Tag Archives: plastic problem

Is Plastic Recycling Greenwashing?

We all have household bins in our homes and local councils encourage us to recycle to a point where we are shamed for not recycling, especially when it comes to plastic.

As consumers, we are told and expect our plastics to be taken away and recycled into new packaging and this is a big reason many of us recycle where we can. We all want to do our best for the environment and we trust what we are being told.

But I do wonder whether plastic recycling is a form of greenwashing.

According to Greenpeace, “Thousands of tonnes of our household plastic packaging put out for recycling, as well as other kinds of plastic waste ends up in waste incinerators in the UK” and there is a lot that is sent overseas which ends up being someone else’s problem.

Something that has bothered me for a while is the marketing from big corporations, businesses and supermarkets on recycling…the responsibility has been placed solely on the consumer.

And they’ve been very clever with it.

If we, as consumers, don’t recycle, how can the big company actually recycle the single-use plastic? The responsibility has fallen on us but bears no mention of fixing the issue at the source.

Companies such as TerraCycle are trying to do what they can but even they have admitted in the past that it’s not really a solution to our plastic issue.

Over the last few years, more and more zero waste shops have been popping up in town centres and following a refill station trial at a store in Leeds, Asda have decided to roll it out to another four stores.

Source: Asda

I genuinely don’t know why it’s taking so long for supermarkets to catch up. It seems like they’re really reluctant to move with the times. It’s so obvious that giving consumers options like this will dramatically reduce single-use packaging.

I do think householders still should recycle but the key is legislation. The UK government introduced a 5p charge on plastic carrier bags, before the charge was introduced in October 2015, the number of plastic bags used was 7.6 billion bags, in 2019-2020 it was reduced to 564 million.

This is proof that government intervention really does make a difference but the UK government seem really slow to make a meaningful change to push the responsibility back to manufacturers and corporations.

There are certain foods like rice and pasta which are packaged in plastic. I really don’t know why and I can’t seem to find an answer. It shouldn’t be cheaper to buy a plastic bag of fruit or vegetables than buying loose fruit or veg – that’s insane but I still see it. Maybe teaching school children the basics on growing some of their own food would be a good idea, but I guess that’s not how businesses make money.

If you would like to get started with sustainable living, check out my 30-day eco challenge.

The Big Plastic Count

Last week, I took part in The Big Plastic Count.

The founders of this fabulous initiative is Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic asking households to take part investigating how much plastic is used for a period of one week – 16-22 May 2022.

By collating all this data, they can provide the government evidence that more needs to be done with tackling single-use plastic.

At the time of writing this blog, over 188k people had signed up and it wasn’t just households, schools, community groups and businesses we also included to participate.

The layout of the form is clear and it’s easy to identify where the information needs to be logged.

After a week, I was surprised.

I’ve noticed that the number of fruit and veg trays I buy is a lot more than I usually used to. I have recently kept an eye out and started buying more yellow sticker foods (reduced), especially fruit.

When the weather is really nice, I do prefer to eat more fruit but despite attempting to buy fruit loose, there are some fruits that you can’t buy loose; Strawberries, blackberries, green and red grapes.

I have a bit of a crisps problem! I love crisps but the empty packet…not so much! I have attempted to make my own crisps but I can’t seem to get the knack of it. They come out as if they’ve been sitting around for a week. yuk. I haven’t given up, though. I will keep trying to find something that works for me.

Bread bags is another one. I do have bread bags but I’m glad I buy most of my fruit without packaging so this figure was quite low.

All in all, it is a really good exercise to determine how much plastic we are using in our households and thinking about how it can be reduced.

I know it can be hard seeing the results and thinking that you expected it to be better. Remember, you are doing your best, which is a million times better than not doing anything at all.

I’m just about to submit my results, it would be great to see the results from this.

I realised this was similar to the household waste analysis I created quite a while ago, If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out the free download

Green Blue Peter Badge

I recently had a major proud parent moment.

As a child, I absolutely loved watching Blue Peter. I will never forget the best make of all by Anthea Turner, Thunderbirds’ Tracey Island. I must admit, I wasn’t a fan of Thunderbirds but even I found it awesome watching this creation unfold on TV. We talked about it in school, watched other people fall over themselves trying to get hold of the instructions. It was HUGE!

As a parent, watching my 6-year-old daughter watch Blue Peter is a real joy and reminds me of my childhood.

She mentioned a while back about wanting to do something to get a Green Blue Peter badge so I looked online to see what she would need to do for a Green Blue Peter badge.

As an environmentalist, I make an effort to adapt my habits with the environment in mind and it turns out she’s been watching me and picked up a few habits.

She asked again if she could apply for one so I looked online to see the requirements.

The Pledges

Named Climate Heroes, there were three pledges she needed to do for at least a month; Power, Plastic and Plants.

Power – this one was to encourage children to save power; my daughter would always turn her nightlight off at the wall in the morning.

Plastic – reducing one piece of plastic from your lunch box. She has school dinners and takes a piece of fruit for a snack everyday.

Plant – planting something in the garden. As we are moving, I purposely haven’t planted anything this year as it could get damaged during the move so we sent in pictures of us litter picking (she asks to go litter picking!)

I filled in the online application, attached pictures and waited.

It was about four weeks later and this turned up in the post.

I can’t tell you who was more excited; me or my daughter. A major proud parent moment that I told anyone who would listen!

I think deep down inside, I had always wanted a Blue Peter badge but I was never encouraged to apply for one and watching her earn one for herself, I felt like she had achieved a dream of mine, as well as her own.

I strongly believe the key to slowing down climate change is education and one of the best places to start is with children. After all, they are inheriting the planet from us.

If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out my free download

What I’ve Learned So Far – Block 2 – The Arctic

When I tell people that I’m studying for a degree, they are interested in what I’ve been learning. I’ve done two years so far (another four to go) and my favourite was the first year. I absolutely loved it.

Here’s what I learned in my first year studying toward BSc (Hons) Environmental Science.

In one of the first questions I was asked at the start of the textbook was write down what images came to mind when I thought about the word ‘Arctic’. For me it was; polar bear, igloo, and a person shivering from the cold. It turns out the Arctic is much more than that.

The Arctic has always fascinated me. I find it incredible that an extracted cylinder of ice can tell us so much about the past. When I first saw a picture of an ice cylinder, the line markers for each year were clearly visible indicating the snowfall for that particular year, similar to the rings on a tree trunk. In one of the pictures, I recall seeing a line marker that was easy to pick out, the others were various shades of white, but not this one, it was black, this indicated a volcanic eruption, and by counting the lines allowed scientists to know which year this event occurred. The information that can be gathered isn’t only about volcanic eruptions, from the air bubbles trapped in the ice, we can determine what the CO2 level was the year that snow fell, these bubbles are ‘fossils’ frozen in time giving us clues about what the atmosphere was like thousands of years ago.

