A Few Little Changes

A STARTER GUIDE TO REDUCING HOUSEHOLD WASTE WITH A FEW SMALL CHANGES.

One of our lovely Eco Living Team Members has written a little blog piece about her journey to zero waste and the top tips she has learnt along the way…

As a family where both parents are working full time, it is an ongoing battle to minimise plastic coming in, to not drown in STUFF and to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Big wins are hard to come by with two under five and barely any time to explore new ideas or choose options which aren’t completely fast and convenient. But, as someone wiser than me once said, it’s more important that everyone makes a few little changes to how they live, than a few superheroes living completely renewable lifestyles. So, with that in mind, I wanted to reflect on my top 5 “little changes” which have made me feel a tiny bit better about our diplodocus-sized carbon footprint…

1. Reusable wet wipes: we made this switch when I was working part time after Baby #1 was born and (unlike the reusable nappies which went along with them) they really stuck. They are SO much more efficient at clearing up poonamis, sticky greasy hands after dinner and just general spillages. Along with our bum stash, we also keep them in a basket in the kitchen and just wet before use. They take the place of kitchen roll and are way softer and more effective.

2. Real soap: this was such a revelation for me after years of buying squirty handwash in every ‘big shop’. Real soap lasts longer, smells just as nice and my hands actually feel cleaner for using it. It’s cheaper too!

3. Beeswax wraps: with two little ones in full time school / childcare and two of us working, we make A LOT of sandwiches. That previously equated to A LOT of clingfilm, but beeswax wraps are one of my happiest swaps. They smell lush, look so pretty in lunchboxes and are dead easy to use and clean. They’re also handy for little leftovers, like half a lemon or onion, or for covering a bowl in the fridge. We’ve had a go at making our own, which while it’s never quite as good as the bought ones, are a lovely activity and discussion point for the kids.

4. Reusable cups and bottles: this one seems so obvious to me, but I’m always surprised at how many people you still see carrying disposable plastic bottles or coffee shop cups. As a teacher, I frequently find myself moaning at my classes for not having a reusable bottle…especially for kids, it’s really important to stay hydrated and lots of places now offer free refills (or discounts for a coffee in your travel mug: bonus!) Being available in pretty designs does appeal to my girly side too.

5. Food composting: we waste a truly embarrassing amount of food in our house. Our littlest is not long past weaning and a lot of her food still ends up on the floor. The bigger kid is not the best at assessing and managing her appetite (do you really have a four year old if you don’t frequently find half eaten apples under your sofa?). And our best intentions for healthy, veg-laden meals often end in mushy disappointment at the bottom of the fridge. Feeling like this food isn’t completely wasted and is rotting to serve some greater garden purpose, really helps reduce our waste and makes me feel a tiny bit better.

We’ve a long way to go I’m sure: don’t get me started on our electric bills (mainly for laundry!) or the plastic toys which I swear make their own way into our house, uninvited, but I genuinely think that small achievable changes are the way forward.

If you’d like to know more and follow our journey follow me on Insta – @tiredteachingmum

A Quick “how to” for Bees Wax Wraps

A Quick “how to” for Bees Wax Wraps

Bees Wax Wraps have become part of my day to day life, as silly as that sounds. I have a nice little collection now that are pretty much constantly in use and I know to how to use them and how to clean them.

What I forget is that others are still testing the water with them and therefore have a lot of questions – I’m hoping to answer some of those here.

When I’m out doing fairs and markets, the wax wraps usually receive the most attention – a lot is curiosity but others already have some at home and are raving to their friends and family about how good they are.

Here are some of the more common questions I’m asked:

Instructions on Wax Wraps

How do they work? Well, that’s quite straight forward. When you get a new wrap you should scrunch it up in your hands gently as this ‘relaxes’ the fabric. New wraps are very stiff and therefore quite difficult to mould around things. To mould them round food/plates/bowls, you simply use the warmth from your hands to soften the wax and they ‘stick’ to whatever it is you are using them on. The wraps have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties helping keep things clean and reducing risks of contamination. Beeswax is also waterproof, yet still breathable, protecting your food from getting wet or wilted while locking in moisture, flavour and freshness.

