I’m not starting from scratch – just so you know.
Through a combination of various factors (primarily financial) these are the environmentally friendly things we’re already doing/using or are trying to do/use:
- Meal planning – nearly no food waste here! I even endeavour to save things like melon seeds and chick-pea water to use in recipes.
- Reusable containers – for packed lunch, school snacks, water and tea.
- Reusable shopping bags – for bread, pick ‘n’ mix sweets, fruit and vegetables and anything else I can find.
- Cloth napkins – to replace kitchen roll or paper serviettes at the table.
- Drying clothes outside -rather than using the tumble dryer. (In reality, because this is Scotland and our house is damp, we only really do this during the summer months but it’s better than nothing, I suppose).
- Using the library – because how many times do you really read a book?
- Renting our video games – because how many times do you really play an RPG more than once (Mass Effect and Divinity: Original Sin being my notable exceptions).
- Using a Nokia 3310 – instead of a smart phone. I only charge it once a week.
- Growing our own food – not much of it, mind you. Mostly herbs and some fruit.
- Foraging – because who doesn’t love a free meal?
- Using loose leaf tea and filter coffee – because they taste better and you don’t get tea-bag ghosts in your compost.
- Shampoo/soap bars – In the bathroom, we use solid shampoo and hand soap.
- Water displacement – In short, I’ve filled a plastic bottle with water and placed it in the cistern of the toilet. It’s a modern take on the old ‘brick in the tank’ trick, the advantage of the plastic bottle being that it’s not going to break down and wreck your plumbing like a brick might…
- Cancelled all junk mail – which isn’t as hard as you might think. Check out the Mail Preference Service if you’re in the UK, and Royal Mail’s door-to-door opt out form.
- Reusable sanitary products – I’ve been using a Mooncup for the past 8 years.
Breastfeeding– no longer applicable, but I did feed breastfeed babies. Cloth nappies– again, no longer applicable, but we did enjoy a cloth bum.
So whilst I’m happy with these choices, I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. I’d like to at least halve the volume of landfil waste that’s going in my bin every month and I’d especially like to get my recycling down to one box a month.
Easy, you say. There’s people online who fit a whole year’s worth of rubbish into a pretty jar.
The issue I’m having?
I live in rural Scotland and I’ve got a budget I need to stick to. There are no plastic-free supermarkets within many, many miles of me and zero-waste artisan products from etsy etc. cost a lot more money than their supermarket equivalents.
So, using what I have access to, I’m going to try and keep my costs as low as is sensible and reduce my wastey outgoings. And what do I have access to I hear you ask? A handful of supermarkets, one (tiny) specialist refillery and a glass-bottle dairy that’s really too far away to make it a sound ecological choice on account of my petrol useage. And the website DoNation. And the collective wisdom of the internet, my local library and the people of my community.
Wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it.