11 sustainable steps to reduce, reuse and recycle at home.
As I’ve gotten older I seem to be afraid of more. Before kids, horror was my movie genre of choice. Now I can’t watch them. Before kids, roller coasters were my drug of choice. I loved them. The more thrilling the better. Now I stand and hold the bags whilst everyone else rides them.
However one fear that has never changed for me is end of the world type scenarios. They have always really freaked me out. So when I read that a scientist has predicted that unless we all take sustainable steps, we have 12 years left before this planet is destroyed, it sent me into a bit of a spin.
Now I know other scientists are saying that giving a figure of 12 years is factually incorrect and dangerous, one thing we all need to agree on is that we have to take a more sustainable approach to our consumerism and every day life, for the sake of our planet, our children, and our children’s children.
So here are a few things I have done to take small sustainable steps to help save our planet.
1 Switch to reusable cotton pads
This simple change was so easy and very cost effective I don’t know why I didn’t do it years ago. I use cotton wool pads every day to cleanse my face. Single use, chucked in the bin and off to landfill as they cannot be recycled. I have now switched to these natural cotton pads. Washable and reusable.
A pack of 16 was £13.99 from Amazon. They come with a little laundry bag, so once a week I just pop my used ones in the wash along with the kids school t-shirts, and they come out good as new. They are really soft too.
This is something everyone can switch to. In fact I might buy some for people for Christmas, give some friends and family a bit of a shove to making their first sustainable steps! You can grab your here.
2 Buy washable sanitary towels
It’s been quite a long journey for me to get to using reusable sanitary towels. And I get that this will be very different for everyone and not always a simple switch to make.
I was really struggling with sanitary towels and found them to cause me so much irritation. It was uncomfortable to wear them. I tried the Mooncup, and as much as I think it is a great idea, I just didn’t get on with it. But then I have always struggled with tampons too.
Before I had my coil fitted my periods were incredibly heavy and debilitating and I would never have had the confidence to try anything reusable. Despite wanting to make sustainable steps with my sanitary products, I couldn’t. However my periods are now completely manageable thanks to the coil, so I have switched to these reusable and natural pads. My only complaint is the patterns are a bit much, but then. it’s only me who sees them!
These were £15.99 for 7 from Amazon. You can grab yours here.
3 Change to bamboo toothbrushes
There’s not much to say about these really other that that they are made of bamboo which is biodegradable when composted. It’s another easy way that we can reduce our plastic consumption. And it’s sustainable steps like these that you don’t even really notice the difference.
This pack of four was £9.99 from Amazon. Grab yours here.
4 Use shampoo bars
I think this is one that the beauty industry are so far behind on and could do a lot more to help consumers make sustainable steps. Why not sell reusable packs? Or take in your old bottles and have them refilled?
At the moment the only alternative I can find to reduce plastic consumption on this is to use solid shampoo and solid conditioner bars. I have bought some to try when my current bottles run out, but I do feel like I am missing out on my favourites.
The beauty industry needs to work a lot harder at being more environmentally friendly and have more to offer in the form of chemical free shampoo.
The bars I bought were from Lush. They do lots of different ones ranging from £7.50 to £20.00 and can last for around 80 washes.
5 Do your washing with soap nuts
I normally go to Costco to buy huge containers of laundry detergent as it’s so much more cost effective than buying it from the supermarket. But I am now making the switch to soap nuts.
£9.95 for 1kg, gets you 6 months to a years worth depending on how much laundry you do. The nuts are reusable, complete natural and when you are done, biodegradable.
I’ve been using mine for two weeks now. I was put off because before you use them they smell very vinegary. However I can confirm the smell does not transfer to the clothes, you won’t be walking around smelling like a chip shop. And they passed the ultimate test, school uniforms! Even a white t-shirt after meatballs for lunch.
6 Reduce your waste with a compost bin
I am currently looking into this one at the moment to decide whether we are going to do it. We don’t have a big garden, so a compost heap isn’t an option for us. The compost bin would need to go on our driveway along with our wheelie bins.
My local council is currently running an offer on compost bins and you can get one for £17.98
I love the idea of them. Let’s be honest as much as we try, when you have kids there is often a lot of food wastage. And all that waste that can actually be turned into something usable.
My concerns are primarily the smell. And I read somewhere that they can attract rats. rats give me the heebie jeebies at the best of times. Let alone seeing one on my driveway.
So I am currently doing more research. If you have one, tell me the pros and cons.
7 Switch to biodegradable cotton buds
I know you shouldn’t use them. But I do. In fact I use them a lot. I have a bit of a weird addiction to them. The husband told me the other day that they were thinking of banning them and I genuinely panicked. I don’t think I could live without them.
Fear not. Bamboo cotton buds. Biodegradable. These fat Panda ones were £9.97 for 4 packs of 200 from Amazon. Pick up yours here.
8 Reduce your lunch box waste
I’m finding it really hard to reduce the waste that is left over from the kids lunchboxes. Empty packets and yogurt pots.
One simple thing I do is use tupperware for their sandwiches instead of sandwich bags or clingfilm. You can get really fun tupperware sets from paperchase. These are normally £8 for 4 But they often have them in the sale too. I have a cupboard full of them!
9 Recycle with eco bricks
The boys school started us on eco bricks after they ran a competition to see which class could bring in the most.
The concept is great. You take an empty plastic bottle and fill it with un-recylable waste such as crisp packets and plastic bags. When the bricks are full they are used to build anything from furniture, to walls, to buildings.
It isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. The bottles need to weigh 500g (for 1.5ml bottle) and you need to be able to stand on them without any give before they are complete. It actually takes a long time to fill one properly and there is a technique to it. The waste need to be cut up into smaller bits so it can be compacted down easily. And you need something to poke it all down with. Our preferred method is a tent pole.
It is a little time consuming, but it’s rubbish that would have otherise gone to landfill.
You can find out more about ecobricks at Ecobricks.org
10 Change your cleaning products
How many different bottle of cleaning products do we have in our cupboards? All full of chemicals, and all ending up in landfill and adding to the plastic pollution.
There are a lot of ways to become more sustainable with cleaning products. From looking for environmentally friendly alternatives to making your own.
I’ve started using Koh. The solution itself comes in a box not dissimilar to a wine box, an you get an atomiser to decant the cleaning solution into. So the plastic element is used again and again.
The product iteslf can be used anywhere and I have never used a cleaning product that gets things so clean. It is amazing.
The other huge benefit is that it is 100% natural. As someone who suffers with contact dermatitis on my hands, normally when I come into contact with cleaning products, this product does not irritate my skin at all.
I bought the starter kit which was on offer for £20 and included cloths. It sounds a lot for a cleaning product, but you get a lot. I think mine will last me a year easily, and it’s the only solution you need.
I’m aware I sound like I work for Koh. I don’t. It’s just a really really great product.
11 Stop using clingfilm
These beeswax wraps are a great alternative to clingfilm. However, I think these are expensive for how much you get. A pack of 4 wraps in various sizes is £10.97. It’s likely that you will need more than one pack for your clingfilming needs! Particularly when you think you can pick up clingfilm in the poundshop.
Not everyone can afford to make sustainable steps at these prices. I would need two sets of the wraps, so it would probably take me at least 14 years to break even! The wraps are so much better for the environment, but I don’t believe it’s very cost effective.
Of course there are other things you can do in your own home. Simple steps to reduce the energy and the water that you consume.
We all need to think about the sustainable steps that we can take. Change has to start somewhere. So why not give a few of these a go.
Do you have any other sustainable alternatives to add? Let me know in the comments.
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