Do You Know What Stuff Not To Flush? (A Really Useful Guide To Drains)

Do you know what should – and more to the point, shouldn’t – go down your drains? A whopping 93.9% of people declare that they are confident knowing what should and shouldn’t be poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet, leaving only 6.1% saying they are not too sure.

Infographic % of people knowing what should flush or pour down drains

But are they correct? UKDN have conducted some research to find out more about what people put down their drains – What The Flush? – and discovered that many people don’t quite have their facts straight after all.

Do You Know What Stuff Not To Flush? (A Really Useful Guide To Drains)

Down the Drain

When asked what items they pour down the sink, almost a quarter admitted to pouring cooking oil (24.7%) and coffee granules (24.7%) down the sink. Worse still, just under half the people surveyed – 43.5% of them – pour sauces down their drain. Other culprits included meat fat (22.3% of people) and actual food leftovers (18.4%). So it seems some people don’t have it quite right after all…

What do you pour down the sink infographic

Bathroom Habits

The research also looked into what goes on in the bathroom; which items people flush away or pour down their bathroom drains. Whilst I was less surprised to see that 18.6% confess that their hair goes down the plug hole, I was disappointed to find out that a small minority of people still flush away their sanitary wear (10.6% for tampons and 8.6% towels) and was even more shocked to discover that 5.5% of people flush away nappies, 3.7% cigarette butts and 4.7% also dispose of condoms this way too?! Wet wipes are a massive issue as well, so it was sad to see 14.1% of people are still yet to get the message about those.

What items do you flush or pour down bathroom drains? Infographic.

So what’s the issue?

There has been plenty of media attention about wet wipes lately, the main problem being that they are made of non biodegradeable plastic. Packaging is often misleading too, stating they are flushable, which causes a huge amount of concern for our environment. Some research suggests wet wipes account for as much as 93% of blockages in UK sewers and many campaigners would like to see a ban on them altogether.

But, of course, it is not just the wet wipes that are the issue here. Even the kitchen items which, whilst in theory might seem less of an issue as at least these are more organic matter, still block up drains. Oil can solidify, food lumps together, sauces congeal, and so on.

All of this combined is then the real major issue; because put together it creates a solid mass known as a fatberg. A fatberg is a congealed lump in a sewer system formed by the combination of non-biodegradable solid matter, such as wet wipes, with grease or cooking fat. They have become an increasing problem in recent years. The remains of a massive fatberg found in London sewers is even on display at The Museum of London to try to highlight the problem!

How would you feel if a fatberg was discovered in your street? Infographic

In addition to this issue, other single-use plastics, which never break down completely and cause huge issues for marine life, are also being sent off to pollute our environment. Along with the various other items, if they don’t turn into fatbergs and block our sewers on the way, still end up somewhere they shouldn’t be! All of which leads to damaging effects on our environment, water and wildlife. One way or another, it causes an issue.

Furthermore, when our drains get blocked at home, harsh chemicals are often then required to unclog them too, leading to yet further pollution. Clearly the best solution would be to just stop doing all this in the first place!

Plug hole

Top Tips

So here are my top tips to help keep drains unblocked and to develop more environmentally- friendly habits in your home…

• Avoid putting oil, fat, sauce, coffee and food waste down your kitchen drain by disposing of it correctly. For oil, fat and sauce either let it solidify then tip it into the trash, or pour it into a non- recyclable container and throw it away. Small amounts of solidified waste can be put in with food waste in some areas – check with your local council. Coffee granules and all food leftovers also go in your food waste bin.

• Keep hair out of your bathroom drains by brushing it thoroughly before you shower. Use a plug hole guard if you are prone to shedding and ensure you remove any trapped hair then discard it before it has a chance to disappear into your drain.

• If you use coconut oil (or any other type of natural oil) to wash your hair, try to rinse it off into a bowl so that it doesn’t wash down your drain. Failing that, run the hot tap for several minutes straight after rinsing, provided the tap comes out with very hot water. Or pour boiling water down the drain straight after use.

• Try to replace disposables with reusables if at all possible. If you do use single-use items, dispose of them correctly. This usually means in the bin, unless it can be recycled!

