What on earth am I on about? I ask myself most days as my brain whizzes and whirs with all the antidotes I have for living a life of less waste and ultimately to help the planet that’s being plundered. I’ve been pondering how I could best impart HOW I made the changes I have as there are so many of them, and this is what I have come up with, a dashboard where you can visualise what you’ve done in a sort of systematic way.
Hoping a smile has come across your face rather than a WHAAAT?! So here’s how I can help you navigate the world of plastic free: *this smile is the start of homemade banana body scrub
- Where do you spend most of your money
- Which room has the most clutter that you throwaway? by that I mean bottles or containers that you put out for recycling each week
- How do you power your home and your I.T
- Where is your money at – who do you bank with and have a pension with
This is the rudimentary way I started. I saw things differently, I looked at what product I was holding and wondered about it’s lifecycle. I realise my consumer impulse had consequences from the veggies I bought to the bank I used. So here’s how you do it:
- I have a spreadsheet of my incoming and outgoings. It’s good to be on top and check that your spending is working for you. I saw we were spending lots on food, no surprise given I live to eat rather than eat to live! So I knew it was there I had to: reduce my consumption – eat seasonally, plan my meals; reduce my plastic waste – either buy in bulk e.g. 5kg rather than 500g packets or don’t buy at all; reduce my travel to where I bought food – get deliveries of veg boxes, milk or go to a refill shop.
- I’ve mentioned this before ‘Throwaway has to go somewhere’ I was a mad fan of recycling thinking it was the best I could do for the planet, it isn’t. New plastic has been made from fossil fuels in the first place. A new product made from depleting and polluting resources isn’t a clever buying habit coupled with recycling not being the answer so take a look – where can you buy refills? do you need so many products in the first place? The Bathroom and Kitchen generally have the most bottles – see my drop-down list for swaps and ideas.
- Power to our home. This is one of THE MOST important areas you need to change. Where we buy the energy for our homes is an area of *greenwashing that makes me cross. It’s not transparent. Energy also feeds into banking which I’ll go into. So where do I get my energy from? Ecotricity. It is an ethical Best Buy featured in Ethical Consumer Magazine. I had swapped from British Gas to Bulb then after reading articles about carbon offsetting, buying in of certificates I realised I needed to put my money with a company that can help provide a consumer response to climate change caused by fracking and carbon off-setting. Like I say, this is after reading why I should change, it’s really important that with any move you make you do so because you’re comfortable with it and you can afford to do so. Power to your home also equates to who you use as your default web browser. Simplest Swap to make EVER – head over to Ecosia and stop using Google.
- Who you bank with is really ever so important. For me, it wasn’t that easy to make the change because I had an overdraft and I’ll be honest I was scared! The banking and credit score world daunted me massively so I took this step last. I bank with Triodos. Previous to this I was with HSBC – argh! I didn’t want my money to be part of their investment portfolio in fossil fuels because of it being a massive contributor to climate change. If buying plastic bottles isn’t socially acceptable to me anymore then my banking has to be socially responsible too. If you subscribe you can read more with Ethical Consumer .
One of the reasons I hope this part of my blog has taken your interest is because you want to change but you don’t mind admitting it’s a bit tricky to know where to begin. It was for me too but if you work your way through the steps I’ve written you will be making change and that is the best reaction I could hope for.
On a side note… I wish I was good at infographics because they are a lovely way I think to spread the message that change, from being unaware to having the knowledge at your side to support you, is totally doable! I’ve added the link to Less Plastic because they have created ones that are widely used in the campaigning community and really work.
*greenwashing is an area I’ll come on to. It’s murky and I want to drive it out of societies consumer driven impulses. It’s where companies mislead people to believe the company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.
Photo credit ashley-batz-at unsplash.jpg