Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A year aiming for a Zero Waste Lifestyle Part 4



If you have read parts 1 , 2 and 3 you can see how much we have improved our lives. I couldn't imagine at the beginning our lives would change so much in only 12 months.

At the beginning I thought it would take a while to find food unpackaged or at least not in plastic. I thought it would cost so much and we would end up quitting.

We haven't been ''perfect'', and it hasn't always been easy. There were a few times when we had some food that was in single use plastic. And yes I felt really guilty, but sometimes there isn't a choice :(. Being Gluten Intolerant, the food has to be in some sort of packaging so it doesn't get contaminated. Sadly most of the packaging is in plastic :(.



Trying to put the message across to family and friends about the plastic pollution hasn't been easy. Knowing what I know about it, I'm shocked at how people are just so desensitised when it comes to packaging :( I have lost count the amount of times someone as said to me (who knows I don't like to use single use plastic), ''Have I tried this or have I got this product''. And I say "No" and they say ''Why? I think you will like it'' and I look at the product, it's made from plastic and or its covered in Plastic and most of the time at least 3 types of packaging covering one little product!!!! Or Worse. " I know you don't like to purchase plastic, BUT give me the money and I will purchase it for you" ?!?!?!?!? Yep I have had that said to me a few times. I Don't think people understand it doesn't work like that.

YOU VOTE WITH YOUR MONEY

I am not forcing anything on others. I want to put that out there. I'm sharing with people what I am doing and how I choose to live my life. I will just share with them why I'm not purchasing the items, and if they take any of that in and choose to take it on board then that's awesome.

YOUR CHOICE IS YOUR VOICE.
 
If you continue purchasing, you are saying to the retailer that I like this, give me more.  If you stop, you're telling them that you no longer want more of this, and they'll need to change to keep your custom.  Remember that you do have the power to make a change.  Be the change that you want to see.


Looking back on my post 'My views on Zero Waste lifestyle' (post HERE) my views haven't really changed. I still believe the term ''Zero Waste'' is a goal to aim for. I believe you can't go completely zero waste unless you go completely off grid. But we can all do something to aim towards it.

I'm really happy and quite proud of both of us, with doing the best we can with the "R's"


We have both tried our best to eliminate as much as we can to reduce what we send to landfill by refusing, reusing and upcycling as much as we possibly can.

We are not perfect, there are quite a few things we can improve on. We are still learning. It would be a lot easier if we had the option of shopping at a bulk store. And if I wasn't Gluten Intolerant.

We are doing our best to be part of the solution, not the problem.

We all vote and can make a huge difference with our choices.


This year we hope to improve and consume even less plastic, and simplify / minimalise our lives even more. Last year was just the start.

I will still share my/our journey here on my little space on the internet. I hope to inspire and motivate anyone to live a more sustainable, eco friendly lifestyle.

We can all make a difference. It doesn't have to be zero waste, but just reducing your waste is great way to start.

Till next time

Live Green

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or
My Journey towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle


Monday, 20 February 2017

A year aiming for a Zero Waste Lifestyle Part 3 ~ Upcycling

 
This has been and still is my favourite part of our journey and 'new' lifestyle. I'm in craft heaven :)  During the past year of decluttering and organising EVERYTHING, a few of the items we already owned that would have been sent to Landfill or Recycled ~ I could reuse and upcycle. I know you might be thinking aren't you trying to simplify and minimalise your life? Yes, yes we are. But we will still have stuff, and the stuff that is left needs to be organised and looked after. I realised quite early on, I didn't need to purchase new things to do this. 



Before our Journey started I used to purchase Tic Tacs. Now obviously I no longer do because they are packaged in plastic.

I use the case to organise my ribbons in my craft stash



And to hold my hair clips.



Upcycling Glass Jars has been a lot of fun ~ Please see my blog post HERE for more ideas.



Old Shirts I made produce bags. Blog post coming soon




Draw organisers ~ See blog post HERE



These are so handy at keeping everything in order.

I've even used a plastic tub that had chocolate in, to store and organise my pens and pencils.



We had so many Crisps to go through (you can see some in part 1 pictures of the kitchen cupboards), then found out they can't be recycled!

We made Napkin holders and I'm framing a mirror with them. Blog post coming soon.



