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Reducing waste at Christmas

At Christmas, Our bins usually get full a lot quicker than other times of the year. People are at home for longer, eating more, having people over and hopefully having a good time. However, waste is an issue for most families. We have some tips below on reducing waste and just being a little more conscious when spending money.


  • BUY LESS – it can be very hard not to splurge at Christmas but think about whether or not you really need the item.
  • Kris Kindle – This is growing in popularity with families, one quality gift a person will use and love instead of lots of small token gifts if often more appreciated
  • Make lists, only buy what you need and avoid impulse buys.
  • Ask people what they want – Some might say this takes the fun out of it but if you are getting a gift that’s needed it will definitely avoid waste.
  • Experiences, not things – Concert Tickets, Days out (Tayto Park, Lough Bora), Meals, Memberships, – Vouchers, Donations – for example animal shelters, Plant a tree certificate
  • Get a gift receipt – Usually if the gift is unwanted/wrong size, its very easy to return and swap for something else with a gift receipt.
Small business’, locally owned.
Organic, Fair Trade where possible.
Plastic Free – it’s not always easy but if take the time to see if there is a plastic free option.
Sustainable – always a winner.



Plastic free gift wrap can look even prettier than it’s glossy alternative.
Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Consider wrapping your gifts with reusable wrapping materials and decorate them with a spring of holly instead of using throwaway tags and ribbons. Brown paper can be composted. Newspaper too!

If you do have to buy standard wrapping paper, try and buy paper that doesn’t have a shiny coating as this is plastic and cannot be recycled.

Reusable gift wrap, also available at Made from recycled plastic bottles, it’s quite pricey but will last for generations!


Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle urged people to buy real Irish Christmas trees this year. Are real trees also better for the environment? The answer might surprise you. Real trees are actually more eco-friendly than artificial trees. 

 Ideally buy a potted Christmas tree which is still alive. You can keep it inside for about a week afterward you’ll need to keep it outdoors. Or buy a real tree and it can be composted after.

Buy locally grown trees rather than imported from China, as these often can’t be recycled.  For each tree cut down in Ireland, another is planted.


 Plan your food needs in advance to reduce the impact on the planet and shop for local, organic produce whenever possible. 

Loose fruit and veg are the best way to reduce plastic waste.  To avoid food wastage, plan your meals carefully and use up any leftovers the next day. 

Homemade christmas decorations


Bring nature inside! Swap glitter and tinsel for natural foliage (holly, berrries).  It’s fun to make your own Christmas garlands or decorations using recycled materials, play paper or coloured cardboard. Plastic free crackers are becoming more readily available but why not make your own? Here’s an easy tutorial

 Gifts that are good for the environment

Bird boxes, lady bird houses, bug hotels all can make lovely gifts.

Eco Gift Sets

These sets take the hassle out of picking gifts for your loved ones.  We have a variety in stock, one for everyone. All in plastic free packaging.  

Mini Travel Kit

Vegan Gift Set

Vegan Hot Chocolate Gift Set

Hair Gift Set

Soap Set

Shaving Set

It’s admittedly a very difficult time of the year to reduce waste but a little thought goes a long way!

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and thanks to all our lovely customers for your custom throughout the year. We appreciate every sale!

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Earth Day 2019 – 21 day challenge

We were racking our brains this year thinking of what we could do for Earth Day and help make a positive change in the world. And Emily came up with the 21 Day Challenge. We are all at different stages of living a sustainable lifestyle and we hope this challenge will inspire those at the start of the journey and challenge those who are way ahead of everyone else, and maybe get others onboard who are not even contemplating a sustainable lifestyle.

Earth Day 2019 #littlegreenchallenge

Day 1 – Going meatless for a meal or a day. We decided to start with this one as the livestock industry is one of the main contributors to pollution on planet earth. Animal waste, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and chemicals can have a devastating impact on waterways. 18% of greenhouse gases are produced by livestock farming, which is more than all the world’s planes, boats, cars and trains – combined! We were completely shocked by this statistic. So cutting down on meat and dairy is a no brainer. We are looking to our fabulous vegan followers for meal inspiration.

To our vegan followers, we understand this may drive you slightly insane that we are recommending it for a day a week and not a whole life. But we want to encourage people to try going meat free that would never in a million years contemplate it. And for people to see that it can be easy and delicious. This day may turn into two days, three days and so forth. A small change is better than no change. You guys are leading the way and sowing the seeds of change and we honestly think you are amazing. Hopefully together we can inspire and create real lasting change. (Thanks to for the facts!)

