Advanced search

Small ways we can make a difference & making it more accessible: ideas and resources.

(40 Posts)
KoraBora Tue 12-Feb-19 23:30:37

Sorry if this is a bit messy, it's been running through my head in a stream of consciousness and trying to get out is always difficult.

I really want to reduce the amount of waste I produce and lessen my impact upon the environment. But I often find it very overwhelming. I've read blogs and the like but it seems like so much work and I can never achieve that level of perfection or expense. I have recently been reading a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. In the book he talks about the British Cycling Team and how they went from being so bad that some manufacturers didn't want to sell them their bicycles to dominating the world. It was done through lots of tiny improvements, a 1% improvement in loads of different areas. All these tiny improvements add up to huge changes. If we all made a tiny improvement we can make big changes.

It doesn't have to mean perfection either. Take tampons. The best solution is to use a mooncup, but it has a high initial outlay and is largely unsuitable for teenage girls who want internal protection (I found it tough enough using tampons then). But while mooncup are the best choice I would say the worst choice is the plastic applicator tampons. Using tampons with a biodegradable cardboard applicator is an improvement. Non applicator tampons is an improvement again. Don't aim for perfection aim to improve and start to pressure companies to stop providing the worst option (plastic applicators) when an equally easy (cardboard applicators) option exists.

I really wanted to use cloth nappies. But I have bad anxiety and a busy head and I knew I wouldn't stay on top of cloth nappies so I use disposables. I am now researching cloth nappies. I may not make a full switch but if I buy one single cloth nappy, soak it when necessary (and we all have enough poopy clothes regardless) and wash with my normal wash, even if I just use that nappy twice a week I will save 104 nappies a year from landfill. That cloth nappy can be reused, passed on and reused more. I don't need to be the perfect cloth nappy user to start making changes. I may find cloth nappies easier than I thought and add more.

I guess it is making the changes easier and more accessible so we can build on them if we can.

What I would really like to do is for us (I can't do it alone) to start a number of threads broken down into different areas (I.e. beauty, food storage, baby, recycling, transport). We could look at different areas, go through ideas, tips, try things out and make improvements. Ultimately we could provide a good master list/resource maybe in the form of a new website to allow people to make small positive improvements that are accessible to them with zero judgement. Like beeswax wraps may be the most eco friendly way to wrap your sandwiches, but thick plastic bags which could be washed and reused like the Ikea ones are a better choice than cling film or cheap bags which rip easily and have to be thrown away after a single use. Step ups are often easier to achieve.

Discussion threads could be linked on different boards so style and beauty for toiletries etc and housekeeping for cleaning products to widen the reach.

Above all I want it to be a positive environment without condemnation. No matter what anyone thinks about climate change surely no one can argue with less waste, lower energy bills and a more pleasant environment for us and future generations. If people want debate threads they can, of course, have them but debate isn't part of the information threads unless it is about what option is truly lower impact I.e. glass is heavier than plastic and more expensive to transport, is locally produced meat more environmentally friendly than quinoa shipped from South America?

So, if you made it this far, are you interested? Ideas, tips, condemnation blush.

Littletabbyocelot Sun 14-Apr-19 22:48:21

It's a shame this didn't get responses at the time. If you're still here, I'm in. I think small changes are the way, at the moment, to get mass buy in. Next on my list is recycling more with some of the charity led recyclers - so chocolate / crisp wrappers, bread bags etc. I know buying stuff with less packaging would be better but I'm not there yet.

RandomMess Mon 15-Apr-19 01:18:07

I agree small changes easily done are the way forward!

73kittycat73 Tue 23-Apr-19 21:50:17

Next on my list is recycling more with some of the charity led recyclers - so chocolate / crisp wrappers, bread bags etc.

Hi @Littletabbyocelot I would love to hear more about this, do you have a link or anything? (I'm virtually housebound so don't get out to hear about these things.
I recycle a lot but would love to do more. Those items you wrote about would be great to recycle too!

RandomMess Tue 23-Apr-19 22:05:30

I finally bought some wax wraps to reduce cling film use not that we use much. Really impressed with it.

Trying to cycle to work as much as possible too.

Cloudtree Wed 24-Apr-19 08:13:35

climate change petition gaining momentum

Cloudtree Wed 24-Apr-19 08:47:17

and this tiny change makes a big difference. Use ecosia instead of safari/google etc and they plant a tree for every 45ish internet searches.

jackparlabane Wed 24-Apr-19 09:00:29

I would urge anyone short on time and energy to write or email to their MPs and companies they are customers of, saying you are concerned and want to make choices based on sustainability. One letter is still seen as worth a hundred or more signatures on a petition, and getting the message to the top means structures can start to change for the better (like Amnesty, only for climate instead of human rights).

