Wednesday, 17 June 2020

7 easy changes you can make to be more Eco-Friendly

Over the last two years we have been making small changes in our lives to cut out waste where we can and to become a more Eco-Friendly house hold. Since we don't drive and rarely use any form of transport it was more at home and daily use products that we have needed to change. Our main aim has been to reduce any plastic waste we can while still keeping things easy to maintain with a house full of children.

I have wanted to put together a list of some simple changes we have made so far in our journey so far.  These 7 switches are small, simple and they can have so much more benefits than you might think.

Two canvas shopping bags laid one on top of the other at an angle, the front bag features a hand drawn Cinderella while the bag below features orange stars and the world Velveteen embroidered in orange thread, it also features tassels that tie the bag together, they are laid on a white wood backgound.

Reusable Shopping bags

 This one may seem quite obvious and many of us have reusable shopping bags around the house. However I know so many who simply forget to use them and I will admit it was like that for us in the beginning. Simply having the bags and not using them means your not actually cutting down on any waste since you still need more when you shop!

Change how you store your bags and make it easy to just grab them and go, you will find yourself reaching for them much more often! Try to keep all your reusable shopping bags together by storing them all folded up and stacked inside one thin bag which can fit into your drawers or I keep mine at the side of our fridge. Any time you are headed out of the house you can quickly grab one or two if you need them or the whole bag should you be going on a big shopping trip. It takes seconds and after a few times you get in the habit of quickly grabbing them.

Two silver metal straws with a bent top laid across a large slate rectange beside two stright clear glass straws. You can see white wood planks in the background.

Metal & Glass Straws

Last year the plastic straw ban came to the UK and they've been replaced with paper alternatives. You may remember there being lots of activity on social media over the straws and I found out that actually the paper straws didn't have any recycling system in place yet! The discovery prompted me to look into reusable alternatives while still avoiding plastic since I hate the thought of millions of straws going to landfill. 

It brought me to one of the favourite changes we have made through this journey and that is metal and glass straws. I highly recommend trying out metal straws, I purchased a small pack on Amazon that gave us the straws we needed along with a little cleaner brush. They are really easy to pop into your bag or pocket and just carry around with you as well as being really handy while at home. More recently I discovered that you can also get glass straws and I am now almost as obsessed with those! The glass straws are perfect for really cold or iced drinks. I currently use mine for cold coffee at home and bring the metal straws with us through summer when we are most likely to use them. 

You can purchase the set of metal straws I use from Amazon for £4.99 and my glass straws I actually found in Poundland.

You can see a lightly tanned hand holding a large, black bristled bamboo toothbrush and a small purple bristled bamboo toothbrush with a small mosaic style tile in the background.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

I bet you never considered that you actually produce quite a bit of waste with your toothbrush have you? I am 26 and before we made this change I used around 50 toothbrushes in my lifetime so far. All 50 of those are still in the world somewhere! 

By making the change to Bamboo toothbrushes I feel better that we can remove the bristles and are able to recycle the bamboo. There is still a small amount of work needed when you dispose of a bamboo toothbrush, You will need to remove the bristles which can usually be recycled (do check with the specific brand you use) and then dispose of the bamboo brush itself in your usual compost waste either for industrial composting or for home composting (this takes longer to break down). Everyone in our house has had a positive experience with Bamboo toothbrushes and as you can see above the children even use their own bamboo toothbrushes after we discovered they where available and shared them in our Christmas gift ideas last year. 
* The children's brushes had been gifted to us and we are purchasing more this month*

You can see 3 cups/ bottles lined up on a white surface with a grey brick wall background. On the Left you can see a large silver tumbler with a clear lid and a chilly shape engraved near the bottom. The middle is a glass bottle with a blue silicone cover that has a wave like design carved into it in stripes and the bottle has a blue lid. The final bottle on the right is a silver bottle with a small neck that leads to a round screw on lid with a handle to hold onto
A slightly tanned hand holds a cup at an angle on a white surface with a grey brick wall backgound beside it. You can see the full coffee cup style lid which is make of clear plastic and sits comfortably in the metal tumbler top.

