It is January 4th – or it was when I started writing this, something I feel like I’ve been doing forever – and so far I have done absolutely no prep for the year ahead. I like to start my year with a few lists of how I can better the things that are really important to me. Not resolutions as such, but how am I going to spend more time with my loved ones; how will I write more; how will I achieve my reading goals; and so on.
disappointingly, I’ve been unwell since the 28th of December, and I actually spent two days in bed, started to feel a bit better, then lost my voice. Hello laryngitis.
I’m feeling incredibly disconnected from, well, everything. I can’t even talk to my nearly 1-year-old son, because he can’t really tell what it is I’m doing when I try to say something to him, and hardly a whisper comes out. I feel exhausted because I’m awake coughing a lot, or the aforementioned child is keeping me awake at night. And as a result, I feel totally like I have lost my normal New Year gumption.
But that’s enough whining and negativity.
I know it’s the “in thing”to be anti-New-Year, and I guess maybe it’s because you’re expected to go from being a chain-smoking-steak-eating-cough-potato, to a healthy–vegan-marathon-runner at the stroke of midnight on NYE, and really, why? I mean, I suppose some people find it easier to set a goal from the beginning of something. The diet starts on Monday. I’ll start working at half past the hour. I start running next month. I will change my entire life from the 1st of January, whatever year it is.
Me, I’m on the fence. I will say for certain though, I do think that January should be a time for rest, reflection, positivity, and to eat your Christmas chocolates if you have any left. Get healthy once they’re gone.
It’s good to set goals for the year, it absolutely is. No matter how big or small, I think its healthy to think of things you want to change in your life, and write a plan on how you will achieve that by the end of the year. But that’s not to say that you have to pledge to start a diet on the 1st day of the 1st month of the year, or that you need to suddenly start taking piano lessons. If you don’t have anything you want to change, that’s totally fine. But that doesn’t mean that New Years Day is just another day. It’s still the start of the year. And even if you don’t have anything you want to change, no goals to set, maybe it can be a day of reflection. What did you enjoy so much of the past year, what are you planning on keeping the same. Or even just, hey its the 1st of January, why not stay in our PJ’s all day, eating sweets and watching films?
I digress. Now that’s off my chest, what I really wanted to talk about was a particular goal that we as a family have had in our minds for sometime.
Living a more eco-friendly, ethical lifestyle.
We have always tried, very hard to be kind to the planet. This past year in particular, we have made some big changes in our lives to help contribute to this, but I feel that 2019 is THE YEAR. We had a baby last year, and whilst I know that in itself contributes to climate change, we didn’t bring a child into the world, just to have him live in fear of the effects of us delightful humans destroying the planet.
So far, we’ve done the following –
Cloth nappies & wipes – Pretty much from the start of my pregnancy, we knew we wanted to use cloth nappies. Yes, they are bulky, yes it can be a bit gross, and yes, the initial cost is high. BUT. It does work out cheaper in the long run. We have approximately 35 nappies. They do cover different sizes and styles, so we aren’t currently using all 35. On top of that we have an unknown amount of boosters, 14 nappy covers, an unknown amount of cloth wipes, about 5 wet bags, a nappy bucket, and some washing sacks. Again, the nappy covers are different sizes, so we aren’t using them all at the moment. 20 of the actual nappies will do all sizes, and it’s just the covers that need to be changed as baby grows – but only twice because size 2 should do up to potty training. Those are the ones we started with, made by called Bamino Mio. We bought their birth to potty training kit which was perfect really. I had read not to stick with one style of nappy though, because babies come in different shapes and sizes. So we also have a selection of Tots Bots Bamboozle – my favourite nappy – most of which we bought pre-loved, making them even more affordable, and environmentally friendly. Finally, we have 3 Close Pop-in two of which were pre-loved. We actually also have a selection that I’ve not included in here, several pre-loved nappies of mixed brands, that aren’t that reliable but that we use as emergency nappies. Although when we run out, we generally do turn to disposable nappies, which sadly does happen. There’s nothing you can really do about the grossness of scraping a poop out of a cloth nappy, however I would say the thought of a pile of poo filled nappies sitting in a landfill turns my stomach much more. And yes, they are bulky, but I think that’s kind of adorable. My baby is really small, and they make him look like he has a huge bum, and its super cute. I spent a while doing some sums, trying to work out how they are better financially, but then I thought I would do one better and link you to a great website with lots of answers. If you want more than this, then a quick internet search should convince you.
recycle-I don’t really think I need to explain this one. However, I do think it’s important to talk about what we ae recycling. For years we have put things in our recycling bin that aren’t actually meant to go in, just because we assumed it was. Always check the packaging or online to find out if can go in your bin. Here is a good site that gives a list of commonly “recycled” items that can’t actually be recycled.
CSPs – Another one that some people seem to recoil at. Cloth sanitary pads, and other reusable sanitary products for that matter. This year I invested in about 7 pads – Bloom & Nora and Earthwise. They aren’t enough to get me through one full period, but it’s a start. I’ve been really unimpressed with disposable pads for a long time. They’re uncomfortable, they have a horrid perfumed smell, and much like the nappies, they’re terrible for the environment. I don’t do tampons, I never have. I find them extremely uncomfortable. I am considering trying a cup though. I’ve heard a lot of great reviews about them. If you are looking for an alternative to CSPs – you can actually buy cloth tampons as well – because you want to try to make a difference, but you can’t face CSPs, there is a brand I recently discovered called TOTM. They are made using organic cotton, they’re biodegradable, and they’re cruelty free. That ticks a lot of my boxes! They’re a really great company actually, so I feel confident that if I can’t increase my CSPs or if I need an emergency pack of pads, I can actually buy from a high street store or supermarket, something that’s good for both me and the environment.
