5 Simple and Sustainable Switches

It’s great that you’ve got to the stage where you are wanting to learn more about an eco-friendly lifestyle. There has been such a huge push on better protecting our environment in the last few years, brought into the spotlight by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet Series. The BBC documentary “War on Plastic” made the issues even more relevant and closer to home.

We have seen a huge wave of the general public, small business and large corporations starting to turn the tide on plastic waste and disposable, single use items. Now is the time to up our game and make as big an impact as we can and to make our voices heard. The UK Government has made a commitment to eliminating plastic waste by 2042 – no mean feat as plastic is now used in our clothing, food packets, electronics, bottles, paints and building materials.

However, I get that it can be incredibly difficult to decide where to start with those changes. It can be time consuming researching products, it can look to be expensive at first glance and there is often an overwhelming amount of information to take on board.

This short blog post is going to give you five of the simplest switches you can make which will have a big impact on your consumption of plastic products and the waste they leave behind.

Reusable Water Bottle CollectionReusable Drinks Bottles – over 1 million plastic bottles are sold around the world every minute of every day! 90% of those are not recycled and they take around 450 years to degrade into micro plastics – they will never leave our planet. They also take a huge amount of resources to make and transport! Stainless Steel reusable drinks bottles can be purchased from high street shops and supermarkets from as little as £8 or from speciality stores for £20+. Within 10-15 uses you have already saved money and a lot of plastic waste. I love Chillys and Klean Kanteen Bottles but you can also pick them up from places like TK Maxx and WH Smiths. Want to know some more staggering figures on plastic bottle pollution – take a look here.

 

Reusable Shopping Bags – another well-known issue, plastic bags have been on the hit list for a number of years. This is one of those things that you need to get in to the habit of doing (just keep on repeating it and the behaviour will be learnt – I promise!). Keeping a small shopper in your bag, jacket pocket or car boot is so easy to do, they are lightweight and take up no space. Then all you have to do is grab a handful of bigger bags for the supermarket, refill shop or farmers market. Don’t just use reusable bags for food shops – use them ALWAYS. And every time you do, remind yourself that it is another few hundred years of rotten, broken down micro plastics that you are saving. A small change with a huge impact.

Friendly Soap- Soap Bar RangeSoap Bars – the biggest culprit in over excessive plastic packaging, are bathroom and beauty products. Unfortunately, in the past soap bars have gained a bad reputation of drying out skin and not producing the bubbles we have all come to love from our body washes (as well as going soggy). I can confirm this is not true. Nourishing, long lasting and cheaper than most bottles of shower gel, once you’ve made the switch you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried them sooner. My recommendation is to use a slatted soap dish so your soap bar dries quickly and lasts longer. You can also get facial soap bars (a firm favourite of mine), shampoo bars and shaving bars. It is time to ditch the plastic bottles!

Reusable Hemp Sandwich WrapSandwich Wraps – how many picnics, packed lunches for school or work do you have in your family in a year? I’m guessing that it would probably add up to hundreds? And how many pieces of plastic wrap, tin foil or plastic sandwich bags do you use in that time? Getting a reusable sandwich wrap – which lasts years – can save you money and landfill waste. Buy once, use over and over again. It takes no effort and although the initial cost may seem a lot, each wrap will have saved you money within 6-12 months and should easily last 4-5 years if looked after!

 

Bamboo Toothbrush – changing your toothbrush every 3 months as recommended by dentist’s means that by the time you are 70 you will have used 280 toothbrushes! It is a part of our daily routines that cannot be changed but it can be made better. Using a bamboo toothbrush is no different to using a plastic one. It just means you can throw the handle in the compost bin and the bristles, once removed will biodegrade in landfill in 4-6 months. Simple, sustainable and something all the family can do without making a huge upheaval to “the norm”

I hope you find some use in the switches listed above. They are all things you can either implement straight away or that you can switch when you need to buy new. Please feel free to comment below with any questions. You can also sign up to our newsletter to get more eco tips straight to your inbox.

