Support our local businesses (from zero waste options like Maya’s Refillables and FILL to Fletchers Greengrocers at Ashridge Manor Farm Garden and a variety of local butchers and bakers) and consider the alternatives to supermarkets for your fruit and veg, meat, bread and milk and other fresh produce.
The result is often tastier food!
And wherever you shop, aim to buy goods that have less or no packaging, use natural and environmentally friendly ingredients and are produced in the UK
Start as you mean to go on
The bathroom is an easy place to begin when it comes to going greener. Switch to a plastic-free safety razor (e.g.Naked Necessities) and solid soap and shampoo bars (e.g.Friendly Soap) or refill locally with the likes of Faith in Nature or SESI. Opt for a bamboo toothbrush (eg Humble Brush), and even bamboo loo rolls (e.g.Cheeky Panda).
Give natural deodorants a go (e.g.Fit Pit and Earth Conscious), as well as Mooncups (and similar products) instead of disposable sanitary products.
Try making your own natural diffusers and avoid plastic air fresheners.
Consider using more environmentally friendly cosmetics and personal care products in general.
Some of the above items you can buy or refill locally, as above.
Most people have a cupboard full of household cleaning products and as well as the obvious packaging issue, the contents aren’t great for our planet either.
Koh, mentioned above, is a great universal option.
Take a look at the likes of Ecoleaf, Splosh, SESI, Bio-D and Iron & Velvet too.
Note that the likes of Method and Ecover have a less eco-friendly rated parent company.
Or make your own cleaning products from everyday ingredients.
And remember to use washable, plastic-free cloths and to avoid unnecessary accessories and gimmicks.
Go green at home
Switching your home to renewable energy is one of the most high impact changes you can make and it often saves money too. Consider the likes of Bulb, Octopus Energy and Ecotricity.
Use energy more sparingly by turning off lights and devices when not in use and setting the thermostat a few degrees lower (put a jumper on if you’re cold!)
And get an energy efficient boiler and insulate your home well if you can.
Taking one long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year.
Thankfully, holidaying in the UK is becoming more popular.
Can you reduce your air travel? Even swapping two annual overseas holidays for one abroad and one in the UK will make a big difference.
Always on the go
We live in a fast-moving and convenience-led world, which has resulted in us becoming lazier and more wasteful. Plan ahead. Carry a refillable water bottle and if you can’t live without coffee, get your own reusable cup. If you are buying snacks and supplies, consider less packaged and more eco-friendly options.
The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions, is the second largest consumer of our water supply, and pollutes our oceans with microplastics.
Buy fewer clothes, aiming for those that are made ethically and responsibly, and make things last – wash them a little less often.
Wrap it up
Hopefully by next Christmas, all wrapping paper will be recyclable.
Ensure that yours is – and ban the bow, swap sticky tape for paper tape and reuse any gift bags to death.
If you can’t easily scrunch wrapping paper into a ball (and it stays that way), the chances are it’s plastic coated and not recyclable.
Doing the dishes
Change your dishcloths and scourers for plastic free alternatives next time (e.g. Loofco and Ecococonut) and buy your washing up liquid at a local refill supplier or try out the brands mentioned in 3.
A modern dishwasher will use less energy and water than washing the dishes by hand. Ecoleaf dishwasher tablets are recommended. When it comes to washing clothes, again, support your local refill supplier or get an Ecoegg. Soap nuts are an option too, if ethically sourced and packaged.
Waste not, want not
We are fortunate that our Wokingham Borough Council is serious about waste and continuously improving our recycling and food waste schemes. Swat up to ensure that you’re doing things correctly. From splitting out your food waste (if you have one) to home composting, keeping your paper and cardboard dry or saving up harder to recycle items to drop at specialist collection points, these extra moments of thought by each one of us can make a huge collective difference.
For more tips and advice, join the online group at www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk