My pledge to live, work +blog more ethically
We as a race are currently destroying our planet. But I’m feeling slightly uplifted by a few things going on at the moment. After the incredible series that was Blue Planet 2 I think almost everyone is starting to think about our use of plastics. Veganuary has also sparked interest into the meat industry and its effects on our environment. Zero waste, is a huge trend, especially in the blogging community. Here in Bristol we are even about to open a our first zero waste shop! This real interest into living more ethically is commendable, and I seriously hope that everyone does start to make some real changes to the ways that they live.
I’ve always been making attempts to be more environmentally friendly. As a small child I would read facts aloud about leaving the taps on while you brush your teeth. I still run round the house now, turning light bulbs off. I walk when I can. I’ve given up meat for many reasons, including the fact that so much water goes in and so much waste comes out. And yet, I’m still doing so many things wrong. Single use plastics fill up my recycling box. My black bin is PACKED to the brim by collection day. I buy clothes and wear them a handful of times, before leaving them stuffed at the back of a drawer. I buy ready meals. I end up throwing away food that gone off before I could use it. I do so many things, that I’m sure lots of other people do too.. that maybe we need to think about changing.
The thing I find hard is that the perfectionist in me aims for a zero waste lifestyle, realises I just can’t do it perfectly, and then just gives up. (From what I can tell you need time and lots of motivation for the first year! I just do not have these things to spare right now!!!) . So my challenge to myself is to not worry about perfection, but rather make small, bite sized changes which I can stick to, and hopefully these things will add up to make a difference. (Then maybe in 6 or 12 months time, I can add to these!)
Ethical changes to my blog:
After attending a talk by Bea Johnson on zero waste, in May last year I made some big changes to my blog – all of which I’ve stuck to. (See my video HERE). I currently and will continue to not accept beauty boxes. I know not all of you agreed with me, but in my opinion I find them quite wasteful. They are a good way of getting products on the cheap – that I accept. But nearly always there will be one or even a few products that you just would not have bought had you had the money to get them. This to me is unnecessary. I know from personal experience that these can all too easily get shoved into a draw and forgotten about. I can understand if you know what the contents are going to be in advance, and you want them all, but you still need to think about the packaging! They usually come in a box, INSIDE the our box that it was delivered in. Although I will note that I have definitely received one box that was just the one… well done LoveLula! I do find that many also include a small pile of leaflets. Argh! The beauty world in general is massively guilty of over packaging. Products come in boxes just to look good. A glass bottle of oil… in a box. WHY, WHY DO THEY NEED THESE BOXES?!??! Plastics are also everywhere. But I do see some brands making a continued effort to do better, and be better. I hope that this catches on!
I have also made the decision to only accept products for review that I need and will use. This may sound silly, but let me give an example. I would currently not accept any natural perfumes, as I have two on the go at the moment. If I had a rosewater toner, I might not accept any other toners as I wouldn’t want my rosewater going off before I got back to using it again. I’m making a conscious effort to use things up before opening something else similar. This has meant that blog posts are slightly more fewer and far between, and that I have mentioned products several times – as I’m still using them and (hopefully) loving them. I’ve had readers say that the more I review, the more they know, and so can choose what to buy and what not to buy – therefore saving waste for them. But honestly the amount of packaging I was putting into my recycling bin was quite concerning, and I just cannot continue to produce that much waste and not do anything about it!!!
When I do blog about things now, I do always consider the amount of packaging, ingredients, and the labour that has gone into making the products -and whether all these things were ethical or not.
Ethical changes in my treatment room:
Making big changes to my business is hard. Hard because old habits die hard, but also disposable, one use items are a bit of a must. I have now started sourcing paper stemmed cotton buds, so at least there’s no plastic waste from those. I have to use wooden spatulas only once – and they covered in wax, so can’t be composted. And although I use washable mitts and washable cotton rounds for facials, I do need to use one use disposable cotton pads for waxing for hygiene reasons, and again they often get wax on them – which could make washing them rather tricky! I have found a sort of solution, I am going to be training in sugaring soon. Sugaring uses…sugar! So no synthetic wax to dispose of. It will solve a lot of waste issues. But I will be relying on the hope that all my clients will be happy to swap over to it. I have my fingers crossed!!!
The other big issue is the packaging that comes when I order new supplies. I can’t see a way round this – it’s not like I can wander into a local shop for paper wrapped couch roll and refillable barbicide. I will just have to do my best to reuse as much of the packaging as possible and recycle what I can’t.
Ethical changes at home:
I no longer use any single use items in my beauty routine. I also am very careful to use up products before they “go off”. And pass on any products that I don’t think I’ll use. Last year I ended up having to throw some products away, and it was heart breaking! Never again!
