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10 eco-friendly brands from Cornwall

Cornwall has a plethora of beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters, making it a haven for people to enjoy a relaxing Cornwall caravan park holiday. However, the stunning sights of Cornwall, along with the rest of the world, is under threat from climate change. We wanted to find out which Cornish brands are trying to help the planet, from cafés to swimwear. Read on to discover a brand that sparks your interest:

  • Incredible Bulk – A mobile zero waste shop
  • Olive & Co – Artisan Café
  • The Cornish Vegan – Comfort food café
  • Beauty Kubes – Plastic free toiletries
  • The Good Lyfe – Ethical store
  • Wild Tribe Heroes – Children’s book series
  • Twisted Currant – Tea Room
  • The Bean Inn – Vegetarian restaurant
  • Bodds – Active Swimwear
  • Cusgarne – Organic farm shop
  • Incredible Bulk – A mobile zero waste shop

    Two people outside a mobile zero waste shop

    Husband and wife team, Jack and Gemma, are the owners of Incredible Bulk, a mobile zero waste shop. We spoke to them to find out why they started this innovative business: “Having been on our own zero waste journey we wanted to make it easy for others to do the same. We knew there would be lots of smaller communities in and around Cornwall that would love to avoid plastic packaging but didn’t have regular access to a shop.

    “Our main aim is to make it easy for people to avoid unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by providing them with package-free food and home cleaning products. Working towards zero waste and respecting the Earth’s resources became important to us after learning that the current throwaway consumer culture isn’t sustainable. We’re currently using more of the Earth’s resources than what can be regenerated so we need to change our consumer habits.

    “Being eco-friendly as a business is a conscious effort, it may not always be easy, but we carefully consider all our options and choose the one that has the least impact on the environment. We decided to go with the most up-to-date diesel engine which eliminates 99.95% of particulates as we wanted to be as carbon neutral as possible. To off-set our fuel, we donate towards tree planting within Cornwall and volunteer at tree planting events.

    “We also ensure we’re as fuel efficient as possible when it comes to planning our locations and timetable. It is also important to us that we follow our zero-waste policy behind the scenes ensuring that where possible any waste produced by the business, such as food packaging, is either reused by partnering with local businesses or ensuring it is recycled so that a minimal amount goes to waste.”

    Olive & Co – Artisan café

    Outside seating at the olive café

    Nestled in the beautiful town of Liskeard in Cornwall you will find Olive & Co, an independent and artisan café run by Roxy and Lee. Not only do they create delicious handmade food, but they also make every effort to be environmentally friendly. We spoke to the team to find out more: “We use paper straws, compostable cups and lids, as much locally sourced produce as possible, recycle, we use eco washing powder on all our tea towels etc.

    “We have a garden which we use to grow some tomatoes and beans and things. We make all our cakes and don’t use any preservatives and nasties. We also make a lot of gluten-free and vegan offerings. We make our own miso hummus, our own vegan burgers, our own salsa, pea guacamole, vegan feta, lots of things. All fresh and delicious. We’re a proper family business with an emphasis on quality over quantity and over the past 3 years we’ve seen it really grow with people coming in from all-over south-east Cornwall.”

    The Cornish Vegan – Comfort food café

    When you think of vegan dishes, fish and chips and cream teas may not spring to mind, but at The Cornish Vegan, you can indulge in classic comfort foods whilst still eating vegan. Paul and Dawn are the owners of this home-style café, which you can find in the picturesque Cornish town Truro.

    We asked the team to tell us about some of their eco-friendly efforts: “It’s widely claimed that eating a vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact and by offering 100% vegan food that does not use any animal products or by-products, our environmental footprint is already low.

    “We procure as many of our goods as possible from Cornwall suppliers to support the local economy and reduce transportation. This includes most of our drinks – even our coffee is roasted in Cornwall. We have joined the Plastic Free Truro and Final Straw Cornwall campaigns and we’ve eliminated plastic straws completely and single-use plastics where possible.

    “We recycle all our food waste and the rest, including our oil, is collected by our waste contractor and is converted to energy. We recycle all glass, cardboard and plastics, including shrink wrap and our takeaway packaging is compostable. All our equipment is energy-efficient where possible and we promote our eco-friendly activities on social media and newsletters.”

