This year one of our aims as a family is to be more environmentally conscious. We’ve always recycled, and we’re now on our fourth round of using cloth nappies, but feel we need to up our game a bit for the sake of the planet.
In January I was full of ideas on how our mega-eco life was going to look. We were going to shop small and local; go plastic-free in the home; wear organic, sustainable clothes; reduce our household waste. Having these ideas, I wanted to put them all into practice right away. Cue an overwhelmed Mags, on the hunt for dinner and almost crying because everything available at the supermarket was wrapped in plastic!
Instead of going into full meltdown mode, I took a deep breath and slowed down. Meaning that my kids got to eat that night! I’d seen a post on Instagram, where someone had started #12ecothings. The idea is that you aim to make one eco switch per month, so that by the end of the year you will have made twelve lifelong changes for the good of the planet. This seemed a lot more feasible to me, so we had a think about what our first few #12ecothings were going to be.
In January, we made sure that everyone in the family (including our littlest ray) had a reusable water bottle. We went with Klean Kanteen bottles, as they have a variety of styles to suit any need. Myself, my husband, and our biggest ray have insulated bottles, meaning we can use them for hot AND cold drinks. The two older girls have the Kid Kanteen sport cap – ideal for school and outings. Our littlest ray has the Kid Kanteen sippy cap, which is great for when we’re out and about. Gone is the need for plastic bottles, cartons of juice, or single-use coffee cups – plus it means extra pennies in our pockets!
February saw us re-evaluating our oral hygiene. We’d been making noises about moving to bamboo toothbrushes for a while – so when our toothbrushes needed replacing, we decided it would be our second switch. We decided to go with We Are Bristle, as they offer a subscription service. At the moment only my husband and I have them, as the children’s plastic ones are still usable. When they next need a new toothbrush, we’ll make the switch for them too. We’ve also been trying out the toothy tabs from Lush, to see whether they would be suitable for replacing toothpaste in plastic tubes. They do leave your mouth feeling very clean and have a lovely natural taste to them, but it would be expensive for the whole family to use them. I’ll be shopping around for a more cost-effective solution. This may even mean making my own. My husband made us all some mouthwash, using only cloves and water, and used a washed-out glass jar to store it in. He found the recipe in a book I borrowed from the library and it works brilliantly!
Another switch we’ve talked about making for a while has been the transfer from loo roll to family cloth. Family cloth is simply another term for reusable toilet wipes. This change isn’t actually a difficult one for us, as we use cloth nappies and cloth baby wipes. This is just the next natural step for our family. I had been putting off this switch, merely because I thought it was going to be an initial expense (although will save us money in the long run.) We use Cheeky Wipes for nappy changes, plus we have a hands and faces kit. They also do a toilet wipes kit, which look fantastic, but I couldn’t see us forking out for one any time soon. So I made my own, cutting up my biggest ray’s old vests and storing them in a spare basket. The idea is that they can be used for ALL toilet visits, with the used ones going into the nappy bucket. I’ve already tested them, and they feel so soft and luxurious on my derrière! Yep – old vests!
They aren’t the pretty wipes you see on Pinterest, but they do the job! I think sometimes people can lose sight of the real issue when going eco. It’s not about buying all the beautifully rustic things that make your home look the part. It’s about making use of what you already have. This switch definitely ticks that box for me! I should add that we will still provide recycled toilet paper for our guests, although they will of course be welcome to use our cut-up vests!
After my initial near-meltdown, I’ve learned that in the case of shifting to a more eco-friendly life, slow and steady is best. It gives you time to evaluate which changes you need to make, as well as the best way to go about making those changes. You don’t need to spend lots of money on the latest eco-trends to live a more environmentally conscious life. Making swaps as things run out is the way to go, along with cutting out single-use items. If everyone made just one change, the planet would be in a much better state. Which changes will you make?