• Use home-made unblocker if needed. Try using baking soda and white vinegar to clear your drains. It will fizz up and create bubbles instantly; pour it down the drain as quickly as possible. Follow it up with boiling water later on.

• Contact UKDN drain unblocking service if you are experiencing issues with blocked drains. Sometimes a professional is needed!

I hope this advice is helpful. Have you discovered any useful drainage tips? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Progress For The Planet: What We Can All Do To Help Mother Earth

The evidence is overwhelming, and, let’s face it, you can’t get away from it now. The fact is we’re not doing enough to benefit the planet. Climate change is very real, and even if you don’t necessarily agree with the information that’s out there, we can all help to improve the planet we live on. Luckily, there’s been one hell of a drive in the last few years in small methods to cut back on energy expenditure, which, in turn, lessens our carbon footprint. Every single one of us has the potential to change the planet for the better, and it all begins with small habits. So, what are these habits?

Progress For The Planet: What We Can All Do To Help Mother Earth

Look At Your Waste

In the United States, approximately 40% of the food consumed is thrown out. Now, that’s a very huge amount, especially when you think the amount of food wasted could feed 1 billion people! In addition to this, the health epidemic that is in the western world, especially with regards to obesity and lack of exercise, means that overall, we humans are providing waste on so many fronts. So, what is the answer?

Firstly, to benefit each and every one of us, as well as the planet, we can look at reducing our portion sizes. Not only does this improve our waistline, but waste is greatly reduced. Not only this, by going into our weekly supermarket shop with a preconceived plan, we don’t buy excessive amounts of food that we’ll end up wasting anyway. On top of this, start to be more clever with your food in general, such as using leftovers, so every morsel of food you purchase doesn’t go to waste.

How Much Do You Really Need To Use That Car?

It’s great now that so many of us are actively looking for other ways to travel rather than use our car. As well as thinking about getting a bicycle or using public transport in our everyday lives, such as to and from work for example, there are also other things you can try to do so that you aren’t required to use the car so much.

For example, if you tend to go on roadtrips often and use the car to travel on vacation a few times a year, when you think about how much you use your car for that reason, perhaps you could even consider cutting back on the number of roadtrip vacations you have of this nature? Or, if you are more than adamant that your downtime goes unspoiled, maybe it’s time to think about other parts of your everyday life that you can cut back on.

Working from home is one of those great options, because you don’t need to take the car to the office. Whilst many experts believe you could be using more energy at home, because you potentially turn on lights, the television, etc… there are some summer energy saving tips you can follow to ensure that you are cutting back as much as possible.

Look At Your Energy Expenditure

Once we begin to think about how much our carbon footprint affects the planet, then we can make a concerted effort to cut back on overall energy expenditure. There are many carbon footprint calculators online to give you a head start. A lot of us don’t think about our own personal impact, and when you realize how much energy you are using, from getting in the car, to the food you consume, to the electricity you use, then you can start to help the planet by curbing certain lifestyle habits.

Even something like consuming meat can help mother earth, even by just cutting down on meat by one portion a week. You can have meat-free days at home, and if you are concerned that you won’t get enough protein, remember, there is more than a sufficient amount of protein in pulses and quinoa, and are all vegan-friendly. Ultimately, the best way to have an impact on the planet with regards to our diet is to eat as locally as possible.

When you think about the food you purchase in the supermarkets, even though you mean well by consuming fruits and vegetables, by looking at the place of origin, and then consider the carbon footprint it took to transport these fruits and vegetables to your supermarket, going local is one of the main common sense approaches to benefiting the planet. Not to mention the fact that eating local produce that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides is better for you. Yes, the price tag appears to be more expensive, but by consuming whole foods that fill you up and aren’t injected with preservatives or water to bulk them out, you will naturally crave less food. And you don’t need to see a doctor to understand how whole foods can impact every aspect of your life, from improved brain function to overall health; you can eat these foods, or grow them yourself, and feel the benefits.

