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Planning an ethical 20s - or trying to...

(29 Posts)
EnterFunnyNameHere Wed 01-Jan-20 11:11:39

Hi, just looking for inspiration for ethical/green resolutions to take into the new year. I am firstly trying to cut down on plastic in my food shop by a) going back to supermarkets not Ocado (where everything is prepackaged!) and b) just being more critical - if something doesn't have a "single use plastic"-free option do I really need it, could I swap it etc.

Would love to hear other ideas too! TIA

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RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 01-Jan-20 11:39:33

Can I join you?

We've got a local zero waste shop, so going to get rice and pasta from there. I buy loose vege where possible but annoyingly when I order it online they bag it.

I'm wondering about trying to make my own yoghurt and also about finding a milkman, although we use so little milk now that they probably wouldn't be interested in us as customers.

I've given up shower gel and bubble bath and buy bar soap packaged in paper or card (too many brands are still in plastic though). Still not solved the shampoo or conditioner problem but trying to mostly buy stuff where the packaging is made from recycled plastic.

It makes me so angry that the supermarket s are doing so little. It really should be easier for us as shoppers to do this, but so many foods seem to be impossible to buy without plastic.

daisychain01 Wed 01-Jan-20 11:59:03

Thanks for starting this thread.

I want to try and make personal changes because if we have to wait for governments and corporates to really take environmental issues seriously it just won't get off the ground. It can start in small ways and hopefully the pressure can come from social behaviour and public opinion.

I will continue to resist the "do you need a bag" question which is just a cynical way of getting round the carrier bag ban. All shops should resolve not to force staff to ask this question. It should be "I see you've bought your own bag, let me help pack it in there" so it endorses good eco behaviours.

A few things I can do today:

- only buy loose fruit and veg. Where I have no choice, because the item isn't available without plastic or clingfilm that time, then I will buy something else and / or try again in a different shop. The real change will be buying all our veg in a local farm shop, I know I need to do that! Yes it can be inconvenient, so I may have to suffer that.

- I'm still trying to get DH to reduce Amazon use, I hate them, so we need to consider other options. We live in a rural area so not easy ...

- reduce toiletries to unscented / reduced scents and fewer chemicals. Brands like Lush are appalling, you can smell them from half a mile away!

- no reusable cup, no drinks! I'm getting better about taking a couple of covered cups with us. I absolutely hate seeing all the piles of one use cups outside Costa. We hardly go there now. I don't mind Waitrose, they've done the best thing by eliminating cups and people have fully supported that move in our local town.

If I think of ideas I will happily share them here. It's nice to talk openly without people thinking we're being 'judgy spoilsports' !

Happy New eco-Year x

EnterFunnyNameHere Wed 01-Jan-20 12:11:01

Some good ideas here - I completely agree that I need to be more critical about what I buy/where from. If the only option is a one use plastic bag (spinach!!) do I really need it?

@RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie - re milkman, have you tried Milk & More? I don't think you'd find small purchase size an issue there. Also though, if you might make your own yoghurt you'll likely be buying more milk!!

With shampoo etc I struggle as I'm on very hard water which the bars don't seem to like. Beauty Kubes work, but very expensive. I did see Funky Soap do some in refillable containers - and they do an eco packaging option for shipping too (zero plastic) if that helps? I found them as they do decent cheap-ish body lotion in Kraft cardboard containers!

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EnterFunnyNameHere Wed 01-Jan-20 12:12:43

@daisychain01 showing my ignorance, but what is the eco issue with Amazon? I try not to get too much as it means lots of extra traffic dropping off a small bit at a time but is there more to consider there?

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daisychain01 Wed 01-Jan-20 13:40:59

@EnterFunnyNameHere it's a good question - you are right that Amazon perpetuates numerous dropoffs of small items, which is a big problem. Amazon Prime feeds into the mindset of "I want it, and I want it now!" because they charge a "consume-as-much-as-you-like" flat fee subscription for next day delivery which is addictive and tempts people into not thinking ecologically about the damage being done by this level of consumerism.

I also believe their staff are exploited. I'd love Amazon staff to come into MN in their hoards saying what a great employer they work for, but the only person who gets any real benefit are the top dogs like Bezos and his inner circle. The company is held together with minimum waged staff, drivers who are pressured to doing each drop in x seconds per drop x 100s of drops per day. So it's eco and ethics combined, in my opinion, which makes me conflicted about ever using them.

EnterFunnyNameHere Wed 01-Jan-20 14:20:57

@daisychain01 that's such a good point. I'd got focussed on eco = plastic/environment but social sustainability is key too. I have started trying to buy fewer clothes and from eco stores where possible but if I'm still using the questionable giants for so much there is more to be done there!

