I started writing this blog at the beginning of 2020 and as well as writing about my opinions on green issues, I’ve blogged about what I’ve been doing adopt a greener living lifestyle.
As this crazy year draws to a close, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the changes I made throughout the year.
I found that if you change many things in one go, it becomes overwhelming so the best thing to do is to start a bit at a time and when they become automatic, pick something else. This has definitely worked for me.
Before I start, I think we can all agree that 2020 was a different year to any other. Yes, I am referring to COVID-19. This virus turned the whole world upside down so maybe not the best year to start this but changes still matter, even if they are small ones.
First thing I did was look at growing some food. I don’t have much of an outside space so it’s not like I could grow many different vegetables but I did successfully grow potatoes and strawberries. Also, I had a broken storage container which I repurposed to grow my potatoes in, really happy with that decision. And the strawberries were a hit too. I’ve been reliably informed there’s a chance I won’t ever have to buy strawberries again, that’s fine with me as I only eat it in the summer.
Zero Waste Shops
I bought more from the local zero waste shop. I absolutely detest throwing away empty plastic containers knowing they won’t be recycled into anything as useful as they previously were so I try, where I can, to buy plastic free. I rock up at the zero-waste shop with my containers and ask for them to be refilled, what could be easier than that?
I’ve also ditched disposable pens and opted for a fountain pen. Now, I know what you’re thinking – the ink cartridges come in disposable plastic – I have a solution. I bought a bottle of ink, which comes in a glass bottle, and a syringe. Once the ink in the cartridge has run out, I simply refill it. And the result, no plastic to landfill. It helps that I’ve always had a love for fountain pens.
I love my tea and it’s something I will never give up. When I discovered some teabags are made of plastic and some contained bits of plastic in the glue, I felt a little disgusted. Also, I don’t understand why teabags need to be bleached but that’s a whole different story. Upon doing some research, there are some brands that do not use any plastic in their teabags. I could have just switched to other plastic free bags. But I didn’t. Why? Because in the past, some brands (in general, not tea) quietly change their products and, in truth, I didn’t trust the brands to stick to their words. I know, not very trusting, am I? So, I buy loose tea and I use a tea diffuser. As someone who has always made tea with bags, it took a bit of getting used to but now, I don’t notice it.
Print on both sides of the paper
Over the last year or so, I have thought about whether I really need to print something. I’ve moved my business accounts to online and seldom use the printer. When I do have to print something, I automatically put the sheet of paper back in the printer the other side (once I no longer need the printout) so it’s ready to print on the other side as long as it’s not sensitive.
Earlier this year, I found out that supermarket receipts can’t be recycled as they are made from thermal paper. To say I was horrified was an understatement and I even wrote a blog about it. There are some supermarkets that don’t offer you the option to have a receipt but where I am given an option, I don’t request a receipt.
I’ve been waxing since my teens and have always used traditional wax strips available in shops. So, when I heard about DIY sugar waxing, I was intrigued. After checking out video upon video on YouTube, I don’t think I use sugar wax how it was intended. From what I can ascertain, you roll up a ball, smooth it on your skin and pull it off quickly, I found that hurt WAY TOO MUCH and was messy. I quickly realised that I needed strips, so I cut up a cotton shirt my partner no longer needed into strips and used them to help me instead. I’m not going to lie, it does still hurts but I don’t feel like my skin is being ripped off, a feeling I have been familiar with from using shop bought wax strips and, what’s better, it’s made of natural ingredients; sugar, lemon, salt and water. It’s a lot cheaper too, to wax both of my legs cost me eighty pence. Bargain and nothing to landfill!
I took part in Second-hand September and I really enjoyed it. I needed a new pair of jeans which I bought for £3 at a charity shop. That’s not all, I also bought a pack of unused bamboo toothbrushes – £1.99, books for my little one – £6, photo frames £2, Skirt (with the tag still on) – £2 and so much more. I’ve even introduced my Mum to charity shop. She’s in her sixties and had never been in a charity shop. She now loves it and sees that not everything needs to be brand new.
I found a pack of four unused bamboo toothbrushes in my local charity shop for £1.99. Once I have done with it, I can continue using them to clean around taps etc or I will pull the bristles out and put them in my eco brick and dispose of the bamboo in the compost.
I am so happy with the changes I have made in 2020 and have managed to encourage my family to join me. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2021 brings and the further changes I can make.
This proves anyone can make a change; you just need to start somewhere.