Thinking About Everyone Apart From Ourselves

A true way to get an appreciation of what you can do to help the planet is to witness some of the positive outcomes. For example, by donating your leftover food, rather than letting it go to waste, to food kitchens or homeless shelters, you are going to serve the community. There are many supermarkets that encourage you to donate a few cans of foods whenever you can, to minimize wastage. And actually helping out in a local sense is the perfect starting point, because then you can see the impacts all around you, not just in an environmental sense, but in the fact that you are also helping the homeless or others in need. Or you’re even just seeing that you are saving money! It contributes to an overall feeling of wellness. This, in turn, contributes to our overall feeling of compassion and fuels our desire to do something to benefit the planet.

We can feel like we’ve heard enough lectures on how to benefit the planet, which is why it’s far better for you to take the initiative and to do things yourself. Once you start this, either by actively looking for ways to minimize your carbon footprint, or getting a better understanding of how we are damaging the planet, only then can we progress.

*This is a collaborative post.

Can You Give Up Plastic? (Just For One Day)

We can be heroes, just for one day…

Tomorrow, Tuesday 5th June, is World Environment Day. You will hopefully have already seen the global game of tag in action to help raise awareness of plastic pollution and to highlight how easy it is to switch from single- use plastics to reusables. And now for the real challenge…

Can you give up plastic on World Environment Day? Just for one day. #OnePlasticFreeDay #PassOnPlastic

Can you give up plastic completely, just for one day?

Take on the challenge and see how well you can do!

Use hashtags #PassOnPlastic and #OnePlasticFreeDay to share your efforts and achievements on social media, alongside #BeatPlasticPollution and #WorldEnvironmentDay too. Please also feel free to tag me if you wish – I would love to see how you get on!

And last but not least, one final challenge…

I have just set up a club on Litterati – simply search Living Life Our Way to join me. The idea is to document the rubbish we all collect – very simple – just take a snap, tag the pic, then bin/ recycle the item.

But this free app makes it an exciting challenge – we can track the impact we are having and see who is highest on the scoreboard for some fun competition!

Download the app here: litterati.org

Then remember to join my club! (Living Life Our Way).

Take action to #BeatPlasticPollution (and all other pollution!) in aid of World Environment Day. Let’s do this!

#BeatPlasticPollution Tag – World Environment Day

World Environment Day is on 5th June and this year the topic is plastic pollution, with a global game of tag! So who’s ready to play?!

#BeatPlasticPollution World Environment Day tag

How to Play

The major issue of plastic pollution has been gaining much awareness lately, thanks to numerous documentaries and high profile campaigns. As we wake up to the level of destruction to our planet caused by single- use plastics, people are increasingly switching to reusables. Hooray! Join us in this global game of tag by sharing photos of your reusables to help #beatplasticpollution Let’s play!

The Rules

All games have rules 😉 These ones are very simple…

1. Take a photo of between 1- 3 reusable items that you personally have switched to, in order to help tackle plastic pollution.

2. Caption your photo with a short message to raise awareness.

3. Also include your top tip for beating plastic pollution.

4. Share your photo and caption, along with your top tip, tagging at least three other people.

5. Please also link back to me in your blog post and tag me on social media, thank you!

Blog: livinglifeourway.com

Twitter: @followourpath

Facebook: livinglifeourwayblog

Instagram: living_life.our_way

That’s it, just 5 easy steps!

Oh, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution and #WorldEnvironmentDay in your posts too!

My Top Tip

Switch out one single-use plastic at a time. It feels less overwhelming then!

Here’s my photo…

Selfie of Katie holding a Planet Wise zip sandwich bag, Save Some Green Bamboo Toothbrush and a bamboo straw.

A zip sandwich bag to avoid cling film, a bamboo straw because I don’t suck and plastic straws do! Plus a bamboo toothpaste… ok, so plastic toothbrushes are not technically a single-use plastic, but these are far more sustainable! What switches have you made to help #BeatPlasticPollution? Show me your reusables!

Tag, you’re it!

Now I am tagging the following lovely bloggers to take part too…

Katie – Mummy’s Diary

Jennifer – My Mummy’s Pennies

Sarah – Mummy Cat Notes

Louise – Birds and Lilies

Amy – Eps and Amy

Clare – Freddie’s Mummy

Liberty – Liberty On The Lighter Side

Hannah – Fab Fat Mama

Kim – Kim T Mum of 3

Ok, go! Show us your reusables!

