I’ve always been a bit of a middle-ground person in lots of ways. I do my best environmentally, but find that I am not always good at being “really good”. We try – we’ve been a one-car family for quite some time, and cycle as much as we can. Of course, the only time my husband ever needs the car is when I also have plans…
I remember the first time I heard the word “crunchy”. “Nicola – she’s crunchy.” Hmm – what does this mean? Does Nicola like eating granola bars? Or does she prefer alternative crispy snacks?
I’d had my second baby by this point. We bought a set of cloth nappies to use with my first. I have to say we had a total failure. As she was so tiny at birth, it was 2 months before she was the minimum weight for them to be effective. And she had the skinniest legs – we couldn’t get a good seal. As you may imagine, we ended up with a LOT of washing, and not just of nappies. We sold them on.
We were more successful when she was a toddler, but only used cloth part-time. I felt that as my second baby was an average weight, we would be able to manage this time. And we did. When we visited the nappy lady to pick up our beautiful, soft little bundles, she asked if we were going to use washable wipes. “Oh, no,” I replied. “We’re not going to go that far.”
But a few weeks later, we did. It seemed silly to wash nappies and then throw away wipes. And we bought some face wipes, too, and even made our own. My non-symmetrical rectangles of fleece are still going strong, 7 ½ years later.
A little bit crunchy?
So maybe we were beginning to be a little crunchy. More recently, my husband has started shopping in the “crunchy” shop in town. I was a little surprised at the amount my Yorkshireman-accountant-husband was prepared to spend on organic shampoo, but there you go. I have joined him (mine is cheaper, obviously), and have started thinking about which products are better for the environment, and better for my body. My most recent purchase is a bamboo toothbrush. Once you have finished with it, you cut the head off and recycle the wooden handle. I am converted.
I blogged a few months ago about some environmentally-friendly products I had bought, and how I felt cheated by the company’s owner. I’d like to think that companies selling ethical products will also have ethical practices. I have to say, though, the products were so good I did go back and buy more a few weeks later. This time, she forgot to dispatch them… We don’t seem to have a great relationship!
You would have to live in a cave not to have heard about all of the single-use plastic being found in our oceans. It is hard to make the big shift from using plastic bags and buying food in tubs to totally changing our practice. If we try to do it all at once, we might lapse back and feel that we have failed. We can, however, start with small steps.
What can we do?
Supermarket shopping – where possible, we can buy our fruit and veg loose and unwrapped. Where this is not possible, we can contact the manager of our local store and ask them to consider using less packaging. The more people that do this, the more likely the supermarkets are to make a change. If they are selling less wrapped cucumbers, they will think again.
We can carry a cloth bag with us. I am sure I am not the only person who ends up buying something when I least expect. If I have a bag with me, I don’t need to buy or be given a single-use one.
And there are lots of other small steps we can make. Being environmentally-friendly isn’t all or nothing. If we change a little, we may find eventually that we have changed a lot.
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