Friday, 28 November 2014

Living Green-Ish

Every so often I read about things like BPA in plastic causing cancer or how even disposable 'eco' nappies take a lifetime to decompose and I think about my family's health and our impact on the world. And often I do try to do something about it. Not always; I'm reasonably green-minded but I have to admit that if it significantly inconveniences us or costs too much, it doesn't happen. I'm not all-or-nothing about it - just trying to reduce our footprint while maintaining a reasonable quality of life.

So, recently after reading an article written by a woman in New York who generates 'Zero Waste' I've been thinking about our family's ways again. I do think we're quite green in some ways, but I don't think we're all that radical... here are some things we've thought about, and what we're doing about them.

Baby being washed in water :)
  • BPA in plastic and cans. Apparently tinned tomatoes are the worst offenders. I buy Cirio tomatoes in a tetra pak now, and all our tupperware is BPA-free. Yes, we're still using plastic - all other alternatives have a drawback: glass obviously is heavy and breakable, metal can't be microwaved. Which brings me on to...
  • Microwave. Yes, we've got one, and yes, we're keeping it. It's quick and low energy, therefore green, and I really haven't seen enough credible research to support the fearmongers.
    Besides, since the gas man condemned our oven as "Immediately Dangerous" the microwave has become even more essential in my kitchen!
  • Pressure Cooker. Quick, therefore green, this is an unmissable staple in my kitchen. We used to have a slow cooker but we've replaced it with this gadget now, which has a slow cooker function as well as pressure cooking.
  • Supermarket shopping. We shop online and have it delivered to our door. That's no less green than getting in a car to to there ourselves, in fact the van going house to house is probably less of an impact than all those people individually getting in their cars and going to the supermarket; plus, it's so much more convenient and it stops me impulse buying!
  • Local produce. My neighbour's son is a greengrocer and he supplies me with a weekly veg box. It's not organic: it's much cheaper than organic boxes you can get, it's even cheaper than the same non-organic produce at the supermarket! But it's travelled fewer miles and comes in a cardboard box, so we have minimal waste to deal with - the cardboard box either functions as kindling for our fire or we give it back to him.
  • Transport. We do have a car and we're keeping it - in fact we're thinking about upgrading to a transporter and converting it to a campervan - but it's not used daily. Normally twice a week, maybe three times. It gives me peace of mind to know there is a car should we need it, although Mr. commutes to work by bike, and I walk when not on maternity leave. Walking is good for me and the dog.
  • Personal grooming. I don't use any products except the deodorant rock and pure jojoba oil; I gave up using shampoo over two years ago (I wash with water only) and my hair has never been better. I do use some items of make-up - mascara, eyeliner - which are small and last for ages. Mr. uses liquid soap, and we buy the vegan kind. Baby gets washed with water only, like me, and we use pure coconut oil on her bum to protect her skin - she's got great skin all round.
  • Cleaning. Most of my cleaning is done with vinegar and essential oils. For laundry we use soap nuts and essential oils. Where the vinegar doesn't cut it, we use eco products.
  • Nappies. We use cloth nappies when we're home, eco-disposable when travelling, which isn't very often - has been more often in baby's early life, because family wanted to see her - and I've actually found my Mother-Ease cloth nappies much better at containment and kinder on baby's skin, and I've got a simple washing routine that doesn't really add that much to what I normally have to do. (we use disposable liners to minimise the need to deal with poo - it just gets thrown away). Whereas the amount of dirty disposable nappies we generate over just a few days is really quite disturbing!
  • Home Cooking. Apart from the weekly fish-and-chips treat Mr. insists upon (I tend to stick with some chips, and the dog loves my leftovers) we cook at home and Mr. takes the evening's leftovers to work for the next day's lunch. That's green as well as cheap.
I can't think of much else at the moment but really - all of the above make up a simple way of living, without adding too many complications to our lives, and they all help to some degree to make our family's footprint on the environment a little bit smaller. As I think we all ought to do - maybe not the way we do it, but I think we all should consider our ways and see if we could make small changes that add up.

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Thanks so much for sharing!