Grab your badge here (if you wish!):

How To Make Your Bathroom More Energy Efficient

When we spend time in the bathroom, we often tend to be using energy. Therefore, when you are designing your bathroom, it is important to think about the energy that you are going to be using every day, week and year. This is something that a lot of people tend to overlook. We tend to focus on the functions of the bathroom first, and then perhaps luxury and relaxation after this. But we should be thinking about how to make our bathrooms energy efficient. With that in mind, no matter whether you are moving into a new property or you are looking to make improvements to your current bathroom, read on to discover lots of different ways that you can start to save energy in your bathroom…

How To Make Your Bathroom More Energy Efficient

Switch Your Bath For A Shower

There are some homeowners that have bathrooms that contain a bath and not a shower. While you may prefer taking baths, they use up a lot of water and therefore are much less energy efficient. This is why it is a good idea to replace your bath with a shower or indeed have a showerhead installed over the top of the bath. Nevertheless, there are plenty of walk in shower options that look amazing and would completely transform your bathroom, giving it a luxurious and spacious feel. If you already have both a shower and bath in your bathroom, make sure you start taking showers more regularly and start saving baths for rare occasions in order to save more energy and consequently more money in the process.

More Bathroom Water Saving Tips

Taking showers more regularly than baths is not the only way that you can save water in the bathroom. Aside from this, it is important to look out for dripping taps. Dripping taps are a common problem in any home and they cause water to be wasted. You may assume that not a lot of water is wasted via this issue. However, more than 5000 litres of water per annum can be wasted through a dripping hot water tap. Just think of all of the money you are spending on a water and gas metre. Therefore, you can save a considerable amount of water and energy usage by simply getting your tap tightened.

Other ways to save water in the bathroom include thinking about how often you flush your toilet. You should also think about installing a dual flush insert device. This is a device that is designed to reduce the quantity of water used in every flush by around 50%. You can usually get these devices free of charge from your local water company so it is worth checking with your provider.

Check Your Extractor Fan

When it comes to the bathroom and wear and tear, condensation is one of the biggest culprits. The moisture in the air, which lingers from the shower, taps and bath, can climb to the walls. As time passes, this moisture will start to eat away at your fixtures and walls, which can cause issues with both damp and mould. In the end, condensation will mean that you need to remodel or replace your bathroom, which has a significant impact on the environment and will cost you a lot of money too. An extractor fan will work by getting rid of some of the moisture in the air. Therefore, it helps to lower the issues that have just been discussed.

To add some extra energy savings to your bathroom, you need to purchase an extractor fan with care. Look for one that has capabilities in terms of recovering heat. These fans will pull some of the warmth from the air, and they will use it to heat up a bathroom that may be cold. This provides you with further energy savings because not only are you dealing with the condensation issue that has been mentioned above but you will not need to turn your bathroom radiator on frequently and so you will save more money too.

Clean bright minimilistic bathroom with plants on windowsill

Big Changes That Can Make A Difference

As you can see, there are a lot of little changes you can make to the bathroom that will make a big difference in terms of energy efficiency. However, of course, there are a number of big changes you should consider if you are in the process of planning or remodelling your bathroom. This represents the perfect time to make some significant energy efficiency improvements. There are a number of different ways that you can do this, including choosing a condensing combi boiler to replace your old boiler, cylinder and water tank, as well as installing low flow bathroom taps to both your bath and basin, replacing single glazed windows with double glazed windows, choosing a reduced capacity bath, or better still shower cabins, and installing a low flush toilet.

Choose Energy Efficient Lighting

Of course, this is an energy efficient tip that you can implement all around the home, not just in the bathroom. Nevertheless, it represents an excellent way to make some further bathroom savings. Simply replacing your incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs or compact fluorescent lighting will make a massive difference. Yes, you will have to spend a little bit of money in order to purchase these types of light bulbs. Nevertheless, they cost much less to use and they last a lot longer, which means that you will save much more money in the long run by switching to this type of lighting.

