Reuse, Recycle and Reduce is today’s mantra. Last year, I promised to live more sustainably and make my home greener and more eco-friendly.
Here are a few ideas that I have no only tried and tested but also managed to follow for a whole year. These are the simple ways in which anyone can contribute towards a greener and healthier planet.
1. Wooden Washing Up Brush:
The synthetic sponges are so full of chemicals and toxic materials. They are a health hazard and environmental hazard. The toxins in them get into the waterways and are known to cause harm to small aquatic creatures.
I have started this wooden brush which is completely vegan. It is easy to wash and dry. It works well and is going to need replacing far less frequently than any sponges.
Here’s a link to checkout what I use.
2. Cloth Produce Storage Bags:
These are life changing for me. Not only do they make shopping easier but also storage convenient. They can be washed easily. It has a drawstring to tie it down but also a zipper at the bottom to take the veggies out. Just hang these pretty bags on your kitchen and you are good to go.
I love that they have labels too. Easily available on amazon and they will last for a long time. Here is a link to what I use.
3. Mentrual Moon Cup:
I have been using these for a long time. I started using these because neither disposable pads nor tampons suited me. They caused great discomfort and dryness.
But now I am absolutely thankful for this product because of its environmental benefits.
These silicon cups are easy to use and very economical. I brought it for £20 which is what 3 to 4 cycles would have costed me with disposables. But this cup will last me for years.
This one is the most important to me. I as a self proclaimed healthy vegan produce a lot of food waste in terms of vegetable stalks, fruit peel and leftovers veg/fruit pulp after juicing. So I have been wanting to make my own compost with it for a while but unfortunately i still haven’t managed to achieve that.
But what I have committed myself to doing is to use the council food waste bin sincerely.
I know it is not the same but it is a start. Something is better than nothing.
5. Reusueable Straws:
If you follow us on instagram, you would know how much we love our green smoothies and fresh juices. We used to get through a lot of plastic straws and chucked them in the bin without a thought. Not anymore!
We use these cute metal straws that you can wash and reuse forever. They came with a tiny cleaning brush which makes cleaning easier.
We even travel with these straws. Refusing a disposal or those single use paper straws feels pretty empowering.
6. Vegan Lifestyle:
I have been vegan for 2 years now. I started off on ethical grounds but over the past year the sustainability reasons have resonated the most with me.
The new work reveals that farmed poultry today makes up 70% of all birds on the planet, with just 30% being wild. The picture is even more stark for mammals – 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are human and just 4% are wild animals.
We may not be able to afford an electric car or stop flying due to work purposes, but we can stop eating meat and dairy. It is one of the single most efficient ways to sustainability. The effects are far more immediate than using an electric car. So I urge you to atleast consider reducing your intake.
7. Jam Jars & Glass Bottles:
I got inspiration for this from bulk stores to be honest. Also, as an Indian I cook with a lot of spices and lentils and legumes and grains which unfortunately come packages in either plastic or in tiny jars which cannot really be repurposed. So I have started buying them in bulk packets and store a small portion in jam jars for easy access. In an ideal world I would take these jam jars to the bulk stores and avoid plastic altogether but bulk stores are not for my budget, not right now. Glass jars and bottles are really handy to keep. So start collecting them. I got a lot of them from my friends.
8. Cloth Nappies And Wipes
I used Theseus since Ro was a little baby.It is believed that in the UK, nearly 2.5 billion disposable nappies are thrown away each year. That clogs up the landfill horribly. Plastic we dispose off never will disappear in our lifetime or our great grandchildren. Isn’t that a horrific thought?
When using cloth nappies, you can further reduce your environmental impact by not using the tumble dryer and perhaps line drying whenever possible.
9. Repurposing Plastic Bags
But what do we do with all the plastic bags we have in the house already? If you are like me, you collect plastic bags for future use. I inherited that habit from my mother.
When I decided to abandon plastic bags, I felt bad about simply throwing the ones I already have into the bin so I gave a lot of them away to the thrift shops. They happily take it and use it. ofcourse these will end up in the landfill one day but I am trying to prolong the process as much as possible.
10. Thrift Shop
My current past time is to go to the thrift shops and find some amazing clothes and toys or cutlery. Some thrift shops have pretty high standards and so I was amazed at the quality and condition of some of the stuff I brought for us. Last year I decided to try and not buy new clothing for myself and my children. We made underwears an exception. We brought new shoes and invested in new winter jackets due to the lack of sizing in thrift shops and a jacket from an ethical brand is an investment as they do come with a long shelf life.
The trick with the thrift shop and kids stuff is to buy things when you see them. I have brought clothes and toys and books for baby Ro which he may not use until he is 4 years old but I know these things might not be available if I wait until he is 4. So my attic has a box full of stuff for the future. So whenever we run out of tshirts or trousers, we first rummage through the box in the attic before hitting the shops again.
Kids love thrift shops because unlike other shops, things are so cheap quite often I say yes to buying a small toy that they fancy. They feel special and our frugal lifestyle does not become a negative influence on them.
Also do not underestimate the power of social media. A lot of RoRo’s clothes are from Facebook friends. Bags of clothes arrive at my doorsteps within 24 hrs of me asking people. People with children are always looking for homes for old clothes.
I hope you find these ideas easy and manageable.