Yes I am that person. I also have some fabulous lingerie coffee table books that belonged to my mum who had a beautiful lingerie shop for 23 years and I worked alongside her on and off for a long time. 


Finally, if you could pick a houseof light for your home which would it be?

I’m not sure I can choose just one. I love the Cage Ceiling Lights. The LED Curve Wall Light is genius and the Diffuser Floor Lamp is so different and would look fab in my boys rooms. I love them all!

 

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