Sustainable Living with Littlemore Candle Co
This month on the Independent Oxford blog, we’re exploring the theme of sustainable homes and spring cleaning. Early spring is a great time to take a fresh look at your home, revel in the extra natural light and think about ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Today on the blog, we chat to Molly, owner of Littlemore Candle Company about her sustainable home, and how sustainability is a the cornerstone of her business. >>
How long have you lived on a boat and do you think you’ve reduced your carbon footprint by doing so?
I’ve lived on a boat for nearly 2 years now, and yes, our low impact life certainly reduces our carbon footprint. As we are living off grid there are things we have to continuously keep on top of in order to maintain every day necessities such as keeping the boat filled up with water, how much power you are using, or wood you are burning to keep warm.
Our wood burner works as the heart of our home; it heats the radiators and our water all without using electricity. It’s so easy in a house to just turn a light on and not have an understanding, or forget about where that source of power comes from and what’s involved in that process.
We also have a pretty effective composting system for our vegetable patches which we practically live off throughout the summer months. Last year set up a system which pumps water directly from the river using solar energy to water these vegetables which truly makes for amazing harvests!
I believe the main point is that boat life forces you to be mindful of how much water you use, and how much wood is required therefore creating a more environmentally conscious way of living.
Tell me about some of the ups and downs of boat life.
The main ups and downs of boat life is the river level itself. In the summer it really is like a wildlife paradise and so peaceful. In the cold winter months it can be treacherous. The river must be respected as where we live the water level can rise as much as 8ft. This winter has been particularly tricky what with our garden flooding more than ever but our bridge and jetty (newly built by my talented partner) have been fantastic. Only a few more weeks until we dismantle our bridge and have the entire plot back for spring and summer.
How important is sustainability to you and does this thread run through your business too?
Very important! Being a sustainable business is at the forefront of our values and we pride ourselves in this. Our plant-based wax, packaging and production methods are all eco-friendly. We forage for our botanicals locally in the fresh open air to avoid delivery, and therefore emission impacts on the environment. All our suppliers are also based in the UK further adhering to our aim to reduce carbon emissions wherever possible. Furthermore, our glitter is biodegradable giving you that wonderful eco-friendly sparkle!
How do your natural surroundings inspire new ideas and products?
All the time. As mentioned, I am a keen forager. Rural Oxfordshire is our home and our stomping ground and our roots are hugely important to the Littlemore Candle Co brand. Our hand harvested botanicals are gathered from fields and hedgerows on our doorstep which continues to inspire me for new and exciting products.
What are your top tips for leading a more sustainable life?
I appreciate living on a boat isn’t the norm but there are ways everyone can contribute to leading a more sustainable without living off grid:
- Grow your own vegetables. This can be done in any garden and if you don’t have outside space you can grow in pots or even get yourself an allotment plot! These are very affordable and available in Oxfordshire.
- Be mindful of how much electricity you use. It sounds obvious but by switching off more lights this will make a difference to both the environment and your utility bills.
- Reduce food waste by planning meals ahead of time and freezing excess.
- Compost food waste. If your growing vegetables at home it’s a great idea to create a composting system, there are lots of easy guides to building these online using mainly pallets.
- Drive less. Oxford is set to become one of the first UK cities to run their bus fleets entirely on electric energy so take the bus or walk if you can!
- Help maintain a beautiful planet. Last year, my friend and I took to the river in a canoe and managed to collect nearly 60kg of rubbish. Anyone can organise projects like this and it can actually be really rewarding.