Bathroom Insulation

Another way to make energy savings in your bathroom is with insulation. Next time you are thinking about getting new bathroom fixtures or tiles, you should insulate the walls in your bathroom. If you are currently living in a property that does not have cavity wall insulation, you will have no doubt noticed that your bathroom is not as warm as the rest of the house. If you add insulation it will make the bathroom as well as the rest of the house a lot warmer and more comfortable to live in. This means that you will need to spend less money to keep your house warm during the winter months.

Insulation is not only something that can be beneficial in terms of your walls. You can save money by insulating your hot water pipes as well. Plus, it does not end there, you can also use a jacket, so long as it is at least 75mm thick, in order to insulate your hot water tank. This is extremely beneficial because it will reduce your loss of heat by a massive 75%, which will save you a considerable batch of money every year. Not only this, but it means that your water will be kept hotter for longer and this means that you will use less energy overall and again save even more money.

High-efficiency Faucets and Shower Heads

Last but not least, you can also save a lot of money by investing in a high-efficiency showerhead. The vast majority of showerheads have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. You can reduce this amount by half or more by investing in a high-efficiency showerhead. High-efficiency faucets also provide you with a great way to reduce the flow of water that comes through your taps and again save energy.

As you can see, there are many different ways that you can make your bathroom more energy efficient. Some of the suggestions that have been provided require little effort on your behalf and, therefore, can be implemented today. However, there are some ideas that do require substantial expense and time, and so you may want to reserve them for when you are planning to remodel your existing bathroom. Either way, if you embrace a number of ideas that have been presented to you in this blog post, you will be able to save a considerable amount of energy in your bathroom. Not only is this a great way to help the planet, but it also means that you will reduce your utility bills by a considerable amount in the process.

*This is a collaborative post.

Could You Conserve More Water At Home?

There are lots of regions around the world that constantly suffer from droughts and a severe lack of water. Even though most of this is all because of the hot climates in which these regions are, some water shortage is still down to bad management and use of the world’s resources. In fact, even we can help these struggling areas by trying to limit the amount of water use in our own homes. Not only will it help those who are a lot less fortunate than us, but conserving water also gives you a chance to cut down your monthly water bill, which can save you money off your utilities.

So, ready to try and save a bit more water? Here are some things that you can try…

Could You Conserve More Water At Home? Background image of flowing water from pipe

Fix All Your Leaks

If you have some leaks in your pipes, you should get these checked out by a plumber. Whether you need to get your toilet pipes looked at, or you need to call someone to take care of some drain repair outside, getting all of these pesky leaks looked at will help you conserve more water. It makes sense if you think about it – you won’t be losing quite as much of the blue stuff once the plumbing is taken care of and it all stays in your pipes rather than dripping out of them!

Take Shorter Showers & Get A Bucket

Showers conserve a lot more water than taking a bath, so it’s always a better idea to jump in the shower rather than taking a soak. But that doesn’t mean that water is safe in the shower! Try to cut down your shower time to under 5 minutes.

Also, most of us run the shower for a while, while we wait for the water to heat up to the right temperature. Sound familiar? Well, that will be wasting a lot of water – as it heats up, it will just be going straight down the drain. To put a stop to this, you need to collect all of this wasted water in a bucket. Then, once the shower is hot enough, you can move the full bucket to one side. All of this collected water can be used out on the garden, or even to flush your toilet!

Don’t Leave Taps Running So Much

Something else that I’m sure we are all guilty of is leaving the tap running too much. For instance, do you leave the tap on while you are brushing your teeth? If so, that’s not good for the environment as it is wasting quite a lot of water. Instead, turn it off while you brush. You can then turn it on again when you need to rinse your toothbrush.

Use Your Washing Machine Wisely

Clothes do not need to be washed as often as people think they do! Don’t throw every item of your clothes into the washing machine after every use; underwear yes, those outer layers no! Try to make sure you actually have a full load of necessary washing to do before you switch the machine on. And use the eco cycle if you have one!

