Over the last year or so, like many people I’ve taken more and more notice of the environment and sustainability, to the point that I’m now hyper aware. So I’m looking into how to be more sustainable at home and help my family to go green.
Right now I’m far from perfect. I’ve already made carrying eco bags a new habit, and I’m vigilant with recycling – but I know it’s not enough, and I’m learning all the time. For example, I recently discovered that a huge amount of recycling is in fact going to landfill. I struggled to find a reliable figure for how much, but a few sources suggested up to two thirds, which is simply disgraceful. National Geographic places plastic at 91% not being recycled.
It’s not often Dan and I sit down to watch television. With Elfin only recently allowing us an evening and then almost immediately regressing (of course), we probably manage just a couple of hours a week! But we recently sat down to watch one of my fave ladies present a really fascinating documentary on a subject I was completely ignorant about: the environmental impact of fashion. And if you’ve not seen it, let me tell you – it’s shocking.
Fast fashion is responsible for catastrophic effects on the environment:
Water recklessly used for growing cotton has dried up one sea, I kid you not.
How to Be More Sustainable at Home
With this in mind, we’re keen to improve, and I thought I’d share with you some of our intentions for the future, in case you’re interested in doing better too.
1. Reduce Use of Plastic Carrier Bags
In the words of the brilliant Tim Minchin, ‘Why use plastic bags when you know the world can’t take it?’ – it really is as simple as forming a new habit.
I’ve started keeping a cache of canvas bags in the boot of my car, and if I’m walking to the shops then I take a couple with me. I also keep one folded up in work satchel so I don’t get caught short. If I’m out and about with the pushchair then shopping items can simply be stashed in the basket.
2. Reduce Car Emissions
This is not always easy, and for me it’s been circumstances that have allowed it. Since we’ve moved, I’m walking way more than driving, because everything is in close proximity. If you can, walk!
3. Reduce Clothing Purchases
I have a personal project in the pipeline (more of which to come in due course), but there are plenty of ways to do this.
In our family, we pass baby clothes down, as I’m sure many do. I always donate old clothes to charity shops, and you could also consider buying secondhand, here for example.
I’ve also started buying classic, better quality pieces for myself, instead of cheap fashionable items which need replacing frequently – I want no part in the dreadful issues shown in the BBC documentary. And, if you look for them, you can buy ethical clothes. As I type I’m wearing a pair of jeans that have been 97% made from recycled bottles!
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4. Reduce Use of Takeaway Coffee Cups
My husband bought me a very cool flask for Christmas so I try to keep this about my person when I’m out. Lots of coffee shops actually incentivise the use of your own cup too, by offering a discount on your drink. Again, simple but effective – especially considering those cups are generally not recyclable!
5. Reduce Single-Use Plastics
I’m still looking into this one because our family has sensitive skin and I’m conscious of ensuring I find the right product/s, but this year I want to revert to bars for soap and shampoo.
I’m making myself accountable because I just can’t ignore it any longer. I defy you to watch the documentary I mention above and not feel the same. It’s just heartbreaking, and the worst part of it is that it comes down to human greed.
The greatest sadness is that if the world came together to effect change, it’s possible.
Just take the incredible feat at Versova beach where volunteers cleared 5.7 million kilos of waste over two years. Alas, the garbage continues to pour into the sea and collect on the beach. The hard work on the residents is being undermined by the fact that the root of the problem has not been addressed. It’s a travesty.
6. Reduce Use of Wet Wipes
I’d also like to kick my wet wipe addiction. It’s a problem which can be simply addressed: use flannels! It’s not difficult, it’s just another bad habit to overcome.
And related to wet wipes…
7. Reduce Use of Nappies
I’m disappointed to say that through my own ignorance this one is actually too late for us. Whilst we’re still using nappies for Elfin, it won’t be for too much longer, and towelling nappies are a bit of an investment. I do wish I’d known more about them sooner as I probably would got on board.
If this is a subject you’d like to learn more about, check out this post for everything you need to know, from my friend Emma.
8. Reduce Meat in Your Diet
We’re giving this one a go, and I’ll be writing more about it soon. For what it’s worth, Dan is a buff guy and it’s entirely possible to get all the protein you need without eating meat, so that argument doesn’t wash. If you’re serious about sustainability, this is one more way you can do better!
Have you given thought to your carbon footprint and how to be more sustainable at home? Would you consider any of the above?
This is a commissioned post.