I wrote about how I’ve been trying to make our household more eco-friendly in two previous blog posts. I meant to write this post weeks ago but didn’t get around to it until now! So far we have stopped buying bottled water, stopped using plastic straws, stopped using disposable wipes for cleaning, reduced the amount of fruit and veg in plastic packaging that we buy, stopped buying shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in plastic bottles, stopped buying plastic toothbrushes and stopped using disposable breast pads. Some small and easy enough changes, but I’m really happy that we’ve stopped creating all that waste.
There were still a few bigger things to change. Most of our rubbish consisted of disposable nappies and food waste, so I’ve worked on that since then.
A big change was switching to cloth nappies. With two kids in nappies, we were getting through a lot of disposable nappies every day. I was worried that I wouldn’t cope with the extra washing or if I needed to change the kids more often or nappies leaked or anything. But it has been really fine. I’ve stayed organised to stay on top of the laundry so that hasn’t been a problem at all. I also bought pretty good quality cloth nappies, and there have been no leaks at all, which is an improvement from using disposables! (and means less clothes to wash.) Best of all, I know they’re definitely vegan, and we’re not throwing away nappies every day. I’ll do another blog post about what cloth nappies we’re using and how it’s going. We’re also using cloth wipes. It was a bit of an investment but should save us money over the next couple of years if we stick with it. I wish I had switched to cloth nappies earlier, especially when Síofra was newborn as it’s even easier before they start solids. But I have now, so that’s what matters.
Another big change we made was getting a compost bin. I didn’t think it would make a lot of difference, because our rabbit eats a lot of our fruit and vegetable scraps anyway, apart from things like onion skins that rabbits don’t eat. But from some articles I read, people said that if you make one change, start composting, so I did. And I’ve been surprised how much it has reduced our waste. I didn’t think of all the things like banana skins, orange peels, avocado skin and stones, apple cores, coffee grounds, etc. that I throw away every day, but could be composted. In another year or so I’ll have nice compost and want to grow some herbs and stuff.
A lot of our rubbish now is made up of cooked food that the kids don’t finish and we can’t compost. I find it really difficult to avoid this, but am being mindful of trying to reduce the amount by giving them smaller portions, and then giving them more only if they finish what they have. I can eat some of their leftovers, but as other parents probably know, sometimes they chew up all the food or pour water over it or do something to make it inedible! Our dog can eat some of their leftovers, but she is only small, and I’m wary of giving her too much fibre or causing her diet to be imbalanced or giving her too much food and making her gain weight. Hopefully this will be less of a problem as they get older. Some people have suggested rescuing some chickens (or a pig!) who will apparently eat anything, which I would love to do, but at the moment I don’t have time to look after any more animals.
I also picked up a few lovely bars of soap from Bend in the Barrow at Dublin Vegfest, just packaged in paper, to use for washing hands and in the shower and bath. The kids are missing their bubble bath a bit but the soaps are so lovely, and vegan and not tested on animals.
Coincidentally the lid of our rubbish bin broke (Oran knocked a rocking chair on top of it) so I had to get a new bin anyway (hopefully can reuse the old one for something or recycle it), and I was able to replace it with a small 10 litre bin, which is taking us about a week to fill now. That might not seem like much, but it’s a huge difference compared to how much waste we were creating before. I don’t think we will be able to go completely zero waste or anything, but I feel a lot better since we have reduced the amount of waste. And hopefully we can continue to reduce it. I’ve changed my mindset now so am more mindful of what I’m buying, whether I really need to buy something, what kind of packaging it’s in, etc.
So I will continue trying to reduce our impact on the environment, and will post an update in the future again. If anyone has any tips or comments, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!