It’s been a year now since my journey began! Woop woop. I wanted to write a reflective post about my thoughts and feelings towards it all so far.
As with all things, if I get a bee in my bonnet about something, there’s little thought, planning or otherwise, I usually jump straight in and deal with the consequences later. Normally, I’d say that really isn’t a good thing! But, in this case, it was just what I needed.
I’m not even sure what it was that triggered a need for a transition. I think, at the beginning, it was more about becoming more minimalist in my home. I’ve moved house so many time over the past few years that it really honed in on me that I just own far too stuff. More than what I’ll ever actually need. And a lot of things, I felt I’d outgrown. Not just clothes but objects and fads that I just don’t have room for in my life anymore.
Clearing out my wardrobe was the first challenge. Marie Kondo was a huge help! It was tough, I can be quite sentimental with things and learning to let go was hard. Then, I just got the bug. I wanted to throw everything out. Obviously, I did not do that.
I can be a bit of a fidget and easily get distracted so it hasn’t been methodical or organised in the slightest. Some people might go room by room, I kind of tackled things as I came across them.
There have been swaps that I made in 2019 that I was super excited about but since using them, I’ve decided to continue looking for alternatives:
Hair Care – Right. I have tried a few shampoo bars. My favourite was by a company called Friendly in the UK. The smell was lovely, the texture of the bar was good and it did froth pretty well. However, I just really struggled with the texture post washing. I tried the mega rinse method (which seemed to be a waste of a lot of water in my eyes) and I tried the apple cider vinegar rinse. Neither seemed to do much for my coloured hair and it often felt waxy and greasy leading to me having to wash more often. So for now, I switched back to a bottled shampoo (I’ve opted for Maui) which is vegan and doesn’t contain any parabens. However, I am interested in trying a different kind which can be refilled.
I either use a bar conditioner or no conditioner at all. The bar, by Friendly, is fantastic. Lathers up really well and makes my hair feel soft and manageable. Sometimes, I don’t feel that I need to use one.
Washing Up Liquid – I stopped buying the cheap supermarket liquids. That was a small win. At first, I used a supposedly eco-friendly brand, stocked in supermarkets (Ecover), but on good advice, as soon as that ran out, I did not buy it again. You can read why on this blog post. Instead, I buy my washing up liquid locally from a refill store. It’s not much more expensive and it’s better for the planet.
Laundry – This is a tough one for me because my skin can be super sensitive. I do a lot of laundry, even just for two people, it’s pretty mental. I like my clothing to smell clean and feel fresh. But of course, I also like to wash at 30 (where possible) and use fabric softener.
I switched to Surcare powder for my detergent, it comes in a cardboard box which can be recycled and I just use a small plastic scoop that I already had (as they choose not to supply this). So, for me, it’s great.
For fabric conditioner, I recently opted to get a refillable liquid from my local refill store, which I am still trying out. So far so good!
Food – I feel this is an area for improvement. I’ve tried my best to reduce the waste created but it can be so tough. Supermarket shopping is hard, there are so many things just wrapped up in unnecessary plastic and packaging. A lot of the time it’s completely un-recyclable too. It can be very frustrating. Where possible, I have tried to buy fruit and veg from the local market. This is great, but it only comes on a Saturday which for me is a pain because it means having to drive into town to get there and to know exactly what I need. It will often mean that to do a weekly shop, I’d have to drive all over town rather than stay in one place. A catch 22 situation.
I would like to get better at meal planning and hopefully that will make my life a lot easier!
Another fail, is take-out. We seem to eat lot of take-outs. It’s a cycle that I want to break out of, for sure! I love getting it but it’s so unhealthy and so wasteful. I only recently found out that greasy pizza boxes don’t get recycled…damn.
Clothing – I used to go shopping for clothes all the time, online or in store, I could almost guarantee that every month I’d have something new. In January 2019, my pledge was not to buy new for the year. Whilst I didn’t quite manage it, I did pretty damn good! I caved in the summer when I wanted something for my holiday but other than that if I wanted clothes, I made sure to check secondhand apps, charity shops or nabbing things from family & friends. I spent probably a third of what I did the previous year and still got the same joy from it.
Transport – I still use my car. I have to, to get to work, to get back and visit friends and family. However, I made some concious choices throughout the year to walk more, or to take the bus into town if it was available. I would love to get an electric car, but for now it’s a pipedream. Currently, too expensive and I just don’t have the facilities closeby for charging!
So that’s been 2019. I’m happy with it. 2020 will be even better and I’m feeling so positive about the choices that I made this year.
How has your low waste living come along? Have you made any changes or are you feeling inspired to make some changes next year?