First Steps to Eco Living

WELCOME!

It really is exciting that you are here and ready to start, or continue on, your eco journey. I hope the info you’ve had so far is helpful but if you still feel you need some more information then head to our blog – 5 simple and sustainable switches.

If you think that you’re ready to start making swaps around your home then click on one of the images below to browse our most popular shopping categories! Or you can simply take a look around the website and please feel free to get in touch if you have questions.

Take Care, Jen

Dental

My Cloth Nappy Journey

Take a look at another fabulous Guest Blog Post from @Nicolekeefiex. Thank you so much Nicole – such a fantastic read full of useful info.

My Cloth Nappy Journey

I have always wanted to do my bit in saving the planet by using more eco-friendly products and doing little things that allow me to use less plastic day by day. Some changes that I have made towards this include, buying clothes secondhand, whether from charity shops or the app depop, so that I am not contributing towards fast fashion, as well as using eco-friendly water bottles for the kids and I, our favourite being Klean Kanteen. To even using a loofah instead of a sponge to wash dishes (which by the way are amazing and wish I had used them sooner) and a coconut brush, instead of the normal plastic ones.

Anyway, getting off track here… I think one of my biggest regrets was not using reusable nappies with my first born. I think the lack of support and me doubting myself played towards me not using reusables with him. To be honest, clothing is a complete mind field, especially when you are new to it. There are so many different types you can use. For example, BTP (birth to potty nappies), two parter nappies that require wraps, pocket nappies and all in one nappies. Like I said a complete mind field.

I started off with Bambino Mio, they were gorgeous and very greatly priced during the Aldi baby event, so I got four of them plus their boosters and then I looked on amazon and found a brand called Littlez and Bloomz, who did five nappies with boosters for £25. They were good to start with, but like I said, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing as shown on this picture of my tiny three week old in his Littlez and Bloomz nappy.

As you can tell by his unimpressed face, I had no clue what I was doing. So I did further research and found two great groups, one was Liverpool Cloth nappies, who support cloth users around Merseyside as well as The Nappy Lady Facebook page, which is full of useful information, and a supportive cloth community who help advice you when you need it! There website dives a lot into what kind of cloth there is, how to wash it and whatever you need.

After further research I realised I had not tightened the nappy tight enough or even used the buttons, as that’s what they were for! Who knew?!

Since doing all my research and trying a lot of different nappies and a lot of different brands, such as Bubble Bubs, Bambino Mio, Little Lamb pocket nappies as well as their two part nappies and motherease, both wizard and duo uno’s and their onesize and sandys, I can confirm that my favourite type of nappies are two parters. They absorb so much more and their containment is beyond amazing especially when paired with an airflow! I have also developed a good wash routine, which is every three days and it works for us. We have around 30 nappies, which is a lot and gets us through a good while, but I chose to wash every three days as not to spoil our nappies and it is recommended to wash them between two and three days.

I remember I went to Paris this year, before COVID19 set us into lockdown, and I decided to use disposable nappies so that I wasn’t worried about how to wash them, as we were only there for four days and wasn’t sure how the laundry service would work out and boy did I regret it! We had a lot of poonami’s which leaked all up his back, so was a nightmare getting him constantly changed in the toilets in Disneyland. Since then we haven’t used

Luckily enough it has also been a godsend through lockdown as we did not have to worry or even bulk buy nappies or ever worry about running out of them! We have been using them for a full year now, some nappies I have bought second hand and some I bought brand new and they have been the best investment I have ever made. You don’t have to go all out cloth, I know a lot of people do cloth in the day than disposable in the night so they don’t feel too flustered. Don’t let people’s opinions put you off trying reusable nappies, it is much easier now than it was before as washing machines are very efficient so you no longer need to soak the nappies before you wash them and when you are at the weaning poo stage it’s easy enough to plop into the toilet by using a ‘poo knife’ or water! I use either or and my nappies always come out clean with no stains! No matter how bad the poo’s are! As well as the fact that the nappies are super gorgeous and who doesn’t love a big cloth bum?!

