Small sustainable swaps

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about cutting out some of the unnecessary plastics in our lives. Today I want to talk about a few more quick and mostly simple swaps you can make to work towards a more sustainable future.

If you’re interested in some simple swaps, please read ahead.

1. Butter swap. Do you buy butter in a plastic container and keep it in the fridge? Did you know you don’t need to keep butter in the fridge? Buy your butter wrapped in waxed paper and keep it in a butter dish out of the fridge.

Bonuses here:

  • eliminates unnecessary plastic
  • it’s cheaper
  • you’ll usually find it right next to its plastic contained friends in the cold section of your supermarket
  • a butter dish looks nicer at the dinner table than a plastic butter container
  • your butter is always spreadable

And if for some reason you’re still buying margarine, please stop! That stuff is just rubbish!

2. Meat free Days. By now it’s pretty common knowledge that the farming of animal products is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the world. Reducing the amount of animal products you consume will substantially lessen your carbon footprint. Why not have a few meat free days a week? I had a vegetarian year last year and found some great recipes that we still use today:

We now eat meat a couple of days a week in our house, but I’m tempted to go back to vegetarianism again soon because I felt so much healthier when I wasn’t eating any meat and of course there’s the environmental benefits!

3. Compost! If you don’t have a compost bin, contact your local waste management service about a biodegradables bin for fruit and veggie scraps. If your food scraps go into general waste they will take longer to break down, release methane and will never go to any good use. Composting or putting them in your green waste closes the cycle!

4. Buy laundry powder in a cardboard box instead of liquid wash in a plastic container. Easy swap!

5. Yoghurt. Instead of individual serves of yoghurt in little plastic containers. Buy just one big container, and serve in a reusable container. We have this great little yoghurt container that you freeze ahead of use, and it keeps your yoghurt cooler for longer. Miss 4 takes it to preschool with plain Greek yoghurt and a few frozen berries inside.

6. Cleaning with vinegar and bicarbonate Soda. It’s considerably cheaper than all the chemical laden cleaning sprays in the store, and better for you and the environment.

7. Swap chewing gum for mints. Did you realise that chewing gum is just pieces of plastic you chew and throw in the bin? I must admit this hadn’t occurred to me until very recently. I’ve swapped to Crown Mints, as the only waste at the end is the one big plastic bag, rather than multiple small wrappers and pieces of chewy plastic.

8. Swap disposable nappies and sanitary items for cloth nappies, cloth pads or a menstrual cup. This comes down to personal preference really, and is probably not a ‘simple swap’ but is definitely something work researching and trialling even if only on a part time basis. We went part time cloth with my youngest child, and it was definitely more work, but manageable while I was a stay at home mum if only a few nappies a day.

I’m always looking to improve, and work towards a more sustainable life, and one small thing at a time seems these easiest way to build up to any lasting change.

Do you have any simple swaps to add to the list?

Do you do any of these same things?

Abby x

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Plastic Free July

Are you doing Plastic Free July this year?

Are you wondering what on earth Plastic Free July is? Find more info here.

We’re far from plastic free in our house, and not quite at the stage where we could live without plastic for a month, but we’re continually taking baby steps towards a more sustainable way of life with less plastic.

There are some really simple changes we’ve made to cut down on plastic, like taking our own bags when shopping, BYO coffee cups, refusing straws etc and then we’ve made some more small switches gradually over the years.

We’ve switched to bar soap purchased in cardboard packaging instead of liquid soaps in plastic bottles.

I bought some mesh produce bags for fruit and veg shopping, instead of using the single use plastic bags in the fruit and veg section of the store. I then made myself some more bags when I decided I needed more.

We often forget the produce bags when we shop, and on those occasions we simply buy all of our fruit loose. It’s fairly easy to grab a hand of bananas and put that in your trolley without a bag. It does get a little annoying with 10 loose mandarins though! Haha.

We also stopped buying single use plastics wraps and bags as well, opting for beeswax wraps or Tupperware containers for sandwiches and snacks.

I’ve made a number of beeswax wraps in the past year (see my instastories here), but I’ve found they’re not quite as good as the ones you can buy online. It’s a process I’m still tweaking and I have a new plan for the next batch!!

There are a lot of great wraps for sale here if you’re interested in buying some of your own.

I also stopped purchasing dishcloths from the supermarket after realising that they all contained plastic and didn’t last very long before they ended up in landfill. We’ve been using some cotton dishcloths I’ve made for the last year, and throwing them in the washing machine between uses. None have worn out yet, but I’m comfortable with the knowledge that at the end of their life I will be able to compost them as they are 100% cotton. One less item for landfill!

I also sell these cloths in my Etsy store, and have a 20% off when you buy more than two items deal happening until July 7th. If you’d like some reusable dishcloths, now’s the time!

The biggest change we’ve made however, is thinking a little more critically about packaging when we’re shopping. We’ll opt for loose apples or carrots over those already in a plastic bag. I’ll buy a whole butternut pumpkin instead of the half pumpkin that’s wrapped in glad wrap. If I’m looking at pantry items (ie biscuits) I’ll purchase something in cardboard packaging over plastic packaging.

We’re forever making small changes, and learning from our mistakes, and we’re still making plenty of mistakes! It took us about a years worth of saying ‘we should have brought containers with us’ every time we ate a restaurant, before we actually remembered to do it last time we went out for dinner and had leftovers to bring home.

The idea of no plastic seems so daunting, but if it’s just a single swap you’re making each month, it’s doable. It all adds up! Imagine the difference it would make if everyone just switched to bar soap!

Have you made any plastic free switches lately?

Abby x