I haven’t realised it’s World Environment Day untill late in the day today. I’d like to think that I care for the planet and try to do my bit. We as a family try our best to reduce our negative impact, make better choices every day and become more aware. But also as a mother I don’t always have time to investigate more environmentally friendly options, money to buy all organic food or clothes, common let’s be honest Frugi or Maxomorra cost a lot more than George or Primark, grass fed not mass production beef that used to roam freely in the beautiful fields of Yorkshire costs a lot more than soya fed raised in a barn to be slaughtered one, and I don’t always have the energy to go wash children’s hands under the tap rather than wipe them with a wet wipe or drive to a local family run eco-friendly shop when I’d rather sit my kids in front of the TV and drink that cup of tea I’ve made 3 hours ago. I want to do things for the planet that are also easy for me. Yes, I’m lazy, and perhaps a bit selfish but at least I’m honest. So in this post I’m going to write a list of things we do as a household to reduce our negative impact on the environment that we find doable without changing our lifestyle dramatically, that I think any mother out there can try. Every little helps and all.
1. Use reusable feminine hygiene products. People don’t like talking about this. Apparently it’s gross and embarrassing. Talking about menstruation is still a big taboo. I don’t know why, but I suppose I am a bit more open about penises, vaginas, vulvas, anuses and monthly bleedings. My son calls penis a penis and anus an anus, it’s part of his sex education. Anyway, a few years ago someone shared an article about the negative environmental impact of disposable feminine hygiene products, York flood was an example. The amount of tampons and pads floating round in the dirty sewage water was huge, apparently. Luckily we live in an area that doesn’t flood, but I was very upset for people whose houses were flooded. And I thought I don’t want my tampons to be trashing people’s houses if York floods again. I am happy to say that nowadays I have 100% environmentally friendly periods. I use menstrual cup and I am a proud owner of menstrual underwear. I won’t tell you the brands, most of menstrual cups are much of the muchness, if you can’t get hold of menstrual underwear look into reusable pads. There are many companies out there, and honestly, it’s not too much work. You rinse them a bit and wash in the washing machine, I add vinegar to all of my washing instead of Dettol to kill bacteria. No, your clothes don’t come out covered in blood, and no menstrual cups aren’t difficult to use. Also additional benefits: unlike tampons they don’t cause TTS and you know exactly how much you lose, which helped me to identify a problem and seek medical help when I was bleeding excessively.
2. Vinegar. We use white wine vinegar instead of shop bought cleaning products and as clothes disinfectant. It’s more environmentally friendly, cheaper and not full of nasty chemicals for children to inhale or come in contact with. Honestly, it cleans just as well if not better. We also add white vinegar to our dishwasher so the plates come out sparkly squeaky clean. Ben buys white vinegar in bulk to save money, and also to reduce the amount of plastic packaging.
3. Soda. Like vinegar, cheap environmentally more friendly long forgotten cleaning product. Do you remember the time when your mum or grandma used soda to scrub the bath clean? Well a. It works better than bleach, b. It’s cheaper, c. It’s more child friendly. Use it. If you have time to pop into Polish shop they sell them in 500gr packs, or buy online in bulk.
4. Use muslins for wiping children’s hands and faces. Then wash them with your clothes. Cheap, eco-friendly solution.
5. Reduce the amount of meat you consume. Here I would have liked to say that we are incorporating more vegan cuisine in our lives because we love how it tastes and we are so spiritually developed that we don’t want animals to suffer to feed our greed. Erm.. we like meat, like really like meat. At any given point I’ll happily demolish huge amounts of meat. I should be ashamed. But we are making a conscious decision to eat less meat because meat industry is the largest producer of CO2, destroyer of the forests and a killer of the planet. And meat costs a lot of money, meat is more expensive than beans or chickpeas. Organic grass fed free range beef or corn fed chicken is very expensive. I know, because my daughter used to react to soya in beef and chicken, so I had to buy her organic free range meat to feed her. So we are not going down that route, we are reducing the amount of meat we eat. Baked beans, hummus, bean burgers etc cheap eco-friendly vegan proteins you can incorporate in your diet.
6. Reduce the amount of dairy you consume or buy from smaller dairy farms. Well I think you probably know that industrial dairy farming similar to industrial meat production isn’t very eco-friendly. That’s putting it mildly. I haven’t got any cheap fixes here I’m afraid. Buying dairy free products for Alma is expensive, if I find a wallet friendly solution I will let you know. You can also get milk in glass containers from smaller dairy farms.
7. Buy pre-loved. The amount of clothes and consumer products ending up in the landfill each year is shocking. Go check that charity shop, you will be surprised how cheaply you can buy nice almost new or compeletely new clothes. Check out mums pages for pre-loved kids clothes sometimes being given away for free. Save money, save planet. Don’t think that buying pre-loved for your kids devalues your love for them, better take them for a day out on that money you saved. Create special memories with them, they grow up so quickly they don’t need expensive new clothes.
8. Reusable shopping bags. Well everyone knows this one.
9. Bar soap. Use old fashioned boring bar soap for washing your hands. It’s more eco-friendly and cheaper too. I have also used bar shampoo and bar shower gel (basically a soap) but they require a trip into a special shop so just start with the bar soap next time you shop for your food.
10. Recycle. Obviously.
That’s my list done. I think these 10 little steps are doable for busy stressed mums and doesn’t turn being eco-friendly into another job on the endless list of tasks we have everyday.