Our shopping habits nowadays may seem very materialistic and driven mainly by impulses. But there is also good news: it is changing. It can be immensely valuable to pause, catch your breath, and take a step back before you find yourself being catapulted to the checkout.
The lure of the last remnants of the sale or being drawn to an extravagant “why-should-you-not-buy” are seductive feelings we can all experience from time to time. Frustratingly, the feeling of regret when the product lets us down is a lingering emotion.
So, before we make a decision on a product to buy, let’s do a little research to see what’s out there in terms of alternatives on the market. Ethical products that really stand out to me that you can find at QBamboo are products that last a long time and are environmentally friendly at the same time.
When you can buy an ethically produced and sustainable product, such as charcoal soap, you help the environment not only now, but also in the long term. Long-lasting products mean less waste, which means our landfills will not become as crowded, less pollution and the environment is healthier. When that sustainable product is environmentally friendly, perhaps through the use of environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo or renewable energy sources such as solar energy, their direct carbon footprint is reduced.
Buying an eco-friendly product that will last for years will help reduce overall household waste and help make the world a greener place to live. Read the interview with QBamboo to find out more.
Can you tell us what’s special about your brand?
QBamboo isn’t about being perfect. We love the environment and want to do everything we can to protect our planet. But ultimately we recognise that people have busy lives and are not always in a position to make the right choices when they are buying products for their home. We believe that people want to protect our environment but often don’t have access to the right information or forums to make the right choices when choosing products that they wish to buy. That’s where QBamboo come in.
QBamboo is all about helping people to make informed decisions. It’s not about guilting people into completely revolutionising their entire lifestyles and live in a hut in the woods. We support our customers in recognising that everything we consume has an environmental footprint. So the first step is about encouraging people to expand their knowledge. Understand what the impact is of the consumer choices we make, and then finding a way to choose better. Each of the products we offer meet at least one of our sustainability ethics – whether it’s fair trade, plastic-free, zero waste or any of our other ethical principles. We know that no products are perfect, but we aim to show people that if they are going to buy a bar of soap … then this is the best bar you can buy. We try to make it easy to find the right information and to make an informed purchase.
What motivated you to start an eco-friendly business?
I originally worked in the NHS for over 15 years before leaving for a role in Sustainable and Responsible Travel in 2014. A complete change in direction but the new role reflected my love of all things travel and also my commitment to helping to protect the environment and tourist communities from damage as a result of tourism. Prior to that I was always interested in the environment and worked hard to recycle and choose products wisely, but my work in travel really opened my eyes to the urgency of the environmental situation and how important it is that we make changes immediately and on a much larger scale than we ever imagined.
My role in Sustainable Travel often involved doing lots of research about the impact we are having on the environment through our everyday actions. Whilst most of this was travel related, it also included a number of related products and advice on how to minimise our footprint through reduced use of plastic, buying local produce and reducing our waste. I then attended a wedding last year where the level of waste was incredible and it was heartbreaking to see how many disposable, single-use items were just being thrown away … some of them without even being used. This was the catalyst for establishing Qbamboo. I had a vision for an online marketplace that not only provided products that were sustainable and eco-friendly, but also operated as a resource to provide advice, guidance and direction to people who were looking to make a positive change in their lifestyles. We are only in the initial stages of delivering this vision but the possibilities are endless.
What green issues are you most passionate about?
There are so many issues that we are facing at the minute, everything from deforestation and plastic pollution to climate change … all completely terrifying and getting worse every second. Sometimes it’s hard not to get overwhelmed by the scale of it all and to feel powerless to make a difference. When I feel like this I like to take things back to basics and put my passion and energy where I know I can have an impact. So right now I am putting a lot of my energy into just getting outside and spending time in nature. Lockdown has encouraged a lot of us to get outside more and take walks as often as we can. I have recently joined the Woodland Trust and am busy exploring local woods and forests to spend more time in the great outdoors. I believe that absorbing ourselves in nature gives us a stronger connection with the planet and makes us more conscious about the choices we make. Almost like we want to protect the beauty around us.
What advice would you have for other aspiring social and green entrepreneurs?
Always lead your business with compassion. Give people the time and space to discover your message and assimilate the information you provide to them. For people to change their behaviour they need to go on their own journey of discovery. So be patient and focus on your own business ethics and sustainability. The rest will follow.