Because figuring out what is the best solution can be hugely variable depending on so much complex supply chain stuff, so getting the people whose job it is to put more effort in might be the most efficient thing.

I'm quite good at recycling, putting items on Freecycle, acquiring second-hand as much as possible, but my next challenge is to collect plastic bags and other stretchy plastic (like carrots or potatoes come in) so I can return it to the supermarket where they collect plastic bags for recycling. So one of those plastic-bag storers could be a good investment.

Cloudtree Wed 24-Apr-19 09:07:12

So one of those plastic-bag storers could be a good investment

Great to return the bags but a plastic bag storer is just another 'thing' that we don't need - probably made out of plastic itself and shipped halfway around the world. Put the plastic bags inside one another ad keep them in the back of the car for when you next go to the supermarket?

I had an ocado delivery of plants at the weekend and returned 90 bags which we hunted for around the house and garage )from all different shops). They will recycle them all and you also get 5p per bag back. I was astonished at how many we'd accumulated.

jackparlabane Wed 24-Apr-19 20:45:57

I'm low on space and walk to the supermarket with my pull-along trolley, so car for storage isn't an option. If I can compact them until there's a bunch to take, then recycling becomes an option for all that plastic wrap that won't stay inside other bags.
Though if Ocado are giving 5p off per bag, I must tell my ILs - they have hundreds. I stock up from them whenever I need any.

Carey12 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:41:43

Cut out/heavily reduce meat and dairy from your diet.
Fly less.
Lobby your MP.

Carey12 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:42:52

Switch to a green energy supplier.

TantieTowie Thu 25-Apr-19 16:13:00

On the travel without flights, we went interrailing last summer with DC aged 7 & 12. We took three weeks and went to Paris, the Pyrenees (a week), Barcelona, Lisbon and Santander- where we got the ferry back. Didn’t feel we were depriving ourselves at all - tho another time I would make sure we weren’t getting off night trains before about 7/8am.

OhHolyJesus Sat 27-Apr-19 21:35:02

Ok so I'm late but this is what I have done so far and I've broken it down, if you want to do separate threads and add to it that would be great!

More of the below but reusable nappies and baby wipes - cheeky wipes

Bamboo toothbrush
Solid shampoo - Lamazuna
Solid Conditioner - Juliet Rose
Soap - Friendly soap
Moisturiser/Skincare - B Skincare, Peace with Wild or Evolve Beauty and coconut oil
Loo roll - Cheeky panda or Ecoleaf from Ethical superstore
Razor - Mutiny with blades

Period pants, Mooncup and Sanpro from cheeky wipes

Vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and other Refills from zero waste (toilet cleaner, cream cleaner, washing up liquid, fabric conditioner,)

Kitchen/On the go
Coffee cup, water bottle and shopping bags
Coffee pod for machine at work
Unpaper towels
Packed lunches, sandwich bags, beeswax wraps

Make your own: bread, yoghurt, granola, cookies and muffins as snacks, oat milk, peanut butter
Cook from scratch - buy in jars and tins and just make smart choices like dairy Lea in foil and cardboard not plastic, chocolate the same, porridge oats in cardboard, tinned tomatoes not passata in tertrapacks etc
Make stock from a roast chicken
Use the whey from yoghurt for the garden or for the bread
Milk and More
Plastic free pantry
Nuts in bulk
Zero waste stores (more of them popping up) and farm shops and buy rice, pasta etc in bulk
Grow your own herbs/veg/fruit

OhHolyJesus Sat 27-Apr-19 21:40:24

For carbon footprint/water

Electric car
Do less laundry - wear jeans more before washing and wash in eco/super eco
No tumble dryer
Motion sensor lights or switch them off when you leave the room
TV not on standby - read instead
When the oven is on cook more with that heat
Boil kettle for a pan of water don't heat in the hob
One bowl of hot water for washing up
Load dishwasher to the max before putting on
Tin foil behind radiators and set to 18 degrees - wear more clothes if cold
Use bath water for more than one person and then use it for the garden

AnyoneButAnton Sat 27-Apr-19 21:44:02

It’s not difficult

Don’t fly
Go vegan (or as far vegan as you can possibly manage - no need to be totally paranoid about contaminants, honey or vegan wine)
Don’t breed above replacement rate
Vote for politicians who will take necessary measures to minimise climate change
Don’t get NIMBY about measures which will minimise climate change unless you’ve got really solid evidence that they will not have the desired effect (“But China!!!” does not count)

Everything else is set-dressing

Fridakahlofan Sat 27-Apr-19 21:52:18

All of the above... A few more:
- Mend things
- complain - I recently complained about plastic cups at a nationwide massage chain and they have just confirmed every place will now use glass. Leave tripdvisor reviews etc pointing out where places can improve.
- Grow things - I cannot tell you how easy it is to grow spinach and salad all summer long on your windowsill. No pesticides, no plastic, no travel.
- live more simply. Supper really doesn’t need 18 ingredients. Extra virgin olive oil is great as a cleanser and moisturiser (google it for peoples’ experiences)
- going to repeat change to a green energy supplier just because it is so ridiculously easy to do!

