The term “sustainable living” is a bit vague and nondescript so I want to clarify that I mean “how we create less waste”.
I’ve been challenged by some things I’ve read on some eco-living blogs and Instagram accounts recently that argue that the zero waste movement is privileged and detracts from more important things. I would agree that it can be more expensive to choose the less-waste option and it is not accessible to everyone. However, I think that it’s important for those of us who can afford to create less waste to do so because we, as humanity, are a team so we should do what we can do, especially if there are others who can’t do that things. On the other hand, I would also agree that it can detract from more important things. Whilst creating less waste is hugely important, fighting injustice and standing up for the oppressed are more important. One thing I read said that if you only have time to either wash up the peanut butter jar so it can go in the recycling or sign a petition (firstly, maybe think about how you’re spending your time 😂), then sign the petition. Putting less things in landfill hugely helps our world, but you could do more good by using your voice to fight for those who have none.
That said, here are some of the things that we have been using to help us create less waste. I will link to a few websites so I should clarify that none of them are #ads or affiliate links so I’m not getting any moola from them!
Nearly 8 million nappies are thrown out a day in the UK and those lovely, stinky nappies will be sitting in landfill until the world is run by robots because most of them don’t biodegrade.
So when Caleb was about ten months old, we started to put him in reusable nappies. I will say right at the start that we do not do this full time, I would say we are part time reusable. He will end up in disposables if: all the nappies are in the wash/drying, we forgot to bring a reusable out with us or if life is overwhelming and the extra load of washing nappies is too much.
The reusable nappies we use most often are the Bambino Miosolos. They are one of the cheaper options because they are made from microfiber. I love the designs on them, they are really easy to use and they dry quickly once washed. Now that Caleb is older we pop in a booster as he is weeing more and we were getting occasional leaks. As long as the nappy is boosted and we remember to change it every couple of hours, we’re good. As they are microfiber, they are technically plastic so, like all clothes with polyester etc in, release plastic microfibers into the water system when washed. So if you’re aiming for plastic-free, they probably wouldn’t be your choice. I decided that, as you can’t fight every battle, the ease and enjoyment we get from using them means we actually use them so they’re a winner for us.
We also use Little Lambs two-piece nappies which are really absorbent but take forever to dry because of that.
If you’re considering making the switch to reusable nappies, either part time or full time, I would really recommend it. Once you get into the routine, it’s really not much more work. Plus some of them are so pretty!!
Before you take the leap, I would suggest trying some from a nappy library or maybe buying a few different brands/types before splashing out on lots. Then you can find which works for you.
Reusable sanitary products
One for the ladies! I couldn’t really get behind a moon cup, but I know some people really get on with them.
I use these cloth sanitary pads from Cheeky Wipes. They come in some gorgeous patterns and are really comfortable. You do have to be happy to wash them out which isn’t great if you’re squeamish, but I got used to it very quickly. They are quite pricey so I don’t have enough for a full period so do end up in disposables towards the end. However, I’m hoping to buy more with Christmas gift money, because I know how to treat myself!
We use the cotton Cheeky Wipes for Caleb’s bum and the microfiber ones for face and hands. Mainly got the different colours so we would know which was which when they were in the wash!
We get on well with them but I need to remember to wash and prepare them more often as I can forget and we end up using disposables. We also use disposables when out and about but I am trying to use reusables out more often.
Shampoo and body wash bars
I use Conchus bars, this one on my hair and this on my body. We also use this on Caleb which leaves his skin lovely and soft.
I did try Lush beforehand but I didn’t like the way they made my hair feel.
Conchus bars smell amazing, are reasonably priced and a small business. I would recommend using the hair rinse they recommend, either the one they sell or the recipe they provide, especially if you live in a hard water area. This prevents the yucky waxy feeling you can get with the bars.
This swap has been one of my favourites to make, one of the easiest and one where I can see the waste we’re saving. Try it, even if you try nothing else.
Since we are very blessed in Bristol with charity shops, we have been buying clothes for us and Caleb secondhand which is saving us money and also the planet! This Christmas we have also tried to source all presents secondhand, which has been pretty successful.
We are with Bulb for our gas and electricity because it’s 100% renewable and I’ve found their customer service brilliant and everything really easy to use. They’re also the cheapest tariff for us.
Meal plans! Since moving to Bristol and being on quite a limited budget, we have been writing a meal plan each week which is helping us create less food waste. However, Caleb is still just chucking a load of his food on the floor so he’s not really helping…
Bulk buying. I haven’t made it to a zero waste store yet but we buy bulk when we can, like huge 3kg bags of pasta and big washing up liquid bottles. I am going to try zero waste options, it’s just tricky to remember containers and find convenient times to go.
Well done for making it to the end of this essay! I hope you’ve found some tips that are useful, or inspiration for what you can do. If we all just do what we can, when we can, then we can each help to add less waste to landfill and protect our precious planet.