Reusable drink cups and bottles.

We enjoy spending a lot of time outside our house (usually) which can mean a lot of drinks and we would frequently have coffee while being out running errands or just getting around. When you stop and think about how much waste your producing by quickly running into a shop and picking up a plastic bottle with a drink or a coffee cup that you'll only ever use once it adds up. You might actually be surprised and it can easily be changed with just one or two cups. 

 I find that having two each for Simon and I means we can keep one bottle for water/juice and have reusable cups with a lid that is similar to the ones on take away coffee containers. When we are heading out I can just grab our cups and bottles as well as the children's bottles and put them all in our bag. It also means we don't need to remember to go to shops or spend more money on a drink. We all have different cups we use but my favourite would be the Chilly's tumbler I use for drinking coffee. Their tumblers have now changed and are much more colourful so you can look at the whole Chilly's range of coffee cups. 

Reusable breast pads

Early into my breastfeeding journey the second time around with Scarlet I knew I wanted to try feeding for much longer and that the disposable kind wouldn't be good with that if I used over a full box every week! I did a bit of research and found reusable breast pads from various companies that I wanted to try. Although I have now used all the pads for almost three years they are still going strong. At this point I estimate that my 17 pairs of pads have replaced over 4,300 disposable pads. Astonishing isn't it?

Reusable breast pads are really easy to use, you pre-wash them inside their washing bag several times (I added mine to every wash I did for a few days), hang them to dry and they are ready to go. You just pop them into your bra and swap them out like you would with disposable pads and into a wet bag if your out or a wash bag if your at home. I would pop whatever was in the bag into the last wash I did every day and it meant I was able to keep up with daily use having 17 pairs. 

My personal favourite breast pads I've used have been from Little Lamb, you can get a pack of 5 for £14

Wooden Toys

I'm going to be straight on this one, I don't only buy wooden toys, we certainly have our share of plastic ones too. However I am trying to change where we can and get or use wooden toys instead. There are many benefits for children's play through natural materials and wooden toys can offer a better versatility too. 

Making the choice to buy wooden toys over plastic counterparts makes a more recyclable, degradable and all around better for the planet. You can make it even more Eco-Friendly by choosing to buy from sustainable and eco-friendly companies who make toys. There is a whole beautiful world of sustainable toys out there to find. 

We have a large mix of wooden toys we have built up over time and while not all are from sustainable brands they are better than the plastic we might have bought instead. The toys featured above include the Grimms Large Pastel Tunnel £67.15, Melissa & Doug Counting Shape Stacker, block pieces from Melissa & Doug Shape Sorter Cube £9.99, Lanka Kade Zebra £1.70 and Plan Toy Mini Bulldozer £11.95

Bars of  hand soap

I will admit this is a change that took us an embarrassing amount of time to change and actually we are only in the first several months of using solid bars for hand soap since I tend to have a decent stock of bathroom essentials in the house. It's an easy change to make and we have found we really prefer the feel of a real bar in our hands. We have removed the need for bottles on our sink tops and reduced our plastic use at the same time. 

Now that we have made the change I plan to get our soaps from small businesses both in our local area and online to make this change a bit more positive than just reducing the plastic.  I will also be purchasing more from Bean & Boy (prices start at £2.50) which have been a favourite to go back to since we reviewed their soaps.

(The soaps featured in the image, I don't know where these are from as they had been a gift with no branding on.)

Have you made any changes to be more Eco-friendly and find you love them more than what you had before? 
Let me know in the comments, I love to find new changes to try out ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. That's an amazing statistic about the breast pads! I'm glad that I never was a fan of shower gel and alwyas used bar soap, and I was recently gifted a shampoo bar so as soon as I finish my current bottle of shampoo I shall be making the switch.


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