What are your top tips for saving energy at home? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Top Tips For A Plastic-Free Picnic

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the launch day events for Plastic-Free St Albans is a Plastic-Free Picnic at Highfield Park. This is also an awesome way to celebrate Earth Day too. So whether you are planning a picnic for this reason, or having one on any other day, here are my top tips for a plastic-free picnic…

Top Tips For A Plastic-Free Picnic

Shopping

Firstly, choose items that are sold loose or in recyclable packaging. Avoid plastic packaging as much as you can! It is hard to do, which is why there are several campaigns focused on holding shops and supermarkets more accountable for this too. If you are feeling abit rebellious, you could unpackage everything after you pay, before you leave and give the rubbish back to them… maybe it will help them to take the hint!

Better yet, head on down to your local eco store, if you have one, with your refill jars and avoid the supermarkets with all their unnecessary packaging full stop!

(Oh, and wherever you shop, don’t forget to take your reusable bags, obviously….)

Plastic Free St Albans eco friendly reusable bag organic cotton sustainable bag

Packing Your Picnic

Transporting

Use an old style wicker basket to carry your picnic! Or choose from one of the many reusable bag options available. This one is easy; just don’t use a plastic bag! Moving on…

Containers

Tuppaware containers are ok as they aren’t single- use plastic. However, there are even better alternatives! Stainless steel containers are more environmentally- friendly and will most likely last you longer too.

Keeping it Fresh

Rather than cling film, use sandwich bags or reusable wax wraps. These keep food fresh very effectively and are much kinder to the environment.

Reusable sandwich bag

Plates, Bowls and Cutlery

Taking your own cutlery that you use at home is a good choice. You don’t actually need different cutlery just because you are eating outdoors! But if you do prefer to use something else, invest in a reusable bamboo cutlery set if possible.

For disposable cutlery options, as well as bowls and plates too, choose eco- friendly items such as from The Blue Speck. They are 100% biodegradable and sourced directly from plants.

Drinks

Take a flask along with a reusable cup for hot drinks. For cold drinks, take along a reusable drinks bottle. If you need a straw, invest in a reusable one made from metal or bamboo, or buy disposable alternatives to plastic, such as paper straws.

Reusable eco friendly cup

Other Useful Info

Low Tox Box also has a fab zero waste starter kit. It contains several reusable bags, spork, cup and straw for £30 plus P&P. They also plant a tree for every box sold and send a certificate too.

Enjoy your plastic- free picnic!

Click here for more zero waste tips

Sustainable St Albans Week 2018 and Launch of Plastic Free St Albans!

There are only a few days to go now until Sustainable St Albans Week 2018, so I want to share with you some of the fab things that will be going on! If you are local, then pop along to some of the events to learn more about eco living and show your support. And if you aren’t local, maybe these ideas will inspire you to host your own event in your local town!

The week will be kicking off with an afternoon of talks to launch the event, as well as over a dozen activities on just the first day alone. Over the course of the week there is a massive range of fun, educational and inspiring activities for all ages.

Sustainable St Albans Week 2018 logo

Some of the highlights include the grand opening of our first ‘Little Free Library’ – where you can take a book and donate another, several guided walks and cycle rides, organised wildlife watch, vegan cooking demo and tasting (yum!), plenty of talks and workshops on various topics, eco tours, growing activities, seed swaps, clothes swaps, litter picks, poetry recitals and film screenings. The list goes on and on…! It is a jam packed week full of brilliant options to choose from.

Children can also meet Munch the recycling lorry and discover more about recycling, do creative activities using old items, take part in interactive storytelling, attend woodcraft taster sessions, and swap books, amongst other things. Lots of the other activities are very family- friendly and suitable for all ages too of course!

For the full event schedule visit the Sustainable St Albans website and download the booklet.

There is also a one day Know- How Festival, which sounds brilliant! I thought this was worth a specific mention as it has so much going on for the whole family. Here is further information…

Know How festival flyer - part of Sustainable St Albans Week 2018

As part of Sustainable St Abans Week, on Sunday 22nd April, which very aptly is also Earth Day, marks the official launch of Plastic Free St Albans. I am so excited about this, so let me tell you more about it!

Plastic Free St Albans is inspired by Surfers Against Sewage – an environmental charity who are leading a national campaign called Plastic Free Coastlines, to encourage communities to drastically reduce single use plastics – and is an alliance of several local activists. It was founded by Emma Tyers, who previously ran the hugely successful St Albans Refuse the Straw campaign and also has members from our fantastic local groups, Sustainable St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth, too. What a team! The group aims to hopefully achieve S.A.S Plastic Free status eventually.

