New Year Eco Resolutions
It’s been inspiring reading everyone’s New Years resolutions over the last few days. There’s lots of the usual weight loss, get fit resolutions but more than ever before there’s a plethora people wanting to do more for their planet. Whether it’s embracing Veganism or making more eco switches.
We all know how long most New Years resolutions last but I sincerely hope that some will continue way beyond January and last a lifetime as we change some of our everyday products and habits to more eco-friendly and sustainable options.
Here’s a few of the switches that we as a family have made over the last year and our plans for the year ahead:
COFFEE CUPS - I've been using a reusable coffee cup (or hot chocolate cup in my case) for several years now but 2018 was the first year where I refused to buy myself a takeaway drink unless I had my cup on me to put it in. I did accept a couple that were bought for me though so that's definitely something to improve on for 2019! I quite like that it's become a bit embarrassing to ask for a takeout drink without having a reusable cup so things are going in the right direction.
WATER BOTTLES - we take our water bottles everywhere but I did forget to take mine a few times last year and had to buy bottled water. I am going to be better at thinking about myself this year and will ALWAYS take a bottle out with me even if my bag ends up weighing a tonne whilst carrying everyone's drinks!
BARS OF SOAP – my husband and I are now using bars of soaps purchased in paper or card for showering and washing. Stanley has eczema and we normally use Child's Farm products for the kids in the large bottles but it would be amazing if they would develop a soap range too as it’s the only stuff he doesn’t seem to react to.
SHAMPOO BARS – I have continued to use my Lush shampoo bar alternately with the last bottle of shampoo I had left. I admit that I have given up on the conditioner bar and once the last of my current bottle is finished I will be using our local refill shop to try their version instead.
BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES - I have just bought the whole family a new bamboo toothbrush so we can all give them a go. We will keep our old ones for cleaning before having to throw them away. I can't believe that I've taken so long to switch to these.
REFILL SHOPS – if you are lucky enough to live close to a refill shop I would urge you to go and take a look. We are now taking our washing detergent bottles for refilling with ecover, washing up liquid and hand wash. In 2019 I will be buying all my lentils, rice, pasta, baking powder, raisins etc from the refill shops by taking my own containers to fill. Do a google search of your area to see if you have one nearby.
REUSABLE WRAPS – I’ll admit that I have fallen out of love with my beeswax wraps after a few forgotten items were left wrapped too long. I still use them for for wrapping dry foods and covering bowls and they are an amazing alternative to cling film. Just don't forget about it!
TIN FOIL - Aluminium foil and other aluminium products are 100% recyclable and can get re-made into new products limitless times. Recycling costs the Aluminium industry less than making from scratch so I urge you to recycle every ounce of tin foil that you can, just make sure it’s free of food first. Just soak it in hot water with washing up liquid and wipe it clean. Check out ALUPRO for more information and RECYCLE NOW for your local recycling points.
REUSABLE POUCHES – Obviously as the creator of a brand of reusable pouches I am going to talk about these. Even though my children are now 6 and 7 I am still very much in love with my reusable pouches. I loved them for baby food and I loved them even more for toddler snacks like yogurt and thick smoothies on the go. They last for ages and save so many of the shop bought pouches from going to waste because you can just fill your own, wash and repeat.
REUSABLE SANDWICH BAGS & SNACK BAGS – before I developed my reusable bags I had a few different options in the cupboard. Some of those Baco zip bags that last 2 uses, a fabric one that let everything dry up or go soft, some plastic ones that smelt badly of plastic and a silicon one that came out of my bag covered in dust, hair and general handbag fluff. no longer very appetising for the kids. My snack bags and the new kids sandwich bag has been an absolute game changer for me. Our snacks are fresh and the kids think that all the boring snacks are so much more exciting. No more disposable bags and no more single portion packaged snacks purchased in our house!
