I thought this would be a good post to follow up the last no poo update! So: Ways in which I am attempting to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle, in no particular order-
Switched to renewable energy
When I came to renew my energy plan I realised that switching to my suppliers green/fully renewable electricity plan was similar in price to mixed fuel so I went for it. Really pleased to see my fuel breakdown on my bills now.
Next step: put standby loads onto remotes so I don’t leave anything on standby that doesn’t need it.
Switched soap and moving to greener cleaning products
Switched my liquid hand soap from the supermarket brand to soaps from the The Little Soap Company and Handmade Naturals. They are way better on my hands, smell gorgeous and are, well, more expensive, but I get to support small UK businesses. I have also been looking at using more eco cleaning products, and am currently switching to products by Ecover and Method. I think both of these are based in Europe so it’s not as good as supporting a smaller UK business would be, but both are affordable and I can pick them up in my local supermarkets which makes a huge difference. I love my liquid soaps above, but it’s a pain that when I run out I need to order them online and wait for them to come – I want to be able to nip to my local shops (again local, not have to go to the city center or anything either!) so I’m compromising a little with the cleaning products and looking at what I can get in my supermarkets, rather than being fussy about using only UK brands. At least the products themselves are much better for the environment. On saying that, I do need to do more research about homemade cleaners, such as white vinegar. Though I can’t get white vinegar in my local shop actually :/
Next step: use more reusable cleaning tools, such as microfibre clothes. I probably use way too many paper towels.
Switched to reusable pads, decomposable pads
I am still happily using cloth pads and liners. The first pads I bought are only now beginning to fail on me, over 5 years (I think) after buying them. It’s pretty cool. (And well the cost of these is really high up front despite long term savings – so it’s good they last!) I was struggling with using cloth pads when traveling though – whether for the day for a client visit, or going on holiday. Thankfully my mom told me about a brand that produces fully decomposable, cotton only pads. (Not sponsored- but I love the Organyc brand) I like to use those when I need to be on the road or when travelling abroad as a happy middle ground between cloth pads/liners and the normal ones.
Next step: learn how to make my own liners. (Not ambitious enough to try pads yet!) The plan is to turn old cotton clothes into new liners, or something like that.
Switched to reusable face cotton, cardboard ear buds
As well as cloth pads I have been using reusable cotton rounds to apply my face toner, which I sew up myself (as it’s very easy to do, and they don’t exactly need to be pretty!). I also use a lot of ear buds for my eye makeup, or to apply spot treatments, and I was totally lost as to how to what the reusable alternative to those would be. So I was pretty happy to discover ear buds with cardboard stems. Again, it’s a happy middle ground. Still producing waste, but at least its better waste. Less plastic.
Next steps: none.
Carrying and using reusable bag(s)
I try to always take a reusable bag with me to the shops. I like the envirosax bags, which are available on Amazon. They are huge, strong, and lightweight and, if you can be bothered with it, you can fold them up into a tiny parcel. It’s amazing that something so flimsy feeling and looking can actually be so strong. Oh, and they come in beautiful patterns, with lots of styles and colours to choose from. Cath Kidstons shoppers are also wonderful – but almost too cute to use. (Again not sponsored, just in love.)
Next step: stop forgetting the reusable bag at home. Must start keeping a stash in my car.
Using a Bamboo toothbrush
My most recent experiment – I bought and started to use a Bamboo tooth brush. It’s honestly no different, though I’m keen to see if it lasts as long as the plastic ones. Once I’m done with my toothbrush, many months after its recommended to change them admittedly, I tend to hang on to them to use for cleaning. I would like it if the bamboo toothbrush had the same life cycle, and if in the end would it make as good a cleaner? It was very expensive. :/
Next step: alternative toothpaste maybe…?
Taking a reusable cup to Starbucks
The 25p off is a good incentive. I admit I still use the plastic straws they provide – must remember to buy steel ones! On the subject of steel….
Next step: buy steel straws.
Switched to a Steel Water Bottle
I tried to use reusable plastic bottles but no matter how much I cleaned them I always found they gave my water a funny smell and taste. Mildew built up really easy in them. So now I’m trying a steel bottle. It’s bigger and heavier, clumsier and louder to use too, than I’d prefer, but so far none of the problems keeping it clean and fresh like with the plastic ones. And it keeps my water cool for a long time which, as a fan of cold water, I really appreciate.
Next step: buy a different steel bottle, with a smaller design.
Changed my lightbulbs to LED types
More efficient (should save me money!) and equally bright. Totally easy to do (or for my dad to do for me ;) )
Next steps: none.
As a service provided by my council this one is free, easy and takes no extra effort on my part so I’m not sure if it counts. But I recycle the majority of my paper, cardboard and plastic waste. (My council doesn’t take glass though :( ) I am currently looking into clothes recycling too. I have a lot of old clothes, which not all are in good enough shape for charity. The next thing to do would be to reuse the materials, to make cotton facial pads or liners for instance, but not all the materials are right for reuse. So I need to find a way to…do something with them that’s not throwing them in the trash. I do believe H&M have a scheme, and maybe M&S. Just got to find the courage to do it!
Next steps: make the effort to gather my glass recycling, take clothes into town for recycling.
I’ve found it all easy so far, but expensive (even if, like the pads, there are savings to be made in the long run.)(On saying that, when it comes to LED bulbs and renewable electricity – these have no become on par with older technologies, so no more expensive to do. These are the exceptions.) (I also feel there is some irony that I need to get a lot of the stuff like steel water bottle and bamboo toothbrushes from amazon. That’s an ok use of the word ironic isn’t it? If not, hope you see how it’s quite funny.) (It can also be a pain that all of this stuff needs ordering from amazon or other websites – see soap example above. I forgot to put an order through for my decomposable liners before my recent holiday and of course I couldn’t get them in the shops, not even in the city center, so I just had to buy ordinary ones to take on holiday. You can’t get hold of this stuff last minute/without planning first!)
I’m only doing little things here and there, but I hope I’m making a difference, no matter how small. I am still haunted by the last episode of Blue Planet 2 (I pretty much cried through that episode). It’s easy to feel overwhelmed – what can I do? Will it make any difference at this point? But I do care, and so I will do what I can and keep experimenting to find new ways to make a little difference. At least it’s something.