Plastic Free St Albans logo

The main goal is to work with local businesses, schools, and other organisations to remove, as far as possible, plastic straws and stirrers, water bottles and balloons from St Albans. These particular items are being targetted because they are so rarely recycled, and therefore form such a large part of our plastic waste and litter.

They are also working on St Albans Refill scheme, which asks businesses to provide free water bottle refills to anyone who asks, free of charge. Look out for other upcoming projects in future too!

Last but not least, check out their excellent interactive map of all things plastic free, so you can see how the campaign is developing and, more importantly, know where to head to avoid the plastic! Awesome initiative, looking forward to seeing the map grow!

You can also read more about Plastic Free St Albans in this Herts Ad article.

To launch this fantastic new campaign, there will be a plastic-free picnic at Highfield park on Sunday afternoon, followed by a screening of A Plastic Ocean in the evening, along with a panel of guest speakers, hosted at the beautiful Odyssey cinema. There are only a few tickets left, so grab yours now!

Enjoy what promises to be an inspirational and exciting week!

Handmade recycled silver labradorite stone ring image and giveaway wording

GIVEAWAY!!!

To help celebrate and support both Sustainable St Albans Week and Plastic Free St Albans, the lovely Sally from Leonard of London has offered us a stunning piece of jewellery to giveaway to one lucky campaign supporter! This gorgeous handmade ring is made from recycled sterling silver and has a beautiful labradorite stone.

The ring will be resized for the winner as per the measurements given before sending it to them.

Check out Leonard of London on facebook for more of her work.

Handmade recycled silver labradorite stone ring

The giveaway ends on 21st May 2018 and is open to UK residents only. Enter via rafflecopter below. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

7 Simple Ways Kids Can Contribute to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle: Guest Post by Veronica – My Parenting Journey

Families often live wasteful lives, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Living an eco-friendly lifestyle with children can seem like a daunting task. Little humans can create a lot of waste, but there are plenty of ways kids can contribute to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Now is the time to change your habits and set better habits for your growing kids.

Child outdoors exploring nature

Can Families “Go Green”?
A common assumption is that families can’t go green because children tend to produce a lot of waste. The amount of waste children generate depends entirely on the lifestyle you live.

The Environmental Protection Agency states that an average American family generates 4.4 pounds of garbage a day. That means each week your family puts out about 29 pounds of trash. Seems crazy, right? There are ways to reduce that output. Having kids doesn’t have to be wasteful!

● Use cloth diapers
● Try an eco-friendly laundry detergent
● Breastfeed
● Save clothes for other children
● Shop used sales
● Use stainless steel or glass bottles

Talk With Your Kids
Before you introduce an eco-friendly lifestyle to your kids, it is important to sit down and have a chat with your kids. Discuss with them why you want to make this change! Show them ways you may already be going green at home or school. Do their schools or classrooms recycle?

During your talk, encourage your kids to think of ways you can go green together as a family. Kids are creative and inventive, so give them this time to shine. Start with their ideas first to encourage them to keep going!

7 Simple Ways Kids Can Contribute to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle title with image of two children

7 Ways Kids Can Contribute to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

1.Start a Garden
Our family, kids included, gardens and grows a large portion of our food. You don’t need a large garden; growing any of your food is a step in the right direction. Gardening gets everyone outside, soaking in vitamin D, and it brings the food cycle to you! Kids make fantastic gardeners with a little direction.

2. Work a Compost
If you are going to garden, composting makes sense. Composting creates a source of free nutrients for your garden while eliminating your waste.

Your kids can collect items each day for the compost, such as the eggshells from breakfast and veggie scraps from dinner prep. Kids can also stir the compost and add in grass clippings or shredded leaves!

3. Sort Recycling
Reducing the amount of waste you generate as a family reduces your carbon footprint. All should do recycling. Create a recycling bin system and encourage your children to sort the waste throughout the day. They can rinse out milk jugs or put the newspaper into the right bin. Later, take your children to drop off the recycling and see if you can visit a recycling center!