Fridakahlofan Sat 27-Apr-19 21:53:15

And... well done everyone for making an effort smile

starpatch Sat 27-Apr-19 23:04:26

I really think we have to cut our car use for those that have a car.
My goal I set for myself today is to cut back on cocoa! I drink loads of milk and apparently the methane from the cows is a major contributor.

lazylinguist Sun 28-Apr-19 13:51:06

Someone told me the other day that the 3 top things David Attenborough said everyone should do were 1) stop eating red meat 2) buy local and 3) minimise food waste.

I'm horrified by the amount of plastic waste my household produces. I think part of it is that I shop in Aldi and they sell very little fruit and veg that's not plastic wrapped, and meat is all in plastic trays. I'm going to start buying meat at the butcher's and fruit and veg elsewhere.

lazylinguist Sun 28-Apr-19 13:53:03

I'd find it pretty impossible to reduce car use. I live fairly rurally and work at 6 different village locations, all 15-30 mins away from my home.

nevernotstruggling Sun 28-Apr-19 14:11:32

Place marking as I tried a thread about this too.

Mine are religious planning of taking drink bottles out with us. We have had the longest use out of sistema. I've just packed up loads of Tupperware I already had to take to the caravan as we got into an awful habit of using sandwich bags.

We bought metal reusable drinking straws they look lovely and the kids use them every day.

We make fruit smoothies every day in a blender and I take mine to work in the bottle thing you get with the blender.

I have stopped bagging loose produce in the supermarket - don't know why I ever did!!

I got this idea from another family but the dds are having plastic free birthday parties this year as in no single use plastic. I think it's easy but I will get the invitations out a bit earlier - so make a card - make a gift or just give money or nothing - I will do paper food boxes like always but no ore packages food and I will make cookies etc I will hire a hall and a bouncy castle. I need to have a think about pass the parcel but I'll get there. The kids are very on board with this.

My student at work showed us how to fold a plastic bag into a tiny triangle so you can keep one in your handbag all the time. That was a game changer for some of my colleagues!

Try and do second hand as much as you can. Work out who in your social circle has slightly older kids than yours of the same sex and remind them they can pass on or sell clothes to you. I'm about to collect a lovely bundle of Boden summer clothes for dd1. Dd2 clothes go to another family we know with a younger girl.

Get into the habit of low impact hobbies. We had pebble painting to infinity they never tire if that. Next we are trying geocaching.

Lastly teach the kids as much as you can. Mine spent hours collecting nurdles off the beach and the exclaim in horror about bonfires left burning on the beach and tell people off!

Poolbank Tue 07-May-19 19:09:04

I think all the awareness messages about climate change are great but there is a gap. There are very few ideas about what we as individuals can do. WELL DONE mums nets for trying to fill the gap. I think we also need to write to our MPs and tell them that the climate needs their help too. If they can’t help their constituents by helping to minimise climate change what do they think they are there for? it is easy search on the internet find their details and can tell them we need them to act and then to tell us what they have done for us. Go to it gals!!!

SlimGin Tue 07-May-19 19:39:33

Glad to stumble upon this thread. I haven't RTFT but will do and looking forward to getting some inspiration.

As most people are starting to do I've made the easy changes (shampoo bar, cloths instead of kitchen roll, recycle, reuse, make things myself, mend things, second hand/charity shops, cut down on buying things in plastic packaging, stopped buying meat). I've still got a long way to go and also need to convince DP to make these changes also.

The hardest things I'm finding are: not driving as much, cutting down on cleaning products that are harmful for environment and not in plastic bottles, finding a good conditioner bar, and make up products that aren't in plastic but aren't expensive. If anyone has any tips that would be great!

I've just bought some reusable nappies second hand so hopefully they turn out ok as I feel so guilty using disposable.

Alienspaceship Tue 07-May-19 19:49:13

I’m focusing on what I can control - I’m in compete control of what I eat, so meat is now minimal. Also, I’m in control of what I buy, plastic packing is now minimal. I can’t cut down on car use. Genuinely can’t face a moon cup. I’m changing to washable alternative to cotton wool pads and washable food wraps. Small, sustainable steps.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »