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Ethical shopping tips and eco-friendly products

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From overflowing landfills and plastic pollution in our oceans, to unethical work conditions and wages, we all can make small positive changes to help make the world a better place. 

Here’s how to become a ‘conscious consumer’ – we’ve rounded up a few simple things you can do when you’re next shopping in Bullring & Grand Central.  


We’ve all heard of sustainable fashion, but what does it mean? Basically, it’s a recognition that everything we buy has an impact – whether that’s on the environment, our health or society. 
Thanks to the new wave of eco-consciousness sweeping across your favourite brands, it’s easier than ever to shop sustainably and stay stylish. 

Brands like H&M with their annual Conscious Exclusive Collection, which features environmentally friendly pieces and Zara with their Join Life initiative, which aims for their products to become increasingly more sustainable are leading the charge.

They also champion eco-friendly materials and fabrics like sustainable cotton, 100% biodegradable Lyocell, and focus on environmentally and water friendly production techniques. 

Keep an eye out for the brand Veja, too, who sell socially responsible vegan leather trainers. A huge focus of the company is ensuring a positive impact, from production to store.

And look out for People Tree in John Lewis & Partners. They’ve been pioneers in sustainable Fairtrade fashion since 1991 and focus on eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and responsible wool, made using artisan skills. 

Zara pink dress and Veja trainers
Our picks: Veja V-12 B leather and mesh trainers, £115, Selfridges; dress with belt in dusky pink, £25.99, Zara


As well as choosing clothes made from eco-friendly materials and investing in wear-forever items you’ll rock time and time again, recycling your unwanted garms is an easy way to up your eco efforts. 

Lucky for you, a lot of brands offer recycling initiatives to help you gather up your old fashion faux pas’ and help reduce the tonnes and tonnes of textiles that end up at landfill. 

H&M were the first brand to launch a global recycling initiative by introducing garment collection boxes in all stores. On your next visit, drop off your old clothes (from any brand), and H&M’s recycling scheme will reward you with a £5 to spend in store. Win, win! 


We’re all used to buying Fairtrade items for our food baskets, but what about for our beauty cabinets? Sustainable beauty is on the rise thanks to new awareness around Fairtrade-accredited beauty brands, community trade and eco-friendly ingredients. 

There’s also a fresh awareness on the devasting impact that some commonly used ingredients and products, like palm oil and makeup wipes, are having on the environment. 

We all love hassle-free makeup removal, but your use-once face wipes are festering in landfill and polluting our oceans. No on-the-go cleansing is worth that. You don’t have to completely veto convenience, though: look for biodegradable face wipes instead. Yes, they still usually come in plastic packaging – but any step in changing our routine for the planet’s sake is a plus.

At The Body Shop, they are dedicated to trading fairly and ensure they source their products from small-scale farmers and producers, which benefits 25,000 people worldwide. They also ensure that 100% of their natural ingredients are traceable and sustainably sourced, and only ever use sustainable palm oil.  So you can look after the planet, as well as your skin!

In L’Occitane, they’re committed to respecting and caring for the planet. They support local projects which aim to preserve the environment; manage a sustainable manufacturing process; and use the best natural and organic ingredients. They are also committed to only ever using traceable, sustainable palm oil.  
L’Occitane shea butter and The Body Shop Shea butter
Our picks: Shea Butter Organic Certified, 150ml, £30 for 150ml, L’Occitane; 100% Natural Shea Butter, £15, The Body Shop 


Wherever you look, single-use plastic is there – from our water bottles to our beauty product packaging. We’re all aware of the huge impacts single-use plastics are having on our planet, but what can we do to help?

Making just a few changes can have a big impact on the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives. Need some tips? Here are some small changes we can all make: 

1. Swap your throwaway plastic bottle for a reusable bottle.
2. Ditch your coffee cup for a reusable coffee cup (and get money off at Starbucks and Costaand extra loyalty stamps at Caffè Nero). 
3. Say goodbye to plastic bags and carry a cotton tote bag.

Did you know you can fill up your water bottles at Costa Coffee? Perfect for a quick H2O top-up while you dash around the shops. 

Big brands are playing their part, too. At Kiehl’s, they have a bottle recycling initiative. So, when you’ve finished your fave beauty buys, remember to drop them off next time you’re stocking up. 
Paperchase cotton shopper bag and reusable water bottle
Our picks: Conscious Living Organic cotton shopper bag, £10, Paperchase; S'well peacock vacuum insulated 500ml drinks bottle, £42, John Lewis & Partners


At Bullring & Grand Central, we’re also trying to do our bit. 

At Bullring: 
1. 3% of electricity saved compared to 2017 – equivalent to making over 6 million cups of tea.
2. 82.31% of waste recycled per month on average throughout 2018.
3. 247 tonnes of waste recycled in 2018 – no operational waste was sent to landfill.
4. We are replanting our hedgerows this year with bee- and butterfly-friendly plants, and continuing to look at new ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
5. In 2018, we reduced our carbon emission by 21% compared to 2017.

At Grand Central:
1. 24% of electricity saved compared to 2017.
2. 96% of waste recycled per month on average throughout 2018.
3. 97 tonnes of waste recycled in 2018 – no operational waste was sent to landfill.
4. We are looking to install a rainwater harvesting tank this year to utilise filtered rainwater for our cleaning activities onsite.


We’ve also teamed up with social enterprise GiveMeTap – who aim to make clean drinking water available to everyone – and will be handing out their reusable water bottles around Bullring & Grand Central. Every bottle purchased gives five years of clean drinking water to someone in need in Africa.

Keep an eye on our Facebook to find out when we’re giving away FREE GiveMeTap reusable water bottles (limited availability). In the meantime, make sure you download the Bullring & Grand Central PLUS app! For more info on GiveMeTap, visit their website.

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