Lifestyle, sustainable living

Waste not, want not

When David Attenborough says the single most important thing we must do to protect our planet is to stop waste, you know what you have to do… Or do you? He doesn’t just mean putting your recycling in the right bin. He means stopping all waste. We need to stop wasting food, energy, water – basically just be more resourceful in everything that we do. Only use what we need and make it as economical and ecological as possible. But how?

First of all, we should understand what we do now and how it’s affecting our planet. We found watching War On Plastic with Anita & Hugh really impactful. It’s both eye-opening and jaw-dropping in equal measure. You think that by putting your plastic in the recycling bin you are doing your bit, but it seldom is enough. Taking a peek inside a normal British household and showing you just what you have and what you really don’t need is also great for a bit of perspective. Not only does the programme show you where some of your plastic can end up, but it also demonstrates how you can cut down your consumption in an achievable way. This way you can make informed decisions about your family’s needs and tailor the recommendations to your own situation. I would love for us to be a totally plastic-free household, but right now that isn’t an affordable or realistic option. Instead of dwelling on this, we want to focus on the positive changes we can make in our mission to be a more sustainable household.

So what can we do?

Since watching War On Plastic with Anita & Hugh last year, we immediately made some small changes to our buying habits. There are some remarkably easy swaps, some of which we literally made overnight!

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Swaps we have already made:
• Bamboo cotton buds
• Biodegradable or reusable make up wipes
• Bamboo toothbrushes
• Reusable bamboo takeaway cups (when out & about)
• Reusable water bottle (when out & about)
• Reusable shopping bags (but then, who hasn’t?!)

Swaps we would like to make but haven’t yet managed 100%:
• Unpackaged fruit & vegetables – supermarkets still make this very difficult to achieve and we haven’t got a green grocer that provides everything we need nearby.
• Unwrapped or homemade bread – again, supermarkets make this difficult to buy and as a family with a young baby, I don’t always have time or the ingredients to bake fresh bread.
• Solid/plastic-free shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant and other personal hygiene products – we have tried some of these but haven’t found the right products for us yet.
• Food wrap (beeswax wrap instead of cling film) – we have tried these but they aren’t so easy to maintain as you might think. We’re experimenting with different reusable containers for various foods instead.
• Plastic-free packaging on toilet roll & kitchen roll – there are very few affordable options on the market.

Swaps which aren’t right for our family right now:
• Reusable nappies & sanitary products – there comes a point where you have to ask yourself what is important to prioritise and what is sustainable for your family. I could not commit to washing nappies every day, nor do I see that the additional water, cleaning chemicals, electricity and time is worth the swap in my opinion. Hats off to anyone who has managed to make this work for them, but it’s just not for me!

Have you watched this documentary? Did it make you change your habits? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear what you think!

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