I think trying to be more eco-friendly is on so many people’s minds at the moment and rightly so. Brands and businesses are sharing how they’re being more sustainable, with many trying to change their packaging as well as their products. There are so many ways that we can all start to make little changes around the home and in our lives and they’ll add up to make a little dent in the huge amount of work we all need to do to save the world in 12 years. My home is by no means as low-waste as it could be but we are really trying to make a conscious effort to keep on making changes to how we do things. We requested a larger recycling bin from the council to make sure we have enough space to recycle as much as possible, and the kids have started asking ‘which bin’ when they’re not sure if something can be recycled. We also make Eco-bricks with plastics that can’t be recycled which is actually quite therapeutic, shoving everything tightly into the bottles and packing it down with a wooden spoon or a skewer!
I’ve pulled together a collection of products [includes press samples] and ideas of things to see if you can find some products that you could start using to decrease your family’s waste, and to take steps to being more eco-friendly.
Bees Wax Wraps
An alternative to sandwich bags and cling film Bees Wax Wraps are easy to use – the mould round whatever you need them to- sandwiches, the tops of containers in the fridge, pretty much anything! Each one lasts for around a year of regular use, and they can be washed in cold water between uses. They’re water resistant, completely natural and best of all they are compostable once they’re reached the end of their days! Plus they are a lot more fun to look at than clingfilm! Bee Green Wraps sell a variety of sizes starting from £2.99 but I’d recommend the Family Starter Pack.
Percol Coffee Bags
Percol was the first ground coffee to be Fairtrade certified, they use organic and single-origin beans and have spent years investing in the farmers who grow their coffee, generation after generation. Now they’re plastic-free, carbon-neutral and fairtrade-certified. These coffee bags act like tea bags – they’re compostable once used and my mum who has been my guinea pig (I don’t drink coffee myself) say they taste as good as her normal filter coffee! You can find out a lot more about the Percol ethos and products online.
These clever little pouches are made from food grade silicone, with no BPAs or allergens. They’re microwavable, can be used in the oven or in boiling water and can contain pretty much any food you like. The best bit is they can be reused over and over again. You pinch the open end together to seal and you’re on your way! Sam has been using this one for his wraps and snacks when he’s out and about and as it’s dishwasher safe it’s easily cleaned. Available on Amazon and Lakeland.
Reusable Straws & Bottles
My kids love straws, and I’ve started to drink from them a lot more too, especially for smoothies that leave your top lip all gunky! Kleen Kanteen make these colourfully topped straws with a safe silicone topper which mean I don’t have to worry about one of the kids jabbing themselves accidentally. The set of four comes with a thin brush cleaner pipe too perfect for getting rid of any gunk! I’ve also been using the Classic bottle, which is metal and lightweight and has a sports cap so it’s easy to use on the go. The few times I’ve been running recently I’ve taken it with me and it’s been perfect.
Foaming Handsoap Dispenser
If you have kids like mine who use WAY too much soap every time they wash their hands the Cuispro Soap Foam Dispenser is the idea solution. You can put any liquid soap in (buy in bulk maybe or buy refill packs – even poundland sell them!) and with each press you get a portion of foamy soap! So it uses less liquid each time, doesn’t get dropped by kids as it has a suction cup to fit to ‘stick’ to the sink and encourages you to buy hand soap in bulk and in refill packs!
Sam loves fizzy drinks, he used to be addicted to diet coke, but has cut that out in favour of tonic water and sparkling fruit-flavoured water. But each bottle means another bottle to be recycled (or turned into an eco-brick!) so an alternative is for him to carbonate his own drinks with a Soda Stream! It works by adding bubbles to tap water, which can then of course be flavoured. You can turn water into sparkling water in seconds, and use the reusable SodaStream bottles meaning way less plastic bottles being purchased, and less money being spent on them! It takes a few seconds to ‘fizzy’ a bottle of water and you can make it as fizzy as you fancy!
Period Pants, Menstrual Cups & Washable Sanitary Towels
I have been using a menstrual cup for over a year now and no word of a lie, it’s life changing. You change in twice per day, empty it right down the loo and that’s that! No messing about with tampons, no being caught short or having to plan your day round being near a loo every four hours and it’s far more comfortable once you’ve got used to inserting it than a towel or tampon. But if you don’t fancy a cup then maybe period pants or washable sanitary towels might be a better option for you, and they definitely would be better for the environment!
There are of course so many more things you can start using if you’re not already including
- cloth/canvas shopping bags (keep some in the car and folded up in your handbag!)
- cloth nappies and reusable baby wipes,
- shampoos and shower gels that come in a sold bar format rather than in plastic bottles,
- home composting bins for food waste,
- pop in a water-saver for your toilet cistern (lots of local water companies send these out for free)
- unsubscribe from any magazine subscriptions in favour of online-editions,
- Use cut up muslins or tea towels as reusable kitchen roll
- Find a local ‘refill’ shop and take your old bottles and jars to fill up on things like laundry detergent, soap and so much more, including foods!
There are tonnes more ways you can start to make a difference, so please feel free to share them in the comments!