The Sustainability Show – an honest review

Pinterest image of Mel wearing a black t-shirt and red lipstick, smiling in front of The Sustainability Show sign out the GMEX conference centre in Manchester with the text: "The Sustainability Show: An honest review"

The Sustainability Show – an honest review

We all want to do our bit for the planet. Whether that’s reducing our waste, eating less meat or cycling more and driving less. But often we get so overwhelmed by the amount of ways we can be sustainable it can lead to “eco-paralysis”. It was for this reason that I decided to attend The Sustainability Show. I wanted to learn more about sustainable ideas and meet eco-pioneers to find out how I can supercharge my impact. Here’s my honest review of The Sustainability Show!


About The Sustainability Show

The Sustainability Show is the UK’s first large scale consumer show aimed at helping us tackle the Climate Crisis. Raising awareness about pressing environmental issues and inspiring attendees to make positive changes in their lives and communities.

The exhibition features a wide range of exhibitors related to sustainability, environmental conservation and sustainable living. From cleaning products and cosmetics to fashion, food and home decor.

The exhibition also features talks and workshops from experts with environment knowledge, experiences and innovative solutions to address environmental challenges to create a more sustainable future.

The Sustainability Show sign inside the venue

Sustainability talks and workshops

The talks and workshops at The Sustainability Show ended up being my favourite part of the exhibition!

I’ll fully admit that I was more interested to talk to the exhibitors to discover new vegan brands I could use. So it came as a surprise when I ended up sitting down for back-to-back talks!

Despite being vegan for over six years, the environment has never been a factor in my choice of lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong, I recycle and buy eco-friendly products here and there. But it wasn’t until I ran a climate change campaign through my job that I started to understand how climate change has an impact on most aspects of our lives.

I attended several talks at the exhibition such as how to reduce our waste, introducing everyday eco-friendly practices into your life, local conservation of natural resources and climate change mitigation.

Live talk on a small stage with five speakers sat down with rows of people sitting on benches listening in front

I was fascinated to discover the connections between sustainability and other areas such as technology, business, fashion and other consumer products.

My favourite session though was with low waste chef and author, Max La Manna. I started following him on Instagram during lockdown and just love his simple and delicious plant-based recipe reels!

He has such a warm and easy-going style in his videos and is just LOVELY in person too! He is so charming and friendly, I was so pleased to get to meet him and find out more about his journey during his talk.

Max also did a cooking demonstration which was great fun and encouraged me to try composting!

Other workshops include: self-building methods at home, how to make your wardrobe more sustainable, essential bike maintenance and how to make your home greener.

Mel wearing a black t-shirt and leopard print pants posing with Max La Manna wearing all black with green converse, smiling holding his cook book: "You can cook this!"

Sustainable food

A big part of mitigating climate change is embracing more sustainable food practices. I also learned we can contribute to conserving natural resources, protect biodiversity and support local communities by doing so.

There were a few food stalls at the exhibition that were showcasing how attendees can be more sustainable through their food choices. Riverford Organic Farmers was one of those organsations.

Organic farming

Riverford Organic Farmers are an organic farm and vegetable box delivery organisation prioritising organic and sustainable methods by avoiding synthetic pesticides and promoting soil health and biodiversity.

One of Riverford’s core offerings is their vegetable box scheme. Customers can subscribe to receive regular deliveries of fresh, seasonal and organic vegetables directly to their doorstep.

The organisation is also run as a coop and is owned and run by its members which is fantastic!

Riverford Organic Farmers stand with two tables of fresh fruit and vegetables and signs with pictures of organic famers and their co ops

Meat alternatives

I also had a chat with the owner of “Valmon”, a plant-based alternative to salmon which has a fascinating story.

The owner’s great grandfather, Joseph Hyman was a survivor of the Titanic disaster and with the small amount of compensation he received after the sinking, he set up his salmon business.

His great grandson Richard has continued the family legacy by expanding their product line to include smoked vegan salmon.

Sadly, I didn’t like salmon before I went vegan. But salmon lovers won’t be able to taste the difference, the taste was so unbelievably real – you’ll love it!

It was great to talk to Richard and find out more about ways that companies are diversifying to include vegan products.

Valmon pull up banner - a smoked plant-based alternative to smoked salmon

Vegan snacks

It’s a shame that there isn’t more emphasis at the exhibition on sustainability in food.

