A Mum’s Guide to Reducing Waste

This week we are handing over the blog to Fran from the Accommodation and Commercial Services – 22a Endcliffe Crescent Green Impact Team. She has been working hard to reduce her environmental impact and is here to share some of the things she has learned as well as some hints and tips.

Before becoming a Mum, I had some interest in recycling, saving the planet and looking after our animals.  I would make some efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, though now looking back it just wasn’t enough.  Since having my daughter, I’ve realised how important our planet is.  I want there to be a future for her generation, and I don’t want to see animals dying out so that she never has the pleasure of seeing them.

Nowadays, I’m always looking at ways that I can become more eco-friendly, live more sustainably, and be less wasteful.  This hasn’t happened overnight, and there are still lots more changes I’d like to make.  It can be costly, as quite often you’re paying for more expensive, better quality items that will last longer, or buying more responsibly sourced items which often have a higher price tag.  In the long-run, however, most of these options actually become more cost-effective as they last longer and you’re not needing to replace them as often, and the positive impact on the environment is well worth the additional costs, if you can afford it.  Cost is one of the main reasons that I’m not switching as quickly as I’d like to.  I’m making one or two changes a month, which makes it more affordable.  Remember, there’s no point replacing something that’s still perfectly reusable.  So, while you might be aiming to go plastic-free, it makes no sense to bin plastic items while ever they’re still usable, so keep using that Tupperware, and use your food bags, cling film, etc. until it’s gone.  Just try to find alternatives the next time something runs out or breaks!

Here are just a few of the changes I’ve made, which I hope will inspire you to make a few changes yourself.

 

Reducing

Over time, we’ve started to declutter our home.  We’re selling, gifting, and giving to charity the things we no longer need or use.  This is a lovely feeling, and I’m enjoying not having clutter hanging around our house.  Especially now that we have a toddler who is like a hurricane!

When it comes to toys, we are choosing to buy more open-ended wooden toys which last longer, look lovely and can be used for a whole range of things from stacking and building to small world play.  Using toys like these means that you don’t need as many, and they are less likely to become redundant as your child’s interests change.  We especially love Lanka Kade wooden animals, which are fair trade wooden toys made in Sri Lanka.  The company ethos is to build long-term, sustainable trading partnerships that provide stability and protect local skills for people in Sri Lanka.  We also love Grimms wooden toys, Grapat, as well as lots of British toy companies which make beautiful wooden toys.  I also support small businesses and working-from-home mums and buy hand-painted toys and wooden peg dolls from them.  One of my favourite sites for ethical shopping is https://www.littlewhispers.co.uk/ and you can use the code EVA10 at the checkout for 10% off!

Reducing plastic waste is at the top of a lot of people’s to-do list and I’m no different.  This is a very tough one to do, especially when you struggle to get to zero-waste shops or proper markets where plastic isn’t used to package food.  We eat a lot of fruit in our house and sadly that means lots of plastic!  However, we’ve made changes where we can.  Switching to bars of soap and shampoo instead of bottles reduces plastic use hugely, and we’re also transitioning to natural, plastic free deodorant, though the trial to find the perfect one is ongoing!

When trying to reduce, the big question to ask yourself, when shopping, or being offered something, is ‘do I really need it?’.

 

Reusing

Reusing is a big one.  This is about finding new uses for the things you already own, or switching to reusable products where possible, and when you’ve used up what you’ve already got – there’s no point sending something usable to landfill just because it doesn’t fit in your plastic-free ideals!  I’m using jars to keep my cupboards organized.  Once they’re empty they’re getting filled with herbs, spices and dried goods.  This is with a view to trying a zero-waste shop in the future.

We’ve made the switch to reusable snack bags and sandwich bags, and use plastic food boxes for anything and everything!  Anything that’s not usable in the kitchen goes into my daughter’s arts and craft cupboard!

Although we still use baby wipes on occasion (nobody’s perfect!), we have switched as much as possible to reusable wipes, reusable makeup wipes, and I’ve made the switch to CSP (reusable sanitary products) – take a look at all of the lovely patterns you can get!  They are more comfortable to wear, and make periods a much more pleasant experience, all whilst helping the environment. Win, win!

 

Recycling

As a final step, if you can’t reduce or reuse, then recycle.  It’s difficult to recycle, I find, in all honesty.  Guidelines can be complicated, and it can be frustrating that certain things can’t be recycled, or that you have to go out of your way to recycle some things in a specific location.  However, wherever possible I try to recycle as much as I can.

I hope to bring my daughter up with a similar attitude to waste, and I hope that in time, these small changes will see bigger changes happening.  I hope that one day, there comes a day that we don’t have to think about it so much, and that all of these things become the norm.

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