We learned about the people and animals who live in the Arctic circle. The indigenous people have so much knowledge that has been passed down the generations, what would happen if this information isn’t recorded somewhere? This crucial information could be lost forever. The block looked as the many voyages to the area and people’s idea of the region and looked at two maps; The Mercator projection and The Peters projection. For those who are fans of The West Wing, you will be familiar with the scene that discusses this in season 1. The map you’re familiar with, isn’t quite correct.

As the Arctic is melting, access to the region is becoming a real possibility for companies who would like to drill and/or use it as passage during the summer months benefitting in shorter journeys by sea.

Whenever I thought about the Arctic melting, I immediately became concerned about the animals and people who live in the region; how will they manage as the ice continues to melt. Although the region refreezes during winter, the area refrozen is reduces every year. How can they adapt to a quickly changing environment? It never even occurred to me there would be companies interested in the Arctic for opportunities to drill for fossil fuels and the damage they will almost certainly cause to the environment.

The thought of drilling in the Arctic makes me sad and one of the reasons companies haven’t actually followed through with their plan is because the weather is incredibly harsh during the winter months. I think that’s the Arctic’s saving grace at the moment. Sadly, I don’t know how long the Arctic will be able to keep these companies away?

The TMA question was for us to pretend to be a curator of a museum, selecting five items with the theme ‘Exploitation of resources in the Arctic’. Once we had selected our five items, we had to write an audio guide for it.

Reducing our household waste is a really great way to start helping to protect our environment. If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out my free download

Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products – Review

About eighteen months ago, I ditched my pads and tampons for eco-friendly alternatives and I’ve wanted to write a review about them but I’ve always been hesitant. I wasn’t sure why? Until now…

I recently started reading Brown Girl Like Me by Jaspreet Kaur. In the book, there is a section about periods and I quickly realised the reason I was hesitant to talk about periods is because growing up in a South Asian household, periods are a taboo subject. We rarely spoke about it. I never spoke to my cousins about it and I learned what I know from talking to my white friends and reading magazines like Just Seventeen (I’m showing my age!)

I’ve decided to take this taboo and kick it to the curb!

Here goes!

Women’s Environmental Network state on their website that menstrual pads can contain up to 90% plastic and 2 billion menstrual items are flushed down Britain’s toilets each year. This is absolutely shocking.

I had been using tampons since my late teens (pads before then) and I had been flushing tampons down the toilet, because that’s what I was told to do. 

According to Friends of the Earth, menstrual products flushed down the toilet causes sewers to block (just like wet wipes). Many enter the sea and on beaches and the rest end up being incinerated or sits on landfill. Not to mention the plastic tampon applicators – you can follow Ella Daish about ending period plastic.

Menstrual Cup

I opted for this first because I have been using tampons for years. I did some research and read reviews on the main brands and chose the Moon Cup. 

It takes quite a bit of getting used to it as it acts like a suction cup and found it a bit of a pain to use. When I’m tired, I could easily change my tampon without even thinking about it but with this, I needed to pay attention all the time. I work from home so emptying the cup wasn’t an issue, not sure how I would get on if I worked in an office. There are cleaning instructions you need to follow after you finished your period to ensure the cup is hygienic. Personally, I found it a bit of a faff but I know other’s who absolutely love it. 

Period Pants

As someone who hasn’t worn pads since my teens (and after I had my child), I was a bit reluctant to try these but I didn’t want to go back to tampons. 

Again, I did my research and read reviews. I ended up opting for five pairs I found in Sainsburys. I have to say, I was really surprised at them. I expected the pad to be uncomfortable, like I had a nappy on, but it wasn’t like that at all. The brand I bought also included odour control and, as someone who is prone to heavy periods, I was really conscious about leaking through my jeans. This wasn’t an issue at all.

In the morning, I rinsed my the pants I had been wearing last night while I’m in the shower which rinsed off most of the blood (there isn’t actually that much) and then pop it in the washing machine for a proper wash.

It was easy and I prefer period pants, if I go swimming and I’m on my period, I will use my menstrual cup. 

The best advice I can give is to do your research, ask your friends and/or family for recommendations.

For both products, always read and follow the instructions. 

I appreciate the initial cost my be a bit pricey but in the long run, you will save money and you will be helping the environment. 

If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out my free download and do follow me on Instagram

What is Imperfect Environmentalism?

Since I’ve become more aware of my actions and how they affect the environment, I’ve joined many online groups: listening, reading and learning from others. I think it’s important to take part in discussions and debates, it allows us to understand a subject from a different perspective.

I absolutely love the collaboration and meeting like minded individuals with the same goal. The one thing I find unhelpful is when individuals are shamed for not doing things the ‘right way’. In my opinion, this is counterproductive and holds some people back.

I don’t believe there is only one way to live sustainably.

Being an imperfect environmentalist means you care about the environment and want to do what you can adapt your habits to reduce your impact – ‘do what you can’ this is the key and this will be different for everyone.

Where you live, finances, availability, convenience, trust in companies are some factors when it comes to wanting to live sustainably.

There is a quote I remember reading a while back, I think it was by Anne Marie Bonneau who said

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly

This sums it up perfectly!

Where do I start?

Every plastic straw you refuse is doing something, every time you walk instead of using the car, buy loose instead of pre-packed fruit and vegetables – they all make a difference. I’m not saying get rid of your car, for a lot of people this isn’t possible but using it less still makes a difference.

There are areas I don’t do well; I still eat meat – although it’s not as much as I used to – and other areas I know I am making a difference by swapping my plastic razor to a safety razor. Break Free From Plastic produced a Global Brand Audit Report in 2020 which stated Coca Cola was the top worst polluter and I still drink coke (In the cans, I refuse to buy plastic bottles). I try to buy things in glass bottles as they’re widely recycled instead of plastic but, for some, the price is a factor. That’s OK.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Being ‘perfect’ is only going to lead to overwhelm, that’s how I started and I wouldn’t recommend it. When I tried to do everything I found it stressful and I burned myself out, I had to reset and start again.

Start on one area in your home – bathroom is usually a good place to start – take shorter showers, shampoo bars, safety razors, bamboo toothbrush. Once you’re happy with the changes, move to the next area in your home.

If you’re unsure of where to start, I created a 30-day Eco Swap Challenge, it’s $7 and will help you get started.

