7 tiny things I’ve done in the past week to be more sustainable

June 12, 2019

I know that sustainability and climate change have been a big deal for years, but it’s only recently that I’ve come to the realisation that I need to play my part in looking after our planet. If we’re honest with ourselves, the products we’re buying aren’t sustainable at all. We get through countless water wipes, disposable nappies and bottles of hand wash.

I’m not going to stop using those things straight away, as we have plenty ‘in stock’ (I’m a bit of a bulk buyer!) and it would be wasteful to throw those things out without using them. But I am thinking a little more responsibly about things, and have started making changes to the choices I make, with sustainability in mind.

Photo by Gustavo Quepón on Unsplash

So, here are seven things I’ve done in the past week, to be more sustainable:

1. Made a meal plan

I’ve been meal planning since the start of the year, but we invariably fall off the meal planning wagon every few weeks and I end up forgetting to write the plan, then hurriedly order a random selection of groceries on my phone, which inevitably lands us with food going to waste by the end of the week.

This week, I did my meal plan in advance, then completed my grocery order accordingly. This leads to far less food being thrown away. According to Friends of the Earth, if food waste were a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases, in the world.

2. Repaired an item of clothing

M ripped a hole in her £2.50 leggings from Next, a couple of weeks ago. Before, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to just throwing them away. Instead, I decided to sew up the hole. I’m not very good at sewing, but my handiwork looked better than a gaping hole, and they’ll do for nursery or when we want to do a painting activity in the tuff spot.

3. Taught my toddler to use water responsibly

M is so independent now when it comes to going to the toilet, but she seemed to think that more is more when it comes to how fast the tap is running when it comes to washing her hands! I’ve talked to her about looking after the planet when she turns the tap on, so now she takes great pleasure in making sure that ‘only a little bit’ is coming out.

Photo by Sasikan Ulevik on Unsplash

4. Had 5 minute showers

I am completely guilty of having ridiculously long showers. They’re my thinking time, and pretty much the only place where I don’t have a toddler hanging off me (mainly because the smallest one hasn’t worked out how to open the enclosure doors yet).

However, I’m aware that this sanctuary from toddlers is using a huge amount of water, so this week, I have tried to get in and out of the shower within 5 minutes. It’s been a bit of a struggle on days where I’ve needed to wash my hair, but at least if I’ve gone over the time, it’s still been a significantly shorter shower than I would have had normally.

5. Used the drying rack instead of the tumble dryer

This weather this past week has been rubbish. Ordinarily, I would have just shoved every load of washing straight into the dryer and been done with it. Instead, with the new, more sustainable me in mind, I’ve been hanging the washing on drying racks. Unfortunately the only space available to do this is in the corner of the living room, but needs must. As an added bonus, I have discovered that it costs around 40p to run a tumble dryer for 45 minutes, so I’ve been thinking of the pennies as I’ve been hanging my washing!

I am waiting for a sunny, dry day to wash the sheets, though, so that I can hang them outside. Let’s hope the weather cheers up soon!

6. Used a refillable water bottle

I used to buy a lot of plastic bottles of water. Possibly not as many as some people, but at least one per month. Then I bought Matthew a Chilly’s bottle for Christmas, to take to work, as he was buying plastic bottles all the time, to use daily. I like his so much, that a few months ago, I bought one for myself. Then M loved mine so much, I bought her one for her birthday last month!

We haven’t completely stopped buying bottled water, but I’d say we’ve cut our use of it by about 95%. As an added bonus, I think water tastes much better out of my Chilly’s bottle than plastic, anyway!

7. Switched off lights

As a family, we’re pretty terrible at leaving lights on in rooms that we’re not in. Recently, I’ve been making an extra effort to turn off lights when they don’t need to be on, and M told me twice yesterday when lights should be turned off. I think the message is getting through!

These things aren’t going to change the world overnight, if we all made lots of little changes like these, then they’d add up to a big change. What could you do this week, to be a little more sustainable? Tell me in the comments!

Looking to live more sustainably? Here are seven tiny changes I've made to be more environmentally friendly.

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