Ditch the single use plastic. We hear it all the time, but this is one of the biggest things you can do to help protect our planet for future generation – your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. This month is Plastic Free July, a global movement helping people reduce their plastic use. Find out more here https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
Reusable Drinks Bottles – If your kids are like mine, they have eleventy billion drinks a day. We’re pretty good as a family on this front, as we have quite a few reusable drinks bottles for the kids, and we usually remember to take them out with us. However, when it comes to us as adults, we are less organised and end often end up buying a drink in a single use plastic bottle so that we don’t have to drink the kids water, with the backwashed bits of food floating around in there and share any nasties they might have picked up at nursery/school. But recently we have bought shiny new drinks bottles for ourselves too! Its very exciting and the kids have been really helpful at reminding us not to forget them.
Milk in Glass Bottles – its used to be the only way to get milk (showing my age!). But in recent years, plastic has become more popular. We’ve had a milkman for many years but always had the plastic/poly bottles delivered, figuring we can recycle them, so what’s the problem? Well, even plastic that can be recycled (and many can’t be) can’t be recycled infinitely. After only a few times, it will no longer be ‘recyclable’ and will be sent to landfill, where it will remain for hundreds of years. So, we’ve made the switch to glass – and we love it. There’s something so satisfying about putting those empty glass bottles out for the milkman to collect on his next delivery. And the kids have noticed the change too which has prompted conversations about how we can all make small changes which can add up to a big change,
Shop Savvy. Don’t put your bananas in a plastic bag if you don’t need to. It doesn’t save you any time and bananas actually already have protective covering – isn’t nature great? Seriously though, we’ve kind of become used to wrapping everything in plastic for some reason, even when we really don’t need to. Mushrooms for example, are something you can buy loose and in a recyclable paper bag. Obviously sometimes it’s unavoidable, but this is about reducing, not eliminating. There are alos now some shops where you can take your own reusable containers to refill everything from pasts to shower gel. Check out https://thegoodlifeheatons.com/ where you can even refill your wine bottle!
Do Your Food Shop On-line. There are so many reasons for this – save dragging the kids round with you, save money not having to bribe them with things on the way round, save time, you only buy what you need, you can do it in your PJ’s at 11pm at night. It’s a winner for me. I’ll pay that delivery charge every single time just to not have the toddler meltdown along with a baby with a parent in his nappy whilst I decide which pasta shapes to buy. But there is also another reason. It helps the environment if you get your shopping delivered. One van, driving around to 10 houses all in close proximity to each other keeps 10 cars of the road within that same time period. Which is a good thing. So next time you wonder if you’re being lazy by not going yourself, you’re not, your helping the environment!
Go Paperless – mobile phone bills, energy bills and bank statements can all be viewed or sent online. Just think how much paper this could save if we all made the switch. I actually prefer it, otherwise I feel like I have to find a place to keep all this paper – you know, just in case.
Reusable Shopping Bags – Most of us now own at least one reusable shopping bag and we hopefully remember to take it with us when we go to the shops. International Plastic Bag Free Day is July 3rd this year, so lets make sure we remember to take our bags along with us
Turn it off! – Energy conservation is one of the most important things to help you reduce your carbon footprint – and it will help reduce your energy bills too! #bonus
Use LED Lightbulbs – Not only do LED bulbs last longer, they are also more efficient and so will need replacing less frequently – saving you money in the long run.
Baby Wipes – They have plastic in them. It’s sad but true. Lots of families are now beginning to use reusable wipes, not just for nappy changing, but for those face and hand wipes too. You can buy these fairy cheaply on Amazon or you can even get pack of 10 washcloths form Ikea for about £3.50 which you can obviously wash and reuse. I’ll definitely be stocking up in preparation for weaning in a few weeks! On the same note, reusable nappies are obviously mega eco and budget friendly. I know they’re not for everyone but it’s definitely something to think about.
Walk – This has obvious health and economic benefits, but will also help reduce your carbon footprint. I am guilty of jumping in the car far too often for such short journeys, which, by the time I’ve sat in traffic, I could have probably walked quicker – even with the 3 yr old in tow. I’m going to pledge to try to walk more, and this time of year is a great time to start.
Don’t Waste Food. I am also guilty of this. Things go out of date and I have a very real fear of becoming unwell from a dodgy yoghurt, or even worse chicken! Planning your weekly meals will not only help you shop better and save you money, but it will also help reduce food and packaging waste. Knowing what is in your fridge and using stuff up before the Use By date will mean less waste. We sometimes have what is known in our house as a ‘mummy food experiment’. I’m basically just trying to concoct something with all the things that are about to go off. The results are often hilarious, but the kids seem to eat these weird and wonderful creations. Why not give it a go?
Recycle – everything you can! Most of us aren’t going to be able to eliminate single use plastic completely, partly because the supermarkets still have a long way to go and partly because we still need plastic for some things. But we can all make a concerted effort to recycle everything that we possibly can. Stockport Council are committed to reducing waste and increasing recycling. Our recycling bins are bigger than our black bins for non-recyclable waste, and we even have food composting bins, so they really are trying to make it easier for us to be more conscious about waste.
This month, I am going to commit to try really hard to walk more and use the car less and to be more organised in meal planning to reduce waste. Hopefully it’ll start to become the norm for our family. I’ll keep you posted with how we get on. What will you commit to changing? Don’t forget, you can share tips over on the Facebook chat group.