I found in my craft supply I had a box of ice lolly sticks (us crafters keep everything!). I made some Plant / Herb pot holders for my herbs ~ blog post coming soon



I've had so much fun trying to upcycle as much as I can. I'm still decorating used glass jars, for my plants. I'm waiting for few to dry as I type this :). I might do a separate post showing all the Jars, when I have finished.

Aiming for a zero waste lifestyle has really increased my love of crafting. I know some of you might be thinking that Yes, some of this stuff can be Recycled. But we need to remember that Recycling should always be considered as the last resort. Yes, Recycling uses less energy/waste than New but Reuse/Repurpose uses a lot less energy/waste than Recycling.  The best options are always to mend and upcycle.  Plus saving anything from going to Landfill is a must.

If you need anything for your home, first think do you really need it? Then always look around and see what you can upcycle. You will be surprised at what you can do.  

See you in part 4

Donna x 

Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or
My Journey towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle

Saturday, 11 February 2017

A year aiming for a Zero Waste Lifestyle Part 2 ~ Reusables & Trash


For Part 1 please click HERE :)

A few months into this lifestyle, paying closer attention to the amount of trash we were both producing and along with all the research we both have been doing about Trash (Landfills, Chemicals, Plastic). I started researching into Reusable and less waste products. 

After switching to these products, I wish I had done it sooner. It feels great knowing that I'm not contributing to more landfill and taking responsibility for my waste and knowing that it is a full cycle is awesome.


I mentioned in my 'What we have improved so far' post HERE what we did send to landfill and how long it took us to fill up our bin for landfill and how long it took for us to fill our recycling bag.

Here is our 2016 total Trash Jar Contents



Thanks to being unwell for the last 4 months of 2016, you can see I went through quite a few packets of Paracetamol.
There should also be 3 toothbrush heads in there but they went in the bin. I didn't want them left in the jar.
The contents of this jar has now gone to landfill.

I'm happy to report, the longest it has taken to fill our bin for landfill is so far 4 months. 




and our Recycling: 2 months




Most of the time our recycling is due to what we pick up from outside.

We did and will still produce some waste not everything will go in our Trash Jar:

  • Dust from the Vacuum Cleaner: We can never find an answer whether it is suitable for the compost bin because we have synthetic carpet :(.

  • Dental Floss: Still going through what I had. But I have noticed with using my homemade toothpaste, I don't need to floss as much. Or I'm getting more mindful and cleaning better. I will go with the latter.

  • Birth Control:  (FYI from Trash Is For Tossers website: but aren't condoms trash? Yes. They are. But I have talked about this before. While condoms produce garbage, they are a much better option that having unprotected sex and risking getting an STD or having an unplanned pregnancy which will result in bigger issues than just trash. )

  • Kitchen Roll: We still have a lot to use up and we can't get ourselves to use hankies. Not yet anyway.

  • Tea Bags: Not the tea, just the bags. The Tea goes in the Compost bin. I only drink Decaf Green Tea. I can't seem to find Loose Leaf anywhere :( Plus we still have a lot of Tea to use up (one of the perks of bulk buying).

  • Toothbrushes: Once we have used up what we have we will look into Bamboo brushes.

We are trying to purchase as many items as we can that can be reused or composted.

To make a huge difference in what we send to landfill, we have purchased a few reusables, and have improved a lot of items we use.
I have included an affiliate link of the products I purchased from Amazon.

  • A Safety Razor




I have been using this for six months now and at the start I did have little problems with it. Yes, I did cut myself a few times. But I realised I had to be more mindful in what I was doing, and I have to make sure I keep it clean and dry so it lasts. Which isn't a problem.

  • Cotton buds ~ apart from the little bit of plastic in the packaging. These cotton buds can be composted.


  • Bar of Soap.

We swapped to bar soaps pretty much straight a way. We were lucky that I had a tin full of soaps from Lush. We both prefer the bar of soaps to the liquid soap. I've noticed the liquid soap makes my hands dryer and I have to use hand cream :/


  • Sanitary products:

 
At first I was like Nope, I don't think I could do this. But after a lot of research and living this lifestyle and knowing more about Chemicals and Trash, I decided to give them a go. And again with like everything else, I wished I had used them sooner.

They are so much more comfortable, they don't smell and they are very easy to clean. I don't know why I was so against them before.

  • We both still use our Stainless Steel reusable water bottles. (I have purchased the 1100ml bottle the link is for a 750ml)



Haven't had any problems with them. We have even purchased a few as gifts for other people.

We have also purchased Reusable Glass Straws



These are great, very easy to clean. I purchased a set with a little cleaning brush.

Along with what I have mentioned in my 'What we have improved so far' HERE Other items we purchase now have less or zero packaging . Which helps a lot.



I have just recently started using Shampoo Bars and Natural Deodorants. So far they are good. So I will give my opinion in a future post.  I have been researching other companies and I think I have found some good ones. I will share what I find in a future post.

Shampoo Bar and Deodorant


This year, we hope to finally get stainless steel lunch boxes/containers, instead of using the plastic (take away) containers we are still using atm. We have noticed a huge decrease in that cupboard (I hope we aren't the only ones that have a cupboard full of plastic containers ;) ).

I love simplifying our products and minimalising our waste. Some of you might be thinking how is it easier using these reusable products. I personally love that they have slowed me down. I am in the moment. I'm taking care and choosing what I put on and in my body. The less chemicals the better.
Paying attention to what I'm actually doing and being in the present moment is AWESOME. It is easier because I haven't got the added stress of purchasing these items all the time. And knowing I'm not adding more waste to landfill is awesome. 




In Part 3 I'm going to share what we have been upcycling.
  
See you there :)

Donna x


Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or
My Journey towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A year aiming for a Zero Waste Lifestyle Part 1 ~ Packaging & Consumtion



Well, what a difference a year makes!! I can't believe its only been a year. I have so much to share I've decided to split up this post into 4 parts.  

I remember back in November / December 2014 I finally started to look into purchasing a new wardrobe for our spare room, and purchasing more hangers for our clothes. Thought I would get ready for the sales! that happen after Christmas.
I remember thinking, why do we have so much stuff? We aren't shoppers, and you can tell by my Instagram account I pretty much wear the same things over and over. I don't even wear half of my wardrobe, even though my entire clothes collection now fits me. I knew back then something needed to change but I wasn't sure how.

I was going to go with the easier option and purchase something to hide the stuff.

Then I came across Lauren Singers (Trash For Tossers) Tedx Talk (here) and it all started from there.

My first Zero Waste Blog Post is HERE

In the past year we have gone from just reducing our Plastic, to reducing all our Waste, to becoming minimalists (zero waste minimalists). I'm not going to say its been easy but everything really did just seem to flow.  Once we did our research and realised what is actually needed in our lives it was quite an easy transition.

We both went from buying in bulk  (Costco) ~ Over stocking up on items when they were on sale, thinking it would cost less and save time. To Purchasing things when we need it and most of the time in less or zero packaging. Which surprisingly turns out to be a lot cheaper and more free time. The problem with buying in bulk is you get so much packaging and storing everything took up a lot of space. Not saying we don't still purchase things when they are on sale. We just don't go over the top.

Deciding at the beginning of the year to use up what we already had, made me realise how much stuff we actually already had! We didn't need most of it and it took us a long time to use up certain things. On certain things it was a waste of time purchasing in bulk!. We were purchasing things because we thought we had to have them, when in fact we didn't. Which meant we did end up having to give some items away.

We both hadn't needed to purchase anything cosmetic or toiletry all year. Except for our reusables. Which I will talk about in Part 2.

We have never been shoppers. We only ever purchase anything we need, or now looking back what we thought we needed.

We are now just more conscious and mindful of what we purchase.

At first our main focus was reducing the amount of plastic we purchase and bring into our lives. Especially when it comes to food. Sadly we haven't gone completely plastic free (yet). But we have made a huge improvement. I have a "What's inside our Fridge" post HERE if you would like a nosy.
I'm happy to report our weekly shop is now a lot cheaper.

Our First waste less Shop

Even though at the beginning our main focus was on packaging, I decided really early to focus on other areas of waste. Like why do we need another wardrobe.  