Do what works for you and don’t forget to keep learning. Most of us didn’t learn about sustainable living at school, we’re all trying to figure it out as adults. Join local litter-picking groups, learn from people who educate others, listen to the science, write to your MP, if you have an outside space – start with learning to grow potatoes, switch off lights when you don’t need them.

We need to stop shaming people for not doing things ‘our way’ and remember that progress, in whatever form, is always better than nothing.

Above all, be kind to yourself – start small, do what you can, build from there

30-Day Eco Swap Challenge

Are you up for a challenge?

Since I started my blog, my friends and family have asked me for my opinions on sustainable living and eco swaps.

I love that they ask me for advice because I love helping others to learn to live sustainably and I will always give my honest opinion.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

A message from my wonderful friend

More recently, I’ve had messages from people who follow me on Instagram and they often ask me for my suggestions on alternatives.

Just last week, someone messaged me to say they tried Wild deodorant and he found it irritated his skin. I asked him if he tried the sensitive range and he wasn’t aware that Wild had a sensitive range – he’s going to give that a go – I helped 😊

Something else I noticed is that, even though we’re all trying to do our best, some don’t know where to start. That was me when I started so I got to thinking cap on to see how I can help others?

After quite a few weeks of thinking about it, I figured out what to do.

I’m so excited to have created the 30-day Eco Swap Challenge.

Everyday for 30 days, there is one item that can be swapped for an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative – what it is, what impact it has on the environment and where to get it from.

Some are easy, some may take a little longer, there’s a wildcard and some where you won’t have to buy anything at all.

I’m a firm believer in starting small, doing what you can and building from there – for me, there isn’t a right or wrong to sustainable living – doing something is always better than not doing anything.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching, creating this guide and included links to other articles for further reading/stats (can you tell I’m an Open University student?! LOL)

At a one-off price of £7, the challenge can be started when you’re ready.

Do let me know how you get on

Environmental Awareness Days 2022

At the start of last year, I posted a list of environmental awareness days for 2021 and I received quite a few messages from people who said they found it really helpful and referred back to it throughout the year.

So, I’m doing the same again this year!

Please note, this isn’t a comprehensive list list.

January

  • Veganuary 1st January to 31st January – This is an annual challenge which helps educate and promote veganism. The purpose is to encourage people to explore a vegan lifestyle throughout the month.
  • Big Garden Birdwatch – January 5, 2022 – February 22, 2022 – This is organised by the RSPB and encourages everyone, young and old, to spend some time outside monitoring and recording birds you seen. Afterwards, the information is submitted via their website and allows them to record how many birds there are in the UK.
  • Houseplant Week UK – January 10, 2022 – January 16, 2022 – Houseplants are brilliant at purifying the air, this week is a perfect opportunity to find out which houseplant to buy. A good place to start is a blog I wrote last year about the plants I have.
  • Big Energy Saving Week – January 17, 2022 – January 22, 2022 – This week is dedicated to how to cut your energy use and how to save money. This initiative is lead by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The website is full of tips and ideas.

March

  • Compost Week – March 14, 2022 – March 20, 2022 – As the name suggests, this week is dedicated to composting and its benefits. Composting is becoming quite popular and it’s really healthy for your garden. If you’re a newbie, the link is a great place to start.
  • Global Recycling Day – March 18, 2022 – Started in 2018, this day is recognise and promote recycling and the importance it plays on the future of our planet.
  • World Water Day – March 22, 2022 – This day educates us about how vital it is to have clean water. Even today, there are still parts of the world that do not have access to safe drinking water and water pollution affects many lives.

April

  • Walk to Work Day – April 1, 2022 – Not only does walking provide great health benefits, it’s also good for the environment. Plus, walking doesn’t cost anything.
  • Community Garden Week – April 4, 2022 – April 10, 2022 – This week takes the opportunity to celebrate schools and community gardens up and down the country. Learning to love our gardens has been lost in the last few decades. Working together and inspiring each other, what’s not to love?
  • Earth Day – 22nd April – This movement has been going since 1970 and their aim is to educate and encourage individuals to protect our planet. You can sign up to their newsletter and keep up to date with their progress and campaigns.
  • Stop Food Waste Day – April 27, 2022 – The amount of food wasted is eye-watering. The website provides great tips and creative ways to reduce food waste.

May

  • No Mow May – 1st May to 31st May – I found out about this campaign about two years ago and it’s a brilliant initiative. The idea is that you don’t cut your grass for a whole month, allowing flowers to bloom which are a vital source of nectar for bees and other insects. Ever heard of a ‘scaremow’? – click on the link to the National Trust Website to find out more.
  • Sun Awareness Week – May 3, 2022 – May 8, 2022 – This is a campaign led by The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) to educate and highlight the dangers of UV radiation from the sun. Their website has some great ways about staying safe when the sun is shining.
  • Water Saving Week – May 17, 2022 – May 22, 2022 – This week is to raise to raise awareness of the issues around water usage. Promoting ways we can use it efficiently everyday.
  • The Great British Spring Clean – May 28, 2022 – June 13, 2022 – Encouraging you to pledge whatever time you have, even if its an hour, and use that time to go litter picking or join a litter picking group.
  • National Children’s Gardening Week – May 28, 2022 – June 5, 2022 – Use this week to celebrate the joy gardening holds for children. They love getting their hands dirty and it’s a great way to teach the next generation about gardening.

June

  • World Environment Day – 5th June – On the same day every year, this day is dedicated to our environment. A healthy eco-system is the key to life on this planet.
  • Bike Week – June 6, 2022 – June 12, 2022 – In partnership with Cycle UK, this annual campaign is to celebrate cycling and its many benefits. Also, this a brilliant way to reduce your carbon footprint!
  • Garden Wildlife Week – June 6, 2022 – June 12, 2022 – An annual celebration of the natural world around us, including the plants and animals who live in it.
  • World Oceans Day – 8th June – This day aims to raise awareness of the importance our oceans play and how it helps to sustain a healthy planet. There is a lot in the media about plastic entering the ocean. Sign up to get involved.
  • World Refill Day – June 16, 2022 – I remember this from 2020. In an effort to prevent plastic pollution, this campaign highlights and encourages us to make the swap from single-use plastic bottles to reusable ones. Time to join the refill revolution!

