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Ethical shopping tips and eco-friendly products

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From overflowing landfills and plastic pollution in our oceans, to unethical work conditions and wages, we all can make small positive changes to help make the world a better place. 

Here’s how to become a ‘conscious consumer’ – we’ve rounded up a few simple things you can do when you’re next shopping in Centrale & Whitgift.


We’ve all heard of sustainable fashion, but what does it mean? Basically, it’s a recognition that everything we buy has an impact – whether that’s on the environment, our health or society. 

Thanks to the new wave of eco-consciousness sweeping across your favourite brands, it’s easier than ever to shop sustainably and stay stylish. 

Brands like H&M with their annual Conscious Exclusive Collection, which features environmentally friendly pieces and Zara with their Join Life initiative, which aims for their products to become increasingly more sustainable are leading the charge.

They also champion eco-friendly materials and fabrics like sustainable cotton, 100% biodegradable Lyocell, and focus on environmentally and water friendly production techniques. 
H&M denim skirt and Zara yellow dress
Our picks: Knee-length denim skirt, £29.99, H&M; dress with pockets in mustard, £29.99, Zara


As well as choosing clothes made from eco-friendly materials and investing in wear-forever items you’ll rock time and time again, recycling your unwanted garms is an easy way to up your eco efforts. 

Lucky for you, a lot of brands offer recycling initiatives to help you gather up your old fashion faux pas’ and help reduce the tonnes and tonnes of textiles that end up at landfill. 

H&M were the first brand to launch a global recycling initiative by introducing garment collection boxes in all stores. On your next visit, drop off your old clothes (from any brand), and H&M’s recycling scheme will reward you with a £5 to spend in store. Win, win! 

Whereas, M&S have partnered with Oxfam to bring you their recycling initiative called Shwopping. Simply drop your unwanted items (they don’t have to be from M&S) into their Shwop Drop box, and it will then get passed on to Oxfam who will reuse it or recycle the fibres. If you have a Sparks card, they’ll give you 50 sparks points every time you ‘shwop’. 


We’re all used to buying Fairtrade items for our food baskets, but what about for our beauty cabinets? Sustainable beauty is on the rise thanks to new awareness around Fairtrade-accredited beauty brands, community trade and eco-friendly ingredients. 

There’s also a fresh awareness on the devasting impact that some commonly used ingredients and products, like palm oil and makeup wipes, are having on the environment. 

We all love hassle-free makeup removal, but your use-once face wipes are festering in landfill and polluting our oceans. No on-the-go cleansing is worth that. You don’t have to completely veto convenience, though: look for biodegradable face wipes instead. Yes, they still usually come in plastic packaging – but any step in changing our routine for the planet’s sake is a plus.

At The Body Shop, they are dedicated to trading fairly and ensure they source their products from small-scale farmers and producers, which benefits 25,000 people worldwide. They also ensure that 100% of their natural ingredients are traceable and sustainably sourced, and only ever use sustainable palm oil. So you can look after the planet, as well as your skin!
The Body Shop shea butter and exfoliating body scrub
Our picks: 100% Natural Shea Butter, £15, The Body Shop; Shea Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub, £6, The Body Shop


Wherever you look, single-use plastic is there – from our water bottles to our beauty product packaging. We’re all aware of the huge impacts single-use plastics are having on our planet, but what can we do to help?

Making just a few changes can have a big impact on the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives. Need some tips? Here are some small changes we can all make: 

1. Swap your throwaway plastic bottle for a reusable bottle.
2. Ditch your coffee cup for a reusable coffee cup – and get money off at Starbucks (Centrale), Costa (Whitgift and Debenhams Centrale) and extra loyalty stamps at Caffè Nero (House of Fraser Centrale).
3. Say goodbye to plastic bags and carry a cotton tote bag.
M&S cotton tote bag and WHS reusable bottle
Our picks: Upcycled cotton tote bag, £4, Marks & Spencer; matt marble effect 500ml water bottle, £14.99, WHSmith


At Centrale, we’re also trying to do our bit:
1. We recycle 90% of our waste and send nothing to landfill. 
2. We have reduced our water consumption by 31%.
3. We reduced energy consumption by 15% – enough to make 12.8 million cups of tea!
4. This year, we’re installing a public water bottle refilling station in the centre.
5. We’re creating a roof garden to offset carbon emissions and improve local air quality.
6. In 2018, we reduced our carbon emission by 31% compared to 2017.


We’ve also teamed up with social enterprise GiveMeTap – who aim to make clean drinking water available to everyone – and will be handing out their reusable water bottles around Centrale & Whitgift. Every bottle purchased gives five years of clean drinking water to someone in need in Africa.

Keep an eye on our Facebook to find out when we’re giving away FREE GiveMeTap reusable water bottles (limited availability). In the meantime, make sure you download the Centrale & Whitgift PLUS app! For more info on GiveMeTap, visit their website

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