To my friends and family I’ve become a little bit insufferable in my quest to be more eco-friendly.
I’m trying hard not to be *that* person who always makes a comment about plastic or judges anyone when they throw something perfectly recyclable into the regular bin rather than the non-recycle bin, but sometimes I can’t help it. I genuinely feel very concerned for our planet – or at least how we live on the planet. Because let’s be clear, we won’t destroy the planet in that it won’t exist anymore. We’ll just destroy our own species and way of life that we’ve become so accustomed to.
I try to make better choices when I go shopping. Loose vegetables and fruit rather than wrapped in plastic. Taking my metal straw to the cinema. Always having my bag of life with me. Choosing cans over bottles. Re-using and recycling like a pro.
But realistically it feels so hard. Like not just “this is a lot of effort” hard to constantly be thinking and making good choices, but like Current Life makes it very difficult to choose the right choices when the choices aren’t available. Races using plastic bottles. Shops only selling certain things in plastic. Restaurants, bars, workplaces… Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by it all and like no one cares.
Obviously I can only do so much, short of giving everything up and living in a hut in the wilderness or devoting my life to protesting for Big Changes. That’s not quite me. What I can do is little stuff and trying to educate those around me who aren’t as clued up (without sounding like a pretentious annoying knob that no one wants to talk to anymore).
[Yes of course being vegan would be the way forward but honestly, after trying it, that lifestyle is not for me. I have reduced my meat and dairy consumption during the week though].
One thing that has really been a gamechanger for me is the concept of eco bricks. I found THIS article. In a nutshell, you have a clean plastic bottle and you fill it with non-recyclable plastic. You literally fill it to the brim. I use a a sturdy stick (used to be a chopstick) and then you just push it all down.
It’s a great concept! You then take it to your nearest eco brick drop-off point (which you can find online) and they can then use it for sustainable projects. I’ve made about four already. It is timeconsuming and hard plastic is really tough as you have to cut it all up but I try and do a little every day (we have a basket where we put our clean plastic now).
It’s incredible how much plastic we use in a week though. It is a never ending task. And I’m not perfect, if the plastic is really contaminated from food I don’t use it because the length of time washing and then drying the plastic makes the process so much harder.
My parents are really getting on board with it all now too. They used to be terrible. But after excessively nagging them they try a lot better. They even went so far as to buy eco friendly washing up liquid, cleaning products and detergant for washing. I’m so proud!
It’s easy to feel helpless and get consumed with the idea that one person can’t make a change, but you really can. If everyone did something than that would be huge. Just educating yourself about what you can recycle and what you can reuse or avoid buying.
Little changes like not buying plastic covered fruit and veg. Aim for the loose variety, or shop locally in a fruit and veg shop. Buy cans instead of bottles. Use a composter for food waste. Meatless days (I currently have a lot of those days during the week). Avoid fast fashion companies. Give unwanted items to charity. Recycle your trainers (some running shops take them or use clothing banks). You can even think about carbon offsetting (here’s a good overview of sites that do this).
Basically just try and do something. Anything is better than nothing.
Are you eco friendly?
What are your top tips?
12 Replies to “Being more eco friendly”
I do try to be eco friendly but always have the nagging suspicion I could do more. Other than recycling I carry a refillable bottle for water and have refillable coffee mugs. I’m definitely going to look at a reusable straw but I don’t fancy metal much (I’m funny about stuff like that) so will take a look at silicone ones. One of my colleagues is super eco-friendly and I suspect her influence will keep rubbing off. Well done you for making all theses changes.
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You can get bamboo straws too if that would be nicer than metal for you?
Sounds good! I think just having that awareness of the environment and that what you buy will have a consequence.
Absolutely love this concept really appreciate you sharing it! Have you seen the BBCs war against plastic documentary think you will really like it, found it shocking when then showed how single use wipes contain plastic.
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No I haven’t seen it! But I’ll definitely give it a watch thanks 🙂
I’ve been trying to become more eco too. It’s just about changing your mindset really
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Absolutely. It’s just having an awareness that actions mean consequences and being conscious of what you buy.
You’re so right – the more of us that do this imperfectly, the better.
I’m about to launch another attack on the quantity of meat this household eats. Then I need to sort out the bulk buying and refilling of laundry detergent. Then get our cleaner to stop using bleach in the loo (she’s very good on reusable cloths. Although she leaves a trail of them behind…).
The laundry detergent thing is awful – all the big brands have these ridiculous plastic containers. We’ve switched to more eco friendly products that come in paper packaging.
I saw about those eco bricks recently- it’s an interesting idea- but hard because if they are at all dirty it can spoil them later.
I saw a saying that was something like it doesn’t need one person being perfect, but lots of people trying and doing bits here and there (more concise though). Little things all add up.
I take a mug with me if I know I am going to get a takeaway drink, but would try to drink in and use a china one usually. I have a metal straw (and a case for it now, as I didn’t like to put it loose in my bag either clean or dirty), always have a metal water bottle with me (I love all the refill stations you get everywhere now) and I always have a little bag for life in my handbag, and then take bags with me to the shops. I’ve tried a few things that I didn’t like (eco toothpaste in a little glass pot was not a nice taste) but I like my bamboo toothbrush. I keep thinking I should try a bar of shampoo again, as I used to use one but after a while it got all mushy and I couldn’t get it out of the tin.
I agree about races- they need to do more too to make them more eco friendly- not just the water bottles but things like all the t-shirts that get made and then go to waste.
A while back our local parkrun had a collection for unwanted sports kit, being sent to a charity- they wanted trainers and that was great because I never feel like I can throw old ones away (I use them for gardening/ PE at work etc) and I don’t think I could sell them, so it was great to see them being useful.
I do think though that the government could do more- people need something to push them into changing their habits- eg with the carrier bag cost- that has worked so well. If they stopped plastic straws being allowed, then companies would be forced to use the ones from potato starch or whatever.
Long comment, sorry!
Yeah the ecobricks thing is a bit of a tricky one because you do need it all to be clean and dry. However, the mere fact that I now have a few bottles full to the brim of plastic means that that plastic is not in the bin or ocean but in a bottle that if the ecobrick people don’t accept I can just store in my garage or whatever. Like my own mini plastic storage lol.
I agree with everything you’re saying. It’s about businesses being proactive and thinking what they can do without being forced by Government legaslations. It’s such a shame that these are the conversations we should have been having 10 years ago rather than now when it does seem like it’s a bit too late.