I thought I would share my journey, so you can see how everyone is different and how we may all go down different paths, even though we are working towards the same goal.
Let’s go back to January 2018. I was 8 months pregnant with our second baby and living in Portsmouth. There was a lady there who became a good friend and used to walk our dog for us once a week. One day she came back with an armful of plastic bottles and rubbish. I learnt that day that a lot of the plastic I had been putting in our recycling bin, for almost two years actually, wasn’t collected by the council − and I was horrified. I couldn’t believe I had been contaminating truckloads of recycling all that time. Turns out I wasn’t the only one.
So, I started to collect this non-recyclable waste and take it to one of the collection bins at the local supermarket. I also heard about EcoBricks (when no one knew what they were) and collected all of our soft plastic to start our first brick. The shock of how much we had in a week was, in all honesty, gobsmacking. I literally couldn’t believe how much rubbish we had.
I made some changes … swapping to glass milk bottles and fruit and veg deliveries. Those two things made a phenomenal difference to our landfill waste. We then switched to reusable wipes (which are a godsend!), and I was soon calling on a couple of neighbours for advice on cloth nappies. When my youngest was 9 weeks old we switched to cloth nappies and promptly got rid of the kitchen bin, as we were no longer filling it. This was a massive step and showed me how much difference I had made.
From there I collected all of my bathroom products together − every miniature, sample, half-used bottle and slowly made my way through them. This took over 6 months but as I ran out of something, I replaced it with an eco-alternative. It was fun! I enjoyed spending time researching and learning about the different products available to me.
By this point we were packing up to move house, and I made a decision that this lifestyle was something I desperately wanted, and needed, to continue. I emailed family and friends ahead of our eldest daughter’s 3rd birthday and asked them to really think about the gifts they were buying. To try and choose non plastic, locally-made gifts and to buy from small businesses or buy experiences. It worked, and I’d like to think that was the start for a lot of them being more conscious about their choices. It took a lot of guts to send that email as I was worried they’d all think I was being controlling and unreasonable, but actually it was the total opposite.
Two years later and we all try even harder to be more considerate when buying gifts. My eco journey continued with a bokashi bin, reusable gift bags, homemade presents and so much more. I’ve found some awesome swaps and have enjoyed learning along the way.
I’d like to think I’ve inspired a few people too. I’m by no means perfect or even close to zero waste, but I’m a whole lot closer to my goals than I was at the start of 2018.
Tell me in the comments about how you got started on your journey…..