I think for me a lot is related to more "concious" purchasing. Not "I want X buy it right now" but more, doin need it, what is the best version, where can I get that better version more eco-friendly?

Interesting stuff!

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RhymingRabbit3 Wed 01-Jan-20 15:31:28

We are expecting a baby in March so planning more eco-friendly parenting. We have reusable nappies and wipes, using hand-me-down baby clothes or buying clothes from ethical brands.

daisychain01 Wed 01-Jan-20 17:20:31

@EnterFunnyNameHere I'm with you on being more conscious about purchases, the "needs" versus the "wants". There is so much choice out there but I'm increasingly disillusioned at how quality has plummeted in shops that used to be renowned for high quality, such as M&S, Next etc.

The amount of waste is depressing - rails and rails of churned out clothing that either gets sold off in bulk to other countries or flogged off cheap in out of town outlets. It never used to be like this, even 10 years ago. Globalisation....

All the best for your new baby in March @RhymingRabbit3 - you are on such a good track with all those ethical products. First time this year I've steered my nephews' Christmas presents away from plastics and more on the theme of paper, card games and books which won't end up in landfill quite so easily.

Butchyrestingface Wed 01-Jan-20 21:49:57

I’m not going to buy any new clothes in 2020 (save for things like tights). As I have three (!) wardrobes full this should be no hardship - just have to slim my fat arse down to fit a lot of them!

I did this successfully in 2014, to everyone’s utter amazement (not least mine!).

Also going to give up buying mindless tat from Amazon and online stores. As I can’t self-regulate (at ALL), this means not looking at things online.

Would also like to reduce meat consumption to about twice a week at the most but don’t know how realistic that would be for me. sad

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 01-Jan-20 22:19:38

Thanks for the Milk & More rec. It looks really good and I'm going to give it a go. Yoghurt in glass jars!

EnterFunnyNameHere Thu 02-Jan-20 09:41:15

I just put this on another thread, but might work for eco as well as cost reasons:
If you decide you "need" something frivolous (ie not food or bills) sit on it for a week. Then if you still "need" it find it and put it in an online basket but don't buy it - sit on it for another week. If after that you still need it then you buy it. Gets over the instant gratification of shopping! This is something I need to start up again!!

I'm also thinking about getting a smart meter so I can be better informed about things like extra machine spin vs longer dehumidifier run...

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theneverendinglaundry Thu 02-Jan-20 09:43:37

The thing I struggle with most is food packaging. I dont have a car so getting to 3/4 shops for my weekly shop is hard work, so I tend to just order everything from one place and have it delivered.

But I like to think I'm doing pretty well. I am by nature very minimalist so rarely buy anything unless I actually need it. I dont have a car. I dont fly anywhere. Am switching to an eco energy company. Am mostly vegetarian with an aim to eat more vegan meals.

I have also gradually replaced cleaning products with eco ones, although I haven't yet found laundry products that I like.

I recycle as much as possible, take things to my local terracycle and make eco bricks.

theneverendinglaundry Thu 02-Jan-20 09:44:11

God why do my paragraphs never work when I post! Sorry

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Thu 02-Jan-20 10:22:38

Your paragraphs are showing fine for me!

BeverlyGoldberg Thu 02-Jan-20 10:33:49

I'm interested to follow this.

We are committing to eating a lot less meat and shopping smarter. I used to be terrible at taking my own bags and cups with me but I'm getting better.

Eating less processed food and cooking more, which is obviously better for everyone.

Supermarkets and manufacturers need to do so much more. The 'eco' refill pack of hand wash we use comes in a plastic bag which isn't recyclable - and this is branded as eco.

Similarly, I like organic sweet potatoes but they only come in a plastic bag, not loose - why? There are lots of other examples of this - change is so slow but there's so much at stake.

Daftasabroom Thu 02-Jan-20 10:42:40

We set up a buyer's group for bulk buying from Essential, it needs 4 or 5, but the more the merrier.

theneverendinglaundry Thu 02-Jan-20 11:02:02

Oh good @remus ! Must be because I'm using the app.

I just bought some vegan bacon to try........

DarlingCoffee Sun 05-Jan-20 16:20:47

Following with interest too after generating so much waste over Christmas which really gave me pause.

We get a weekly organic fruit and vegetable box from Abel and Cole which has been really good, and they take away and reuse the boxes.

Have switched to ecover washing liquid and use Splosh for cleaning products to reduce our plastic.

Regularly buy from charity shops instead of new.

I use paperless post to send cards and invitations instead of using paper ones.