    We wondered why they decided to make their business eco-friendly: “My husband Paul and I opened our café less than 3 years ago with no experience in the industry. Our aim was to provide homemade vegan ‘comfort food’ including vegan ‘fish & chips’ and ‘cream teas’, as well as a few unique American dishes.

    “We make everything ourselves in-house, aside from a few items, such as bread, which we outsource to local artisan producers. We even make all our own condiments (mayo, butter, ketchup, relish). It’s especially gratifying when we hear how much non-vegans enjoy our food. We are committed to excellent customer service and try to make all our customers feel as though they have entered our own home for a meal; Children are always welcome, we have colouring books and crayons, reading books and a great big chalkboard to keep them entertained. Dogs are also welcome and are given a fresh bowl of water and free doggie biscuits on arrival.”

    Beauty Kubes – Plastic-free toiletries

    Three boxed of plastic free Beauty Kubes

    A brand that focuses on helping people and businesses alike become more eco-friendly is Beauty Kubes, who create plastic free, zero waste, organic shampoo and body wash.

    We spoke to the team to find out more about this innovative product, they tell us: “One little 5cm box is equivalent to a 250ml bottle of shampoo, it is much lighter and compact and therefore has a lower carbon footprint in terms of transportation. It’s also made without using water, conventional shampoos can contain up to 70-80% water. With a looming global water crisis, we feel that saving water wherever possible is essential. All our electricity there is powered by a wind turbine and solar power and we recycle all our containers.

    “Businesses need to lead by example and show that we can live in a world where you can have a successful, profitable business without having a detrimental effect on the environment by churning out pollution into the oceans, creating throwaway products that end up in a landfill.

    “We decided to create a brand-new product which is the first of its kind in the world. We wanted to provide a solution to all of the tiny plastic toiletries bottles that can be found in hotels across the world, that was really the driving force behind the products”

    The Good Lyfe – Ethical store

    A shop display in an ethical store

    A place where you can shop in Cornwall with a clear conscious is The Good Lyfe. You can find this plastic-free ethical store in the beautiful seaside town Newquay. The store, which was founded by two friends Jaime and Laura, sells everything from pasta and rice to interior and personal care products. Customers are also encouraged to bring their own containers to refill on products. We spoke to the team to find out why their ethos is so important: “The main and most obvious reason for shopping at The Good Lyfe is reducing plastic consumption. Single-use plastic has become a huge problem and awareness of this problem has really heightened recently. By using a refill store, you can really reduce your plastic footprint. Even if you start with one product, like washing up liquid, that’s possibly 12 plastic bottles per year saved from recycling or landfill.”

    The Bean Inn – Vegetarian restaurant

    In the quaint harbour-side town of St Ives, you’ll find the intimate restaurant The Bean Inn, who create delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes. We spoke to Paula and Kate to find out more about The Bean Inn: “Our food miles are minimised as we grow some vegetables, fruit, fresh herbs and edible flowers on our allotment. This is supplemented by our fruit and veg supplier, The Allotment Deli in St Ives, whose produce comes from local allotments and small holdings.

    “Our wine list includes award-winning Cornish options and a fair-trade organic option, which is sold in aid of The Born Free Foundation to directly benefit conservation and animal welfare. Beers & ciders are supplied by local breweries. All our cleaning, laundry products and soaps are environmentally friendly, and we recycle everything that we’re able to!”

    The Bean Inn is clearly passionate about being as environmentally friendly as possible, we continued to ask them what made them decide to make their restaurant different: “We’re very concerned about climate change, plastic pollution, the destruction of natural habitats leading to the extinction of many species, many of our customers share our concerns. We try to meet and even exceed expectations by avoiding products that could be harmful to the environment. Instead, we support local ethical businesses, buy fair trade products and support companies which have a beneficial impact on the environment.”

    Wild Tribe Heroes – Children’s book series

    One woman who is trying to help the environment by educating children about the harming impact of plastic pollution in the oceans is Ellie Jackson, the author of the Wild Tribe Heroes children’s book series. Her books, which contain true and gentle stories about ocean plastics, are currently reaching 800,000 children.

