One thing I love about blogging and especially the Instagram community is how much I’ve learnt and the new things I’ve discovered. And one of the newer things that I’ve been paying attention to is how much waste we make as a family. Our bins are at the bottom of our front path so most days, any recycling rubbish that we generate doesn’t get put out until Gareth gets home. You can really see how much get built up. Cardboard boxes, nappies, tins and the thing I’ve been really trying to reduce, plastic.
Until you start paying close attention, you don’t realise how many items come wrapped in plastic. Whenever I do my weekly food shop online, I always opt out of getting plastic bags. More recently, I’ve been doing the Click and Collect so I’ll just pop a few reusable bags in the boot and pack it when I get there. But this week, despite asking for no plastic bags, the only items that weren’t in plastic were my frozen food and a pack of eggs. And some of the bags only had one or two items in. I ended up with about five plastic bags.
It’s very important to me to try and keep our planet beautiful for our kids and their kids and even their kids. I’m going to share some of the things we’ve done or are going to do as a family to keep our waste to a minimum and some of them are really simple!
1. Get rid of cling film/tin foil – this is one of the first things we did. It was difficult at first because it was used for a lot…lining baking trays in the oven, wrapping sandwiches up and keeping leftovers in. I’m still searching for a good replacement for sandwich wrap (although I think beeswax wrap is the way to go!) But leftovers are either kept in Tupperware (but these will eventually be phased out and replaced with stainless steel containers) or in some of our Nom-Nom pouches.
2. Buy eco-friendly cleaning products – I didn’t think I’d ever be able to afford the likes of Method or Ecover so I didn’t even bother looking into other brands because I figured they’d all be roughly the same price. But a couple of months ago, Tesco launched their own line and they’re very affordable. Washing up liquid is £1 as is the toilet cleaner, multi-purpose spray and fabric conditioner is £1.50 and their laundry detergent is £4 for 42 washes. It’s made from plant-based, non-toxic ingredients and the bottle they come in contains up to 45% recycled plastic.
3. Investing in a reusable coffee cup – we regularly meet Gareth for coffee on his lunch breaks. If we’re running short of time, we’ll just get it to take out. And that cup gets thrown away. Even though this isn’t technically household waste, we’re still contributing to landfill. Yesterday we got our KeepCups and although I haven’t taken it into a coffee shop yet, I had a cup of tea in it last night and I loved it.
4. Stop using plastic straws – I’m actually looking at the best alternative for this now. I’m stuck between stainless steel or bamboo. They’re not that expensive, I think 5 metal straws with a brush is around £6. I’ll keep some in my bag and then whenever we’re out somewhere, I can just whip one out and I won’t need to bother with a plastic one.
5. Reusable sanitary products/nappies – I dabbled in cloth nappies when Henry was younger but because I was seeing if we’d get on with it, I didn’t buy new. So the nappies weren’t as absorbent as they could have been which put me off. However, cloth pads is definitely something I’m interested in trying. I can’t use tampons and the disposable sanitary towels can irritate me so as well as being more comfortable, I’ll be reducing landfill. Win win!
6. Using loose leaf tea instead of teabags – OK, so this can sound like an odd one but bear with me. When teabags are sealed, there’s a plastic seal holding it together. So while you think a teabag is recyclable or fully bio-degradable, it isn’t because that plastic strip won’t break down, unlike the paper bag. Buying a tea strainer and getting loose leaf tea is better for the environment and it tastes nicer.
That’s just a few things we’ve done or are aiming towards to make our house more eco-friendly. Some ways of reducing waste might seem more expensive to begin with but in the long run, you’ll probably save money. Have you got any things I haven’t thought of? I’m always up for hearing more!