What are they made from? Made with certified food grade beeswax, natural tree resin and organic jojoba oil infused into 100% cotton fabric.

What can you use them on? This could be a long answer but the short version is…..anything!! The only things to avoid are raw meat and hot food! These wax wraps are a perfect way to ditch the cling film, foil, plastic sandwich bags and more. With many uses (including folding to make little snack pockets), you need never waste time finding the end of a roll of cling film again! And your fridge will look so much more colourful too! You can use them to wrap left over fruit and veg (think half an onion or avocado), cover bowls and plates, jars, tins, cheese boards, bread, cake……the list really is endless.

What size do I need? That entirely depends on what you think you’ll use them for. They come in various different pack sizes so you can pick and choose what will work for you.

  •               Smalls Wraps (4 in a pack 16x16cm) – great for veg savers (half a lemon, onion, cucumber etc), tins, jars and ramekin dishes.
  •               2 Pack Wraps (Medium, Large) – medium is good for cheese, herbs, fruit, cereal bowls, jars, snacks. Large for large bowls, plates, sandwiches, cheeseboards and more.
  •               3 Pack Wraps (Small, Medium, Large) – small for veg savers, small bowls and jars. Medium is good for cheese, herbs, fruit, cereal bowls, jars, snacks. Large for large bowls, plates, sandwiches, cheeseboards and more.
  •               Kids Wraps – (2 x rectangular 26x29cm) – great for sandwiches and snacks on the go.
  •               XXL Wrap – (45x55cm) – Bread, Serving Bowls, Dinner Plates, Large Cheese Boards. You can also cut these up into your own custom sizes.

How do I clean the wrap? To clean your wraps you simply need to wipe or immerse in cold/warm soapy water and then hang to dry naturally.

What happens when they lose their stick? After a while the wraps may need refreshing but this is easy to do. Place the wrap on grease proof paper in the oven at 100°C. Once it has re-melted after 1-3 minutes, carefully take it out by its corners and hang it up quickly before the wax dries. You can also buy a wax wrap refresher bar here, to keep them going even longer.

 

Are they vegan friendly? No, Bees Wax Wraps are not vegan but…we do stock a vegan friendly DIY wax wrap kit which you can buy here.

What do I do with the wraps at the end of their life? The wraps are biodegradable so once finished with, cut up and compost.  Beeswax wraps can last up to 12 months and maybe longer. It depends on how much you use them, and how well you take care of them. Keep away from heat sources (such as the oven, microwave, dishwasher, full sun on a hot day or anything hot enough to melt wax). Beeswax melts at around 62-62°C, but it begins to soften before that.

Hopefully this will really help you to start (or continue) using your wax wraps. They are a wonderful thing and are so much better than the plastic alternatives!

October Challenge on the Eco Living Community Group

Monthly Challenges

Each month over on the Facebook Group we have a monthly challenge.

This is, simply put, an area to focus on for the month. I have a lot of people telling me that they find making eco-friendly changes a bit over-whelming, expensive or time consuming. I try to take a lot of that away through the shop and the items I sell, as I spend a long time researching alternative products, trying them (asking others to test them too!), and making sure they are cost effective before I add them to my stock list.

But I don’t feel that this is enough. I still think that it can be daunting knowing where to start with each aspect of your household and lifestyle and the idea of these challenges was to help people, no matter where they are on their journey, to tackle one area of change at a time.

So, October brings the challenge of how to work towards a plastic free and LOW waste Christmas. It may seem a little early but, like it or not, it is around now when people start to shop and prepare for the festive season.

We are going to cover topics such as Stocking Fillers, Decorations,  Gifts, Wrapping and more so head on over and join in with your ideas and get inspiration from others.

You can also follow us on Pinterest to check out other ideas.