ZWW – my pledge

On Wednesday I told you about Zero Waste Week and it’s theme for this year. The theme is Re-use and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can use that theme in our family life. We re-use a lot of things already.

We re-use glass jars to store food in the fridge. Very handy to write the “use by” date on using a wipe off marker too. We re-use shopping bags and I always have one in handbag, plus a few in the boot of the car for bigger shops too. We re-use the backs of Christmas/birthday cards to use for notepaper and re-use printing mistakes as drawing paper for the kids.

I wanted ZWW to stretch me, like last year, but I also wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a gimmick, that it was something that would be useful in our everyday lives. After a lot of thinking we (hubby and I) came up with our pledge:

We will re-use and re-purpose items that we already have, or can get second hand, to have a handmade Christmas (as far as we can)

As many gifts as possible from us at Christmas will be handmade. This includes upcycling and repurposing as well as making from scratch. We will try not to buy anything new and either use what we can or buy second hand.

During ZWW (7-13th September) I will be offering tutorials on handmade gifts so please do come back to have a look. I won’t be able to list all planned presents as I know my sister reads this blog periodically and I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. 😀 I also plan to end the week with a giveaway so be sure you don’t miss out on that.

Are you planning to take part in ZWW? What’s your pledge?

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Zero Waste Week 2015

Zero Waste Week is fast approaching and I need to start making preparations. I took part for the first time last year and loved it. I have since incorporated a lot of tips and tricks I learned through social media last time around, into our everyday lives. This year it runs from the 7th-13th September and I have the priviledge of being a Zero Waste Ambassador this year. Yay! Go and check out the names I am in with though. Talk about giving me an imposter complex lol! Big names in the Zero Waste/Sustainability category.

Last year I didn’t do very well during the week. You can read my pledge for last year here and how I got on here. On the upside, it wasn’t much after ZWW that we finally cracked the potty training and D has been an absolute star since. So proud of him and his efforts 😀

This year the theme is Re-use. There have been a lot of pledges made already and as always there are tips and resources on the website if you were looking to join in. You can find the website here. Rae, the lovely lady behind all this has even given a list of ideas to start you off. They include:

 

  • Reuse shopping bags
  • Reuse foil for zero waste lunches
  • Reuse jars for storage
  • Reuse leftovers as ingredients
  • Reuse blank paper for notes
  • Use a refillable bottle

These ideas are so simple yet so effective. Here in Wales (and Scotland now too) we already have the 5p carrier bag tax charge so reusing shopping bags is second nature to most people here now. I believe the charge is coming to England in October so what a perfect way to prepare yourself than to practice during ZWW?

 

Spring Green blog swap

Last month I signed up to my very first blog swap. The lovely Char set up the swap and was very nice to me and my naivety as I had never done anything like this before. Basically the rules were you had to stick to the theme (spring green) and not spend over £5. I was partnered with Kel. So what did I get her? And more importantly 😉 what did I get?

When the parcel came baby D was very interested in it as the contents had been wrapped in lovely bright “sweetie” wrapping. He opened them and was very disappointed to find that actually it wasn’t sweets. I, on the other hand, was over the moon when I saw these.

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There was a sewing kit which contained all these very useful items.

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Some green and yellow ribbon, green buttons and yellow buttons (it was getting late when I took these on my phone, so the colours are not so good)

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A ball of bright green wool

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And two of these

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Yes I did say two. Baby D pounced on them as soon as he saw them. Funny how he knows they are chocolate when he hasn’t seen them before! I had to rescue this one for little lady or he would have eaten both.

A big thank you to Char for organising the blog swap but mainly Thank you so much to Kel for my fantastic presents. I kind of feel that what I sent Kel was a bit understated. I hope she liked it?!

Balls to the environment

Recently I have become more aware of the damage being done to our once beautiful planet. We are filling our countryside with waste (landfills), we are depleting precious natural resources like coal and gas and we are polluting our waterways with waste and chemicals.

I have been reading a number of blogs recently about how ordinary people (like me) are changing their way of thinking in order to make better choices for our environment. Jen and her family are on a mission to not buy anything new for 12 months, while Karen reduced her waste so much she only threw out one plaster all week.

I have been spending time looking at our family life and seeing where we can make changes. Small changes in order for us to be more mindful of the environment. The changes, for us anyway, must not make life harder or more complicated or we will end up reverting back to our old ways. I’m sure we are not the only family who finds this?

A couple of months ago we were told by our doctor that baby D has too many histamines in his body. This makes him scratch himself so much he can draw blood. We use bath products made especially for sensitive baby skin, we smother him in cream every time we change him and we try to make sure he doesn’t get too hot as that makes him scratch, and once he starts he can’t stop himself. So the first area I wanted to look at was laundry. Was there a better way of washing our clothes that is better for the environment but also better for baby D’s skin?

Our washing machine is in almost constant use.

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Yes that is a kettle in our washing machine! Baby D loves playing with the washer.
Here he is rescuing a Jaffa cake he accidentally dropped in there.

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Anyway I digress. After some research I found these.

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Eco washballs. They are quite expensive to buy at the outset (£15) but if they last the 1000 washes they are meant to then that equates to 3p a wash. I bought them from here but you can buy them elsewhere. Just search for Eco washballs and you will find some. (This is not a sponsored post by the way). They contain natural ingredients and can even be refilled so that cuts down on manufacturing and packaging, meaning less CO2 and plastic being released into the world. They do look a bit like UFO’s which i was surprised at, thinking they would be more ball-like, and I was a bit concerned that there wouldn’t be enough room in the washer for all 3 as they are quite large.

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But hubby plodded on with some muttering about how “we’ve bought them now so were going to use them no matter what!”

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Here he is putting them in with the wash. He moved so quick I didn’t get chance to get a proper photo and his arm is a bit blurred but I’m sure you don’t mind.

To be fair the clothes came out very clean and soft. It is early days but so far baby D hasn’t shown any signs of discomfort from the clothes that have been washed using the ecoballs. We do have some washing powder in the cupboard and we plan to hold onto that for a while just so that we can give the Eco balls a fair chance. Hopefully we won’t need to buy any more which is better not only for our pockets but better for the environment as we are putting less chemicals into the water system.

The next areas on my list are cleaning products and toiletries. I would love to hear your stories of homemade/ green products that you have used in these two areas. I hope bit by bit, we will, as a family, lessen our impact on the planet. Now I’m not suggesting we all go mad and try to do everything at once. But maybe if we all did one thing. Just one small thing. It may just help.

What small thing could you do today?