My first task was going through all our wardrobes and after organising them better (KonMari Method) (Blog post for DIY storage ideas HERE)


and giving away clothes I no longer needed or fitted. I/we ended up with all these spare hangers


and so much space in our wardrobes... I'm so glad I didn't purchase that wardrobe and more hangers!!

Sadly I did break one of my rules ~ Not purchase any clothes. My wardrobe is full!!
Once I went through my wardrobe I realised because of my weightloss I had quite a lot of clothes that didn't fit me anymore. One of them was Trackie Bottoms. I wear them a lot so I needed some that fit.  I did look for some second hand ones, but I couldn't find any in my size :( (I have a feeling this might be a problem for me.) So I had to purchase some new ones. Which I got from Matalan.

Not really knowing back then about clothes, how and where they are made ~ Fast Fashion! In other words I wish I watched the Documentary The True Cost at the beginning of the year.  I would have purchased from a different brand. But Shoulda Woulda Coulda and all that :( . I have learnt from my mistake and I now know for future purchases.
 
After making that great decision of focusing on other areas of waste and making so much space in our wardrobes,  I/we then focused on the rest of our home.

At the beginning of the year I took pictures of our Kitchen, Bathroom and my cosmetic/Toiletries draws to compare what they are like a year later.

So here they are.

Kitchen





Bathroom





My Cosmetic/Toiletries draw ~ I will do a separate post and go into more detail about my zero waste cosmetic/toiletries routine soon.



Where we store products and spares




A bit of a difference :) Sadly still a lot of plastic, But a lot better than before.


With everything, our new outlook on the items we purchase and bring into our home has made us change and find a more eco friendly option.

We try and purchase as many items in Cardboard and Glass. Sadly some items like rice and pasta are still in plastic. And No Palm Oil. I'm still on the look out for stock cubes (gluten free and vegan) that don't contain palm oil, even sustainable palm.
Sadly my gluten intolerance doesn't help with the no plastic :( Because of contamination reasons, these items have to be packaged. So sadly sometimes I don't have an eco friendly option :(.


We now purchase Cotton Buds that can be composted. Just a little bit of plastic in the packaging.



We changed to Recycled Toilet paper.



Sadly they are packaged in plastic :(. If anyone knows where you can purchase them in paper from the UK please let me know in the comments.
We haven't noticed any difference in using recycled toilet paper. Only positive ~ No new trees have been cut down, you get more tissue per roll compared to other brands and it is cheaper.

We have also swapped bigger ''high end'' brands to Smaller or supermarket brands ~ Some of the items we haven't noticed a taste difference and some we think actually taste better. We do check and compare ingredients, Calories, Fat, Carb, Sugar and Salt on all the products and most, if not all, aren't that much of a difference. We don't consume a lot of processed foods, so our view on the sugar,salt etc is different to everyone else.


My advice if you want to embark on this lifestyle. Just start off small. Like reducing your plastic in certain areas, for example the kitchen or the bathrooms, then work your way from there.

Try and cut out or at least cut back on Single use items. Always think, What will happen to this when you no longer need it. Remember Recycle is always the last Option. Actually, Landfill is, but you get my point ;) 

Join me next time for Part 2 of our year aiming for a Zero Waste Lifestyle. Where I will talk about reusables.

Donna x


Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or
My Journey towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle





Monday, 6 February 2017

Leek and Potato Soup ~ Vegan & Gluten Free

 
My parents had a good crop of Leeks last year. With them my mum made me this very tasting Leek and Potato soup. I had quite a lot of servings. I wish we made more and froze them for the whole of winter.

This recipe is very easy, you only need a few ingredients. It is Vegan and Gluten Free.

If you like a big bowl of soup. This batch serves 2 ~ I had 3 servings with this batch.

Depending on the size of the leeks

We used
  • 6 leeks
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Veggie Stock


Wash and Chop everything and put in a pan with the Stock and water (measurement for stock cube).



Bring to boil and simmer for 20mins or until potatoes are cooked.

Blend (I use a Braun Hand Blender)


And serve ~ Best served with homemade bread :)


This year we will definitely be making batches for the freezer to last through the winter :)

Note: To add more protein to my soups. Once all cooked, I sometimes mix in a cup of rice  :)

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do.

What's your favourite soup?

Till next time

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: My Gluten Free Veggie Soup