July

  • Plastic Free July – 1st July to 31st July – This is a global campaign I am incredibly passionate about and encourages us to make changes to reduce our plastic use. I even wrote a blog about what I did for 2020. Small changes do a massive difference and I would encourage everyone to make a change. If you’re on Instagram, check out my profile.
  • Plastic Bag Free Day – 3rd July – This is a global campaign to eliminate the use of single-use plastics which is part of the Break Free From Plastic movement. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a plastic bag! Their website also has some interesting facts about the different types of plastic used in bags.
  • Don’t Step on a Bee Day – 10th July – Bees are vital to the planet’s ecosystem. Check out my blog about bees.
  • Love Parks Week – July 23, 2022 – July 31, 2022 – An initiative launched by Keep Britain Tidy, it encourages us to visit and enjoy our local parks.

August

  • National Allotments Week – August 9, 2022 – August 14, 2022 – This week is to celebrate the importance of allotments and their benefits; I strongly believe learning how to grow your own food should be a life skill. If you can’t get an allotment, you can grow food in your garden or windowsill.

September

  • Organic September – 1st September to 30th September – The vision of this campaign is to bring awareness by exploring and eating organic food and to educate people about farming practices in growing organic food.
  • Recycle Week – September 20, 2022 – September 25, 2022 – As the name suggests, it’s a week to promote and encourage recycling. This is Recycle Now’s flagship event to celebrate recycling up and down the country.
  • The Great British Beach Clean – September 17, 2022 – September 25, 2022 – Every year, thousands of people give involved in cleaning up our beaches. It also gets you outside and there’s nothing like breathing in sea air!
  • FSC Friday – September 24, 2022 – Promoting awareness about forest management and the vital role they play in climate change.

October

  • Unblocktober – 1st October to 31st October – This campaign promotes awareness for our sewers, drains and waterways by changing our habits at home. The amount of items flushed down their drains that can cause blockages is startling. I’m sure we are becoming aware of what baby wipes do to blockages. Their website has some brilliant ideas.
  • No Disposable Cup day – 4th October – as the name suggests, it asks everyone not to take a disposable cup for that day. Personally, I think everyday should be disposable cup day!
  • National Clean Air Day – 8th October – Their aim is to help protect children from polluted air. Their website states ‘Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.’

December

  • World Soil Day – December 5th, 2022 – Learning about the soil and it’s maintenance is vital for food production. Chemicals used in food production around the world is leaving large areas of land unusable as the soil is no longer fertile enough to grow food.

If there are any other events that you feel should be mentioned, please do let me know 💚

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Litter Picking At The Beach

Last month, in the UK, the kids were off for a week for half-term. I asked my 6-year-old what she wanted to do and one of the things she asked to do was litter picking on the beach.

Being an eco-warrior myself, I couldn’t help smiling.

We usually go litter picking in our local area and we have had positive comments and smiles from people passing but we’ve never done it on the beach.

It was a bright, sunny day on the beach in Folkestone, Kent, armed with our litter pickers we asked my friend, Rachel, to join us as she lived locally.

When we’re litter picking in our local park, we tend to find the usual suspects; crisp packets, McDonald’s packaging, sweet wrappers, bottles and polystyrene fast food trays.

Here’s a few photos of what we found at the beach

We found the odd bottle cap and sweet wrappers but the main thing we found was bit of nets used in fishing. There were so many little pieces of them littered everywhere along the stretch of beach.

Who knows how long they’ve been in the sea or sitting on the beach ready to be washed out again by the tide and we all know what this does to wildlife.

If you’ve got 30-minutes to spare, grab a litter picker and a bag and pick up litter – it doesn’t even have to be at the beach. You’ll get a bit of exercise, some fresh air, you’ll be doing something for your community and it’s free to do!

Do something green today 💚

Eco Discovery Subscription Boxes Coming Soon

I recently wrote a post about the plastic we get when we send or receive gifts from loved ones. More individuals are becoming eco-conscious and want to start changing their habits to live a more sustainable lifestyle. 

But where do you start?

Sustainable Living Products

So many eco-friendly products come on the market all the time, it seems like the choices available to us are vast and can be incredibly overwhelming.

  • Is the product good?
  • I don’t know anyone who has tried this
  • I don’t have time to keep looking for something eco-friendly
  • I want to support a small business but I don’t see their stuff
  • How can I find out about new eco-friendly products?
  • I want to try myself first before I buy for a friend

All of the above were examples of what I said to myself. 

Since launching my blog, Easy Peasy Greeny, I have tried a lot of different products; some good, some not so good, and some I don’t even want to mention. I won’t lie, it can be overwhelming because I didn’t know where to start either. 

This is exactly why I am launching a subscription box service with eco-friendly products called Eco Discovery Subscription Box, some of the products I am already familiar with.

My aim is to take the hassle and headache away from YOU and it will be delivered direct to your door.

There will be two options

Option 1

A quarterly subscription box that will contain 4 – 6 items and will be posted on a set day. In addition to discovering new products, every three months, your box will include a bamboo toothbrush because you should always change your toothbrush every 3 months, one less thing for you to remember!

Option 2

An eco-friendly box for a one-off payment, there will only be a limited number of boxes. I’m currently working on Safety Razor starter boxes which will contain a safety razor, razor blades, a jute bag and a bar of shaving soap. I’ve got quite a few ideas on some other boxes so I will let you know about when they’re ready.

All orders will come with a handwritten note on seed paper so you can pop the note in a plant pot and let the seeds grow.

Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home

I’m in the process of launching something I’m really excited about. A guide called Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home.

Since I started this blog in January 2020, I’ve learned so much about sustainable living, a lot of which, I have adapted into my own lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, I’m still learning everyday and one person’s vision of sustainable living doesn’t always necessarily compare to someone else’s vision.

I remember at the beginning I was trying to change so many things in one go and found it so overwhelming. I wanted to live plastic-free, look at everything I was buying, only buy locally because the carbon footprint will be lower, companies I buy from and their view on sustainability, clothes that were environmentally friendly and so on.

What I quickly realised is that, by trying to do everything in one go, I wasn’t doing anything well. I was trying to change a habit I’ve had for the last 40 years in a short period of time, and I failed miserably.

I decided to take a step back and pick on one thing.

Looking back on where I am now from where I was, I realised how difficult it was to get information. Of course, the internet is jam packed with a wealth of information, but it’s knowing where to look and whether it’s reliable too.

I wish I had somewhere to start from; a guide, a handbook, a manual, something to steer me in the direction I wanted to go.

This was the reason I wrote Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home. To be able to give you the chance to start your mission into sustainable living without the confusion and overwhelm I had. To pass on what I have learned so far, give you guidance on where to look for information about clothing materials and toxins found in cleaning products, what recycling symbols mean and what greenwashing actually is.

I’m not a scientist or an environmental professional, I am someone who is looking to help others live sustainably based on what I’ve learned so far.