4. Turn Off Lights
Make it a game to see who can turn off the most lights each day. Reducing your electricity usage saves your money and contributes to a green lifestyle. Children are sponges, and they adopt whatever lifestyle you encourage in them. Teach them to turn off the water as they brush their teeth and more!

Another idea is to have family nights when you turn off all electronics. Unplug the TV and spend time together reading or playing board games. If it is nice, head outside for a hike or a game of soccer. You are reducing your energy output while spending time together.

5. Bike Together
Cars are massive producers of pollution. Biking to places may not be easy depending on where you live. If you live in a city, biking could be a great opportunity for your kids to get exercise and to reduce pollution. Walking or riding bikes are great alternatives! If you have a baby, you can get a seat to put on your bicycle. Families with toddlers can attach a pull-behind seat!

6. Make Reusable Bags Together
Kids love to craft, so why not make a craft that has a purpose? Reusable bags are a staple for green families. You might end up with a small collection everywhere. You can find easy tutorials to make bags from t-shirts or old pillowcases. Be creative! It is also a great opportunity to teach your kids to use up what they have rather than going to purchase new.

7. Make Homemade Cleaners
Another easy task for your kids is to get them involved with making homemade cleaners! Working with vinegar, baking soda, and more is quite safe for your kids. Older kids can learn about the toxicity of harsh chemicals. Show them how to clean with simple ingredients. It is best for you to add essential oils if you use them rather than the little kids!
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle takes more than just one person in a family. It has to be a family effort. Teach your kids the importance of treating the earth with kindness and show them simple ways to do so. You are instilling values that will last a lifetime.

Image of two young children exploring a pond

About the Author
Hi! My name is Veronica Mitchell. I am a mother to two adorable little girls and a handsome little boy. I spend my days caring from my children, packing lunches, reading aloud, kissing boo-boos, and working as the Chief Editor of My Parenting Journey.

Easy Ways to Cut the Amount of Energy You Use Each Month

Whether you want to do it for the good of the planet or the good of your bank balance, taking steps to spend less on energy is definitely worthwhile. It’s also a lot easier to do than many people think. We’re all guilty of wasting energy and using more than we need to. That’s just the way it is, but that doesn’t mean your habits can’t change. It’s more than possible to make changes to how you consume energy, and we’re about to prove that right now…

Easy Ways to Cut the Amount of Energy You Use Each Month title with image of house made of leaves

Go LED

LED light bulbs are so much more energy efficient than the vast majority of other bulbs out there. If you’re still using old halogen bulbs, that’s something that’s really got to change. They use a lot of energy, and all of that’s being wasted when you could so easily switch to LEDs without any drawbacks of negatives involved at all. Every light in your home should be an LED.

Shut Your Doors and Close Your Curtains

Heating is a major way in which people waste energy in the home. If you only focus on heating the rooms that you’re using, you will save so much money and energy during the winter months. And you can do that even better by closing the curtains to stop heat escaping and also shutting doors so that the heat doesn’t escape into the rest of your home.

When Dealing With Frozen Foods, Use the Microwave Less

This is a very simple but effective trick. When you have frozen foods that you need to defrost before you can cook, simply remember to take them out of the freezer and sit them out on the countertop about 8 to 12 hours before you plan on using that food for preparation. It’s so much more energy efficient than defrosting in the microwave because it doesn’t use any energy at all.

Install More Energy Efficient Windows

Your windows will have a big impact on how much energy you use on heating your home. By improving the quality of your windows, you will be able to get away with spending less on energy each and every month. Find a company that can offer you replacement double glazing as soon as possible and start reaping the rewards of these changes. They’ll pay for themselves in no time.

A photo of windows

Wash in Colder Water

Washing your clothes is obviously another necessity, and that’s why many people think that there is no way for them to save energy in this area. That’s simply not true though. By washing your clothes in colder water, you will achieve the same results in most instances, and you will use a lot less energy.

Everyone can use less energy each and every month if they’re willing to put in the work to make it happen. You don’t need to spend money on energy that really isn’t needed. As the tips and ideas here prove, there are alternatives to energy inefficiency. Why not start making these changes right away?

*This is a collaborative post.