This is a big one – household stuff being where we really commit some awful crimes. The rubbish to landfill, the bleach, the micro plastics, the wasted water.
Who Gives A Crap – popular but a tiny bit controversial as someone pointed out that the actual carbon footprint of this is probably not far off a 9-pack from your Tesco local…
Find paper snack bags on Amazon
Covermate – these are elasticated food covers, they look a bit like shower caps, which come in a variety of sizes, which you stretch over containers in lieu of film or foil.
If You Care sandwich bags (slightly pass-ag name but never mind)
Waxed cloth food wrap – a few different brands, all brilliant. I started using it about six months ago instead of cling film and haven’t looked back.
Carrinet Veggio reusable vegetable carrier bags for loose fruit and veg in supermarkets.
Ocado will also collect and recycle any plastic bags you have knocking about – this includes slithery plastic bags but not, I don’t think, film.
Other food preservation stuff
Turtlebags – a variety of very beautiful string bags for almost any occasion:
Nom Nom – jaunty re-useable snack bags
Eco cleaning products
Splosh is a company that supplies and refills eco cleaning products. You buy the bottles and then order refills from concentrate. Clever.
If you have any great formulas for make-your-own cleaning sprays that you are willing to share, please do.
How about you, otherwise? What is your biggest household non-eco waste anxiety and what are you doing about it?
It’s remarkable how much cleaning guff you don’t actually need.
Ive changed a few things recently since taking up The Organised Mum Method of cleaning. That’s mostly about time management but also about environmentally sensitive cleaning. Hot water and (eco friendly ) detergent with a damp cloth cleans most stuff. Bicarb and vinegar the rest. I do my loo with bicarb and vinegar now plus a Method anti bac spray. It doesn’t smell any more like wee than usual. I use it for the bath as I don’t like my girls bathing in the Cif residue.
I even got a dropped sticky mess off the oven floor using it, although it did take a few applications and leaving it overnight.
Does anyone have succes using a homemade newspaper liner for the small council compost bin? Those silky ones are ££
I read recently that use of recycled loo roll has decreased in a decade. Depressing but then, it is scratchy so… surely it’s possible to make nice loo roll without deforesting half of Sweden?
I get incensed at tissues. The twin packs are wrapped in plastic…. why??!
I debated not using kitchen roll (multiple tea towels instead) but decided I’d just end up washing more.
Tesco delivery brings things in lovely paper bags. Or even bagless too if you are feeling very virtuous. But I love those paper bags and they make perfect bin bags too – though they are on the small side.
oh, and in PROPER Make Do and Mend style I clean my windows with newspaper. Makes your hands filthy, but works brilliantly.
I’m sure that this does awful things as far as microplastics in waterways, but I’ve also had good luck just using those polyester microfiber polishing cloths for cars on my windows. The trick is to use one cloth dry to knock off all the dust and dirt, and then a second with a soap/vinegar spray, then dry with a third. It sounds fiddly but to me it’s worth it not to smell glass cleaner. I’ve been using the same twelve-pack for everything for five or six years now – I do see bamboo velour cloths used similarly so those might be worth a go.
Who Gives A Crap – made in China, more info here: https://thekritic.net/2017/06/who-gives-a-crap/
Sainsbury’s deliver in plastic boxes and then take them away. Excellent way of not using plastic carrier bags at all (even if recycled – see the horrendous news on whether your recycling is actually ‘recycled’). We’ve been doing this for years and the Sainsbury’s staff unpack it straight onto our kitchen table. They should promote this service more.
Mrs c says
Coffee pods! There’s an alternative but very expensive
Mrs C says
Growing up my i mum ripped the local Guardian newspaper into neat squares then hung them on a nail in the lavatory.,, how organic but a bit stiff
I’m posting this comment on behalf of Victoria, who is having problems posting on here from her account:
“Love this blog and this thread!
I’m a working mum like most people I know, so don’t have masses of time on my hands. Everyone, particularly mums, are super busy. But I’m really passionate about doing more to reduce my carbon footprint – I believe we can make a positive change towards saving our beautiful environment.
All the stuff I do has to be quick and fit around my family/work:
I make my own kombucha. It is sooooo easy to do. Buy a SCOBI (Amazon and health food shops sell them), a couple of large 2/3 litre glass Kilner jars (nothing fancy), some green tea, sugar, and you’re off! No packaging to dispose of afterwards and it’s cheap as chips. It takes me about 10 minutes to make litres of the stuff and all the family drinks it. There are instructions on how to brew it on the inter-web.
I also make my own yogurt and it’s dead easy. Buy a starter (again, Amazon or health food shops sell them) and add it to boiled milk that has cooled. Chuck it in a thermos flask to keep it warm then leave for a few hours and hey presto, it’s like magic and only takes a few minutes. There’s no horrible plastic waste or added sugar. Again, instructions on how to make it are on the web and you can keep some yogurt aside to make a new batch. It’s also very good for your immune system and stomach like the kombucha, so it’s win/win.
There’s a local farm shop up the road in Tunbridge Wells, and I ask my husband to go on his bike with a list and a backpack to buy all the fruit and veg. There are plenty of farm shops around here, so we’re very lucky to have lots of seasonal produce. I also buy local honey – it drives me nuts to see it shipped in from New Zealand when the Kent honey is just delicious. And local eggs – no brainer. Lots of the local shops stock these now.
I have a veg patch, which the children really enjoy and gives us loads of produce all year round. This takes much more time, so I wouldn’t necessarily advise this if you’re super time poor or have very young children.
We’re looking at electric cars at the moment and will replace ours in the next year or two. We have milk delivered (it’s easy if Milk and More are in your area). We compost all the waste from our office in the garden.
Areas I’m really struggling with are flying (I love travel – would find this difficult to give up) and clothes. Gahhh.”
Thanks Victoria! xxx
Thanks for all suggestions
Does anyone use the Smol dishwasher and washing powder capsules? I am being tormented by them on all my social media feeds.
Are they actually better or worse for the environment? They seem to have an awful lot of packaging…
I use a string bag that I bought in Nice in 1985. It’s still going strong although I must admit I mislaid it for a couple of years !
Sophie Napthine says
Thanks to this piece I’ve ordered a load of Splosh! Stuff and it arrived today, it’s all really good so far (haven’t done a wash yet which is a big test for us….). But I love that there’s finally some shower gel that is refillable! A great week of info thank you xx
I can’t believe the price they are charging for bees wax wraps when you can make them yourselves for pennies. There are loads of tutorials online and any waste fabric can be used- a slightly heavier gauge woven cotten gives the best results (verse something like poplin)