Being more eco-friendly is a big part of our lives since moving. We did little bits here and there before, but where we live now forces us to think about the immediate consequences of what we do. It doesn’t take years or months to see how what we have done will affect the surrounding area, it literally takes a few days, if that.
So, we’ve made a few changes to how we live over the last 9 months. They’re easy and cheap to do, so I thought I should share them with you. Not everyone lives next to the beach, so I can’t exactly drive 3 hours to go pick up a piece of plastic, and no one else should have to either. We all have our own little patches though, where we can pick up plastic from.
Easy ways to be more Eco-friendly
Use reusable bags
I know this is something we all pretty much have, but do we ever remember them? I had a good 20 odd bags at one point all sat in the house, to be forgotten EVERY SINGLE TIME we went shopping. I’d get to the till, and then remember I needed to either buy another bag for life – some places don’t sell plastic bags at all now – or I had to get the dreaded plastic bag themselves.
The thing is, it’s all well and good having bags for life, but if we don’t make it easy on ourselves to remember them, then the likelihood is we won’t use them.
I now have at least 2 or 3 bags in the car at all times, and after I finish putting the shopping away I put all the bags inside another and leave it by the front door. I often put it so I HAVE to pick it up to get out the door, so it’ll be taken out to the car and not forgotten.
If you forget your bags like I have many many times, why not try not getting any at all? If you know you have more than enough at home, just put your shopping back into the trolly, and empty it into your car loose. We then just bag it up to take it inside, and I’d not spent yet more money on reusable bags, and I haven’t got any plastic bags either.
Metal or paper straws
I’ve got both of these at home, and I love them.
The paper straws are more for the aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bad for the environment! We put ours in our compost bin, so they breakdown and will be ready to pot with next year.
The metal straws are my favourite, simply because I can wash them up and they’re good to go again. The pack we got came with a little straw cleaner too so I didn’t have to hunt one down.
I have also found plastic straws, which are made as reusable straws. It’s a thicker material than the regular plastic straws, and again you can clean them. These might be a better option for those who can’t use metal or paper straws for whatever reason.
We got our paper straws from Tesco, and our metal straws from Aldi, but I’m sure you can find all three on Amazon.
I’ve already written a post on how we compost, but it’s worth mentioning again here.
Composting is possibly the best thing you can start doing. Either make your own or find someone who would be happy to take some of your compostable waste for their compost heap. It doesn’t cost anything, and if you’re a gardener it’ll save you money when the potting season comes around.
We put all compostable waste into the compost bin, which is a tiny 20L bin we have in the kitchen lined with compostable bags. In there I put any paper (rip it up first!) coffee grounds, eggshells, vegetable peelings or skin, etc. Anything that will degrade can pretty much go in.
We also put in sticks and grass cuttings, so it even helps to keep the garden tidy!
Do look up what you can and can’t compost if you’re not sure. Some people put proteins in, but I avoid this as it encourages rats to visit!
Where ever you can, change your cleaning products to eco-friendly ones!
At first, I thought it would be really expensive to change over to eco-friendly products, but it turns out that they’re the same price most of the time, and I’ve even found them to be cheaper in some cases.
They’re also not hard to find anymore! Tesco and Asda I know for sure sell eco-friendly products, and Tesco do their own line which makes it even more accessible.
I currently use Method, Ecover, and Tesco’s own eco-friendly cleaning products. They’re all amazing, and they work just the same or better than regular cleaning products!
Line-drying my washing isn’t always possible for me, and I’m sure there are many of you who use a Tumble Dryer all year round.
There are a few ideas for the Tumble Dryer, so make sure you write them down!
- Since I started using Tumble Dryer balls, I’ve stopped using fabric softener altogether. This means I pay less to do my washing, and the water that goes out from the washing machine isn’t full of chemicals – if you use an eco-friendly washing detergent, I use Ecover Zero. It also helps dry the washing faster, which means less energy and electric is used, another perk!
- I know not everyone has a condenser, but you can easily pick up a condenser kit on Amazon. This water is pretty clean, and although I definitely wouldn’t drink it, it’s perfect for watering the plants or adding to the compost heap.
- If you wash something like the dogs blanket and find your filter full of dog hair, throw that on the compost too. Birds can use the fluff and fibres in their nests, but you should be careful what materials you give them if that’s something you’re interested in as I’m pretty sure some don’t biodegrade.
Buy without plastic
The shops often have things packaged in so much unnecessary plastic it’s ridiculous. I can go to Aldi and get a 4 pack of avocadoes in a small plastic bag, or I can go to another bigger store, where the same thing has a plastic tray in it, making the bag bigger too to fit the tray, and I pay more for it.
Get yourself some net bags or make your own from old netted curtains, and use them instead of the plastic produce bags from the shop. It’s all weighed the same, just make sure you don’t lose the price.
Recycle and donate
Whether it be a Spring clean decluttering, or just your everyday bins, make sure it goes to where it’s meant to. If something is able to be recycled, do it. If something is able to be donated, do it.
Look into your local recycling centre, as it’s changed a lot over the years. I remember when it was practically a dump, and now everything is recycled as much as possible.
There are some charges for DIY – mostly building – waste, as this is harder to recycle, but you can take TV’s, freezers, etc. for free. It’s not hard to do and keeps the sides of the roads clean.
We had someone dump a load of items at the end of our road, and it was so difficult to get the right teams and people out to clear it up – he had left a multitude of things that certain companies couldn’t take – which could have been avoided had he of taken it to the recycling centre. It’s not necessary, so don’t do it!
This isn’t exactly an eco thing, but it definitely helps make a better place to live!
Above I’ve mention plastic straws and unnecessary packaging, but in some cases, it’s not a case of just choosing to change what you buy. There’s a couple things that come to mind straight away.
People with low mobility or fine motor skills benefit greatly from precut foods, which means it’ll, of course, be in a plastic tub of some sort. That’s not up to the person not to buy those things anymore, it’s up to the companies to change the materials they use to package those items.
I’ve also seen multiple people say metal straws cause them to have sensory overload, which can also be common for children. If you’re in a position to buy metal straws and can use them, go for it! If you don’t need the precut fruit, then don’t use it.
It’s not about being absolutely perfect, it’s about doing as much as you can.
How are you more eco-friendly? Have I missed anything out? Let me know down in the comments!