Bamboo-zled: are bamboo pet products eco?

According to science, not all bamboo products are more sustainable than their non-bamboo alternatives. Shipping bamboo products over from China has a big environmental impact so the products need to be eco enough to mitigate that. Here’s some science and some bamboo pet products to consider!

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Sheffield Viva! Vegan Fesitval Nov 2017

We had a great day at Sheffield’s Vegan Festival Today!

We especially enjoyed our vegan pepperoni style pizza by Sheila’s Kitchen.

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Ethical Business: Ethical Life – Why I am a Goupie Groupie

goupie vegan chocolatesFamily recipe, ethical and not-too-expensive: Goupie chocolates are a sweet revelation! I first tried them through my monthly Vegan Tuck Box, and was an instant convert! So, when I met Grace at The Great Yorkshire Vegan Fair, I was determined to feature Goupie on our Ethical Business: Ethical Life blog series. Here is what she had to say!

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Ethical Business: Ethical Life – The Crafty Kim Searle

ethical buisness ethical lifeMeet Kim Searle, textile and jewellery super-woman! We met Kim at a vegan fair in Manchester and fell in love with her quirky, intelligent and beautifully made trinkets. Anna even has a “Badass Feminist Killjoy” floral banner on her desk! Kim will be attending lots of Vegan fairs in the coming months, and also runs workshops regularly!

So, Kim, how did you get into crafts and textiles?

I started making things to sell when I was about 16, I really loved making things but have always been a realist and knew that I couldn’t keep buying materials and that there were only so many things I could make for myself and friends.

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Northern Vegan Festival Twitter Competition Winners!

Following the Northern Vegan Festival, those who took their pets an ethical present home from our stall got the chance to enter our photo competition on Twitter. Here are our wonderful winners!

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Polythene Pam Loves BecoBowls!

It’s not that we are attention seekers… but we do love it when people talk about us! Here is a fab little article about us published recently by the Plastic Is Rubbish team Polythene Pam and Village Boy. They just LOVE our super-sustainable plastic free pet bowls from BecoThings… did you hear they are made from rice husks and bamboo? Now that’s the kind of gossip we like to see spreading! Take a read of what they said below:

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Boxing Clever: Our New Packaging

It’s been an exciting few months of Joey and I – we have expended into wholesale and our web-shop is doing better than ever. Since we started two years ago all our orders have been sent in re-used packaging, we have been collecting boxes and packets from neighbours and friends, and it has worked very well. However, now we are sending out more orders than we can find boxes for – so we have had to buy our own boxes for the first time.

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Recycling for your Pet

Sasha with her recyclable ball

Joey and I are always looking for ways to be greener, but our pets can be really naughty when it comes to the environment. Sasha and Shep, the rescue dogs, were forever destroying their toys – to be fair to them, it’s not willful destruction… but the cats, well, ripping their little toy mice to bits is their absolute favorite thing! Before we set up Ethical Pets, we didn’t really know how to address these problems, we seemed to be endlessly throwing broken toys away and buying more, and the local pet shops sadly weren’t much help with our sustainability quest.

However, now we run Ethical Pets things are much simpler! In this article, we will take you on a whistle-stop tour of some of our recycled, up-cycled and recyclable pet favorites.


Pretty much all of the Ethical Pets toys are up-cycled, recycled or recyclable – and our pets just love them! The dogs, for example, love their super tough Zogoflex Toys, and we love them too, because we know that if they ever manage to wreck them, we can recycle it with ease (and get a free replacement!).

Also, the cats adore their little woolly mice, and we love them too, because they are up-cycled from reclaimed yarn (and with a charity donation to boot). Much greener than the average cat toy!


A eco-upcycled biodegradable food scoop with minimal, recycled and recyclable packaging - phew thats green!!!

Bowls, litter trays and food scoops.

Even things as basic as pet bowls can be totally eco-friendly – when we needed to get some new ones (because our old ones were too small) we bought some of the Ethical Pets Beco-Bowls, which are made from waste rice husks and sustainably grown bamboo. Up-cycling waste plant-matter like rice husks means the bowl is not only green to start off with (because its not made of plastic) but it will biodegrade in the garden when it’s old and ganky. Perfect 🙂 BecoThings make cat bowls, small-to-large bowls and large slow feed bowls, litter trays and scoops and food scoops too. Each time one of our long-serving (but not very green) plastic items needs replacing, we replace it with a BecoThing!


100% Recycled plastic bottle beds... cool... and comfy!


Our personal favorite recycled product range are the lovely soft beds: made from 100% recycled plastic (used plastic bottles) these beds are super soft as well as super eco 🙂 There are beds just the right size for cats, rabbits and smaller dogs, right up to the large and squishy giant mattress. Also, our eco Vet Bed is great for the car or for older dogs who need something warm and accessible.


There are other things to consider too, for example, pet product packaging. The products we sell all come from companies with an eco mindset, so packaging is usually minimal and eco-friendly. As for our own packaging, you can see a full summary here, however, in short, its mostly re-used and/or recycled cardboard with a little degradable plastic and a little bubble wrap. As eco as we can for now (and always getting better!)


All in all, there are lots of recycled, up-cycled and recyclable products for your pets. Job well done eh?!

