6 sustainable changes you'll love making
If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you’ll have realised that I’m about three things - beauty, affordability and sustainability. In creating our home, these are the things I think about, and I try to achieve a balance between the three. Thing is, they’re not all equally easy, and I’ve found sustainability the hardest to grasp. In recent years, society has been so much in favour of easy and disposable items that returning to a more sustainable way of living has proven difficult!
That being said, there are a few changes which we’ve found so worthwhile in making, and others that we’re soon to make. Today I’d love to share more about how you can incorporate some of these too. And while I’m at it, I’ll say that these will also be affordable and beautiful. You know that’s what I’m all about!
This was the first change we made, and it’s definitely the easiest. Every time you get a coffee in a disposable cup, you add to the 8 trillion pieces of single use plastic that end up in the sea each year. Isn’t that mind-blowing? Switching to a reusable cup will get you a saving of up to 50p on your coffee. That means if you’re having at least one a week, you could save over £50 a year. What’s more, the sheer variety of styles and colours out there means you can have one which looks seriously beautiful. I have a Keep Cup with the cork trim and I absolutely love it. You can find it here.
I’ve written a super detailed post here on the things you need to know before you get started with cloth nappies. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - I promise it isn’t that hard! If you need more detailed help, The Nappy Gurus has a whole heap of advice available to answer your questions, including 10% off any cloth nappy purchases if you use the code "ABODERIE". Alternatively, you can contact me by email or Instagram for more personalised advice - I would love to help you get started!
Wipes have been under a lot of media scrutiny recently, and rightly so. Few people know that baby wipes are often made (partly, at least) of plastic, thus contributing massively to the landfill burden. On top of this, so many people still flush them down the toilet, leading them to block sewers and sometimes end up in the water chain.
The alternative, reusable wipes, are so much easier to use than people think. Here are 4 reasons to switch:
They are so much more effective. Really, one wipe is enough most of the time, which is better for your purse and for little one’s skin.
You likely already use flannels and cloths around the house. Perhaps it’s not too much of a stretch to think of using wipes on a bottom too. (Though you may want to make sure you have designated bottom wipes!)
There isn’t actually much more washing. You’ll need to rinse off any solids, but after that you can just use a normal wash. You probably won’t use enough to notice a huge difference in the number of washes you’re doing.
The array of different kinds means you can choose a material which is best for your baby’s bottom. You can get synthetic options and natural options like bamboo. By keeping a spray bottle by your changing station, you can wet wipes as you go. You might even like to consider adding a (skin-friendly!) diluted essential oil blend suited to clean and treat little bottoms.
If you need more convincing, The Nappy Gurus have a wonderful article on the best types of wipe for each situation.
Ok, bear with me for a moment! I really didn’t think I could be sold on this. Sanitary towels and tampons are some of the biggest contributors to landfill. While the things themselves are often mostly biodegradable, they almost always come wrapped in plastic packaging or with plastic applicators. Instead, switching to a menstrual cup means no waste each month, massively reducing your waste footprint.
One of the biggest concerns women have about switching is how sanitary menstrual cups are. I understand where this is coming from, but having used one, I can now say that they feel so much more sanitary than other products. You can sterilise them by boiling them, so you know that they’re completely clean and sanitised for next use.
Personally, my main concern was how I would deal with using one in public toilets. The joy is that you don’t need to change a cup anywhere near as often as other products, so you can wait until you get back to the privacy of your own home!
There is a somewhat overwhelming array of menstrual cups to choose from, but the wonderful ladies at Put a Cup In It have a quiz (based on feedback from hundreds of women!) that recommends the perfect cup for you. I have been very pleased with my own purchase based on this quiz!
I used to use several cotton pads to remove my make up on a daily basis. Making the switch to a reusable version has not only been good for the environment, I also find it much kinder on my skin, especially around the delicate eye area.
There’s a whole host of different options out there. I use the Baba+Boo rounds from The Nappy Gurus (and you can get 10% off with code "ABODERIE"!). There are some lovely handmade options on Etsy, or you could even consider crocheting your own if you’re handy with a crochet hook.
Switching tissues for handkerchiefs is a change that we haven’t put in place yet but is top of my list to try. But first, let me tackle the question I know you’re thinking - isn’t this really unsanitary?! It all comes down to how you plan to use them. While theoretically disposable tissues are highly sanitary, how often do people actually throw a tissue straight in the bin after use? More often, they end up strewn about and reused. On the other hand, if you treat handkerchiefs like disposables, and don’t leave dirty ones lying about, they can be just as sanitary.
And I’m planning to use them just like tissues. So I'll have a little pack of 5 or so in my bag, and a pretty bamboo box full of them in our kitchen. That way, people can take one as and when they need it, and just toss the used ones into a laundry basket, instead of the bin.
So far it’s proven difficult to find affordable and beautiful handkerchiefs (although how cute are these ones from Etsy?!) so I think will end up making them. I’ll write up a post on how I manage this when I get around to it!
Thankfully, lots of restaurants and bars have begun ditching plastic straws in favour of paper ones, but have you noticed how soggy they get? Buying a metal one for your bag is a better idea if you want to enjoy your drink! These from Amazon do the job. Other options include bamboo, silicone or glass, so you can chose the kind that works best for you. Finally, I’m on the hunt for some cute reusable cocktail straws, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!
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