JaneDarcy Sun 05-Jan-20 16:28:15

I've started using cloth sanitary products. They are Eco friendly, I buy them from small businesses so supporting them. They also feel so comfortable and cosy. So much nicer than plastic sanitary products which are cold, rustly and feel damp.

kjhkj Mon 13-Jan-20 19:32:19

DS1 is doing a project for HPQ (GCSE equiv) on the sustainability of meat and has been watching a number of documentaries on it. We watched the recent BBC one and he watched the Channel 4 Apocalypse Cow today. Frankly the issue of disposable plastics pales into complete insignificance next to the the problem of excessive meat consumption which is an environmental disaster.

We are cutting back on meat dramatically, cutting out red meat entirely and DS1 has decided today he's becoming vegetarian. If everyone halved the amount of meat they eat that would have a far bigger impact than anything else including transatlantic flights etc.

reluctantbrit Thu 16-Jan-20 21:24:17

For 2020 I try to avoid buying small plastic bottles. Last year we managed to stop buying large ones for sparkling water by getting a carbonator but I still struggled at work. I now have a large metal water bottle which keeps the water sparkling. I also refuse to get fizzy drinks in small bottles, either can or you go without. The amount of rubbish saving is astonishing.

Coffee cups were abolished already, we have two simple ones in the car and I think the situations I used a disposable were getting less and less.

Next on the list are freezer bags, trying out the zero waste store for pasta, rice and cereals.

I still struggle with veggie in plastic, we buy a lot organic and that is always wrapped, i do wish ?Waitrose would widen their no packing stores. We have a good farmers market but it is too far away for a weekly shop unfortunately.

Meat consumption is on the way down, I won’t become a vegetarian but I think reducing will help.

Shower bars and shampoo bars will be tested when I have a bathroom I can actually keep them somewhere, should be later the year.

Our council started a clothes rubbish collection, no more rags to the normal waste.

Deckthehallswithlotsofcake Mon 03-Feb-20 10:59:42

With regard to food, we eat less meat. We are often using pearl barley instead of jasmine or basmati rice. Pearl barley has grown in Britain, doesn't produce methane, is cheaper than rice and has fewer carbs. So it is win-win. You cook it like you would rice, but I usually put it in water for ten minutes, before I start cooking it, as then, it doesn't need to cook for that long.
I have net bags with me when I shop, so I don't need to use small plastic bags for the loose fruit and veg. I also use the nets when I want to bring my own produce to work.
One of our local organic shops has started selling a lot of items in loose weight in paper instead of plastic. So for some products (beans, popcorn, wheat grains) we have switched from non-organic in plastic to organic in paper.
We have stopped buying products with palm oil in them. That one was tough as there is palm oil in both Nutella and several of my favourite chocolate bars. We buy loose tea to avoid plastic.
We are eating more organic products now and have always eaten our leftovers.

When it comes to hygiene: I use a moon cup and cloth pads. We use washing nuts for the laundry (cheap and effective) and have so far gotten another family to switch over too and two other families to try it as well, but I don't know yet if they liked it. We have bought dishwasher liquid that can be refilled at the shop and I have made dishwasher tablets using baking soda, vinegar, and washing soda.

I mend clothes and we shop in and donate to charity shops. We use old milk containers to transport water to our allotment in dry seasons.

And yet our recycling bin is still almost full every other week. blush

theneverendinglaundry Mon 03-Feb-20 13:13:30

I've switched to bars of soap, and have decided to use Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner because the bottles are made from recycled plastic. I have a refill store nearby but the shampoo and conditioner is a bit too expensive for my budget.

The thing I am finding hardest to tackle is food packaging. Plastic on EVERYTHING. I'm trying to get as much as I can from the refill shop, the market and the greengrocer's.

Moll88 Thu 06-Feb-20 09:26:46

For me it's about finding easy swaps that are good for the environment but mean I don't have to sacrifice cleanliness for my family.

I've switched my laundry detergent and conditioner to eco Botanical Origin from Morrisons - it's made from plant-based natural ingredients so no nasty chemicals, 100% recyclable and part recycled packaging too and made for sensitive skin - would say it's definitely as good as my usual Persil at getting out dirt as well so no compromise there - wholeheartedly recommend it - has anyone else tried it?

I'm also trialling 'Meat Free Mondays' with my family and no meat in the school pack lunches but like others say I'm not going fully vegetarian - bit worried about that for the children (am I wrong??)
Trying to compost food waste

Only washing when they are actually dirty - I do SO much washing so I'll do anything to try and cut it down! But also saving the electricity bill.
Recycling old clothes that are unwearable instead of throwing them away - definitely been guilty of this in the past

All small things but it just take everyone doing a little bit to make a big impact! smile

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