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Homemade Cleaning Recipes and Tips

Why use homemade cleaning recipes and not just chuck a bottle of window cleaner into the trolley?

The short answer to the question is that they are highly toxic and are known to contribute to a list of health issues that most people are not yet aware of. The ingredients in these products are known endocrine disrupters, can cause respiratory disorders such as asthma among a list of other awful side effects. Yes they leave your toilet clean but cause serious damage to your insides over time. They also are causing huge environmental damage to streams and rivers polluting our water and wildlife.

There are so many natural products that do not cause these ailments. Simple products that are more than likely in your kitchen cupboard anyway, like vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, washing soda, essential oils. They are kind to you, your family and the environment. A win win for all!

I will start with the most popular:

Glass spray bottle

All Purpose Cleaner

Mix all the following into a spray bottle: We have glass ones here: And clean as you go. SIMPLE!
1 part white vinegar
4 parts water
10-20 drops of essential oil
1 tsp of dish soap (We use Dr Bronners castile soap)

Window Cleaner

1 part white vinegar
3 part water
A couple drop of essential oil

Drain Cleaner

We have two favourites for this.
Option 1:
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda down the drain – be generous
Pour vinegar and watch it foam. Keep going until the bicarb of soda has gone

Option 2:
Sprinkle washing soda down the drain
Follow with boiling water

Cooker Hoods or anything grease related

Washing soda crystals are your best friend..
Mix a few tablespoons of washing soda with hot water and the grease will literally melt away

Floor Cleaner

2 tablespoons of castile soap
2 gallons of hot water

Wood Floor Cleaner

1 gallon of hot water
3/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of lemon juice

Carpet Deodoriser

Mix bicarb of soda and essential oils in a glass jar and mix well
Sprinkle onto carpet
After a while, hoover it up

Happy Cleaning!
Any tips we would love to hear them!

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Why I love Hydrogen Peroxide!

Hydrogen Peroxide:

When I first heard of Hydrogen peroxide I was a little scared. I think the fact peroxide was in the name that I found myself thinking that this surely can’t be safe!

Fast forward to today and I now know that it’s H2O2. Water with an extra oxygen molecule. Yes high concentrations of it are not safe and it still needs to be handled with caution and kept away from kids but what I love is that it’s a natural disinfectant and bleach and it doesn’t destroy our lovely streams and oceans like actual bleach does. It has a multitude of uses around the home. It ticks all the boxes. It’s natural, effective at cleaning and eliminates the need for any harsh chemicals in our homes.

So what can it be used for:

1. Kitchen/Bathroom Disinfectant

for counters, sinks, chopping boards, dish brushes, you name it.

2. Glass Cleaner

who doesn’t love cleaning glass! if you’re not into the ammonia that is in normal glass cleaner you will love this. And it works

3. Grout Brightener

Because it acts as a bleach, Its a great option for cleaning and brightening tile grout. Spray grout lines with 3% hydrogen peroxide and allow to sit for about an hour. Dampen an old rag and wipe up the excess when you’re done. Finish with a natural mopping solution over the floor’s surface to clean up any remaining residue.

4. Dishwasher

To disinfect your dishwasher, add 2 oz. of 3% Hydrogen peroxide to your regular washing formula.

5. Laundry

You can also add a cup of hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. Also, when chlorinating clothes, they tend to wear out faster – peroxide won’t do that.

6. Cleaning Brushes

It can also be used to disinfect toothbrushes (and all other cleaning brushes).

7. Toy Cleaner

Clean the kids toys without all the chemicals.

So there you have it. Any other cleaning uses I’m missing let me know.
Thanks for reading!

You can get it here!

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Living a Green Life.

We all have to start somewhere, right?

There are so many zero waste bloggers out there that are truly inspiring but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed when I see how little waste they are producing yet my efforts aren’t going so well. Especially while living with other people! It seems impossible. I get sick of myself saying ‘who put this in the waste bin?’ And the answer is always my husband!! 🙈
So I set myself a few simple steps to give myself a little boost and pat on the back that I need as some self encouragement.

My insulated coffee mug comes everywhere with me now..

I consume a lot of coffee. My first step was investing in a reusable coffee cup that I really loved. I have been down this road before of travel mugs, ceramic mugs and they didn’t work for me because I didn’t like them and so it was easy to forget them. If you invest in a reusable mug that you love, you will be less likely to forget it.