Since the start, there’s something that has always come back to me:

I’m not sure if I heard it somewhere or if I came up with it myself, but I always say this to people.

So, you’re probably wondering, what’s in this guide?

 8 sections – Introduction, Household Waste, Cleaning, Kitchen, Bathroom, Fashion, Carbon Footprint, Conclusion
 13 accompanying PDF downloads
 Editable PDF downloads, no need to print them off
 Introduction videos for each section
 Lifetime access
  Work through the course in your own time

How much is the guide?

The full price of this guide will be £57. That’s it, less than a full tank of fuel.

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7 Quotes For Environmentalists

I call myself an environmentalist and since starting my blog back in January 2020, I have come across many who are doing amazing work and are inspiring.

One thing I absolutely love are quotes. I use them across my social media and quotes can be so powerful. I’ve put together a little list of some of my favourites

“If you are fearful of the destruction of the environment, then learn to quit being an environmental parasite.” —Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quote

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”
—Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall quote

“A nation that destroys is soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR quote

“Grow food, not lawns.” -unknown

Grow food, not lawns quote

“We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” ~ Barack Obama

“We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” Barack Obama

“Together and united, we are unstoppable.” ~ Greta Thunberg

“Together and united, we are unstoppable.” Greta Thunberg

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” – Sir David Attenborough

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” Sir David Attenborough

Share some of your favourite quotes

Unwrap The Plastic Crisis

Buying gifts for loved ones is such a lovely thing to do, for me, seeing a friend or relative open a present I bought them and seeing their face light up means more to me than how much I spent on their gift. It makes the other person feel good which makes us feel good too.

Every year, we buy gifts for loved ones; Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Anniversary, Valentines day, Mother’s Day, Father’s day, secret santa and those are just the ones that come up year after year at the same time, let’s not forget the one-off ones; leaving present, baby shower, new baby, Weddings. There are so many occasions we celebrate with those that are important to us and it’s great to share the love. 

I need you to think back at, let’s say, Christmas. Think about all the gifts you received from friends, family, colleagues. Think about how you felt..I bet you felt good. 

Now think about what they were wrapped in? And the packaging? Do you remember seeing gift tags with glitter? What about plastic ribbons? If you received clothes, was the tag attached with a plastic loop? Did any of the packaging come in plastic bags or sleeves? 

Now think about the gifts you have purchased for others? Can you see a plastic pattern? I spent Plastic Free July looking at ways I could buy gifts for friends and family that didn’t include plastic and I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. 

The amount of packaging that ends up in landfill after Christmas is eye-watering. According to GWP 

  • An extra 30% of rubbish is produced and discarded throughout the festive period when compared with the rest of the year. This additional waste will be in the region of 3 million tonnes
  • Approximately £42 million of unwanted Christmas presents are thrown out in landfill each year
  • Brits will also bin what equates to 108 million rolls of wrapping paper. This means that approximately 100 million black bags full of packaging from toys and gifts are discarded

We cannot sustain this level of waste. We all love buying gifts for loved ones but we need to start really looking at what we buy.

Something massive corporations don’t like us knowing is that, as consumers, we have an incredible amount of power when it comes to the purchases we make. We can literally make or break a product/brand/line – if no one buys it, it’s back to the drawing board for their creative team. 

Start looking at what you are buying and be careful about Greenwashing, marketing companies love to trick us but we are wising up to their tactics. Here are some tips to help you

  • Can you see plastic?
  • Do you have a zero-waste shop near you
  • Is the packaging paper/cardboard and can it all be recycled?
  • If it comes in plastic, does the store offer a recycling drop off recycling facility?
  • Have you looked online to see if there is an eco-friendly alternative?
  • Eco-friendly subscription boxes are a great way to cut out the plastic

There are so many eco-friendly products coming on the market everyday but these are sometimes drowned out by massive corporations shouting about their own products. Read my blog about greenwashing and how to identify it.

5 Easy Eco-Friendly Swaps For The Bathroom

There are so many products we use in the bathroom that are encased in plastic and they don’t need to be. The bathroom is the easiest place where you can make eco-friendly swaps.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

Here is a list of some of my favourites (and they are easy ones too!) plus where to buy them!

Bamboo buds

Buds have many uses but, like a lot of things, they are plastic. The plastic tubes end up everywhere and cause all sorts of problems, especially when it enters the sea. Bamboo buds are eco-friendly and will decompose easily. I put mine in the food waste. When I have some more space and start composting, I will pop them in the compost bin.


Safety Razor

If you’ve read by blogs before, you will know that I’m a huge fan of safety razors! They’re friendly to the environment and they last a very long time. Read my previous blog about them.


Body Soaps and Shaving Bars

Soap bars tend to be sold in mixed paper/plastic wrappers which are difficult to recycle and are no friend to the environment. Swapping to bars is a great choice and are easily found in boxes and even without any packaging.


Bamboo toothbrush

Think about all the toothbrushes you have used in your life, did you know they are still around? Plastic toothbrushes are terrible to the environment. Bamboo ones are eco-friendly and they only need to be replaced every three months. You can also buy them for children too.


Dental floss

Dental care is so important and you shouldn’t neglect your gums. Which is why I over the moon when I found these beauties.


If you have any other swaps, let us know 💚

Wild Deodorant – Product Review

As we all are aware, deodorants come in all shapes and sizes but you will have noticed that they come in single-use plastic containers. Not good for the environment.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

I noticed Wild Deodorant a few months ago but I wasn’t sure about it. Is this just another product telling us they’re good for the environment when they’re not? Claiming to be the “world’s first zero-plastic deodorant refill.”

Let’s find out…

Their mission is “to be a pioneer in sustainable and natural personal care, acting as a positive catalyst to raise the standards of sustainability across the bathroom. We want to build a progressive and inclusive business that makes switching to natural and sustainable products possible without compromise.”

Their website allows one-off purchases or subscription boxes. I opted for the one-off purchase as I wanted to see what it’s like first. There is an option for sensitive skin and my purchase included 3 refills. I chose fresh cotton and sea salt. The other options they have are:

Mint & Eucalyptus
Coconut Dreams
Bergamot Rituals

Orange Zest
Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt
Sandalwood and Patchouli

The order arrived within a few days and turned up in a letterbox friendly box.

Already a good start!

I’ve never used this product before and I thought I would create a reel on instagram opening the box and assembling it. If you like the song by KSI – Holiday, unmute it!

As you can see, it was simple to put together! Easy Peasy Greeny!

It’s now been a month since I made my purchase and I have to say. I absolutely love it!

