Reducing our impact

We are going to try different products and different ways of reducing waste, this may end up being a list of things we have tried with suitable comments around whether they have worked or not.

If at any point we are given products to try and review we will note that it is sponsored and we have been asked to create a review.
SOLAR PANELS

We have had a 4kW photovoltaic system installed on our roof for a few years now as part of our roof is almost due south facing. For East Anglia we generate a good amount of electricity saving on non-renewable energy. What we generate is fed back into the grid, and we benefit from the feed in tariff, and free electricity which we maximise by running the washing machine during day light hours.
REDUCING PACKAGING #1

For as long as I can remember I have preferred home cooked to ready meals, this by default means we have less packaging than if everything came out of a packet, however at the moment we still seem to generate a large amount of plastic. Something to work on for the future.
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A CUP OF TEA, BUT DO YOU WANT PLASTIC WITH THAT?

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So you would think there is nothing more natural than a cup of tea wouldn’t you? Leaves simply picked, dried and packaged. Well that is until you learn that the majority of tea bags sold in the UK contain plastic.

Yes those little bags of flavour hide a secret. To stop them coming apart the majority are heat sealed, to allow this they contain polypropylene to help keep their shape and stop splitting when wet.
This means that they are not fully compostable, and rotting them down will leave tea bag skeletons in your compost and release plastic particles into the soil and thus the food chain. Worms munch what’s in the soil, birds eat the worms, and so on….

So the answer, if you cannot do without a tea bag, please go on-line and research, as the situation is changing all the time with more brands ditching plastic. At the moment it seems Twining’s loose leaf pyramid, Aldi Diplomat, and Waitrose Duchy ranges are the only normal tea bags not containing plastic which makes them suitable for composting. Coop will join that list for its ’99’ range of tea later in 2018.
Like herbal? Go with Teapig, or Aldi specially selected herbal teas, whilst not compostable, their bags do not contain plastic and are biodegradable. Pukka teas (part of Unilever) are a special case, the bag is compostable, but the sachet it is wrapped in is not, neither is it recyclable.
What are we doing? We will hold a small number of plastic free bags for when visitors are staying, but now we are going back to how granny used to make tea, have dug out the tea pot and strainer and are getting loose leaf teas, from a lovely little shop in Muswell Hill London when we visit.

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MILK

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We now buy raw milk direct from the farm, we use refillable glass bottles, this saves plastic going to landfill, significantly reduces the carbon footprint of our milk, and it means we drink milk as it comes from the cow (unprocessed). We have found it pretty cost neutral as we used to buy supermarket Gold top, and the milk tastes so good!

Refilling our bottles at the farm will mean at least 210 litre milk cartons do not into the plastic recycling system every year.

We would urge everyone to seek out a supplier, http://rawmilk.simkin.co.uk/index.html has details of many UK suppliers. The farmer gets the full value of their milk and you get good wholesome milk (did I say how good it tastes?). For more on raw milk click here to read my full article.

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Refillables

09/02/2018 We are trying the Splosh refill solution as a way of reducing out plastic container consumption. The packages were ordered (free p&p we like that) and a few days later they arrived through the post.

The boxes are small enough to go through the letterbox so are postman friendly.

Opening the boxes you are greeted with a plastic pouch of washing up concentrate, and eight sausage shaped hand soap ‘sausages’ these go into bottles with hot water to create you soapy product.

The pouches can be recycled by sending back to Splosh in one of the boxes free of charge using the return label. We will update further when we have an empty bottle to mix the product in…

17/02/18

Well the trial of Splosh washing up liquid is underway. First bottle mixed, which is a easy process.

The green gunk smells kind of like lime, its a bit chemical smelling rather than natural so will try other flavours as well.

In use it seems everybit as good as our usual supermarket brand, bubbles stay til the end of a moderately greasy wash, we are not using more than normal, and it seems to clean very well… So a thumbs up from living gentler.

23/03/2018

Our Splosh trial seems to be going well, we are very happy with the washing up liquid, and the handwash works really well.

We are now going to try the Splosh Blackcurrent hand wash to see if it is gentler than the tea and mint. The colour is certainly more pleasing on the eye… We will keep you posted!

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