6 MORE easy ways to live more sustainably (plus one thing that didn’t work for me!)
Following on from my post a few months ago about ways to live a bit more sustainably, here are a few more things I’ve done recently which I hope are helping to reduce my footprint a little bit. Let’s be real, I have two kids, live in a city, get my groceries delivered… I’m not carbon neutral. But I am trying to do what I can. I know some people think one person can’t make a difference, but small changes add up pretty quickly, and the more people that make these small changes, the quicker big changes will come along…
1) Get a menstrual cup. I asked about this in the last post, and I had such great feedback about these cups. Then I found out that one of my best friends uses one, and I was sold. At the time I actually wasn’t getting my period (thanks, breastfeeding!), but I’ve now used it a couple of times. You have to not mind getting a bit up close and personal with yourself, but it works SO well. I am never buying tampons again. It does take a bit of trial and error, but once you’ve used it a couple of times, it’s just incredible. There are loads of different ones on the market. I got this one because it was cheap with good reviews, and it’s great. I’m also looking to swap out to reusable liners, but I am really not sure which ones to use. If you have a recommendation, please do share it!
2) Compost. I’ve been composting for about 7 years now, with a brief break for a couple of years in the middle. I first started when I lived in a one bed flat in east London. I didn’t have a garden or any local composting schemes, so I got a bokashi bin. I was dubious! I remember it had a weird sweet, sort of pickled smell. But it worked a treat. When the bin was full, I listed the contents on freecycle and someone came over with a plastic bag and we transferred the insides into a plastic bag she’d brought with her. It was not an ideal way of composting, but it worked a treat. Now I have a big old compost bin in the back yard, and it’s like a magic box. I put endless stuff into it, but there is always room for more, and then every spring I dig out lovely, rich, black compost from the bottom. Amazing. It hugely reduces the amount of waste we put in our bin bags, and gives a very satisfying result, too! We have a very basic (ugly) green plastic bin at the minute, but I’m hoping to eventually upgrade it to this gorgeous bee hive design.
3) Start using more natural beauty products. I have pretty dry lips, and I’ve struggled for ages to find a lip balm that comes in recyclable or compostable packaging, that isn’t vaseline, that doesn’t just get licked off in 5 minutes. I was recommended one in a nearby natural beauty store and then saw the price tag of £36! THIRTY SIX BRITISH POUNDS. For a LIP BALM. I did not purchase it. Instead I found this on Etsy. Yes, it’s still really pricey at almost £10, but it is in entirely compostable packaging, lasts for AGES, as I only need to apply it in the morning and evening, and they donate part of their profits to environmental causes. They do also sell regular lip balm tubes for much cheaper if you just want a natural lip balm and don’t mind the plastic tube.
I’ve also started using Pai beauty products for my skin, which has made a huge difference. I barely get spots since I’ve started using it. Their recommendation was to only cleanse my skin at night. At the minute, since I don’t wear make-up, I’ve been cleansing every other day and just rinsing in the shower in the morning – it works a treat.
For moisturiser, I have a big tub of shea butter that I’m working my way through right now, but a) it comes in a plastic tub and b) it’s a bit too thick and annoying to spread. I think next I’ll try some sweet almond oil, as recommended by the fabulous Mel.
4) Get the Olio app. Especially if you are in South West London, as we need more people to join locally. This is a great little app for giving things away. It started with food, but you can give away anything now. I cleared out my pantry with things that I just wasn’t eating or things I had duplicates of, I have given away some clothes and a backpack, I’ve picked up some gorgeous cushion covers… it’s kind of like a modern Freecycle.
5. Subscribe to a food waste box or CSA box. My friend Ruth introduced me to Odd Box, which is a brilliant fruit and veg box that sources wonky produce that has either already been rejected by the supermarkets or would be rejected because of its shape or size. It’s £9.99 for a small fruit and veg box, which is way less than I’d spend on the equivalent amount of stuff from a supermarket, and so far the contents have been brilliant every time. I get one every other week. It’s currently in South London only, but I really hope they expand, as it’s such a good idea.If you are eligible, and want to start getting a box, use promo code REFBOX and my name, Katie Sadler – then we both get a box half price!
6. “Upgrade” your meat free days and become mostly vegan. Last time, I wrote about going meat-free more often. Well… things escalated and now I’m probably 99% vegan. Er. Yeah, I never saw that one coming. But not eating meat is probably the best step you can take for your environmental impact. When you look at the water, food and land needed to produce every ounce of meat (particularly beef), it’s pretty terrifying. And then, when you start reading about the way the animals are treated, and you hear about yet another meat scandal, you start looking at animals thinking, “why am I eating you?”. The alternative is easier than you think.
I’m actually planning on launching something soon to show just how easy it is to swap to a mostly, if not entirely, vegan diet. If you’re interested in hearing about it, please sign up to my mailing list! My use of that list is… sporadic, shall we say… but one thing I can promise is that I will never over e-mail!
And as promised, one thing that did NOT work for me… DEODORANT. I have used Sure Cotton Dry deodorant for approximately forever, and I’m trying to find a natural alternative. I don’t mind having a bit of sweat, as long as there’s no smell. I was advertised to for AGES on Facebook about a Natural Deodorant, so I bought a trial. Even the TINY little trial was more expensive than the one I usually use, and when I asked Peter after a week if he’d noticed my smell over the last week, his answer was “no comment”. That’s not great. So… still looking on that front…
Anything else you think I should add to the list? Do you have a good natural deodorant I should try or have you found some great reusable pantyliners? I would love to hear your best tips for living more sustainably!
Want more ways to live sustainably? Read part one of this post here.
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