We all have to start somewhere, right? There are so many zero waste bloggers out there that are truly inspiring but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed when I see how little waste they are producing yet my efforts aren’t going so well. Especially while living with other people! It seems impossible. I get sick of myself saying ‘who put this in the waste bin?’ And the answer is always my husband!! 🙈
So I set myself a few simple steps to give myself a little boost and pat on the back that I need as some self encouragement.
I consume a lot of coffee. My first step was investing in a reusable coffee cup that I really loved. I have been down this road before of travel mugs, ceramic mugs and they didn’t work for me because I didn’t like them and so it was easy to forget them. If you invest in a reusable mug that you love, you will be less likely to forget it.
Stop buying reusable plastic bags. I went through another phase of buying reusable plastic bags every time I went to the supermarket and soon one of my kitchen presses had more than the supermarket itself! Find a decent reusable bag that’s easy to carry and when shopping is unloaded leave it at the front door to go back in the car. My preference for a big shop are jute bags as they hold their shape and are easy to pack. For smaller trips to town I have a crochet bag that I love. Find what you like and again it will be easier to remember!
Stop buying water bottles. Again, find a bottle you love and carry it everywhere. Stainless steel or glass is best as it doesn’t leach harmful chemicals into your water.
Toothbrush. I had a bamboo toothbrush sitting in my bathroom for probably about a year. I just couldn’t bring myself to using it until I calculated how many toothbrushes that I alone am sending to landfill. Then I tried it and I haven’t looked back. The first time it felt so strange but now I wouldn’t use anything else. When I’m done with it I crack the head off as it has nylon and I send the remainder for compost. Satisfaction 👌
Stop buying plastic. This one may have been the hardest as I found it hard to source some plastic replacements and the main reason I started the Little Green Shop! As soon as something reached the end of its life I replaced with a non plastic alternative. For example my dish brush now is made from wood and has replaceable heads.
Start with one step at a time and don’t beat yourself up for slipping back. Soon these changes that seem like so much effort will become second nature and no effort at all!
We are all about chemical free cleaning at the Little Green Shop and are always experimenting with homemade cleaning concoctions. We love these tips and recipes from Lisa Bronner, (Dr Bronners grand daughter)
She recommends either using Pure Castile Liquid Soap for body and home as it’s gentle on sensitive skin. Or Sal Suds for tougher cleaning jobs and hard water conditions.
All Purpose Cleaning Spray
In a spray bottle, mix 1/4 cup Dr Bronners Pure Castile Soap or 1 Tbsp Sal Suds cleaner, 1 quart of water and (optional) 20-25 drops of tea tree essential oil. Spray surface and then wipe with wet cloth
For large loads use 1/2 cup Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap or 2-3 Tbsp of Sal Suds Cleaner. For extra whitening/brightening add 1/2 cup of baking soda. If using Pure Castile Soap add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Pre-dilute 1:10 Dr Bronner’s Pure Castiel Soap or 1:20 Sal Suds Cleaner with water.
Mix 1/2 cup Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap or 1/2 Tbsp of Sal suds in 3 gallons of hot water
Mix 1/2 tsp Sal Suds Cleaner plus 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe windows. Follow with club soda, or half vinegar, half water solution
Wet fur thoroughly, squirt on enough Dr Bronners Pure Castile Soap to work into a lather. Avoid eyes and ears. Rinse thoroughly. Baby Unscented is recommended for cats. Sal Suds Cleaner can be used to wash bowls and equipment.
It all started with my mother and her love of hanging onto things for an eternity. Some may call it hoarding. She only recently threw out a basin that was over 30 years old and we all knew what age this basin was because she reminded us all the time. I’m surprised she didn’t throw a party for its birthday every year! (sorry mammy..we love you really!)
Then when my son was born, toys and clothes started to reappear, that were also over 30 years old. My little green child is now cycling around in a Raleigh tricycle that I got for my first Christmas and we all think it’s so cute. And playing with bath toys that we played with.
So then I thought to myself, will I ever get to pass down anything to my grandkids. Considering things aren’t made to last anymore, toys are nearly all plastic, plastic gets scratched, and we are just living in such a throw away culture. Things don’t get fixed, they get put in the bin. This is not good for the environment but The quality just isn’t there anymore. Or is it?
So that’s when I had my little light bulb moment of researching products and buying things that don’t need to get thrown out every few months. Yes you pay for the quality but probably save in the long run. And I can hopefully bore my kids some day with the “that basin is older than you story’
So the lesson is, mammies are always right! And hopefully purchasing products with the environment in mind and some sentiment will make a difference too..