10 sustainable changes I've made this year (and 10 to make in 2020!)
I've always liked to consider myself as someone who's quite eco-friendly, or at least eco-conscious, but as 2018 progressed I really realised that there was a LOT I was doing wrong, and so much I really could change quite easily. So, I decided that this year would be the one where I'd get my act together a lot more and actually try to implement ways to create less waste, or reduce my usage of certain things to a much more reasonable level.
I've switched up ten things this year, making the household a lot more eco-friendly without making any massive changes to my lifestyle as a whole. Here's my ten:
1.) Switching to reusable cotton pads. I've never been a massive consumer of cotton pads, but I did use 3-4 a week to put toner on, which were ending up in landfill. Now that I've switched to cotton ones, which I just put in the wash with my normal clothes, I'll be saving on roughly 156 pads per year! I bought mine on etsy (who carbon offset their deliveries now!) here.
2.) Using solid shampoo bars. I've done this intermittently over the years, but this year I've stuck to solid bars. They're great for travelling as there's no chance of leakage, are really easy to use and keep my hair in check. I'm currently using the Angel Hair one from LUSH, which smells so good. Alongside this, I've been using LUSH conditioner and the pots for these are part of a closed loop recycling scheme they have, so there's no waste there either.
3.) Stopping buying beef and eating dairy. I didn't realise how much beef I've bought or cooked over the years until I stopped buying it. This year we've not made any burgers, pastas, steaks etc with beef and it's honestly been the easiest thing to cut out. I've still had the occasional bit whilst eating out, but watch this space 2020. I've known that dairy makes me feel pretty unwell for a few years now but have been ignoring it because cheese and chocolate and so many tasty things. Now that I don't eat it, I get much fewer headaches, sugar cravings, no joint pain (which is the main reason I gave it up) and no stomach cramps/constant pooping. It's pretty fab. I've found this so much harder than any other change, but knowing how bad the dairy industry is for the planet is definitely helpful in forcing me to back away from the chocolate (bournville is a lifesaver).
4.) Using re-usable kitchen towel.I spent a whole lot of time this year trying to work out how to reduce the sheer amount of waste we throw out, and it turns out that kitchen towel was a biggun. We used it as napkins with dinner/lunch, to dry surfaces once I'd cleaned them, to clean things, as tissues etc. It seemed like we went through a mountain of the stuff. Now, we've got reusable kitchen towels (which I bought here) which are used as napkins, I dry/clean with cleaning cloths and everything gets washed and re-used.
5.) Freezing my meat in tupperware after food shopping. This is a bit of a weird niche one, but I cannot count the number of times I've had to bin meat over the years because it's gone off before it was supposed to. As a student I'd put it in plastic sandwich bags to freeze and would occasionally do this too as a 'proper adult'. It just never occurred to me that I could tupperware it? We save all our tubs from any takeout, so as soon as I get home from food shopping all my meat is portioned up, put in the tubs in the freezer ready to be defrosted in the mornings for dinner.
6.) Ditching bottled face cleansers. I'm a little horrified by how many face cleansing bottles I must have gone through over the years?! I've been using The Body Shop's Himalayan charcoal face soap, a solid bar which I've got a whole post on here as a morning cleanser. Their camomile cleanser which comes in a metal tub is also great for removing makeup before bed.
7.) Used beeswax wraps. There's always something in the fridge that needs to be wrapped up, and buying beeswax wraps has meant that we've torn down the number of food bags/bits of clingfilm that get used by an absolutely mammoth amount. I bought a pack of three in July and they last for around a year, so I'll be repurchasing more then!
8.) Taken toiletries bottles to be terracycled. Although they don't advertise it much in stores anymore, The Body Shop accepts any used toiletry bottles from any brand to terracycle themselves so that the plastic doesn't end up in landfill, they just need to be clean. I collect ours up and then every few months pop down with whatever we've used.
9.) Switched to solid hand soap. I've got really bad eczema, so perfumed liquid soap isn't great for me, but we've made a full switch to solid ones now. I had totally bought into the idea of liquid ones being nicer/more hygienic, but I really can't see myself going back to bottles of it.
10.) Using recycled paper toilet roll. This is a bit of an odd one, but such an easy switch to make. It makes so much sense to use recycled toilet paper: you only use it for a matter of seconds, it's not too thin or scratchy and it means that recycled paper is actually being used!
Ideas for sustainable changes I'd like to make in 2020:
1.) Using solid soap/naked shower gel to shower with
2.) Making a body scrub from old coffee grounds
3.) Trying a solid conditioner
4.) Having at least one or two meat free days a week and experimenting with new recipes
5.) Buy a chillys bottle or something similar to eradicate using disposable water bottles
6.) Completely cut out beef
7.) Carbon offset any travelling I do
8.) Buy more handkerchiefs to stop using so many tissues (hayfever torments me)
9.) Be conscious about what kind of presents I buy people and how sustainable they are
10.) Use recyclable wrapping paper and tape
What little changes have you made this year to be kinder to the planet?