I thought this type of exhibition would be a fantastic fit for vegan food companies, but there was only one food stall (that I saw!) selling vegan snacks which was Spudos.

Spudos are a UK-based vegan crisp brand – but with a twist! The production process is based on a sustainable farm that uses solar power, recycles the sunflower oil into biodiesel and plants trees to offset any carbon emissions.

Plus, you get to season the crisps yourself using “spud dust” to transform them into the most awesome snack!

Flavours include: salt and vinegar, nooch and onion, doner kebab and prawn cocktail.

Rows of Spudos shakers with a sign on top of them saying how to use them to flavour your crisps

Sustainable skincare

When I first went vegan I slowly used up my existing skincare products and started looking for cruelty-free options. I think it’s so important to be aware of what products we use on our bodies too – the more natural the better!

Faith in Nature has become a firm favourite of mine, so of course I had to go check out their stand!

All their products are made from natural ingredients and are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

They also have a strong emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility as part of their brand.

Aside from that though, the products are just amazing and smell in-cred-ible!

They make a wide range of products, including: shampoos and conditioners, shower gels, soaps, hand washes and cleaning supplies.

Faith in Nature stand with colourful cartoon nature banners in the background and wooden shelves that have rows of cleaning products

I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more eco skincare organisations at the exhibition as we stan all-natural vegan skincare on this blog! But I did discover the fabulous, “Splosh”.

Splosh offers eco-friendly household cleaning and personal care products. Focusing on reducing single-use plastic waste through their innovative refillable system.

Instead of purchasing traditional single-use plastic bottles for each product, Splosh uses concentrated formulas that are sent in refillable pouches.

You receive a starter kit with durable, reusable bottles for each product you choose. When it’s time to restock, you can order refill pouches, which are shipped in recyclable and biodegradable packaging.

This approach significantly reduces plastic waste and the carbon emissions associated with transporting bulky and heavy pre-filled products.

Splosh’s product range includes cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent, dish soap, surface cleaners and bathroom cleaners. They also offer personal care items like shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hand wash.

I bought some of their apple and vanilla shampoo and conditioner and it smells amazing! It has a fantastic formula that leaves your hair feeling nourished but not greasy and with plenty of body!

Opting to use products like this helps you to make more environmentally conscious choices in your daily routines without overthinking it!

Sustainable fashion

Sustainable fashion refers to the practice of designing, producing and buying clothing and accessories in a way that minimises the negative impact on the environment.

A great way of being more sustainable through fashion is to buy previously loved items and shop at retailers that incorporate sustainability practises through their entire process. This includes the sourcing of materials and manufacturing processes.

This is one way that I’m “accidently” sustainable as I absolutely love finding bargains in charity shops! I also wear my clothes to death because I hate clothes shopping in general so there’s another tick! 😂

Racks of recycled clothing at The Sustainability Show

At the Sustainability Show there are racks and racks of second-hand clothes you could spend an hour sifting through thanks to Charity Super.Mkt, which brings multiple charities under one roof.

I must say there are some real bargains to be had here however I found the selection at the exhibition (for me personally) was targeted for a slightly older demographic. I think it’s a fabulous concept, but didn’t manage to find anything that took my fancy.

Shoe stands and racks of recycled clothing at The Sustainability Show

Sustainable travel

I feel like a total hypocrite regarding sustainable travel. As a travel blogger I feel like I haven’t got a leg to stand on because I use planes – a lot. I like to think I offset my carbon emissions through my vegan lifestyle but it’s still questionable!

However, I want to find more ways of exploring and experiencing new destinations whilst minimising negative impacts on the environment.

The Sani Resort is the first certified carbon neutral resort in Greece set in a 1,000 acres of an eco-reserve. It was even named the World’s leading luxury green resort at the 2022 World Travel Awards for the third year running!

I believe that more destinations will begin incorporating sustainable practises in their tourism offering as the movement grows – watch this space!

Sani Resort all-white stand with the text: "The first certified carbon neutral resort in Greece set in a 1,000 acres of an eco-reserve. Names the World's leading luxury Green Resort at the 2022 World Travel Awards for the third year running"

Sustainability in your home

Sustainability at home has become a lot easier over the last few years I’ve found.

Mainstream supermarkets are now selling eco-friendly cleaning products and there are more companies offering sustainable furniture and decor.