Deodorants I’ve used before, I found that they don’t tend to last all day and by the evening, I notice a faint smell of BO, no thanks! I didn’t have that issue with this deodorant. I really does last all day. And that’s what you want from a deodorant.

Apparently, it takes a week or so for your body to get used to it but I didn’t have this. There are no harsh chemicals, and it got me thinking of the chemicals I must have been rolling on my pits for years! They don’t include parabens, aluminium or sulphates and are suitable for vegans!

The twist bottom is easy enough to use, the case is sleek, available in a variety of colours; it’s easy to hold, easy to refill and the refill cases can be composted.

I contacted Wild to find out which scents were suitable for men – Mint & Eucalyptus, Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt and Sandalwood & Patchouli.

I’ve found a deodorant I’m really happy with.

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Sleek case
  • Variety of scents
  • Option for sensitive skin
  • Plastic-free
  • Refills cases are compostable
  • Easy to use
  • Letterbox friendly

Cons

  • Price (this is genuinely the only con I can think of!)

For some people, the price is going to be an issue. The refills are £6 each (you have to buy 3 at a time) or £5 each if you buy a refill subscription. For me personally, the price isn’t really an issue. I was paying £5 each for my previous Sure deodorant and as this actually works and lasts, I don’t mind the price.

All in all, I love this product and I highly recommend it.

If you want to give this product a go, I’ve got a link for 10% off your first order with code AFFXY10

Let me know how you get on 💚💚💚💚💚💚

Recycling in the UK with TerraCycle

Since TerraCycle came to the UK in 2009, its recycling programmes have grown in popularity. The company boasts that 80% of us living in the UK now have a TerraCycle collection point, for hard to recycle waste, within just four miles. This seems like a fantastic step forward to reducing waste for landfill and incineration, and we can all get involved. However, as TerraCycle’s founder agrees “We can’t recycle our way out of waste. We need to change our buying habits to support durable goods, used goods and ideally not buying whatsoever“.

Reading about TerraCycle and its founder Tom Szaky, it’s evident that his heart is in the right place, and the company and sister companies are earnestly trying to find sustainable solutions to the global garbage problem. It’s good to know that serious thinkers like Szaky are calling for a complete gear change when it comes to waste, and we can see that large corporations, brands, retailers and manufacturers are being involved at ground level. However, it’s also obvious TerraCycle hasn’t ‘solved’ the problem. Well not yet!

So, is it worth getting involved in their recycling programmes?

Why we need to do our bit

We all know that burying or incinerating our waste is detrimental to the environment, wildlife and us. Our waste problem affects air-pollution, land-pollution, delicate ecosystems and global warmingix. The facts are undeniably stark, especially when it comes to plastic:

Did you know?

Looking at the UK’s household waste statistics it’s easy to see we’re not doing nearly enough when it comes to dealing with our garbage. From 2010 to 2019 the volume of waste collected per person has fallen by roughly only eight percent. Recycling rates of household waste in England were only 43.8% as of March 2020.

“One issue with the amount of recycling that can be done in England is that not all local authorities collect the same materials. As recently as 2017, just 18% of local authorities in England collected plastic film, nearly half as many as in Wales, which has a significantly higher recycling rate than England. Currently, plastics account for just 8.5% of the composition of dry recycling waste from households in England.”

Recycling rate of household waste in England 2010-2020

Published by Ian Tiseo, March 17, 2021

If we continue to rely on local authorities to collect our waste we’re simply not tackling the problem. And this is where changing our habits is key. One way to do this is to look at the services that TerraCycle offer.

What is Terracycle?

TerraCycle was founded by 19-year-old Tom Szaky in 2001, and was primarily to help eliminate the idea of waste by making quality fertiliser from food waste. As the company grew, Szaky knew that producing fertilizer was not the solution to the world’s waste problem and decided to focus his efforts on the wider problem of how waste is recycled.

In a 2020 interview he said, “We decided that we needed to switch the ‘hero’ of our equation from the product to the garbage, and that’s what led to what the company is today.”

Since refocusing the business, TerraCycle now runs several recycling schemes, and launched the first ever recycling programme for cigarette butts in 2021.

TerraCycle’s mission statement is “Whether it’s coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste.”

How TerraCycle works

It’s quite easy to take advantage of TerraCycle’s recycling services, but to begin you need to think about which one of their schemes you want to join, as there are quite a few. At first, I assumed I could just collect all my recycling, bag it up and have it collected. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but thankfully the TerraCycle website is straightforward and simple to use. Here’s an overview of the many schemes you can get involved with…

Free Recycling Programmes

TerraCycle offers a range of free recycling programmes in partnership with brands, manufacturers and retailers. Instead of bagging up all your hard to recycle plastics together, you can target specific packaging and waste. For example, you can recycle Acuvue® Contact Lenses, bread bags, crisp packers, Colgate® Oral B Care products, pet food pouches, cheese packaging, Febreze® Air Fresheners and even Ferrero Rocher packaging. There’s also a beach plastic recycling programme for rigid beach plastic you find along the shoreline, but as of April 2021 this programme is not accepting new members in the UK

Three ways this recycling get collected

  1. Drop off recycling at your nearest local collection point, which you can find using interactive maps on the TerraCycle website.
  2. If you can’t find a collection point within a five-mile radius of your house, you can set up a drop-off location in a public place.
  3. Alternatively, become a private collector and arrange a free pick-up using labels printed from their website.

Collecting TerraCycle points

TerraCycle points are credited to the accounts of public drop-off location administrators and private collectors as a reward for their collection efforts. Points can be redeemed into financial donations to the charity or school chosen by the owner of the points.

So what if you can’t find what you want to recycle in these free programmes?

For waste that can’t be recycled through the Free Recycling Programmes for whatever reason, TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box™ Solution may be the answer.

Zero Waste Box™ Solution

You still can’t put all your recycling in one box for this one, so you still have to look on the website and see what kind of waste you want to recycle. This scheme doesn’t just stick to specific brands and takes more generalised waste such as 3D printing materials, baby equipment, glue sticks, glasses and school backpacks. Plus, one that particularly caught my eye, disposable gloves and face masks. It seems if you can’t find what you want to recycle in the free programmes, paying for a box is the answer.

How much do they cost?

This all seems great but you do have to pay out a considerable amount for the boxes themselves. You choose from small, medium or large boxes depending on how much you estimate you will collect. To buy an All-In-One Zero Waste Box™ you pay £151.39 for a small box, £246.46 for a medium box or £415.60 for a large box. The good thing is that this particular box takes non-hazardous waste including flexible and rigid plastics such as art supplies, eye wear, home cleaning accessories, office supplies, beverage capsules and party supplies.

