Tag Archives: Eco-friendly

Is Looking After Stuff the Easiest Way to Go Green?

Things I still hear often… Going green is expensive. Replacing things with greener alternatives is costly. So, how about looking after the things you have instead? Going Green can be one step at a time. Let me explain.

Learning to care for the things you own.

What do you do when something gets broken or worn at home? Do you instantly throw it out and replace it? Or do you look to ways you could repurpose or repair it? There are some things I do not attempt to repair, for example broken glass. But when the handle came off my favourite milk jug, we smoothed where the handle had been and turned it into a vase. Our electricals and cars we repair over replace. This is something I need to look into more though, as would it be better to scrap them and replace with newer more efficient models? How many years use would I need to offset the carbon produced by recycling / scrapping the old ones?

It’s not always the cheapest option to repair. Sometimes the call out fee to just have an appliance looked at is a high cost. But here are a few ideas on ways to care or repair things you already own.

Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

Caring for your wardrobe.

Clothes and shoes need care. Darning the whole in your favourite jumper, washing it with care and learning how to store clothes correctly will elongate their useful lives. I am not great at sewing, but have learnt to make basic repairs over the last year or so. Which has extended the life of a pair of pyjamas, jeans and several jumpers!

Washing with care is really important, and ideally avoiding using a tumble dryer. Tumble dryers are really harsh on fabrics, and make the wear faster. Though I confess this winter has been so wet we have resorted to the tumble dryer as line drying just wouldn’t work. Roll on spring!

Shoes need to be stored with care, cleaned and polished if necessary. Finding eco-friendly shoe cleaning products is something I am still investigating. But, I feel that prolonging the use of a pair of leather boots or shoes by using a tin of shoe polish is perhaps better than potentially ruining and throwing away a pair.

Mending cafe…

Mending libraries or mending or repair cafes are worth looking out for locally. These are often pop ups, where people lend their skills to fixing things for others. I’ve not used one yet, mostly as we have a good group of skills within our family for fixing a variety of things.

Sourcing spare parts..

Someone recently posted in a local group that they were seeking a specific part to fix something weird and wonderful. Within 10 minutes a potential source of the part had been located as it turned out the item was not quite as weird and wonderful as the owner had first thought! So it’s always worth asking if anyone knows where tp get parts!

Ikea keeps many spare parts in stock in their stores. Local hardware shops are great for missing nuts and bolts. And of course ebay! I have also discovered that LEGO offer spare parts if you’ve lost a part from a kit! So before you throw it away, why not thinking about fixing it?

How Green is Your Kitchen?

Keeping my kitchen clean and hygienic is a top priority. Our kitchen is essentially the hub of our home. We cook, eat and craft in the kitchen. People are constantly coming in and out! So I like to keep things clean, and where possible tidy. (I’m less good at tidy, but I try!). I try to keep things in our home as eco-friendly as possible. But it is sometimes hard to avoid plastic or harsh chemicals. Recently though, I think I’ve started to find a balance.

Switch out kitchen sponges!

Kitchen sponges are generally made of plastic and they come wrapped in plastic too. I’ve switched to none sponges from Tabitha Eve. They are a plastic free alternative to your traditional kitchen sponge. They look pretty and work well, oh…and you can wash them and reuse them!

A greener cleaner?

So, lots of people make their own cleaning products. I have tried with various degrees of success. I love using natural ingredients for cleaning my oven, it’s cheap doesn’t smell and works well. But, I prefer a shop bought cleaner for cleaning surfaces. I started using Method a few years ago, as they had greener credentials and most products could be re-filled. Now, I seem to be struggling to find the refills, and I’m frustrated with the number of plastic containers I’m ending up putting into ‘recycling’. So I may need to rethink again.

Laundry

I used to use Method as I liked the refills. Since struggling to find the refills I’ve been searching for a replacement. This is difficult as the children have sensitive skin, so some products don’t work for us. I tried a laundry egg, I wanted to love it, but it just didn’t work for us at all. So, we are going to try Smol. Smol has green credentials, but is it green enough? I’m not sure – watch this space!

Kitchen towels.

I’ve never been keen on kitchen paper. Yes it is easy to use, but it has always seemed odd to me to spend money on something non essential that we just throw away. I use old tea towels to mop up spills or do anything I may use kitchen roll for. (NB: The cleaning tea towels are kept separate to my normal tea towels and get hot washed separately too.)

So, that’s how green my kitchen is so far, how green is yours?

*some items previously gifted*

Munch Cats Magazine – Review

In our journey towards reducing our single use plastic consumption, I’d put a ban on kids comics as they are often wrapped in plastic or contain a plastic toy which inevitably is soon unwanted. But having a 4 year old who loves to read and really wants a comic made this tough! Until we were sent a copy of Munch Cats magazine.

