Organic on a shoestring – can it be done?

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Organic budget

It’s organic September, a month-long campaign run by the Soil Association to raise awareness of all things organic.

But what makes a product organic? Is buying organic better for the planet? And can you buy organic on a budget? We find out…

What is organic?

Organic-certified produce has been farmed in harmony with nature. This means no artificial fertilisers, pesticides, and, in the case of livestock, no controversial feed additives and antibiotics.

For a food product to be labelled organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants or animals. And these ingredients must be approved, and regularly verified, by an independent certification body like the Soil Association.

Everyday items such as cleaning, health and beauty products, along with fabrics like clothing or bedding, can also be labelled organic.

Is organic better for the planet?

organic planet

Supporters of organic farming say yes! This is because it works hand-in-hand with nature, promotes biodiversity and the protection of wildlife, bees, and other pollinators which can been harmed by chemical pesticides and intensive farming methods.

In the beauty world, certified organic beauty products are guaranteed to contain no chemicals, parabens, synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances, so you can be sure that they have no ugly impact on the planet.  

Chemicals such as oxybenzone, found in standard sunscreens, have been proven to damage coral reefs and have even been banned in destinations such as Hawaii.

When it comes to fashion, fibres from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic and nylon (all forms of plastic) can leach out into our waterways when we wash our clothes, adding to microplastic pollution in our oceans. Natural materials, such as organic cotton, will have much less impact on the environment if sustainably farmed.

Can I buy organic on a budget?

grow your own

Actually, there are loads of ways you can “go organic” affordably. Most of the major supermarket chains now have their own branded organic lines. And depending on what you buy, many items aren’t much more expensive than their non-organic equivalents.

Growing your own veg is another option. Potatoes, beans, peas and salad leaves are all easy to grow in the UK, perfect for budding gardeners. If this is a tad too much effort, look out for local veg boxes from organic farmers. Teeming with seasonal produce, veg boxes support local businesses and help cut down food miles.

Like the supermarkets, high street fashion retailers are also bringing out conscious collections. Keep your eye out for inexpensive and sustainable items such as T-shirts fashioned from 100% organic cotton to make you feel, as well as look, good.

There’s also been a rising interest in organic skincare and beauty products, as people become savvy about what they slap on their skin. The good news is, this growing appetite for organic has driven many beauty brands to develop organic lines at affordable prices too. Check out The Soil Association website for more details on affordable, organic beauty.

Of course, it’s not practical for most people to become 100% organic, or make massive changes, overnight. Here at Pura, we believe that small swaps make all the difference.

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