TerraCycle say, “The Zero Waste Box™ system is convenient and easy to use, making it the perfect option for households, schools, businesses, manufacturing facilities, and events looking to offset their impacts and lighten their footprint”.

So, where does the waste go and how is it recycled?

TerraCycle promise that collected waste won’t end up as litter, in landfill or incineration, but instead will be used to make new materials and products. Unlike municipal recycling, they focus on a wide range of waste streams. They work with scientists and specialists to analyse the materials to determine the right way to break it down into its building blocks and how to process it into new materials.

The different material types are cleaned, then sent to third-party processing partners that recycle the materials into usable forms. Metals and aluminium are shredded and smelted into metal sheeting, ingots or bar stock. Glass is crushed and melted to be used in new glass bottles or brick, cement or concrete applications. Rubber is generally cryo-milled to freeze, then size-reduced into a powdered state for flooring applications. Organics are composted or used in industrial and commercial fertilisers. Plastics are melted and reformatted into pellets, flakes or a powder format.

But here’s the rub

Speaking to the World Economic Forum (WEC) during a live Facebook webinar in February 2016, Tom Szaky said, “We show that if you promote recycling platforms around waste then you will drive consumerism”. This is the main criticism of TerraCycle’s Recycling Programmes and Zero Waste Box Solution™. While these schemes are great, they’re not giving an incentive to big companies like Nestlé, Walkers, Pepsi to change their thinking on how they package their products.

TerraCycle’s solution – Loop

To give TerraCycle their due, they recognised the problem and in 2019 launched their most ambitious attempt yet to eliminate plastic waste from the household shop. Their new solution is Loop, which sits alongside their previous schemes. 

Szaky says, “The idea for Loop came up when I was talking to colleagues. We asked ourselves whether or not recycling and making products from recycled content was going to solve the garbage problem. We realised that it’s an incredibly important thing to do, but it’s only solving the symptom of waste and not really eliminating the idea of it – or solving the root cause.”

As they say on the website: “Why own a product’s packaging (and have to throw it away when you’re done), when all we really want is the stuff inside? With Loop, temporarily place a 100% refundable deposit to borrow the packaging, and we’ll professionally clean and reuse it once you’re finished”.

Loop is now available in the UK in partnership with Tesco and is the UK’s first online shopping service that delivers food, drink and household essentials from leading brands in reusable packaging. Loop is currently being used for some 300+ products, including Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Crest mouthwash and personal care product Dove.

But can we all do even better?

TerraCycle’s recycling programmes are a great start and perfect if you rely on products such as contact lenses and baby products and want to ensure they are recycled responsibly. However, looking at the long list of waste they take on, you have to ask yourself if using alternative products is just a whole lot smarter. There are plenty of sustainable eco-friendly swaps you can make, and ways to upcycle at home. Plus, we need to start asking ourselves if we can do without items such as coffee machines, plastic cotton buds, wet wipes, disposable gloves and disposable masks.

If you want to see how TerraCycle can help you do your bit, take a look at their two websites https://loopstore.co.uk/ and https://www.terracycle.com/

But remember to check in with this blog for tips on how you can make easy, smart choices which will help the environment without perpetuating the problem by checking out this blog. You can also sign up to our newsletter

Why Switching to a safety razor is a great choice

How many razors do you think you’ve disposed of so far? 20? 30? 40? More than that?

Shaving is an area that is incredibly disposable but it’s also one of the simplest eco-friendly swaps you can make. The swap is great for your pocket and the environment.

If you look after your safety razor well, it could last a lifetime and will reduce the number of plastic razors from making its way to landfill.

Disposable razors

In the last 30-40 years, razors have come a really long way: flexible heads, lubricating strips, multipacks, handle grips and even in different colours (a few years it was reported razors marketed towards women were more expensive than those marketed towards men! That’s shocking!).

Once the blade becomes blunt, you have the option of either replacing the whole razor with a brand new one or just the head, both options are wasteful.

They are also made with different materials which can be difficult to separate: Rubber for the grips, metal for the blades, the remaining parts in plastic. The only place they can end up is landfill. In 2019, about 5.5 million people used disposable razors. That’s a whole lot of razors and one massive razor landfill.

What’s the alternative?

Enter the safety razor.

I have a safety razor, which I bought about 18 months ago and I absolutely love it. Here’s a picture of mine with the blades I use.

You may already recognise a safety razor, they’ve been around for well over 100 years and is loaded with a single replaceable blade. The handle twists opening the top where you can easily remove the blunt blade and replace with a new one.

One thing I learnt since having a safety razor is that there’s no such thing has a ‘quick shave’. You really need to take your time and use it carefully.

It didn’t take long to realise that I didn’t need to apply much pressure as the razor is top heavy and does most of the work for you. The beauty of these razors is the blade is sharp on both sides, not just one.

My top tips

  • Exfoliate – Always exfoliate the area first, this will reduce the number of nicks and cuts. I use exfoliating mitts and I love them.
  • Angle – You’ll need to angle the razor about 20 to 30 degrees, that doesn’t mean you take a protractor into the shower, it’s a guide so you know that the razor will need to be used at an angle.
  • Time – Make sure you take your time, as it’s top heavy, it will do most of the work for you anyway.
  • Recycle the blade – Although the blade is metal, it could be put in with your recycling but check with your local recycling centre as they may have a safety deposit disposal bank. The blades are so small that they hardly take up any space if you need to save them up first.

If you have made the switch or are planning to make the switch, let us know 💚

Environmental Awareness Days 2021

Everyday there seemed to be an ‘International day of xxx’ or ‘National day of xxx’ and in 2020 there were quite a few that I had missed. So I thought I would do a calendar for 2021.

Although, this isn’t a complete list, I’ve tried my best to include awareness dates for when they would be usually be held but with coronavirus, these could be delayed or even cancelled until next year.

January

  • Veganuary 1st January to 31st January – This has been going for a few years now and the idea is to only eat vegan food throughout the month of January. This is a good opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint, see how you get on being a vegan for a month and to try different foods.
  • Big Garden Birdwatch – 29th January to 31st January – Organised by the RSPB, you can spend an hour in the park or garden, making a note of the birds and how many you see. By submitting this information to the RSPB, it allows them to monitor the challenges faced by wildlife and whether the population of a particular breed is growing or in decline. Click on the link and you can sign up.
  • Houseplant Week UK – 11th January to 17th January – Houseplants are brilliant at purifying the air, this week is a perfect opportunity to find out which houseplant to buy. A good place to start is a blog I wrote last year about houseplants.
  • Big Energy Saving Week – 18th January – 24th January -This week is dedicated to cutting your energy use and how to save money lead by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The website is full of tips and ideas.