Stop buying reusable plastic bags.

I went through another phase of buying reusable plastic bags every time I went to the supermarket and soon one of my kitchen presses had more than the supermarket itself! Find a decent reusable bag that’s easy to carry and when shopping is unloaded leave it at the front door to go back in the car. My preference for a big shop are jute bags as they hold their shape and are easy to pack. For smaller trips to town I have a crochet bag that I love. Find what you like and again it will be easier to remember!

Stop buying water bottles. Again, find a bottle you love and carry it everywhere. Stainless steel or glass is best as it doesn’t leach harmful chemicals into your water.

Toilet brush that is completely bio degradable


I had a bamboo toothbrush sitting in my bathroom for probably about a year. I just couldn’t bring myself to using it until I calculated how many toothbrushes that I alone am sending to landfill. Then I tried it and I haven’t looked back. The first time it felt so strange but now I wouldn’t use anything else. When I’m done with it I crack the head off as it has nylon and I send the remainder for compost. Satisfaction 👌

Stop buying plastic.

This one may have been the hardest as I found it hard to source some plastic replacements and the main reason I started the Little Green Shop! As soon as something reached the end of its life I replaced with a non plastic alternative. For example my dish brush now is made from wood and has replaceable heads.

Start with one step at a time and don’t beat yourself up for slipping back. Soon these changes that seem like so much effort will become second nature and no effort at all!

Jane 🙂

Some plastic free alternatives:

Toilet Brush

Dish Brush

Water Bottles & Mugs

Reusable Bags

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Green Clean Guide from Dr. Bronners

We are all about chemical free cleaning at the Little Green Shop.  We are always experimenting with homemade chemical free cleaning concoctions. Here are some tips and recipes from Lisa Bronner, (Dr Bronners grand daughter)

She recommends either using Pure Castile Liquid Soap for body and home as it’s gentle on sensitive skin. Or Sal Suds for tougher cleaning jobs and hard water conditions.

All Purpose Cleaning Spray
In a spray bottle, mix 1/4 cup Dr Bronners Pure Castile Soap or 1 Tbsp Sal Suds cleaner, 1 quart of water and (optional) 20-25 drops of tea tree essential oil. Spray surface and then wipe with wet cloth

For large loads use 1/2 cup Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap or 2-3 Tbsp of Sal Suds Cleaner. For extra whitening/brightening add 1/2 cup of baking soda. If using Pure Castile Soap add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Dishes (Handwashing)
Pre-dilute 1:10 Dr Bronner’s Pure Castiel Soap or 1:20 Sal Suds Cleaner with water.

Mix 1/2 cup Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap or 1/2 Tbsp of Sal suds in 3 gallons of hot water

Mix 1/2 tsp Sal Suds Cleaner plus 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe windows. Follow with club soda, or half vinegar, half water solution

Pet Washing
Wet fur thoroughly, squirt on enough Dr Bronners Pure Castile Soap to work into a lather. Avoid eyes and ears. Rinse thoroughly. Baby Unscented is recommended for cats. Sal Suds Cleaner can be used to wash bowls and equipment.

Sal Suds Cleaner
Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap
Wooden Dish Brush

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Made to last is back!

It all started with my mother and her love of hanging onto things for an eternity. Some may call it hoarding. She only recently threw out a basin that was over 30 years old and we all knew what age this basin was because she reminded us all the time. I’m surprised she didn’t throw a party for its birthday every year! (sorry mammy..we love you really!)
Then when my son was born, toys and clothes started to reappear, that were also over 30 years old. My little green child is now cycling around in a Raleigh tricycle that I got for my first Christmas and we all think it’s so cute. And playing with bath toys that we played with.

So then I thought to myself, will I ever get to pass down anything to my grandkids. Considering things aren’t made to last anymore, toys are nearly all plastic, plastic gets scratched, and we are just living in such a throw away culture. Things don’t get fixed, they get put in the bin. This is not good for the environment but The quality just isn’t there anymore. Or is it?

So that’s when I had my little light bulb moment of researching products and buying things that don’t need to get thrown out every few months. Yes you pay for the quality but probably save in the long run. And I can hopefully bore my kids some day with the “that basin is older than you story’

So the lesson is, mammies are always right! And hopefully purchasing products with the environment in mind and some sentiment will make a difference too..