A New Year brings with it the feeling of great hope for me, combined with a sort of eco-pressure that I need to create a set of resolutions to achieve some of the eco friendly goals that the world and our children need us to work harder on. I try hard for it not to topple over into ‘eco anxiety’ which is now much written about (an anxiety specific to the threat to our natural environment and the human race). Golly!
My previous years of eco-resolutions include starting this #plasticfree business (tick!), but also some other really achievable things for those wishing to limit their impact on the planet, to work toward being zero waste or to just be more sustainable in the way we go about our everyday lives.
Here are some ideas for you, and things that I have achieved over the years (which I’m not smug about, I’m just quietly pleased that these small changes have really taken a hold in my life and are long term resolutions that are here to stay, rather than short term goals which are too hard to achieve or simply require too much will power to keep up).
1. Starting to use handkerchiefs instead of disposable tissues. I have been doing this for years now, and you can get some really beautiful hankies that really makes blowing your nose a treat, such as these Liberty fabric hankies which I have had for a few years now. They hold up so much better than their disposable counterparts (I go for a beach walk with my dog and son every morning, and wintery runny noses are easily dealt with with fabric hankies). Some people consider hankies ‘a bit yukky’, but if you just stick them in a hot wash with your tea towels and towels or similar, then they are just as hygienic.
2. Swapping baby wipes for fabric bum and face wipes. This was my resolution the new year after Finn was born. It took quite a long time to swap them out completely, and I do still carry around biodegradable wipes in my bag for emergencies and clean ups on the move, but at home we exclusively use fabric bum wipes for bum changes and fabric face / hand wipes for after dinner times. Some of the wipes I made, some of them I inherited from my sister, and some of them I bought. All of them are indispensable. I do have to do an extra bum wipe hot wash using BioD nappy fresh, but the face/hand wipes I just put in the normal hot wash with towels. I also feel really privileged to have solar panels with a feed in tarriff, so as long as I put the washing machine on in sunlight hours, it doesn’t take up so much electricity either which is an added eco bonus.
3. Swapping eye make up removing wipes with fabric reusable wipes. It comes easily off with most oils such as coconut oil, or if you’re feeling more adventurous I make my own cleanser from this amazing book, Make Your Own Skincare Products
4. Making my own moisturiser, cleanser, face oil and soap. Each of these resolutions were over a number of separate years, not just suddenly all one year. It feels so good to make your own products if you have the time - it’s just like cooking really, and in that sense experiments can sometime go wrong but it’s fun trying different combinations of oils, wax, waters and essential oils. It feels good knowing what you are putting on your skin and most importantly what you are putting on your child’s skin. When Finn was told he had bad eczema I made homemade breast milk cream using a recipe similar to this which was a wondrous thing and really helped his skin recover. I still use homemade cream on his sensitive skin now and I love that I know exactly what is in the cream and that it doesn’t have loads of yukky junk in it, such as parabens and SLS etc.
5. Growing your own. Finn and my dog Geoffrey like to join me in the garden as I sew seeds, just to dig them back up again!! Ha ha! There are some fruit and veg which are so lovely to grow if you have the space. We have raspberries and blackberries a plenty over the summer and autumn and we’re still using some that I froze during the glut. Finn loves eating frozen raspberries in particular, they’re like mini ice creams!
6. Going vegetarian. Ok this one is strictly not a New Years resolution...! I became a veggie over a long period of time, from the day when, aged 5 years old, I realised that the lamb on my plate was the same as the lamb in the field! I have been vegetarian since I was a child (the only one in my family) and I do hope this life long commitment has made and will continue to make a difference to my footprint on the world, more than if I decided to go vegan for a year or similar. I have tried some faddy diet based eco diets in the past, but my vegetarianism is one that I love, works with my lifestyle and is easy to maintain. And it’s a healthy choice for Finn too (although he eats meat if others make it for him!)
7. Reducing plastics in my home. This was the main thrust of why I set up Plastic Free Baby in the first place! I was struggling to conceive my son and the scientific evidence was pointing toward unnecessary toxins being the 'baddies' affecting my or my then partner's fertility. Shocker. I had no idea. But once I found out, I made it my mission to recycle any existing plastics currently in the kitchen being used for storage for food in particular, and sought out other ways to minimise my own exposure to plastics (and the leeching micro plastics and yucky chemicals emitted by them). My mission to find plastic free products for my son when I was pregnant was what led me to start this Blog and shop! I couldn't find one place that had everything I needed in easy reach, so I decided to try to solve this! Still work in progress...
I am aware it sounds like I have LOADS of time to put to all of this... I don’t! These are just all SMALL CHANGES over a LONG period of time. I really do believe this is the best way to make a difference. Don’t go with fads that don’t last, make a commitment to life changes that will go the distance. I’m no eco mum superhero, I’m just doing my small bit for my child and for the world as best I can.
I’m a self confessed IMPERFECT eco warrior.