March

  • Compost Week – 15th March to 21st March – As the name suggests, this week is dedicated to composting and its benefits. Composting is becoming quite popular and it’s really healthy for your garden.
  • The Great British Spring Clean – Usually around 22nd March to 23rd April – Encouraging you to pledge whatever time you have, even if its an hour, and use that time to go litter picking or join a litter picking group. Keep an eye on their website for 2021 dates, it’s usually held in March/April but in 2020 it was held in September.

April

  • Discover National Parks Fortnight – Around 4th April – 19th April – There are secret coves and ancient forest to explore all around the UK. This is a brilliant opportunity to discover a new place and get some fresh air into your lungs.
  • Community Garden Week – 5th April to 11th April – This week takes the opportunity to celebrate school and community gardens up and down the country. Working together and inspiring each other, what’s not to love?
  • Earth Day – 22nd April – The Earth Day network is a global effort to work together and their mission to ‘To build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and planet‘ (https://www.earthday.org/about-us/). This movement has been going since 1970. You can sign up to their newsletter and keep up to date with their progress and campaigns.

May

  • No Mow May – 1st May to 31st May – I found out about this campaign last year and it’s a fabulous idea. The idea is that you don’t mow your lawn for a whole month, allowing flowers to bloom which is vital source of nectar for bees and other insects. You can even construct a ‘scaremow’ – click on the link to the National Trust Website to find out more.
  • National Children’s Gardening Week – 29th May to 6th June – What better way to get your children interested in gardening. It’s fun for all the family and gets you out into the fresh air, what’s not to love?
  • Bike Week – 30th May to 5th June – In partnership with Cycle UK, this is a campaign to celebrate cycling and the benefits. Also, a fabulous way to reduce your carbon footprint!

June

  • World Environment Day – 5th June – ‘The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature.’ (https://www.un.org/en/observances/environment-day). This year’s theme is biodiversity and with everything that is going on with the planet, it’s very appropriate.
  • World Oceans Day – 8th June – Raising awareness of the vital importance our oceans play and how it helps to sustain a healthy planet. There is much in the media about plastic in the ocean and the effects our choices have on the oceans. Sign up to get involved.
  • National Refill Day – 19th June – I remember this from 2020. In an effort to prevent plastic pollution, this campaign encourages us to make the switch from single-use plastic bottles to reusable ones. I, for one, am already on board and have quite a few reusable bottles already!

July

  • Plastic Free July – 1st July to 31st July – I love this global campaign which encourages us to make changes to reduce our plastic use. I even wrote a blog about what I did for 2020. Small changes make a massive difference and I would encourage everyone to make a change. Their website is full of ideas.
  • Plastic Bag Free Day – 3rd July – This is a global campaign to eliminate the use of single-use plastics which is part of the Break Free From Plastic movement. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a plastic bag! Their website also has some interesting facts about the different types of plastic used in bags.
  • Don’t Step on a Bee Day – 10th July – Bees are so crucial to the ecosystem that I’m in the process of writing a blog about why they are important and what they do. Bees are precious and need protecting.

August

  • National Allotments Week – 9th August to 15th August – This week is to celebrate the importance of allotments and their benefits; growing and cooking your own food should be a life skill. The theme for 2021 is ‘plotting for the future’ highlighting how allotments contribute to a sustainable future.

September

  • Organic September – 1st September to 30th September – This campaign aims to bring awareness by trying organic food and to educate people about farming practices in growing organic food.
  • Recycle Week – 20th September to 26th September – As the name suggests, it’s a week to promote and encourage recycling. Full details are yet to be released for 2021 so the dates could change, last year’s theme was ‘Recycling. It’s in our hands’.

October

  • Unblocktober – 1st October to 31st October – This was one I had never heard of before. This campaign promotes awareness for our drains, sewers and waterways by changing your habits at home. The amount of things people put down their drains that can cause blockages is alarming. I remember watching a programme last year about the damage baby wipes can do to drains. Their website has some brilliant ways to make these changes.
  • No Disposable Cup day – 4th October – as the name suggests, it asks everyone not to take a disposable cup for that day. Personally, I think everyday should be disposable cup day!
  • National Clean Air Day – 8th October – Their website states 36,000 a year in the UK die from air pollution, that’s shocking! As well as stats, their website provides information on how you can get involved.

December

If there are any other events that you feel should be mentioned, please do let me know 💚

How I became greener in 2020

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.

The garden

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?

Fountain pen

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.

Loose Tea

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 infuser. 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.

Supermarket receipts

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.

Sugar waxing

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!

Second-hand September

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.

Toothbrushes

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.

Ditching tea bags

Following a program that aired on the BBC and the discovery how much plastic there are in tea bags, I am so glad I’ve made the change to loose tea.

Firstly, I would like to state that I’m a tea-loving brit. I work from home and probably have about six cups of tea a day so there was no way I was giving up tea forever, I needed a solution.

My partner works for a food distribution company who supply restaurants, pubs and cafes food and beverages. Luckily for me, he is able to purchase these items too and asked him to source loose tea (sometimes at large discounts).

The only issue I have from ordering from my partner’s workplace is that it comes in a plastic bag that can’t be recycled, not really helpful! Once I’ve finished the bag I’ve got, I will be trying out different companies in the UK to find the one I like.

For someone who has always used tea bags the transition to loose tea wasn’t as smooth as I thought it would be. Making tea from loose tea leaves…how hard could that be?

Firstly, I bought a pack of three tea infuser strainers from Amazon. They seemed to be perfect; scoop up tea leaves, leave them to hot water and remove…until they broke, that didn’t last long!

I refused to give up so I looked for a teapot infuser. I found in Sainsbury’s and I was very happy with the results. I’d forgotten that there could be some leaves at the bottom of the mug but that is expected from loose tea anyway. Word of warning; don’t drink every last drop from your mug unless you want a mouthful of tea leaves!

It took a while to figure out how many spoonfuls of tea I would need to make a round for guests but as I post this, we are in a pandemic and haven’t had many, if any, visitors. I will worry about that later. I’ve figured out how to make a cuppa for myself and have it down to a fine art.

Also, the bonus is that I know there is no plastic in this and can confidently put this in my compost bin.

There are so many places in the UK that sell loose tea leaves and some offer 10% off your first order. I’m also on the lookout for companies so if you have a recommendation, please let us know.

The change from tea bags to loose tea may be little but it still makes a difference to the environment.