    We spoke to Ellie Jackson to find out why she started the series: “My young children and I were lucky enough to witness a turtle being released back into the ocean whilst we were living in Australia. My 4-year-old daughter wanted to learn more and so we visited the Turtle Hospital. As soon as she had made the link between the turtles and the plastic rubbish, she was on a mission to clean up the beach as she felt like with every piece, she picked up she was saving a turtle’s life.

    “Seeing firsthand the direct impact that education about this issue had made on my children, I wanted to share this message with as many children as possible and so the idea for my first children’s book Duffy’s Lucky Escape, was born. I have since gone on to write more true stories in the series looking at the impacts of balloon releases and ghost fishing nets. I have seen directly the passion, enthusiasm and hope which children have for these global problems once they are taught using these books and it is a true inspiration not only for the children themselves but also their teachers, schools, families, businesses and the wider community to get involved and help tackle these environmentally devastating issues.”

    Ellie lives by the sea in Looe Cornwall, we continued to ask how Cornwall plays an influence in her work: “Because we are so closely connected to the sea here in Cornwall, people are seeing firsthand the scale of the devastation caused by ocean litter and are joining together to do something about it. I personally have received such support, knowledge and advice from so many people across the region that I strongly believe I wouldn’t have been able to achieve if I had moved to a different part of the country.”

    Twisted Currant – Tea Room

    Head to the Twisted Currant in Porthleven to enjoy some tasty homemade cake in a fresh and welcoming tea room. The friendly café, run by Susan and Michael, offers a variety of vegan and dairy-free options for you to enjoy. We asked the team about the efforts they make to be eco-friendly: “We try to buy non-plastic wrapped food and goods as much as possible and we use glass soft drink bottles, paper straws and offer water to top up drinking bottles. We also try to buy as much local Cornish as we can to reduce carbon mile.

    “Living by the sea we are very aware of the effect of waste, especially plastic, on the environment. Porthleven is leading in reducing plastic and other environmental effects and we are pleased to be a part of this initiative.”

    Bodds – Active Swimwear

    Two girls in the sea wearing sustainable swimwear

    Comfort, style and sustainability, Bodds Active Swimwear is revolutionary. The swimwear is created with the revolutionary fibre Econyl®, which is made from nylon waste that’s been discarded in the ocean and then regenerated into sustainable material. We spoke to Bodds founder, Claire Scipio, to find out more: “In response to the socially responsible ethos of Bodds, I felt it essential to ensure the business was as environmentally responsible as was possible. To that end, I sourced materials which are regenerated and recyclable. The finish and quality of the econyl fabric is exceptional; adding a quality finish to an accessible product – I believe socially/environmentally focused products should not be priced outside of everyone’s budget.

    “As a parent and an environmentally conscious individual, I felt responsible for not adding to the damage the clothing industry already creates. Therefore, I set about using a factory as close to home as possible; Europe provided the necessary skills, ethical HR policies and price points allowing small productions to run. When I hand the business over to my daughter, I want her to be proud of what we achieved in a society.”

    Cusgarne – Organic farm shop

    Cows in a field during a sunset

    In the heart of Cornwall, there are 100 acres of organic lands at the Cusgarne Farm. The family fun farm has been in the Pascoe family for over 250 years, and in 1988 they decided to stop spraying chemicals on the crops. We spoke to the Gregory Pascoe to find out more: “Our organic farm shop sells homegrown fruit and vegetable, eggs and organic meat. Using our own orchard for organic apple juice and berries to make jams and more. We have barn-converted holiday lets designed and built by ourselves and farm staff, using home produced cob, sustainable insulation for walls and other features to make it as eco-friendly as possible.”

    We asked why they decided to change to organic farming: “Simple answer, the birth of our first child. We wanted her to be brought up in a healthy home environment. We did not want to be part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution and produce the highest quality food, without traces of chemicals in the cells.” Gregory continues that there are many more reasons but to sum it up, he wants to have an answer ready for when he’s asked: “Granddad, what did you do when the planet was in trouble?’”

    These are just some of the fantastic Cornish brands that strive to be eco-friendly. Which brand inspires you?

    Image Credit: Incredible Bulk, Beauty Kubes, The Good Lyfe, Twisted Currant, Bodds Active Swimwear.

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