Monday, 18 May 2015

Zero Waste Changes

Following on from my exploration of ways to reduce waste in our household on YouTube, I've already begun to make small changes at home to reduce the amount that ends up in the bin. My progress so far has been a bit hit and miss.  I've made positive changes to my shopping behaviour and then I've made mistakes when I haven't been thinking so clearly.  For example, I did a few bits of shopping at Lidl this morning after leaving the gym. I picked quite a few items up in the fruit and vegetable section, and then thought better of it, as I could get the same items from a local shop without any plastic packaging.

I then stopped off at said shop on the way home and did just that, although some, but fewer items still did have packaging. I then decided to use the last £1.50 in my purse to purchase some sweetcorn seedlings for the allotment, that I'd been coveting in another local shop every time I walk past with the dog. It wasn't until I got back to the car that I could have kicked myself, for buying things grown in polystyrene strips.

At least if they'd been in pots I could have reused them, but these tend to need to be broken open to separate the plants properly and then go into landfill where they don't break down easily. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I'll just have to be a bit more mindful in future or make a point of growing them from seed myself. They were good value though, as there were 10 plants in total, which works out at 15p each.

When I got home, there had just been a delivery for OH. It was a birthday present for him from some friends. Unfortunately, it was a duplication of something I had already ordered for him, but was awaiting delivery of, save it was a superior version, so my version will have to be returned once it finally arrives. It was a nice gesture though and they were spot on with getting him something he wanted.  I was very impressed by the packaging by Amazon too. The item was wrapped in a cloth bag, tied with a ribbon and protected just by scrunched up paper which is easily recyclable.  Here's a picture.

I suspect they may have chosen this method of wrapping, but as I've not ordered something for gift wrapping, I'm not sure what the actual options are when you do. I will no doubt use this bag for something, once it has been opened and the contents taken out.

Whilst at home this afternoon, I was also due a delivery, namely my supermarket online grocery order. I've placed a couple of orders online lately, just to take advantage of a free bottle of champagne with the first order and £20 off a second order. I've decided that I won't be continuing with this way of shopping, however, as it irritates me when they deliver them in plastic carrier bags, albeit large ones. I sometimes wish they'd bring back the old cardboard box deliveries I can remember as a child from local shops.

The bags themselves will get re-used to line or collect rubbish in the bins around the house on bin collection day, but I can normally avoid collecting any, by using my own re-usable bags, which I will go back to using when I go to the store to buy my groceries from next week. I also want to start shopping around a bit more in the coming weeks and not relying on supermarkets, so we'll see how that goes.

Whilst  waiting for my grocery order to arrive, I popped up to the sewing room to facilitate another small zero waste change I'd come across on YouTube. I had some scraps of cotton/flannel fabric in my scrap fabric trug, left over from making a quilt and I found an old flannel baby sheet that was Little Bird's when she was a baby.  I decided to cut them into squares, sew the edges together using a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine and hey presto, reusable cotton makeup pads created.

They're lovely and soft and as I made a good dozen or so, I should get away with washing them once a week and still having enough left to continue to use them until the washed ones are dry and ready to use again. I can also use one side in the morning and the reverse on an evening, to get even more use from each pad before putting them in the wash.

I do need to buy a mesh bag for use when I wash them, but these cost just a pound or so and will be a one time purchase, but will help keep all the pads together in the machine and stop them getting lost or stuck in the door.

Whilst looking to buy the above on eBay last night, I also came across some bamboo natural toothbrushes, which didn't cost much more than a normal plastic toothbrush, so I've ordered one to try it out and see if I like it. It has natural bristles and a bamboo handle, so is completely biodegradable and therefore much more sustainable than plastic toothbrushes. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

I'm becoming much more interested in bamboo these days, particularly bamboo clothing, since getting (buying myself) a couple of pairs of bamboo socks for Christmas. They are some of my favourite pairs and are so soft and warm.  I understand from one website I was looking at that bamboo is a much more sustainable fabric, as it grows well without the need for chemicals and is much easier to harvest than cotton, but can still be made into a lovely soft fabric which also has antibacterial properties. I'll definitely be looking out for things made with this fabric in the future. I'm even thinking of buying some bamboo socks for OH for his birthday (instead of the duplicated present), as he goes through lots of pairs, in the hope that they may last a little longer than cotton ones. They are a little more expensive than normal socks, but if they last longer it is probably worth it from the point of view of avoiding waste and getting more wear. Has anyone else ever worn or bought bamboo clothing?

So a mixed bag today, but tomorrow is another day and it's something that I'll keep working on, now that I've finally put my mind to it.

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