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It's World Ocean Day Today (8th June)! So along with my little whale watercolour painting, I wanted to share with you the 3 sustainable swaps I've made this week to reduce my plastic consumption and waste.
I've been on my sustainable living journey for 2 years now but I've really only been making big changes in the products I buy in the last year.
Why did it take a whole year you ask? Because honestly, I had so much in the house to use up first.
Two years ago when I decided I had to make more of an effort to live sustainably, I thought it would take just a few quick fixes and I'd be on my way. I had been a mindful shopper most of my life (or so I thought) and I deeply care about our environment, so it couldn't be that hard, could it?
As I looked around the house I began to see plastic everywhere, as well as unused and unopened products. So the first stage in my sustainable living journey was to take a plastic audit of what I used on a daily basis to really get the scale of the problem I was facing.
Below you can see the list I generated and what the culprits of this exercise were for me. I was absolutely shocked to find my list totalled 114 items! I knew something serious had to be done.
And yes, that is a whole tube of crisps PLUS 4 bags of crisps in 1 day - please don't judge me!
Now the shock and horror of this (the plastic, not the crisps) could have been enough to make me rush out and buy all the eco-friendly products I could find. But in reality this would only make things worse.
If we are going to tackle the plastic problem forever, then we first have to tackle our consumerism. So instead, I vowed to not buy any new products until I had used up the stash of cosmetics and cleaning products we had gained over the years. And it took almost a whole year!
I'm pretty sure we all have that bathroom drawer or box under the bed of beautiful and lavish bubble baths and fancy soap packs from pervious birthday or Christmas gifts. Either we've told ourselves they are too good to use or they're not actually items we would normally buy ourselves, so they just sit there gathering dust.
This is what I had to tackle first. And I had to get creative! Did we find a bottle of bubble bath hidden away, yes. Do we have a bath to use it in, no. But it did make lovely hand soap!
The first year of my sustainable living journey was spent using up items we already had in the house. Then, once something was finished we (Mr B&T and I) would decide whether or not this was an item that we still needed in our lives (like washing powder) or something we never needed to own again (you guessed it, bubble bath!)
Taking the time to clear out old items first has made making the switch to sustainable products much easier. If we decided that we did need to buy a product or item again then we would take the time to research a sustainable replacement for it. And this is what the second year of our sustainable living journey has been about.
So what are the 3 sustainable swaps I've made this week?
1. Fair Trade Loose Leaf tea
I'm a massive tea lover (opposite is an old photo of me at the BOH tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia which was amazing!) so tea bags appear on our shopping list most weeks. But did you know that tea bags are full of plastic??
I don't know about you but I am not ok with this. I am already so aware of the micro plastics that have found their way into our food chain because of ocean pollution, so the thought of adding them direct to my brew was shocking and scary.
So after using up the last tea bag in the box I've made the switch to loose leaf tea. Not only does this cut out the plastic tea bags, but I can support my local health food shop by buying from them and taking my own jar to be refilled every time! Plus I get to use my fancy teapot every day now so it's a huge win, win if you ask me!
2. Mouthwash Tablets
I know, this blew my mind too! But you can honestly find a sustainable replacement for almost every item now, if you just do a little digging first.
So I've been trying these Georganics Mouthwash Tablets in Peppermint and so far I'm happy with them.
They are made from all natural ingredients, are chemical and cruelty free plus they are PETA certified vegan.
And of course, they come in a completely recyclable glass bottle with aluminium lid and compostable lid liner.
Available in Spearmint, Orange and Charcoal flavours too.
3. Reusable Surface Wipes
This isn't so much of a plastic switch as I used to buy kitchen towel that was wrapped in paper, but it's a switch to help us create less waste from our home. Kitchen towel is something we get through quite a lot of in our house, especially since giving up surface wipes, so it just made sense to switch to a reusable option.
These UnPaper Towels are made from single ply 100% cotton flannel which makes them super absorbent as well as washing machine safe at high temperatures.
They can be used as replacement baby wipes, for washing and drying dishes or as kitchen towel/surface wipes like we will be using them for. Plus, the fibers of the flannel stick together so they can be rolled around a cardboard tube and popped on your kitchen towel stand! Perfect!
So there you have it, my 3 newest sustainable swaps this Ocean Day. I'd love to know if you are thinking of making some sustainable changes in your life or if you already have so please let me know in the comments below.
Plus I'll be sharing more of my sustainable living journey here soon so stay tuned if you would like some inspiration on how you can start and progress in your own green living journey.
Thanks so much for reading and Happy Oceans Day!