Eco-Friendly and Ethical Glasgow

Some might argue that the ongoing media storm imploring the Western population to reduce their carbon footprint is a mere side effect of David Attenborough's newest television series. However, the call for clean living is nothing new, and a well-organised core of eco-warriors have been waiting in the wings for their cause to finally garner the attention it deserves. Admittedly, going entirely plastic-free or upcycling all your possesions may seem a tall order for those who want to become more sustainable without overhauling their lifestyle completely. With that in mind, this post is designed to help you make smaller changes by pointing you in the direction of local organisations with a green conscious and socially responsible mission.

Where to shop?

Glasgow has a wealth of establishments that offer quirky and innovative ways to ditch the plastic and reduce your impact on the planet. Whether you are buying daily essentials or one-off treats, it feels good to know you are doing your bit for the environment whilst supporting the city's entrepreneurs.

In search of fruit and veg or speciality produce? Roots and Fruits boasts an incredible variety of food that is as good to look at as it is to eat. Contrary to popular belief, buying from smaller scale or organic shops does not have to leave you out of pocket. Indeed, the West End store offers a student discount, and there is also the option to subscribe to a diverse delivery box which is an ideal option for adventurous cooks.

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When it comes to cooking oils, dipping sauces and unique tipples; Demijohn is leading the way with their bottle shop that allows customers to refill from an expansive selection of casks. We think a trip to the Liquid Deli is far more exciting than the regular weekly shop as the self-service element adds a bit of novelty to an otherwise mundane task. You can find it on Byres Road, where there are plenty more options for reducing consumer waste. With no less than six charity shops, this bustling thoroughfare has a multitude of hidden gems to be discovered if you stop to look. Just a stone's throw from Waterstones, the Oxfam book shop is dedicated solely to second-hand reads which is certainly worth a browse for a cheaper and more compassionate alternative.

Over in the Dennistoun, a pioneering establishment is drawing significant praise and a growing social media following due to its expansive collection of eco-friendly homeware. With products we didn't know we needed, from Beeswax food wraps to Bamboo toothbrushes, a trip to the Zero Waste Market is sure to leave you feeling as though you have done something good for the planet that day. Their products are also available online, making it even easier to make some small steps towards a cleaner lifestyle.

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The recent drama surrounding fast-fashion and the shocking amount of unsold garments that find their self in a landfill was enough to shock even the most ardent trend follower. Nonetheless, keeping en-vogue doesn't always have to come at a cost to the enviroment as the retailers on King's Court are certainly proving. Whilst Mr Ben's retro fashion is known the world over, the relatively new Minted is a poorly kept secret amongst the youth of the city. Offering up high-end, preloved streetwear, it is creating a cult name for itself as a premier seller of rare finds and funky footwear whilst helping to shake off the stigma surrounding secondhand shopping.

What to eat and drink?

Social Enterprises are a fantastic concept whose operations benefit a social cause, but will still provide the standard of service you would expect in any regular establishment. It is no wonder then that their popularity in recent years has skyrocketed and, as such, there are plenty of places in Glasgow to make your morning cuppa count.

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MILK is a cafe set up to empower and support refugee and migrant women living in the city. You can find it in the Southside of the city, where they are striving to provide a safe and welcoming environment that promotes integration within the community. The cosy cafe has a mishmash of furniture and down to earth staff making it feel more like your mum's front kitchen than a paying establishment.

A similar concept, but in an entirely different setting, can be found at the Wild Olive Tree in St George's Church on Buchanan street. A quality cafe with an amazing scheme that allows customers to gift soup or a coffee to those who cannot afford it, they also provide training for those aspiring to get into work. You can pick up stamps for every time you make a gift which eventually builds up to a free bowl for yourself, meaning it truly is a win-win for everyone.

Where to go for a day out?

Looking for a little me-time? The Wee Retreat has just opened brand new premises on the Southside of Glasgow, and their mediation classes are going down a treat. Registered as a Community Interest Company, the profits are used for the good of Glaswegians, and judging by the reviews, locals are loving the oasis of calm it is providing. The business was inspired by the owner's epiphany moment when she discovered the power of mindfulness for herself. As a result, each course comes with a personal touch that allows clients to train their brain to exercise greater self-awareness and gratitude.

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We have all heard of Bread Meats Bread, but what about Bread makes Beer? That is the unique selling point of one of Jaw the Brew, where they have developed a drink made from Auld the Baker's leftover morning rolls. This ingenious use of the circular economy earnt the brewers a VIBES sustainability award in 2017, and since then they been going from strength to strength by expanding their offering to include a great range of products. You can now visit them on-site and opt-in for tours and tastings making this a great environmentally friendly day out with a very welcome boozy twist.

Things to make your life easier

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It’s a well-known fact that school uniforms, and the rate at which kids go through them, can amount to a hefty outlay for any family. This is where the work of ApparelXchange is providing a much-needed lifeline for parents all over Glasgow. This Social Enterprise has created a marketplace for heavily reduced school uniforms, making them accessible regardless of income. With items starting from just £1, and all in excellent used condition, the organisation has both a user-friendly website and well-positioned premises in Shawlands. Whether or not you need the service, there is plenty of opportunities to volunteer with the collection, processing and marketing of the clothes. It is a fantastic initiative to be a part of and is certainly making a marked difference to those who rely on the work of Donna Jamison and her team.

Bike for Good started in July 2010 as a small, unfunded stall in Glasgow’s famous Barras market. 7 years later, the organisation has two branches and a team of 50 individuals who offer an expansive range of bike-related assistance. By repairing, fitting and maintaining bicycles, they offer the promise of a bike for good to the community which spares users the cost of expensive services elsewhere. They also sell second-hand models which is a great kick-starter for ditching the car and making more use of the growing network of cycle paths around the city.

There are lots more eco friendly and ethical organisations popping up around the city! We’d love to hear about what you find, so follow us on Facebook and Instagram and don't forget to tag us in all your best discoveries!

Anna Kelly