Munch Cats Magazine is plastic free! Our subscriber edition is delivered in a brown paper envelope which can be recycled. The magazine itself can also be readily recycled. There’s no plastic toys or wrapping included. Stickers are still included but the backing is paper not plastic!

The magazine is full of fun craft activities and ideas. There’s plenty to cut out and colour in too, so great for developing fine motor skills. My daughter loves it! We have yet to see it in an actual shop, but we will be looking to continue her subscription as she really enjoys the Munch Cats adventures!

Plastic-free Kitchen swaps

There’s been lots of talk about going plastic free since Blue Planet. I have to admit that we’ve been trying to reduce our plastic waste for several years, with mixed success. But I thought I’d share some of our simple swaps.

Plastic-free or waste free?!

The first thing I would say is do not go throwing away things to replace them with an eco-alternative! If you already own it, keep it and use it until it can no longer be used – then re-purpose it! When it needs replacing though, think about more eco-friendly options to replace it with – so perhaps stainless steel or bees wax wraps.

We have moved away from clingfilm, and switched re-usable food wraps. Currently we haves Vegan food wraps in use – although I have some beeswax ones to try to (I’m not Vegan – yet). The only problem with re-usable wraps is that you can’t wrap meat in them (not a problem if you are a vegetarian or vegan). But they’re easy to use, and once you get into the routine of using them you forget about clingfilm! For wrapping meat, we now use a pyrex dish with a a plastic lid – yes not strictly plastic free, but we have no intention of throwing it away anytime soon!

Grocery store swaps

Ever thought about the single use plastic you buy at the supermarket? Let’s talk tea and coffee. Ever thought about the plastic you throw away when you buy tea and coffee? I’m not talking about coffee shops, I’m talking about the way your tea and coffee is packaged in the supermarket for you to use at home. Lots of tea bags contain plastic – yes the actual bags. The boxes are also wrapped in a thin plastic which cannot be recycled. There are alternatives, but are they easy to find?! PG Tips sells a loose leaf tea in a cardboard box, with no plastic wrap – so look for that in your local supermarket. If you think loose leaf tea is complicated to make, it really isn’t! We were given a fabulous tea pot with inbuilt tea strainer by a friend, I believe it is from Whittards and I cannot recommend it enough!

Coffee, I love a good cup of coffee! Percol filter coffee is now packaged plastic free – so that’s a great one to look out for! There is also illy coffee, which comes in a tin, but is not Fairtrade, they do however suggest that they do many other things to support growers. I digress, I re-use illy tins for all sorts of things around my home, and they can also be recycled!

It takes about 5 minutes for me to make a “proper” coffee in the morning, that includes 4 minutes brewing time, so I get on with packed lunches while it brews. Filter coffee always looks expensive, but you get a great cup of coffee and when you work out how many coffees you get from one packet it is actually really reasonable!

Things I avoid in the supermarket…

N.B. Using up these cake cases from the back of my cupboard!

One thing I have struggled to find a plastic free alternative too is biscuits and cakes. There are some in the “bakery section” of the supermarket, but very few. Instead I’ve opted to start making our own, and we regularly make biscuits and cakes ourselves. It is so much easier trying to find the ingredients plastic free than ready made cakes and biscuits. This weekend I’m trying out this simple carrot cake recipe, which I’m hoping will survive for after school tea on Monday! I do struggle with an alternative to baking paper, at the moment I just butter then flour the baking tray, but I wonder if there’s a green alternative to baking paper?

Plastic-free Problems.

There are some products I struggle to find plastic free, pasta is one! I’ve started buying a brand which has a mostly cardboard packing with a tiny plastic window. I think it is a better option than the plastic bags of pasta? I should really have a go at making pasta, but I need to investigate how easy it is! And is it cost-effective?

Baba & Boo Re-usable Cloth Nappies – NEW Collection!

 

I had a very exciting delivery earlier today, it was some re-usable nappies from Baba & Boo! I’m an ambassador for Baba & Boo and as part of that role, I’ve been sent a selection of their new season collection! I’ve never used cloth before, so I am very excited (the designs are gorgeous!) and terrified.. Yes, I am terrified, I read the instructions (which are simple!) and suddenly I’m in a panic about the what if I put it on wrong or I wash it wrong..or..or…SOMETHING!! So, please have a chuckle as you follow my journey which is now beginning, this is no longer something I’m just thinking about, I am sat looking at these cloth nappies each as stunning as the last and it’s exciting. One thing which does bother me though (and forgive me if this is daft..) but do I need to buy bigger baby clothes in order they fit over the slightly bulkier cloth nappies?

Continue reading