Reducing our impact

Why we buy farm milkWe 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 had a 4kW photovoltaic system installed on the roof of a previous property for a few years as part of the roof was almost due south facing. For East Anglia we generated a good amount of electricity saving on non-renewable energy. What we generated was fed back into the grid, and we benefited from the feed in tariff, and free electricity which we maximised by running the washing machine during day light hours. We have now moved and have an east – west facing roof which is not ideal for panels, in addition the government have changed the rules on payments microgenerators get for the electricity they generate and what they feed into the grid, this makes panels less cost effective.

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 rigid plastic.

We have abandoned cling film and not used it for over two years now.

Sandwiches are wrapped in greaseproof paper or foil, we reuse plastic takeaway containers for fresh meat from butchers or if we have to supermarkets.

We also use them for freezing left overs, they make great salad boxes for lunches,

The girls use them for craft pots, seed trays for flowers, veggies, and anything else we can think of until they are only fit for recycling.

Farm milk

We now buy 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 less processed higher quality milk than if we bought a mass produced product. We have found it pretty cost neutral as we used to buy supermarket Gold top, and the milk tastes so good. The big win is that by refilling our bottles at the farm means at least 210 litre milk cartons not going into the recycling system every year. For more on farm milk see our page on the subject.

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A CUP OF TEA, BUT DO YOU WANT PLASTIC WITH THAT?

tea-box-package

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….

For more on this see our Tea page

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 your 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 an easy process.

The green gunk smells kind of like lime, its a bit chemical smelling rather than natural, we have yet to try other fragrances.

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!

August 2019

Having explored Splosh products we switched to using Carex pouches for hand-soap, we found we were having problems with the Splosh capsules bursting and the product leaking out, so we decided to change to a more mainstream product, which brings our cost down and also still helps minimises the plastic entering our waste stream. We are looking for hand-soap refillables locally as well as using natural soap bars that are not plastic wrapped.

Washing up liquid, we really cannot fault the Splosh product, it is as good as any mainstream product but kinder to the environment, however this being living gentler we are on a budget and while it is great, the Splosh product is definitely more expensive.

With cost in mind we found a retailer that offers a refill service on Ecover washing up liquid. We take a 2ltr container and it gets filled with Ecover Washing up liquid. As we buy in bulk and use our own packaging this offers a cost benefit whilst still being kind to the environment.

June 2020

Having tried the Carex refills in our own soap bottles we have progressed to soap bars. While less waste was produced we still didn’t like throwing the plastic pouches into the bin, because great as the idea of a branded refill pouch is, the recycling capacity just isn’t there yet. We would rather generate no plastic waste from this aspect of our lives than some waste, or generate the waste and have to drive 20+ miles to recycle it.

So we are now using bar soaps that we can buy either boxed or unwrapped.

Our latest trial being faith in nature’s grapefruit bar, whilst we find a soap that we like and is palm derivative free (something that is a challenge), and doesnt wash away to quickly in use….

We have found another store that does a range of refills so have switched to them it means we are now trying ecoleaf washing up liquid… It is just as good as anything mainstream but as with other ventures into refills we can use our own containers removing plastic waste.

July 2020

We have ordered a selection pack from Friendly Soaps. They are palm free, and have very good eco-credentials. We will keep you all updated!

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