Being eco-conscious is very important to me and I apply this way of living to my daily lifestyle. There are small changes I’ve made in my own personal routine and our household to lessen our impact on the environment. I know what we do is really minor in comparison to governments drilling for oil and superstars whizzing round the world in private jets, totally destroying the planet at a rate far beyond anything the normal person can do to counteract it. However, I still feel it’s my moral responsibility to treat the planet well, however miniscule an impact my efforts will have!
I can’t knowingly do bad things to the environment as I just don’t feel good about it. Perhaps if we all made small changes they would add up to having a huge impact, but the governments need to do this too and enforce some huge changes. We shouldn’t all be made to feel guilty for our actions when they allow far worse to happen and they have the power to make significant changes.
Regardless of whether the government are trying to push us to be more eco-friendly or not, I’d still want to be. Not only do our actions have negative consequences on the planet such as trees, soils and waters, but they have terrible consequences for the animals we share this planet with. I’m sure you’ve seen the devastating effects of plastic pollution on fish and birds, amongst other animals. Our love of plastic is causing birds to die of starvation as they mistake shiny or colourful pieces of plastic for food and then block their stomachs. It’s awful.
What comes around goes around though. We are now polluting our own soils and waters. All water is recycled and our ‘clean’ tap water is actually filled with traces of pesticides, chemicals, medicines and more. I measured our tap water at home and it has almost 200 solid parts per million. Gross. It may not sound much, but I’m sure it must build up as we consume water on a daily basis and some chemicals (and carcinogens) never leave our body, such as dioxin. These chemicals are stored in our fat cells and can accumulate over years potentially causing health issues and disease. Not good.
We are also giving ourselves plastic pollution. As tiny fish eat the small particles of plastic in the ocean waters, then big fish eat them and bigger fish eat them, and so on, we then catch the big fish to eat ourselves. By this point the concentration of plastics and plastic poisoning has built up to much bigger levels and we are then consuming this. I say we, but personally I don’t eat any animal products and it’s much kinder not to. But the point I’m making is our disregard for the planet we live on is only going to affect us negatively in the end.
The thought of being more eco-friendly may seem quite daunting to some people at first. But you don’t need to install expensive solar panels or take out a loan to afford an electric vehicle! Obviously these are great ways to be eco-friendly, but they are costly and some people simply can’t afford it. This is where the government should step in and make renewable energy a must and make electric cars affordable. Instead, there are plenty of small changes you can make to your everyday lives that are more affordable and easy for most to do. Whilst creating an eco-friendly kitchen, bathroom and overall household is better for the environment, it’s also very cost-effective too.
Here are 15 ways I am eco-conscious in my regular life:
Plant based cleaning products
Biodegradable products are not always the same as eco-friendly products. Some products break down but they are made from synthetic chemicals or nasty chemicals that still leave a trace amount in our water supply. They never disappear. I choose to use as many plant based cleaning products around the home such as Method and Ecover brands. To keep our toilet fresh I use Ecozone non-toxic toilet block.
I’ve changed my beauty routine drastically over the past few years. I now only use natural based products. After all, everything we use on ourselves eventually ends up washed down the drain or in a bin and therefore back into the environment. Using less synthetic cosmetics and toiletries is also much better for our own health. What we put on our skin eventually ends up in our blood and bodies!
There’s no need to use plastic throwaway straws, especially at home. Search for some Ecostraws which are made from metal or even reuse sturdy plastic straws. There’s no excuse for having single use plastic straws in the home. You can even get paper straws if you’re having a party.
I believe everyone should choose organic food for both the health benefits of us and the planet. Modern day farming is ruining our soils and water supply. It’s also destroying wildlife, animals and bees. Choose natural farming methods that are free from toxic chemicals too. There are also studies showing organic food has more antioxidants.
We have at least one veg box delivered weekly which drastically cuts down our packaging waste and supports local organic farmers. The food is also much fresher!
If it can be recycled then we recycle it. It’s worth checking out what you can recycle in your bins as my husband didn’t even realise we could recycle fruit punnets until I told him recently. Some packaging, like the plastic inside cereal boxes and toilet tissue wrappers, can be recycled with carrier bags. Some supermarkets have carrier bag recycling points and online supermarket Ocado will collect all carrier bags and even give 5p per bag as a discount on your food shop.
Related: 5 simple ways to reduce waste in the kitchen
Give hangers back
I never take hangers home from the store if I can help it. I always leave them at the store to be reused. If I take them home then I will return them on my next visit. If you do car boots then take hangers with you as often people ask to keep the hanger if you’re selling clothes.
Plant based diet
We follow a plant based diet as a family, though Ben and the children still eat eggs as we have chickens in the garden. We feed our chickens organic feed and scraps and care for them as best we can. A plant based diet is much better for the environment and the animals. We do not need to eat meat or dairy. It is a choice. It’s a choice that has negative impacts on our health, the planet and animals. Eating plants is a more sustainable choice.
I shop in charity shops as much as possible for clothes and I also donate to them. We never throw into landfill things that can be used by someone else. We also never throw any old clothes or textiles into landfill. Our local charity shop takes unsaleable textiles and sells them to the rag trade. There’s no need for any unwanted clothes to ever just go in the bin.
Natural coloured hair
I no longer dye my hair. I stopped dying it a few years ago and have never looked back. It’s now it’s natural colour. It shocks me how normal it is, for women especially, to regularly have their hair dyed. Stop and think of all the chemicals being poured down the drain. I just can’t do it anymore. There are some natural based hair dyes with henna, so if I start going grey and really want to dye my hair then I’ll search for a natural alternative.
Avoid synthetic medicines
In my early twenties I used to take a lot more medicine such as contraception and paracetamol after several nights out on the town each week! Now I avoid all synthetic medicine at all costs, unless I really need it. All this medicine ends up back in our water supply. There’s a big issue with synthetic hormones from contraceptive pills causing infertility in fish and potentially us. We distill our water at home to make sure we are not drinking traces of medicine.
Walk short journeys
If we are going to the local shops then we’ll walk. I also walk the children to school and nursery each day. I’ve only taken the car once or twice when it’s really been torrential rain. One day I’ll get an electric vehicle, but for now we unfortunately have to have our petrol fuelled cars.
Recycled toilet tissue
I always buy recycled toilet tissue, unless they have sold out. Ideally I’d like a bidet style toilet so we don’t even need to buy toilet roll at all.
I used to have a bad habit of using cleaning wipes for everything! Cleaning wipes for the kitchen sides, tables, dusting, floors, mirrors – everything! Now we use reusable cloths and plant based spray. It’s much more cost efficient as well as reducing our landfill waste.
No laundry detergent
A few years back I discovered Ecoeggs and switched all our washing detergents to these. We don’t use any washing detergent at all! The eggs are filled with natural mineral pellets which can last a whole year without needing replacing, depending on how much washing you do. I also use their dryer balls instead of having to use any fabric softener. This saves money and also reduces the drying time, saving even more and being kinder to the environment.