In a good way. The landlord still hasn’t organised a recycle bin – plus, there’s not enough room (garden) for a compost bin. Next best step was to start a worm farm.
I’ve got some herbs started in pots (so that Matty can cook up some delicious herb-laden dishes when he gets here), which I’m sure will appreciate all the impending worm-wee and worm castings. It’s a much better way to get rid of food scraps, rather than having to bin them all.
Still need to chase up with the recycle bin!
(PS – Hi, guys! I’ve missed you!)
Roughly a year ago (very roughly) I decided that I wanted to trial using baking soda and vinegar as substitutes for shampoo and conditioner. But, due to my shuffling around the place, I didn’t quite feel settled enough to start a trial… until about a month ago, whilst I was in Hobart.
My main reason was as a part of my general aim to improve the quality of substances to which I was exposing my body, in preparation for having a baby. (Eventually, we will both be living on the same continent for this to happen!)
So, I bought myself a box of bi-carb soda and a bottle of apple cider vinegar. Thus far, I’m happy with the results. I’m washing my hair about as often as I would with shampoo (every few days or so). The bi-carb seems to do a good job of cleaning, and the vinegar rinse seems to soften my hair nicely. I’m not having any issues with tangling, and my hair has a nice shine to it.
I am a little paranoid about smelling like vinegar – but I think rinsing with water works sufficiently and it doesn’t seem to be an issue. Not that I’ve asked anyone to smell my hair, mind you. Might get the girls to do this on the weekend, when we meet up for lunch. They can always be relied upon for providing a brutally honest opinion!
If feedback suggests that I smell like cider (or worse) I’ll look at infusing some rosemary or lavender, to balance it out. I may try using some rosemary anyway, simply because I like it.
Ultimately, it’d be really nice to be able to wash simply with water, but I’m not quite brave enough to go for that. At this point, at least. I suppose that anything I use in my hair is going to have an impact on ground water (or other waste water), but at least this is better than the chemical-laden stuff I used to use. (Admittedly, I loved how my old shampoo made my hair feel, but it also used to hurt like hell when I got it in my eyes.) For now, this is a positive start.
Thus far I’ve:
- acquired some bamboo cutlery sets and cloth produce bags, plus two Tiffin tins (useful for lunches, and hopefully also as a substitute for take-away containers). As the suppliers are in the US, I had them sent straight to Matty.
- found and purchased some handkerchiefs. Not as easy a task as I’d expected – apparently many stores only carry them at Christmas time, so there must be a lot of people receiving hankies in their stockings. Eventually found some at a museum-y/heritage place near Telford. (I can’t remember what it was called!) I regret that I purchased the pretty, embroidered hankies instead of the plain, coloured ‘manly’ variety… all style and no substance, frankly.
- received the cloth panty liners that I’d ordered, from two different suppliers. It hadn’t occurred to me that size might be an issue – the product from the first supplier was just about right, but the other three I’d ordered (I got a little over-excited about pretty colours) were HUGE! Thankfully, the second supplier was great and accepted them back for a refund.
- begun trialling a parsley-based cleaning product, which a friend bought for me. It seems to work. What more can I ask for?
I have had moments when I’ve wondered if I’m simply creating an opportunity for shopping – thoughts I’ve successfully shrugged aside – but, there must be an initial outlay at some point.
There are lots of small changes I’ve already made, in order to be more environmentally friendly. I try to walk, instead of using my car. (Admittedly, when I have a car, I tend to go to more places that require a car.) I’ve reduced my usage/wastage of water. I recycle more, including using non-confidential papers as note-paper in the office, and minimising printing/copying. I’ve reduced my energy consumption by switching off lights and equipment when they’re not needed. I try to use lidded containers to store food, rather than using cling film. I also try to take reusable bags when I go shopping, but I could improve my success rate with this, and I’d like to use cloth bags rather than plastic (recycled or not).
However, there are a few changes I’ve been considering for a while, but hadn’t got around to implementing, such as:
- Changing from disposable sanitary products to cloth reusables. About two years ago, as part of the 43T cup movement, I started using a Diva Cup – and don’t regret it for a moment. I’ve been meaning to make the leap to cloth panty liners. I’ve done plenty of reading, and finally ordered a few samples last week. Unfortunately, the suppliers can take a little while to fulfill the orders, and I’m not aware of any shops locally that sell them. But, at least this is underway.
- Shifting from tissues to handkerchiefs, and paper napkins/serviettes to cloth. You’d think this one would be relatively easy, but I simply haven’t done anything about it. I’ll aim to make some purchases this weekend.
- Using glass, ceramic, stainless steel (or other healthier/friendlier choices) generally instead of plastics. Crockery, containers, cutlery, cookware, and (just ‘cause alliteration appeals) bakeware, baby bottles and… erm… bugger. Out of ideas.
- Following on from that, purchasing a decent water/drink bottle and travel coffee mug.
- Buying a refillable pen, instead of relying upon disposables.
- Using more natural cleaning products (vinegar, baking soda, etc.) instead of chemical-filled nasties. I need to do this with regards to personal products as well; Abs and Calypte’s Lush reviews require closer reading!
Eventually, when we’re finally living in the same place, Matty and I also plan to grow our own herbs, veges and fruit. We’ll also use MCNs (Modern Cloth Nappies), when the time comes.
I was reading the Fake Plastic Fish blog the other night, and a couple of the suggestions I quite liked included:
- Carrying a set of cutlery, so that it’s not necessary to use plastic/disposable utensils whilst out and about. I took a fancy to the bamboo sets she’d bought from To-Go Ware, and ordered a set each for Matty and myself. In hindsight the sets come in recycled plastic storage rolls, so I probably could have ordered the utensils individually, and attempted to make holders out of cloth.
- Glass straws! Not that I have straws at home anyway, but it would be handy to carry one in with the utensils, for out-and-about. Plus, I think the both the idea and some of the straws are very cute. Might look at getting some of these, too.
So, lots of things to do, but none of them are huge changes. If I can focus on a few things at a time, it won’t seem like such a monumental task.