Back in 2017 I (Hannah) was nursing full time in a busy London hospital, and needed a break. I booked a solo trip to Bali, and then another trip soon after to Brazil. I could not wait. I was really looking forward to exploring pristine beaches in paradise and sipping coconut water. But what I didn’t realise at the time, is that what I would actually encounter on these travels would shock me to my core, and change my life and my direction forever.
Once in Bali, I found what should have been pristine beaches were now rubbish dumps. The waves crashing on the beach were full of plastic and other waste. In some areas, Brazil wasn’t much better. I would find everything from tampons, to plastic food wrappers, plastic bags and cigarette butts. I had never seen anything like it in my life. It terrified me. I did several beach clean ups, collecting bags of rubbish in minutes, even beaches that were secluded and non touristy.
Then it hit me, we were literally destroying the environment with our lifestyles. I was destroying the environment with my lifestyle! And one of the key perpetrators- plastic and single use waste.
As the trips came to an end and I headed home, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had seen. Once home, I also came to realise that the waste problem wasn’t much better, better hidden perhaps outside of a hospital setting, but it was still very much a huge problem. And I knew I had to do something. So I made the decision to go completely plastic and waste free.
On my journey to live a less wasteful life, I had this realisation that all I was doing was simply changing habits. For example, we buy plastic toothbrushes, because it’s easily available and we always have. It’s a habit. The same goes for the use of plastic bags, plastic bottled shower gels, bottled water and even eating animal products- they are all habits. However, it isn’t always easy to find any alternatives to these plastic filled items, and so I decided I wanted to do something about that. It isn’t always easy to find vegan friendly products either.
And in early 2018, that when Greener Habits Co. was born. My zero waste and vegan shop which chooses planet, people and animals over profit. I started out online, selling a small range of products that I already used and loved. I also started to attend any event that would have me. It was so much fun, but also amazing to see how many others wanted to change their habits too!! They just couldn’t find alternatives yet either.
Initially I ran the business alongside my nursing career. But at the end of 2019 I took a step away from nursing to fully focus on the business and opened my first zero waste vegan bulk shop in London. I now offer a huge range of package free food products such as pasta, rice, beans, lentils, herbs and spices. We also have oils, vinegar, oat milk, peanut butter and cleaning products on tap and just last week added a Kombucha tap! We have plans to expand more this year to keep offering our local community that opportunity to choose package free