When we started on our journey to living a 'low waste' lifestyle, and lessen the footprint we leave, we started out by looking at each room in our house. We found just trying to change everything a bit overwhelming, so by picking a room at a time we could see what small changes we could make.
We started with the kitchen. This is where our bin is, and where we create the most waste, so it seemed the logical place for us to start :)
We didn't do these all in one go. Just slowly over time. We made a 'wishlist' of products or purchases we wanted to make to facilitate these and have added to it over time. So for example, sponges. We had a ten pack in the cupboard. It seemed worse to NOT use these. So once we finished using them, we then purchased the greener alternative to use.
We have made some other changes as well, but they are more relevant to just our family - these ten we wanted to share, as we think they are pretty universal.
1) Planet friendly washing up liquid
For us, we love the Bio-D washing up liquid (we don't have a dish washer!) which we buy from our local zero waste shop, using an old glass ketchup bottle. Made in the UK, they have cracking morals, and no plastic bottle :)
There are so many options on the market now that claim to be 'eco' washing up liquid. It can be quite confusing, and a fair amount of 'greenwashing' is going on! Ecover and Method are obviously big players in this market, ones we purchased for a long time. However, we are trying to be more aware of the companies behind our products as well - I recommend checking out 'The Good Shopping Guide' and seeing where these brands rank (https://thegoodshoppingguide.com/)
2) Ditch the sponges
There are so many natural options out there, that do the job just as well, if not better! We particularly love our coconut scourer and pot scraper. We also cut up old cotton t-shirts to make cloths. We love the fact these seem to last longer than our old sponges AND once they are done we can pop them in our compost.
3) Reusable bin liner
Whilst looking at the waste we created, we realised we were making waste by getting rid of our waste! Crazy ey?! Now we put this in our bin, then empty the liner into our black bin. This can, of course, be washed if it gets a bit stinky!
One word of advice is to phone your council before committing to this, as some are not fans of loose waste going straight into the black bin (lord knows why!)
4) Reusable tea bag
So pretty much all tea bags contain some sort of plastic (Yuck, right!) We love these reusable tea bags as a replacement - just pop in your leaves and use like you would a normal bag! Empty and repeat!
5) Bamboo or metal straws
This one has to be a no brainer right?! I mean the fact you can't even recycle a plastic straw hurts my brain! I'm also not a fan of the paper ones - I just find them a bit 'soggy'!
We love our metal straws, but I do like the look of the bamboo ones as well!
6) Wax wraps and earthwise/nom nom snack bags
Cling film, zip lock bags, freezer bags. All of them are still going to be here in 500 years time :( We have invested in some reusable versions to help reduce our lunchtime waste.
We love the Earthwise range of snack pouches and zip up bags for your sarnies. They are washable, but normally a quick wipe of the inside is enough. They also come in amazing designs as well!
We also love the Nom Nom Kids snack pouches. A mamma came up with these, and we love to support a small business. Her customer service is brill, as is her stance on recycling. She is clearly passionate about what she does and that has made a great product! We've had ours since our eldest child started weaning, and have since bought more as gifts, and to add to our collection as we think they are just fab!
Wax wraps are a great alternative to clingfilm, again, they just need a quick wipe after use!
7) Ice lolly moulds
Find me a child that doesn't love an ice lolly?! Pretty tricky right! We were fed up of the plastic wrappers, so we bought our own moulds. We whip up a batch and pop them in the freezer for whenever we fancy. It also means we know exactly what has gone in them so no nasty synthetic colours or added sugars.
We have these bright ones from Ikea. Yup, they are plastic. But we are going to reuse these until they fall apart. You can get some super sexy steel ones, but our budget preferred these. We don't discount things because they are made of plastic, especially like this, when we know it will be reused a lot! (Apparently Ikea plans to ensure that its plastic products, which account for around forty percent of the total plastic used by the company, are made from 100 percent recycled or recyclable materials, by August of 2020. Whoop!)
8) Reusable baby food pouches
Who hasn't had their life saved by Ella and her kitchen (or a similarly helpful brand) to then find out those pouches aren't recyclable! Doh!
If you want to make your own pouches to have out and about, or just prepped ready in the freezer then it is worth investing in some of these! Again, we have linked Nom Nom Kids - because we loved them! We are over the whole 'puree' and pouch stage now, and we now use these to store portions of soup or sauces in, ready to go in the freezer!
9) Charcoal water filters
We aren't a 'Brita' family. To be honest, I just can't be arsed. However, whenever we go anywhere that you shouldn't drink the water, we get massive 'green guilt' about our plastic consumption. So now we are using these simple charcoal filters. On the plus side, once they are done as water filters you can use them in your fridge to absorb smells or even in damp prone places to help absorb the damp.
10) Earth Friendly cleaning products.
If you are a 'Hincher', I'm sorry. I have a confession to make. We don't own a single bottle of bleach or one can of polish. We are massive fans of natural cleaning products which mainly consists of vinegar, bicarb, soda crystals and citrus fruits. I hope to write an entire blog post on this, as it is quite a big topic. But basically, we are trying to keep it as simple and natural as possible!
If you want to read more about this, we recommend you checking out the queen of all things natural cleaning - Naturally Mumma Jo
NOTE: ALL the links here are just that. Links. We aren't earning anything from them. Where possible all items linked are direct from the people who make them or from a small, trusted, independent store as we <3 to shop small and independent!