General house hold changes – I stopped using sponges where possible. We don’t even have baby sponges, he has his own flannels. I started using old flannels for cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. I stared using a wooden tooth-brush, and we got cotton buds with paper sticks instead of plastic. We now use bars of soap instead of liquid soap. My husband switched to a safety razor. I got a Klean kanteen for my birthday.
Baby– Okay, the baby himself let’s out quite a bit of his own methane gas, and has produced quite a lot of his own waste. We try to offset that with aforementioned cloth nappies, and we got so much stuff second-hand. Almost all of his clothes are hand-me-downs. We bought a load of second hand stuff online. And when we do buy him new stuff, we try to make sure it ticks our ethical, green, eco boxes. Here are just a selection of a few bits and pieces he got for Christmas both of us, and others.
In short, we try not to bring in anything that is a single use plastic, or can be a form of waste. We try to compost what we can, recycle and reuse what we can. I even wrapped most of our presents using old pieces of material – scarves, muslin cloths, hessian – and string. Those that weren’t, were wrapped with brown paper and string, other than our nephews and niece, because we still wanted some excitement for them.
As 2018 drew to a close, I started to think that we could do better. So I set out on a mission. On top of our green mission, we’ve started to make more of an effort to buy from ethical companies, and to buy cruelty free products. All of my makeup is cruelty free, almost all of the chocolate I bought for my husband’s Christmas stocking was palm oil free and that’s the sort of life style we want to live.
Going forward we are going to be doing the following –
- Building our cloth nappy stash in the hope that we can exclusively cloth nappy. We will mostly be doing this by getting pre-loved nappies.
- Again, more CSPs, and possibly a cup. If I feel brave enough.
- House Hold Products – for Christmas, I received some beeswax wraps for food storage, some metal straws, a reusable washing up sponge, reusable make up remover pads and cotton buds with wooden sticks. I plan to expand these items and switch to safety razor.
- Ethical toiletries – I already have the make up down. I use Natural Source shower gel. But my shampoos, shaving foam, deodorant, all of that stuff, there is room for improvement.
- Cutting out companies that support palm oil, animal testing, and other unethical practices
- Making more from scratch. I can bake and cook, I often make my own bread. I need to make sure I stay on top of things like that, to avoid waste, to avoid supporting unethical companies and because it’s something I really enjoy.
- We’re trying to cut out meat, and shop wisely. We need to find a green-grocer, a butcher (if we decide we do want meat/if our son wants meat, because we don’t want to force him to be veggie) and weigh shop.
So there you have it. Call it a resolution if you like, or a goal. I call it my plan to help make the world a better place. I don’t expect everyone to jump on the “eco wagon” because it is a lot to take on. I think there will always be a way that we can improve as well. I’d like to think there is someone out there living the perfect eco life, but I just can’t picture it, but that’s only because there is always going to be something put out into the environment, and there is always going to be a resource used somewhere along the lines. Even if you made everything by hand, and lived off the land, you will still be effecting the environment, purely by existing.
That being said, even if everyone just made a single change, I think that would help. Just think – do you still buy bottled water? Do you get take out coffee? Do you use a coffee pod machine? You get the picture. My thought process going forward is basically going to be –
How does this effect the environment? What resources does it use? Can I use it more than once? How do I dispose of it? Who does it support? Do I really need it? Can I make it myself?
Now, who’s with me?
Here are a list of companies I recommend –
- Klean Kanteen – I wanted a Klean Kanteen for a little while, until my son bought me one for my birthday. Now, I want everyone to have them, and I want more of them. They are 100% plastic free, they keep drinks super cold, and super hot, they come in shapes and sizes, and they look pretty cool. I just have the classic, so it keeps my water really cold and fresh, which is great because I much prefer to carry a bottle round with me instead of drinking out of a glass.
- Frugi – Our son got his first adorable piece of Frugi clothing for Christmas. Made from organic cotton, and chemical free, this amazing company also uses plastic to make outer wear!
- Babi Pur – This is a fantastic site that sells a lot of the products I’m recommending, including the beautiful rainbow pictured above.
- Grimms – The maker of the aforementioned rainbow, they make fantastic quality, beautiful toys using sustainable materials.
- Plan Toys – This is quite possibly my favourite company. They use discarded rubber wood trees to make their toys, which are gorgeous. Every part of their process is planet friendly, they even use soy ink in their packaging!
- Lanka Kade – This company sells so many wonderfully stunning and imaginative toys. Again, using sustainable materials, and with great company values, this high up there on the list of companies that are becoming a regular name in this house hold.
- Le Van Toys – Another rubber wood using company, I’ve only just discovered them but their products look and feel amazing.
My list could go on and on, and it will. I’ll be updating you on our progress, and doing specials for particular areas of our eco-mission, but for now, that’s fine.