By integrating sustainable habits into our homes, we can contribute to a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle without having to really think about it!

Eco-friendly cleaning products

I’ve been using eco-friendly cleaning sprays for a couple of years now. I first bought eco-cleaning products out of curiosity to see how they performed and I much prefer them!

They smell better, last longer and I love the fact that they’re not filled with harmful toxic chemicals.

At The Sustainability Show there are quite a few eco-cleaning product stalls but my favourite has to be Wablu!

The company has created the first zero waste, plastic-free, all-in-one biological laundry sheet using natural enzymes for effective stain removal.

I know I keep going on about the smell of eco-friendly products but Wablu sheets smell glorious! You only need to use one sheet per wash and you get 24 sheets in a pack for only £6.

I’m also a sucker for unique and funky branding and loved chatting to Wablu’s Marketing Manager Louise about the concept. Their tagline is: “Cleaning doesn’t have to be dirty” – marketing genius!

Mel wearing a black t-shirt and red lipstick, holding up a colourful package of "Wablu" - eco laundry sheets

Speaking of cleaning – the Seep stand offer some fantastic eco-friendly, plastic-free cleaning tools. These include: fair trade rubber gloves, recyclable copper scourers and washing-up sponges.

I had no idea that washing-up sponges were made with plastic and aren’t recyclable! I cringe at how many I have thoughtlessly thrown away that have no doubt ended up in landfill.

This is a brilliant solution to reduce your plastic use as well as invest in products that will last longer!

I bought a washing-up sponge just to try it out and it’s great! The sponge only cost £2.50 and lasts for months.

The Seep stand at The Sustainability Show showing eco-friendly, plastic-free cleaning tools

Sustainable furniture and decor

Sustainable furniture and decor is something I had never thought of before attending The Sustainability Show I’m ashamed to say! But I found out there are many ways you can improve sustainability through the furniture and decor you buy for your home.

There are several eco-friendly paint brands now available in the market, including YesColours who attended the exhibition.

There are also many sustainable home brands such as IGOLO who are a stop-shop for sustainable home renovation and design, offering eco-friendly furniture and sustainable lighting.

This area of sustainability is more difficult to commit to due to the price point (I’m in this bracket!). However, I think as demand grows this will become more accessible over time.

Wooden sustainable furniture stand at The Sustainability Show

Sustainability charities

If you want to find out more about how you can get involved with environmental causes, The Sustainability Show has several charity stands you can check out.

Here are some examples of sustainable charities focussing on conservation efforts, climate change mitigation, environmental education and sustainable development you’ll find at the exhibition:

  • WWF – WWF is dedicated to conserving nature, protecting endangered species and promoting sustainable practices worldwide. They work on initiatives related to wildlife conservation, habitat preservation, climate change and sustainable business practices. I also ran the Manchester Marathon for them in 2022 and can’t advocate for them enough!
  • Greenpeace – Greenpeace is an international environmental organisation that focuses on campaigning for solutions to global environmental issues. They advocate for clean energy, sustainable agriculture and protection of biodiversity to combat deforestation, overfishing and pollution.
  • The Ocean Conservation Trust – The Ocean Trust is dedicated to the conservation and protection of marine ecosystems and wildlife.
The Ocean Conservation Trust stand with a pull up banner with a turtle on it and plushy ocean creature toys on a blue table

Final thoughts

Drum roll please! Honestly, I really enjoyed The Sustainability Show!

By the end of the two day exhibition I had gained some really valuable insights. I’d learned practical tips for sustainable living and become more informed about the latest advancements in sustainability.

I feel more empowered as a consumer to make more informed choices that will reduce my ecological footprint. As well as contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious society – which is a lovely bonus!

The exhibition has a fantastic line-up of expert speakers and I thoroughly enjoyed the panel discussions and workshops.

The talks and demonstrations covered a wide range of sustainability topics so there was something for everyone.

In future I would love to see more vegan brands at the exhibition. Veganism and sustainability go hand-in-hand so I was disappointed that there weren’t more vegan exhibitors and vegan catering provided.

But all-in-all I would highly recommend going to The Sustainability Show.

If you want to learn more about sustainable ideas and find ways to supercharge your impact, this is a great place to start!

The Sustainability Show goodie bag with various eco-products, snacks, a "Save the Planet" book and leaflets with discounts


What ways do you incorporate sustainability into your life? 😄