It is a one of cost depending on what kind of nappies you chose, but they last forever! You can re-use them on your next babies or even save them for your grandchildren or sell them second hand! The best part is you’re doing your part in helping the environment as less disposable nappies are going into the landfill! Once you have done your research and get into the groove of it all, it makes it worth it and putting them together after a wash is so therapeutic. I honestly wish I used them with my first born sooner!

Eco Friendly House Moves – Part Two

Thank you so much to my very kind Guest Blogger, Jessica, for this wonderful insight into Eco Friendly House Moves!

Read Part One here and scroll down to find out about moving day and moving in.

You can find Jessica on instagram (@jessicathearchaeologist) or at her brand new website.

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MOVING DAY

If you hire movers, offer them to refill from your house: Movers work really hard! Let them fill up their water or ice from your sink so they don’t have to buy more. A lot of times they will have a cooler out in their vehicles, they may not take you up on it but offer.

Clean it out: This is the part of moving most people forget about. Once everything is in boxes, you still must clean the house or apartment you are leaving.

Leave it: Leave your specialty cleaning products behind. If you bring them with you and you do not have the same appliance, floor, glass, etc. you will end up tossing it out. Leave it for the next person, they can use the rest. Then they will know what type of product is needed (those glass stoves…). This is also great if the house you are leaving is going to be empty for a while. The new people can have a no stress move in clean without having to go buy all new stuff.

Keep your recycling bin out: What this really means is do not stop doing what you do because you are moving. Keep composting or recycling. When you move out and do that big clean, you will want to recycle those cleaning supply bottles!

Pack a picnic: Use what you have and do not buy stuff to hold you over. Including your reusable silverware, some plates, and bowls, your coffee tumbler, etc.  I literally pack a picnic basket of this stuff and it goes in the do not pack room. Then we have what we need until the minute we move out.  We also have it right away when we move into the new place.

Invite your neighbors over to shop your freezer: If you are moving a short distance you can load your stuff in a cooler and move it from one freezer to another. If you are moving further than that, invite your neighbors over to shop your freezer. You can donate canned foods and dry goods you don’t want to move. This will reduce the amount you have to toss out.

Emissions: If you can take this into consideration please do. Look at the company you are moving, make your move in as few trips as possible. For example, can you drive instead of shipping your car and flying? Can you move across town on 2 trips instead of 5? This one is really hard, but every little bit helps.

Vehicle Check: This is also a good time to get your car checked out. Fill your tires and change your oil. There is nothing worse than being broken down on the side of the road in the middle of a move. Full tires and a tune up will also lower your emissions and help your gas mileage.

MOVE-IN

Fully unpack right away: Just like above, you will rebuy things and end up with the short term and disposable items if you live in your new place without unpacking. We always unpack right away. This means we have the things we need. It also makes your new place like home faster.

List your boxes or recycle them: Get in touch with your new trash people and make sure that they can take the boxes curbside or find a drop off for them. Pass them on if you can!

Stock your fridge: This is the time to replace the things that you had to toss with more eco-friendly products. Can you replace your condiments with glass instead of plastic? Local instead of name brand? This is also a great time to get your food storage in order. If you have been wanting to do more bulk shopping, now is the time.

Be Kind: Be kind to yourself, be kind to the people who will move in after you and be kind to the people around you.

Eco Friendly House Moves – Part One

Thank you so much to my very kind Guest Blogger, Jessica, for this wonderful insight into Eco Friendly House Moves!

Read Part One (Getting Ready and Packing Up) below and you can find Part Two here.

You can find Jessica on instagram (@jessicathearchaeologist) or at her brand new website.

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Moving is daunting! I know for me it is one of the most stressful times, and I have done it a lot! My husband has been on active duty for 12 years! I have worked all over the place as well. After 10 moves in 10 years, I have moving down to a system, but it remains one of the most stressful times of life.