COOK FROM SCRATCH - I try as much as possible to cook what I can from scratch but I do use some sauces, spice mixes and pre-made pastry to save time.. There are a couple of meals that I buy in that I would love to replicate and make in batches. We don't eat out much but we do have 1 takeaway each week which is my night to relax and not think about feeding us so that's not going to change any time soon. There are definitely some swaps that I need to make to reduce wasteful packaging so I will be working on that this year. I also invested in reusable backing paper just before Christmas so I will be wasting less grease-proof paper and use less foil. I also definitely want to eat less meat. We are not ready to cut meat out fully as a family but I will be introducing more vegetarian options as part of our family meals.
RECYCLING – Our Local Authority has recently increased the number of items that we can recycle kerbside and we ensure that every item that can possibly be recycled is recycled. Being able to recycle plastic food trays, butter dishes and yogurt pots is amazing and has cut down our waste dramatically.
FOOD WASTE - If you follow me on Instagram you'll see that I often use up leftover vegetables to make purees to use in pasta sauces, pinwheels and even muffins. We do our very best to use up all the food and ensure that we freeze anything before its past it's best if it's not going to get eaten. I will definitely be trying new ways to use up leftovers over this next year. crisps from vegetable peelings is first on the list!
PLASTIC BAGS – all stretchy polythene, LDPE and no. 4 bags are recyclable if processed in the right way. These can be taken to your local large supermarket or handed over to your supermarket home delivery driver to take back to store. Things like magazine wraps, bread bags, vegetable bags, bubble wrap can all be collected and recycled. Check out Recycle NOW for more info. I love that my parents have really embraced this too!
CRISP WRAPPERS – Since Walkers and Terracycle introduced the scheme to recycle crisp wrappers I have had my sons school collect all the crisp wrappers from their packed lunches. I collect a big bag full each week and these will be sent to Terracycle for recycling and making into other products. Find a local collector HERE
POUCHES – Terracycle have free schemes for recycling all brands of baby / child related food pouches. Find out more about recycling pouches HERE. One brand LITTLE FREDDIE is taking full responsibility for it’s own waste by funding their own recycling programme. Check them out HERE.
BUY SECOND HAND – We have always been happy to buy second hand. Cars, Bikes, prams, cots, furniture, books, toys and clothes are all purchased second hand and sold on when we have finished needing them. There are some things that we wouldn’t ever consider buying new as financially we just can’t justify it. One of Nancy’s Christmas presents from Santa was a Rainbow Fairy book collection I managed to pick up on a local selling site for a donation to charity. Santa left a message to tell Nancy that a little girl had told her elves that Santa could take the books and give them to another child that really wanted them. Nancy has vowed to do the same when she finishes with them.
ECO BRICKS – A local Mum has introduced me to this. She hopes to get our local community making the bricks and then making a hut or den in the forest school area of our infants school. By doing so we are minimising the amount of waste entering our bins and providing a free building material out of items that would normally go to landfill. I’m still making my first brick but if you’d like more information take a look HERE. Just don’t put anything inside that can actually be recycled.
EXCESS PACKAGING - if the packaging is totally pointless or excessive for it's purpose then we are choosing not to buy the product, it's as simple as that. We have lost patience with companies that are still using masses of non recyclable packaging or packaging solely for the purpose of making the product look bigger and better. As consumers we all need to get wise to this and vote with our purses if this is ever going to change.
POINTLESS PRODUCTS - I used to buy loads of bowls and trinkets to make my house look nice until I met my husband who probably like most men really dislikes "the crap" we put on our mantle pieces or the volume of cushions on beds and sofas. It's rubbed off on me over the years and it now makes total sense to only buy products that are needed rather than just look nice. Don't even get me started on Novelty gifts.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO - It's scary how much more there is that we can do as a family. We are literally just scratching the surface. There's lots of brands and retailers that i'd like to write to and ask them to change their packaging, so many more reusable swaps I can make. The first on my list is to switch to a glass jar deodorant, I'd love any recommendations. The rest I'll keep you posted on!