8 ways to be more sustainable around the house

Back in the day when I used to work the area I became involved in was centred around sustainability – mainly in the area of water, wastewater and the reuse of dairy wastes. Sounds glamorous eh! But it was really interesting and I loved it and when I became a stay at home mother it was something that I became more and more conscious of especially as the girls got bigger and we had more. I started to question the world we were going to be leaving behind for them and, more importantly, the problems their generation and others will face. 

It’s time to celebrate the small changes people make everyday, you don’t have to go all out to make an impact, one small change is fantastic and it can lead to another small change like it has around our house. I think for so long the narrative around sustainability and tackling climate change has been negative, we are bombarded with facts and figures that are mind blowing and frightening at the same time and sometimes it can seem completely overwhelming and you being to think that how can the one small change I’m making solve the problem of rising sea levels. But it can, I read a quote a while back and it went a little something like this….’its only one straw….said 7.5 billion people….’ so you see, one small change by everyone can have a massive impact. 

I’ve put together a list of some of the really easy changes we’ve made around the house that fit in seemlessly with our lifestyle and most certainly didn’t cost anything more. 

Metal water containers – before this I was always one for reusable plastic bottles, and in fact, the girls still use them for school which I’m ok about because they are light, BPA free so they last us a long time and will eventually be recycled. The metal ones though I have to say for me personally are a game changer. Over the seriously hot summer months my Chilly’s bottle was literally glued to my hip and more recently, given the sheer volume of water I consume while breastfeeding, I have a Klean Kanteen stuck in my paw 24/7. I prefer the taste of the metal containers and the fact they keep the water cooler for longer, plus they are less likely to break. Reusable coffee cups – I’m a divil for coffee, I just love it and before I always loved getting a coffee say on a journey anyway or even passing the local shop! But I got an Aeropress about two years ago and since then I really feel like the coffee I make at home is probably better than anything out of a machine in a shop. So instead I prepare my coffee not before I head out for a day trip or a journey somewhere and I bring my KeepCup. 

Reusable make up pads and bamboo cotton buds – honestly every morning I make a mess of my mascara because I’m in such a rush and it ends up all over my eye lids and I have to use a cotton bud to clean up the mess. I hate using cotton buds with the plastic stick because it just seems so unnecessary and they often end up flushed down the toilet (DON’T flush them down the toilet!!!) and into our seas where they do untold damage to sealife. So I’ve opted for bamboo cotton swabs which are biodegradable and can be put in your compost bin, the small amount of makeup and makeup remover (if you use something stronger like nail varnish remover put them in the bin, they will break down over time but not as quickly as they would in a compost bin where the microbial activity is better) on the tip won’t interfere with the composting process. Two bins in a bathroom – so often we have just the one bin in the bathroom and we put waste and empty bottles in the same bin and then just throw the whole bin into a larger bin bag and straight into the bin destined for landfill. Having two bins means you can separate the waste into recyclable waste and non recyclable waste at source so they are far more likely to go to the right place. 

Veg patch – this was something we have wanted for ages but it really only became a reality once we bought our own home. One of the first things we did outside was to reclaim an area that had had decking on it and make it something nice again. So we put in two and a half raised beds (the other half is a sandpit for the girls, really handy!). This was our first year to do the veg patch and we’ve learned a lot, really that requires a full blog post in itself but suffice to say there is no better feeling than passing over the packets of carrots wrapped in soft non recyclable plastic in the supermarket and instead sending one of the girls outside an hour before dinner to pick the veg. This year we grew – carrots, parsnips, beans, peas, lettuce, rocket, shallots, spinach, cucumber and courgette. Some of it we”ll grow again but mainly we learned a lot about spacing, timing and thinning this year! Pencils and crayons not twistables – when my eldest started school Twistables were stipulated on her book list at the start of the school year. At first I obliged but soon after when we were through our first set in about the space of a month because her little sister pulled the inner piece out or twisted it out too far and broke it etc I began to think what is wrong with a good old fashioned pencil or crayon? The answer is there is nothing wrong and in fact the twistable were really long for her little hand so a shorter crayon suited her much better. 

Metal straws – we’re not big fans of straws in this house anyway, I think they result in more spills than if there weren’t there but either way we have invested in some metal straws for the days we have smoothies. 

Reusable sandwich covers – we use these everyday on the girls lunches, we got rid of cling film out of the house a long time ago. We have a few different types of reusable sandwich covers and I like them all, they are no extra hassle and the ones we have are large enough that you can fit a sandwich and some crackers inside them. 

If you’re looking to shop online for goods here are a few of my favourite shops!

Earthmother.ie

Reuzi.ie

The Natural Company Ireland 

 

 

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