Ethical Buisness: Ethical Life. Vol 5.

EBEL logoMeet Claire. She’s a real force of nature and yes… we have found in her yet another Ethical Business Superstar! Claire’s thing is Bikes: she likes riding them, fixing them… she even Married a bicycle repair man! Oh, and the other thing she does with bikes is up-cycle them into gorgeous jewelery and accessories. Yes. She is very very cool! Read more about Claire in our interview with her below, and checkout her web-shop too!


Way back, where did all of this eco stuff this begin for you?

From an early age, I always had a pencil in my hand. Apart from when I was running around or swinging off something. I started a fine art degree which seemed the natural thing to do, but found it wasn’t what I expected. I moved away from art and design for a few years and spent my time in community work with children and young people, which I love. But my creative streak and love of design always stayed with me. Since I was a child I was very aware of our impact on the world. I spent time raising money for environmental charities like GreenPeace. I was horrified that we were responsible for a hole in the ozone layer, or chopping down rainforests.

Buying a mountain bike in my late 20’s changed my life. It led me to my local bike shop, where I was to meet mechanic Rob (now the shop owner – and my husband!) Spending years riding together developed my love of all things ‘bicycle’.

So, when did you start Bits of Bike, why and how did it go?

I don’t like waste. I do like the unusual. Surrounded by junk at the bike shop, I felt inspired to recycle the scrap into something unique. My first endeavor was making coat hooks out of some old racing bike handle bars. The result was a striking, distinctive and functional object, saved from the junk heap! I began to get compliments on my designs. Then came the jewelery, and other ideas began to flow. From this, ’Bits of Bike’ began to evolve.

What kit did you need to begin with?

Up-cycled Belts made from bike tyres and cogs

I started with nothing but a collection of waste bicycle items. I needed to buy some basic workshop tools and ‘jewelery findings’ (clasps, necklace end caps etc). At present, I make all the packaging myself from recycled card, and mountain bike magazines.

How did you start selling things?

At first I thought I would venture out to local craft fairs. Sales wise, this was hit and miss, but I got positive feedback. I decided to develop my website. I used the open-source web design tool, ‘Wordpress’. It really suited my needs, and I am grateful of such an amazing, free resource. I barely advertised and it was a couple of months before I got my first on-line sale. I bounced around the house for about half an hour. I still get butterflies every time I make an online sale!!

A bracelet made from bike chain links

So far, it has been hard to juggle a full time job with developing Bits of Bike on the side. On the other hand, I have had the financial stability to develop the initial stages of Bits of Bike. However, I was recently redundant from the public sector and so I am giving BitsofBike a go full time. I am expecting to need to have another income too at some point. It is exciting and scary. But it feels so good to be in control and doing something positive and productive.

Where do you think Bits of Bike is going?

My goal is to develop an ethical urban cycle clothing and accessories company. At this early stage, whatever I make mostly goes straight back into growing BitsofBike. In five years, I would like to make my company and my life carbon neutral. But for now, I am just aiming towards making enough to paying my bills!

Describe an average day in the life of you.

My workshop is at the bottom of my garden. I am up and at it by 8:30am after an essential cup of tea. I prefer to have the doors wide open to listen to the birds which makes me happy and keeps me motivated. I will spend a lot of my day making things for orders that have come in, or to add to my website. An integral trip to the post office to send out any orders takes place mid afternoon. Variety is the spice of life, so there is always time for experimentation and design. Music and dancing keeps the spirit up (and the toes warm mid winter). I don’t stop work till my head is whizzing and my stomach rumbles around 7pm.

What else do you do?

I committed to volunteering for Sustrans sustainable transport, and Breeze Cycle Network, to encourage more women to get out on their bikes.

Do you have any pets?

We have a rescue boa constrictor. She has a large enclosure in our bedroom. Mum wont come to stay because of her.

Do you have a conventional or unusual life style

I see myself as pretty conventional. I try to be conscious of my impact on the world. This influences my lifestyle. I love growing my own food on our allotment. There is nothing better that making a meal that I have nurtured myself from seed. My clothes all come from charity shops! A product of our throw-away society is that I get to have nice but cheap clothes, and support charities. I need time for myself playing out in the woods with my husband on my mountain bike. I like to feel close to nature. I like to be outside. Whatever the weather. Also, everyday I ride my bike. To commute or to have fun. I rarely drive.

What are your ethical principles and how do they guide and motivate you?

There are so many causes that inspire me. In general, personal and social responsibility is really important to me. It’s human nature to want to advance and move forward. But having the world and each other at the core of what we do is key. There are so many sustainable resources around us. Its just doesn’t make sense to me to do it any other way.

Any words of wisdom?

It may be cheesy, but I fell in love with ‘Desiderata’ as a teenager. My favorite quote is from this poem:

” You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

Meet Claire. She's a real force of nature and yes... we have found in her yet another Ethical Business Superstar! Claire's thing is Bikes: she likes riding them, fixing them... she even Married a bicycle repair man! Oh, and the other thing she does with bikes is up-cycle them into gorgeous jewellery and accessories. Yes. She is very very cool! Read more about Claire in our interview with her, and checkout her web-shop too!