I’m not generally one for making New Years Resolutions. Diets never even get off the ground with all the Christmas chocolate still laying around, and exercising in the dark and/or cold makes me furious (in the light and warm too but that’s a Summer issue!). But this year, I committed to making a much more gentle, but much more important, lifestyle choice. And to my surprise, I’m sticking to it!
In August 2017 I took my daughter to the Arts By The Sea Festival in Bournemouth. It was a wonderful, creative, crazy event show casing all sorts of amazing arts projects, using rubbish found in our seas to promote environmental awareness. I was conscious that we were putting our planet under terrible strain before but attending this with Evie really struck a cord with me.
I would like to say that I could go Vegan, stop using all plastics and start making all our clothes, but I can’t. My cooking relies heavily on meat and dairy, plastic seems to be everywhere especially having a small child, and my mother and my mother-in-law despaired over teaching me to sew!
However, I have been taking some small and effective steps to leading a more ecologically conscious life. It’s actually been loads of fun finding all the little changes I can make: it feels great, and as yet there have been no financial or major convenience sacrifices!
1. The Eco Egg
This little baby uses minerals to clean your clothes rather than detergents, so no plastics are going into the water. Our clothes are just as clean, and softer and snugglier than before even when when I don’t use softener. Get yours, and a plethora of other eco friendly household cleaning products here
2. Switch From Tea Bags to Loose Leaf
There’s a surprising amount of plastic in tea bags. I always assumed that they were biodegradable but tiny amounts of plastic are still ending up in our seas from them. I also use less as I don’t drink my tea as strong (heathen!) as a teabag allows so it lasts me longer!
3. Eco Glitter
With a toddler, glitter is a household staple! But I had never given the fact that it’s just masses of tiny plastic a moments thought before. We will be switching to eco glitter going forward – sparkles with a conscience! On a similar topic, I will also be using biodegradable balloons now.
4. Using Greywater
My cats frequently paddle in the water on my nightstand rendering it undrinkable! So it goes straight in their water bowl or to the plants rather than down the sink. Dropped ice cubes go the same way. Come the summer, we will be using Evie’s bath water to water the garden.
5. Bamboo toothbrushes
If you’re conscientious about your dental hygiene, you’re using 4 toothbrushes a year. Multiply that by the members of your family. In our small household that amounts to 12 toothbrushes a year. 12 pieces of plastic that are never going to go anywhere. In our 3 collective lives, we have used 288 toothbrushes. I wonder how many of our 288 are floating in the oceans? So on the next switch, we’re moving over to lovely biodegradable Bamboo! As an added bonus, they have charcoal infused bristles, so a clearer conscience comes with whiter teeth!
6. Making Vegan Choices
As I said, Veganism is not for me. I work heavily with butter, meat, honey etc when I cook. However that’s not to say I can’t make vegan choices now and again. Fabric softener often contains tallow, so we’ve moved to Ecozone Fabric Conditioner. As I said above, the EcoEgg has already made my laundry softer, so I use less conditioner than before too.
7. Ditching The Plastic Bags
This is one we should all be pretty au fait with by now. The plastic bag charge is part of daily life and is probably going to expand to smaller businesses soon. This Christmas I acquired a couple more canvas bags so we can keep some in the car and some in the kitchen, and we’re always ready to go to the shops!
8. Ditch The Straws
One of the exhibits at the Arts Festival was made of straws and the kids (and bizarrely some adults) destroyed it by pulling them off! It was very sad to see families entirely missing the point and creating more rubbish out of something that was supposed to challenge waste. There’s something about straws that seems very attractive to children and Evie is no exception. And they’re useful, they save us from a lot of spills. So we’ve invested in some robust glass ones, and I have a solid plastic one from an old cup that she can’t chew through or screw up, which goes in her bag so we always have one.
For the adults, skip the straws at the bar. You’ll save money too as they make you drink faster!
9. Litter pick
We live near the beach and there’s a initiative circulating encouraging people to pick up three pieces of litter every time you visit. This is a little habit that I’m looking forward to getting my daughter into. She’s actually quite fastidious about rubbish at home, so I think she’ll take to it and soon start thinking about the reasons why. However, there is no reason why it should only happen at the beach. We’re also close to the forest and see lots of rubbish left by inconsiderate visitors.
I think as the weather warms up and the tourists come, we may even organise a Litter Pick with Evie’s friends!
Check out this link to see if you have a litter picking group already in your area.
So in all it’s been very easy to make switches. And I have more to make. I’m currently investigating having our milk and bread delivered the old fashioned way – although the road I live on means the milk may end up as butter before it arrives!
I would love to hear what other tips and tricks everyone is using.