I try to reduce the amount of waste I leave in my wake as much as possible, from food to products. I'm not perfect by any means but I try to do what I can, some things have been an easy instant change and some take more time to slot into your everyday life and indeed are still taking time. We may not always get it right but if we can all be a bit aware about these things that is going to have a positive effect on the environment. I thought I would share my top 4 reusable and more eco-friendly elements that I've adopted into my life, hopefully to inspire you to think on where you can make a few changes if you can. There is no planet B so we need to seriously look after this one!
Here are my top 5!
Soapnuts : I have been using Soapnuts instead of laundry liquid for about two years now and I couldn't be happier with them. Pre Soapnuts I used to buy a bottle of Ecozone laundry liquid which was 50 washes priced at £9.99 at least once a month, if not a bit overlapping to the next month. This cleaned perfectly well and even though the bottles can be recycled that is still adding to the pile of unnecessary waste. I found Soapnuts through Living Naturally and was flabbergasted at their positive points! Cruelty-free, vegan, organic, 100% natural, hypoallergenic, compostable, non-polluting, biodegradable, no bleach, foaming agents, phthalates or parabens. I now pay £10 for a 1KG bag (refill) which does 480 washes (or £11.99 with a storage bag). Now, I don't need to tell you that money wise it works out a LOT better! These last longer, there is no plastic bottle waste and they 100% work! I have always generally stayed away from fabric conditioners (most of them contain tallow also - animal fat - YUCK!). With these Soapnuts there is no need for a fabric conditioner, they keep your clothes soft enough. I put a few drops of essential oil in with the nuts and it makes my clothes smell fresh. They clean well and are VERY eco friendly - it's a no brainer! I recommend Living Naturally for all things Soapnut.
Loose Vegetables : plastic covered vegetables is a concept that for some reason has taken over the supermarkets. There often isnt much choice in the loose vegetable section and often it's more expensive - how does that even work out! Most of the vegetables in the supermarket are covered in several layers of plastic packaging that can't be recycled (why aren't we at the point where ALL plastic can be recycled?!) as well as some foam or polystyrene. Surly the supermarkets should be encouraging plastic free purchases? I actually got stopped once for picking up some of the loose peppers and wanting to put them in one of my canvas for life bags, I had a whole trolly full of food I clearly wasn't running off anywhere but the member of staff insisted I put it in a plastic bag. So much waste its ridiculous, I looked into vegetable boxes to see if they could work for me, I found a local supplier and I now receive a fortnightly organic vegetable box from The Essex Herb Company, who get their organic veg from Sarah Green Organics. It actually turns out more cost effective for me and it encourages me to cook more with the vegetables I received. The vegetables are SO tasty and fresh, they're harvested the day before they get to my door (rather than being in a supermarket warehouse for a week) and I am safe in the knowledge that the vegetables haven't been washed in anything nasty! So try to buy loose vegetables where possible - in the supermarket, grocers or look to see if there is any local produce around.
Reusable Cup : There is no doubt coffee chains and shops need to take some responsibility, I can't believe that we've got this far in time without EVERY take away coffee cup and lid being able to be recycled. The take away drink has become such a daily staple for so many people but it has such a damaging environmental impact because a lot of coffee chains don't have recyclable cups. But - here we are, until all the chains step up their game we need to try and reduce the amount of un-recycalable waste we produce. The number of take away coffee cups that are thrown away in London every day alone must be a staggering amount. If you go into Starbucks with a reusable cup they give you 25p off your drink (not exactly breaking the bank but it's a slight incentive). If you have one of these, always pop it in your bag if you think you might grab a hot drink while out, it's easy to forget (I have a few times) but if we can remember it can make a HUGE difference in the long run. I recommend - Ecoffee Cup (made from bamboo) and Keep Cup (glass).
Reusable Cleansing Wipes : I said goodbye to cotton wool and face wipes quite some time now, definitely over a year. Even though I would be buying cruelty-free and vegan wipes, the wipe itself is very wasteful - a lot of them don't naturally biodegrade and lots of them also have plastic fibers in (not great on both counts). As for cotton wool, it's all very well buying organic cotton wool but there is a lot of controversy over cotton farms (including organic) and still, its a one use product like the facial wipes. I would use these products every day I would wear make up so at least 5 times a week if not more so when you think about it the waste I produced just from cleansing my face racked up quite quickly! So I decided to look for reusable alternatives. I found reusable cleansing wipes and clothes and haven't looked back. These work well with my cleansing products and to wash them I just put them in with my washing - it couldn't be easier. These are also, as they're reusable, more financially savvy. I'm not buying new wipes or cotton wool monthly - I still have the same reusable's I used from the beginning - DEFINITELY more eco-friendly. I can recommend Love The Planet and Planet Peachy for reusable cleansing wipes.
These are just a few points that can be adopted to help you make less waste, there is so much we could all do but if we start and make one or two changes here and there it can have a huge impact. You the consumer decide what products and foods come out, you can see that with the popularity of plant based eating - every supermarket is constantly expanding because people are showing the demand for it. You can show demand in your purchases, go for some more eco friendly options when you can. Some of the world is still asleep to the problems of the environment, lets help wake them up!