My boyfriend (let’s call him G) and I have been unconsciously making our way to a more sustainable lifestyle for some years now. But there came a time when we decided to make conscious decisions to live a greener, cleaner and environmentally friendlier life.
We still have a long way to go (which is the premise of this blog!) but I thought it might be useful to write down what choices we have made so far so that you can follow our progress:
Swapped our usual products for more ethical ones:
Now this doesn’t mean we just went out and dumped all our normal toxic products, but we’ve made positive steps each time a product has run out to get more ethical versions of them. This isn’t as difficult as it might sound, I’ve found that lots of places now sell environmentally friendly options, it’s just a case of finding them.
Sainsbury’s, for example, have an ‘eco friendly’ section under their household products. They sell items such as Ecover and Method cleaning sprays (the Method Clementine non-toxic surface cleaner smells super fresh and fruity!), Sainsbury’s own recycled tissues, toilet roll and kitchen rolls and Alina compostable bin liners. Most household products are covered here. Homebase and B&Q have sections in store, Asda has a range of eco-friendly products, Morrisons appear to sell some Ecover products, as do Tescos (interestingly, I can’t find anything on Aldi’s site to suggest they sell eco-friendly products but please let me know in the comments if i’m wrong.)
As for personal products, this has proved much trickier than household products. There’s always the trusty Bodyshop of course. But personally I didn’t get on well with the roll-on deodorant and found the hair products to be massively over priced for the tiny amount you get. I do, however, continue to swear by their Vitamin E Cream Cleanser and Fuji Green Tea Exfoliating Soap. G went for Unite hair products who are certified against animal testing. And we have both fallen in love with Faith in Nature shampoos and conditioners which have made my hair so soft and silky as well as smell lovely and fresh! One of the best things about Faith in Nature products are that they can be found in Oxfam shops which means you are being twice as nice when you buy them!
These are just a handful of products we have managed to change for more ethical and natural alternatives, but as and when we need to replace more I am always on the look-out for a more eco-friendly option.
Made weekly meal plans:
This is such an easy change, and I honestly don’t know how I would cope going back to just ‘winging it’ every time we went to the supermarket. We do our shopping online (which helps too as it means I’m less likely to throw something into the trolley!) so every week we will sit down and decide on 7 decent meals which are healthy, varied and will provide enough for lunchtime leftovers too (and at least 1 vegetarian option a week!). This way when I go through each meal adding all the ingredients to the online order there is absolutely no waste at all! We buy exactly what we need when we need it. During the week we might pop into our local Co-op for extra bread and milk but that’s it. We don’t buy more than we need, we don’t get ingredients “just in case” which end up sitting in our cupboard for 3 years.
I love shopping at Sainsbury’s; everyone has their own personal favourite, but for me Sainsbury’s has the best mix of offers and quality produce. They also try to promote environmentally friendly practices a lot too, such as bag-less delivery. I have tried to shop at Aldi or Lidl and don’t get me wrong I have picked up some bargains there but the quality is awful and I dread to think of the ethics behind some of their produce (particularly the meat). Also, as we collect our Nectar points throughout the year we get enough points to buy our big Christmas shop for free every year!
Our lifestyle and home:
G and I are lucky enough to live in a brand new home. It is possibly the most earth-friendly home we looked at when we were searching for a house to buy. It is super insulated, the windows are triple-glazed, the doors are fitted well and are about 3 inches thick. Our house keeps the heat in so well the heating barely comes on. The house was built on a brownfield site, which was important to us as well as there are so many new developments on greenfield areas which are unnecessarily destroying our countryside. We then made choices when furnishing the house which would be less harmful on our environment, such as buying a A+++ rated washing machine (no tumble dryer), upcycling old furniture, buying a ‘forever bed’ (it is so well built I swear we could build an ark with it if needed). We also made choices to drive economical cars – G a diesel Corsa and me a Fiat 500. We go through about a tank of fuel a month each, sometimes less. (Though I do have a goal to buy a bicycle this year!)
Other honorable mentions in our day-to-day lifestyles include: we recycle, upcycle, buy secondhand, donate to charity, support local businesses, buy local, reuse bags, buy charity cards and have joined the Green Party.
This is just a snippet of our conscious decisions to be more earth-friendly (to people, animals and the planet). However, as you can see, there is still a long way to go. I envy the zero wasters I see on Instagram and Pinterest but with each little step taken above and every step which follows goes towards our journey of living a completely ethical and sustainable lifestyle.
I’m interested to know what earth-friendly choices you have made in your lives, please leave comments below and we’ll see if I can integrate some of your ideas into our lives too.