I have decided to not use bamboo toothbrushes. I just don’t get on with them at all, they are just too soft, and I ended up getting through them very quickly. Has anyone found any firmer style ones? I currently use an electric toothbrush, which I know isn’t any better as you still replace the heads, but I have to say I am really reluctant to stop using it!! Maybe I need to get over this and get used to a softer brush….
I already use (and LOVE LOVE LOVE) my mooncup. This is a plastic item, but it’s used so much that I’m not too worried about it. I do have extremely heavy periods and the mooncup is lasts me far longer than any tampon ever could. But just incase I find myself unable to errr.. reach a toilet in time… I’m going to purchase some washable pantyliners. I’ve seen these ones here, but do let me know if you can recommend me anything!
I am challenging myself this year to not buy one single item of clothing. If I REALLY need something, I will look in charity shops, or borrow items off friends. But I mean REALLY need like, my trousers have disintegrated into tiny pieces and I am trouserless, haha! I’d love to have the dream “capsule wardrobe”, Wouldn’t it be nice if almost everything you owned worked well together to create many different outfits. I don’t have this, but I do have a good amount of decent clothes. I don’t need anymore. I want to see if I can make it through the year on what I have. If anything breaks – I’ll fix it. No more buying outfits for one particular occasion, no more buying a top because it’s this seasons must have, only to forget it in the next season. I hope I can do this! (Note: For the kids, I have actually probably only bought them a handful of new clothing items EVER, as they live in hand me downs. Kids grow out of clothes so quickly I don’t really see the point of getting anything “cool”, they certainly don’t give two hoots about what they wear! If you have kids, do as ask mates with older children for their old clothes. I bet you anything they will GLADLY send you off with a few bags full. Honestly I’ve been given so much I had to to pass on 75% of it! Also charity shops sell kids clothes pretty cheap, and you can usually find some decent stuff. My mum picked up a Joules parka for Ernie for a £5.)
I do get worried about the amount of waste my household creates. It’s pretty ridiculous to be honest! I used to get a fruit and veg box delivered (by an electric van I might add!) but since I’ve had a lot of time off work with sickness our purses are suddenly very light and we can’t afford it anymore. I am worried as we don’t have all the time in the world for shopping, so we really need to do our food shop in one place, in one go. We go to Aldi as it’s the cheapest. They do sell loose fruit and veg – but not all of it is, and I can’t see a way round this. I do think that Aldi as a company have made some good environmental choices in the past so maybe it’s a case of pressuring them to get their fruit and veg plastic free. I love that Iceland has pledge to go completely plastic free – so there is hope! I am going to be more conscious of what I do pick up in the supermarket. One thing I am going to start doing is making my own morning cereal. I used to do this, and I have no idea why I stopped (well I do… laziness!!!) I can get the ingredients in bulk at my local heath food shop – Better Food Co. I’ve got some little muslin drawstring bags which I’ll use to buy them in. Then once it’s all mixed together I can just pour it out each morn. Oat milk is particularly easy to make yourself too, so OH MY GOODNESS, I THINK I’M GOING TO BE HAVING ZERO WASTE BREAKFASTS. That’s a start hey!! Next to work on lunch and dinner….
Takeaways always create a mountain of waste, plastic tubs, plastic bags, polystyrene, paper, cardboard. Lucky for us we have two Indian restaurants just round the corner that will fill up our metal tiffins for as little as a fiver! (But how do I get my Korean fix? Argh, might have to just stop!)
My last change might sound silly but I’m stopping drinking fizzy water. I was buying six small bottles of it weekly. That’s a hell of a lot of waste!! It was my little treat though, and the habit was hard to break. But I’ve actually already done it! I’ve been suggested to get a soda stream, but they are a bit too expensive for me to justify getting it. Plus it’s just another lump of plastic that will one day end up in landfill. (And one of my friends has recently alerted me to the fact that talking about SodaStream opens up a huge can of worms, in regards to it being an Israeli company that had a manufacturing facility in the West Bank.) I don’t NEED fizzy water, so I’ve just broken the habit. I’m quite proud of myself actually, as I haven’t bought any for several months now!
..it’s not perfect. But it’s a start. The real challenge is going to be finding affordable, quick changes for my food shop. I have some ideas, but please do let me know if you have any pointers!
I would also love to hear about all the changes you have made to your work, home or blog (if you have one). It’s so fantastic to get inspiration from others, and to cheer each other on!! We CAN be better. And we CAN make a difference.
Places I find useful:
Fancy free tap water?
Matter Wholefoods – Highly recommend their electric van delivered veg boxes!
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