Small Steps to Zero Waste

As a child I flirted with the idea of being environmentally friendly. In primary school I remember my teacher drawing a poster of a giant litter bug. Cheerfully, we stuck our rubbish to the bug with copious amounts of glue and this was displayed on our classroom wall as a reminder to pick up litter.

Fast forward to my thirties, two children, and I have returned once more to my environmental crusade, but this time with commitment. There is nothing like parenthood to make you wonder about the possibilities of the future, the future for your children and the future of their children. Documentaries such as Blue Planet have ignited the conversation about the state of our planet and I have begun to make small steps to do my bit.

I always try to remember my reusable bottles, one for water, one for tea. This not only helps the environment but saves money too. A win-win situation! When out and about I have been surprised how willing businesses are to refill my bottles with water. There is even an app called Refill that features a world-wide map with plotted locations of your nearest refill points. You can rate the refill too! My flask for tea is insulated and keeps my drink warm for about eight hours. I am yet to make use of the coffee shop incentives to bring your own cup for a small reduction in price but there is time yet!

Lily drinking from my Equa bottle from Yes Bebe

I have purchased a washable sandwich wrap for my lunch instead of using cling film or tin foil and have also bought a reusable lunch bag which I fill with a smaller set of metal cutlery and reusable straws. Using our reusable items this summer has made our picnics affordable, eco-friendly as well as pretty.

In the bathroom I am striving to eliminate plastic bottles and opt instead for soap bars and minimal waste alternatives. There are plenty of soaps out there suitable for body wash, shampoo and conditioner. I find the soaps make your bathroom smell lovely and without plastic bottles our shower isn’t as cluttered. If you do make the shampoo bar switch see advice online about apple cider vinegar rinses. The switch to natural shampoo bars may take a while for your hair to get used to so keep going and I assure you, luscious locks will follow.

In the kitchen I am more conscious of choosing food without plastic packaging. We receive a weekly fruit and veg box from Wonky Veg and have taken our reusable containers to The Clean Kilo, a local zero waste shop in Birmingham where everything from herbs and spices to pasta and pulses is waste free and you can take them all home in your own container. Morrisons will also put any of their over the counter products, such as the meat from the butchers into your own container. You will also receive a voucher for 100 Morrisons More points for using this initiative.

Using Turtle Bag produce bags and Dans Le Sac bread bag from Yes Bebe
My summer haul from The Clean Kilo

Most recently, Clare at Freddie Fox has started to sell Eco-Bamboo Reusable Rounds. The rounds feature the well-loved Freddie Fox prints. They are beautifully soft on the most delicate areas of skin and are machine washable. The rounds are perfect for removing make up and cleansing skin, something for your handbag whilst equally perfect for the home. Clare is keen to develop her eco products so what would you like to see from Freddie Fox?

Whilst these are all small steps, I know that even a small change can make a difference. It may change how much I send to landfill, it may change how my children live, but I hope together our small changes can be the big change that we need.

Written by Chloe McCrea @chloe_mccrea86

Directory: - for weekly deliveries of fruit, veg and bread – a local zero waste shop in The Custard Factory, Birmingham – for reusable bottles, sandwich wraps, soap bars, straws, cutlery, lunch boxes and much more (use caterpillar for 10% discount)

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