I find that in moments of frustration and total upheaval, many of the eco-friendly habits I work so hard to have, go out the window. I trade in doing what is right for what is convenient.  But this happens when I don’t follow my own tips (which has not happened in at least the last 6 moves). Every move is different, some of you might be moving across the country while others are just moving across town. You will need a different plan for each move but here are my tips to make it as eco-friendly as possible.

GETTING READY TO MOVE

Plan, plan, plan: The first and most important thing you can do to make your move Eco-Friendly is to plan. Start planning the minute you know you are going to be moving. There are some important things to decide (movers vs no movers, container shipping, trailers, etc.), if your house feels overwhelming then its best to start early.

Organise: When you know a move is coming the best thing you can do is spend some time going through your whole house and organising. This gives you time to find out what you actually have. Decide what you can donate or sell and will prevent you from buying something you already have. This is also a great time to really inventory what you have so you can determine what you will need to move.

I like to put everything away. Like really away. My home is generally more organised before I move out than when I move in. I like to get all the like items together. This will help you later. I make sure all the tools make it back to the toolbox, all my kid’s stuff is away, and all the cleaning supplies are in one spot.

This is when I send stuff to the thrift store or resell stuff. This is also when I find all the pieces that are missing toys and puzzles. I find that if I do not do this, it happens in the move in time and that is the worst!

Keep out the things that you need:  I have used movers many times so this is important if you are having anyone help you pack. Pick a room in your house that no one is allowed to pack. Move the stuff you don’t want to be packed into that room. Include anything that is important to you (documents, jewelry, etc). Also, include the things you will need right when you move in or as you walk out of the house. (See pack a picnic below.) One of the things that happen when moving is that people rebuy things that they already have because they get packed up. Don’t do this! Make a plan.

Meal plan leading up to your move: Food waste is another place that moving is really not eco-friendly. Shop what you have in your cabinets and make a meal plan. Eat what you have so that you are not buying stuff you will throw out or tons of fast food.

PACKING UP 

Packing is the most stressful and time-consuming part of moving. If you can, take your time to do it, but we all know in the end you are hustling and doing a lot of work.

Keep a ledger and mark your boxes: When you are packing, number your boxes or label them and keep a master sheet! This will help you unpack, make sure no boxes are missing, and help you find what you need. Again, we don’t want to buy things we already have.

Keep your reusable storage: In that inventory you just did, how many reusable boxes or totes do you have? I have moved so many times that I invested in some and they all hang out together between moves. I have some that are plastic with the lids. I also have fabric ones that are collapsible for clothing and bedding.  I know that the material is not eco-friendly (I hate plastic). These totes can help you be less wasteful long term. If you are doing a cross country move plastic totes mean worrying less about temperature fluctuation and moisture. If you are using a moving company this is really important! Sometimes your moving company will have more than one household on the truck, they load rain or shine. Mold is real!! And mold loves your clothing and those cardboard boxes!

Recyclable storage: If you do not have any reusable totes or you move once every 20 years or so, check Facebook or other websites for second-hand boxes and paper, then recycle it! There are always people who just moved and have all the boxes and packing paper that they used available (normally for free) if you are willing to come and pick it up. Boxes at U-Haul are expensive, this will save you money and is better for the environment.

Use eco-friendly packing tape: This means a paper-based tape. There is no perfect tape solution, but some are better than others. You can skip the applicator and use scissors. Any hardware store will carry this type of tape. Additionally, if you cannot find this tape remove as much of the tape as possible from the box before you recycle it.

Rent those packing blankets: If you are worried about your furniture you can tape those packing blankets around your furniture. I watched in horror as movers wrapped my couch in plastic wrap. I get it, it protects it and you know moisture, but packing blankets are great for your larger items.

Use what you have to pack your boxes: e.g. blankets, clothing, towels.  Skip the packing peanuts, sometimes the packing paper, or whatever else. You have a house full of soft items. You can use socks and leggings to pack steam ware. Use dish towels for other fragile items, or blankets or towels. You can make it work!

Scan and shred instead of packing documents:  If you can scan documents and then shred them do it. You can use the shredded paper to pack with and you will lighten your weight by not having to move heavy boxes.