Since I became a mother, the urge to protect the planet and be a more responsible consumer has grown much stronger. I really want to do my best to protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. I also want to do my best to keep my family away from harsh chemicals and pesticides. Yet, sometimes, it seems so out of reach. Not that I am trying to find excuses, but a lot of environment-friendly options are time-consuming and as a Mum, time is scarce…
I know I don’t do enough but I am trying to do my bit. Here are some of my top tips to fit better options in a busy life :
- Eat less meat : The impact of animal rearing on the planet is huge. Reducing meat consumption is an easy step and it also saves a lot of money ! Easy vegetarian recipes that are ready in 20 minutes makes a great weekday dinner : veg curries, coconut red lentil dhals, black bean chili…
- Buy wholesale when possible : This saves on packaging, processing and petrol. And very often, the produce are of better quality. If you live in Cardiff, Spice of Life is my favourite shop. I buy all my spices there as well as rice (in 5lbs bags), rolled oats, granola, oat bran flakes and even chocolate almonds and other treats. I have tons of nice jars that I have recycled for cute storage.
- Buy at Farmers’ market : This one does not save you time per se but makes a very fun and educative visits with the little ones so it’s fun AND useful. Farmers market offer local, often organic food. It is a great way to support farmers that are producing in sustainable ways. Of course, it means mostly consuming fruit and veg that are in season, which lead me to my following point.
- Freeze, freeze, freeze : This limits wastage and enables you to keep your market’s purchase longer, whether raw or cooked. Any veg that we don’t use gets cut up, frozen and used at a later date to whip up a quick tea. Pretty much anything can be frozen (meat, cheese, veg, fruit, herbs…). Only thing I had limited success with are egg based recipes and raw potatoes.
- Grow your own veg and herbs : I am amazed at how much of our veg and herbs are shipped from abroad. Growing our own really makes a difference. Dill, coriander, mint are very easy to grow from seeds. Basil is harder but you can buy a plant and keep it through the spring and summer. Cherry tomatoes, often a kids’ favourite, also grows tremendously well in a pot and is dead easy so will take practically no time out of your busy schedule.
- Reusable breastpads, face pads and (for the bravest amongst us) reusable baby wipes and nappies : I must confess I have not done the cloth nappy but I really should have. It just seemed too complicated at the time but some of my friends swear by it and say it fits perfectly in a busy schedule. Reusable breastpads and face pads (to remove make up) are very easy because you don’t need to do a special wash, just throw them with your regular wash.
- No fabric softener : it is useless and can create irritation on the skin. If you really want your laundry to smell perfumed, try a few drops of a mild essential oil mixed with water in the softener compartment of your machine (chamomile, bergamot, neroli are quite gentle well-tolerated oils, but always be careful if you are allergic or pregnant).
- Eco-friendly laundry detergent : Ecover or another brand. A bit more pricey but you don’t need to use loads so it lasts quite a long time.
- Eliminate wet wipes where you can : Clean with cloth or sponges, use make-up remover that works with water, use a wet cloth for wet diaper change. Don’t ever throw them in the toilets as this creates massive pollution !
- Think cycling or walking before driving : Not always easy I know but sometimes, cycling or walking someplace doesn’t necessarily take more time. Between parking, traffic, roadworks etc, it is sometimes surprisingly quicker to not take the car. If you have children to lug around, buy a good childseat (we have a Topeak and really like it) or a trailer. Or even buy an adult scooter for yourself and let the 5-year old in you have a good time with your little ones !
- No bottled water : A filter does the same job without the waste
- Reusable mugs and bottles : A plastic cup from the water cooler has a life of about 5 seconds followed by a long death in a wastefield. I have the Joseph Joseph dot bottle at work and I absolutely love it : not too sporty, not too girly and it’s free flow so no weird sucking sound when in a meeting !
That’s it for now ! Any other tips from anyone, please comment below !