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!):

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.

Living Greener In Your House

Living a little greener throughout our lives is something we think is hard to achieve. Companies like to croon all the time about how energy efficient they are, and yet when you have all that money behind you it seems so easy to keep that up! However, a huge lifestyle change doesn’t have to be in swing here, and some simple changes are just as effective as taking to a cabin in the woods. We already know a child friendly home with a bit of flair is possible, but what about living as green as possible whilst still being comfortable?

A vase of flowers on a wooden table in a large bright room.

Check Your Appliances

Checking your appliances means going around your house in the last five minutes at the end of the day and making sure everything is turned off and unplugged. It’s something simple and yet so effective, and you’re not going to be donating valuable hours to it. You see, even when something is plugged in and switched off, there’s a very good chance it’s still using power, considering how popular the standby function is these days.

At the same time, make sure everything you use has a good energy rating. When something is in the A band for electrical use, you’re not going to be wasting any energy simply as a byproduct of chilling your food in the fridge for example. And that also ends up saving you some pennies, which all add up at the end of the month.

Start Recycling Everything

Of course, not every material out there is yet capable of being recycled. But recycling as much of your waste than ever before means you’re going to be doing a great bit for the planet.

Sort through your clutter! If something is using the space you need to live harmoniously, it’s definitely going to need passing on. Make some effort on reducing your carbon footprint; don’t throw away anything that could be avoided. Make sure any electronic waste you have laying around, either on the side tables or in the attic, are being disposed of or sold off. Those old laptops are never going to see the working world again anyway! Sometimes you can make some cash, sometimes you just have to part with an object responsibly.

Open Up Your Curtains

If you have curtains, make sure they’re open for as long as they can be during the day, and then close them at night. Keeping a room warm is a lot easier when you’re using the insulating material over the windows to full effect after all. You won’t have to turn on the heating so much when you’ve got your curtains on a tight schedule, and it just takes a bit of arm work to pull them open and closed when the time comes to it.

There’s a lot of little changes you can make to your daily routine to make sure your house is as green as possible. Try to incorporate these moves as soon as you can to save you time and money.

*This is a collaborative post.

Is Self-Sufficient Living Possible For You?

There has been a steep rise in environmental concerns and a deep uncertainty surrounding financial markets in recent years. Those who are recognising the difficulty in the financial markets are turning more and more to a life of self-sufficiency. The dream of being off the grid in a home that is free of a mortgage with solar panels to generate electricity and heat without being tied into contracts? That’s a big dream for a lot of people.

We used to live in a world where we made do and mended; people learned how to sew and cook and garden for themselves – these were not jobs that were outsourced to others. The conveniences of modern technology and consumerism have all but eradicated the want to learn how to mend something rather than throw things out and start again. Society is stuck in an endless cycle of spending money, getting into debt and an overall dissatisfaction with life. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A photo of homegrown tomatoes growing.

Living a self-sufficient life can be busy, hard and labor intensive. However, the satisfaction you get from cutting down your expenses, changing your reliance on fossil fuels and even installing Cultivar greenhouses to grow your own produce is immense. It doesn’t matter whether you are already barefoot and farming or you’re living in a city tower block, you can take the right steps toward a life of independence and throw off the shackles of society.

Is Self-Sufficient Living Possible For You? Title on background image of bees.

One of the best and biggest investments that you could make toward a lifestyle that is independent is learning some DIY skills. The whole point of self-sufficiency is not relying on the professionals to repair your car, sew your clothes and grow your food. Learn how your home operates, from the pipes to the electrics. Learn with videos like this one how to rewire a plug and learn the basics of maintenance of your car. There are a lot of free classes you can take to learn how to fix things and use a thread and needle, and YouTube is a goldmine for things like that.

Gaining independence from your home includes generating your own resources, and that will mean learning how to grow your own food and collecting your own rainwater. This article can tell you the benefits of rainwater collection and what you can use it for. Having a wind turbine installed or adding solar panels to the roof gives you the chance to have the ultimate solution for moving off the grid. If the costs don’t allow for those things, checking out solar water heaters or even outside lights could really make a huge difference to the way that you live – and what you pay out on utility bills. You can make many home improvements to conserve energy, from covering the windows in a film to keep the heat in and installing skylights to bring in natural light. You can enhance your energy use by harnessing as much of the natural light and heat as possible.

i - robot plugged into wall.

The world is ruled by automation – everything that we do is now automated to be efficient and easier. While this is great in the business world and can make life a lot easier all around, opting for manual systems where you can is the best way to conserve energy. Turn off the Roomba and use the brushes and vacuum cleaner that you bought to clean the house. Utilise the clothesline in the backyard instead of using the dryer every day. Small changes like that – even ones that see you using a bowl and a wooden spoon instead of an electric whisk – can add up to the biggest savings. You don’t have to do much to change the way that you live, but the best change that you could make is to stop plugging in and start using a little elbow grease!

One of the biggest expenses – aside from a car and a mortgage – is healthcare and insurance. It would be stupid to cancel your health insurance altogether, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot take control of your health. Eating organically, reducing the use of toxic chemicals such as aerosols and bleaches and turning toward natural medicine solutions can make a difference to the spend on healthcare. You can use recipes like these to make your own household cleaners and you can start ditching the car and getting on your bike to improve your health. Taking the right steps to ensure you get a good workout in everyday can make a big difference to your overall health, which will save you money on what you spend in medicines and at the hospital.

Starting to learn how to grow your own food, and if you have the land, raise your own animals for slaughter can change the way you spend your cash on groceries. You get to know exactly where your food comes from, and you can learn to cook your own food from recipe books or classes. Growing and preparing the food that you have chosen to raise in your garden can save you cash but also save the number of trips to the doctor that you have each year. Home grown fruit, herbs and vegetables means no preservatives and no chemicals sprayed on them to get them to grow. Chickens could provide your family with eggs. A beehive supplies you honey and gives you the chance to have pollinators on site in a natural way.

A swarm of bees pollinators making honey

Being self-sufficient isn’t for everyone. We always become comfortable with consumerism and automation, and while that is okay to an extent, you do also have to look at the impact this has on your daily living and your budget. Take the time to shut things down and learn how to do it all for yourself. It’s not easy, it’s not light work, but it’s going to change the way you see the world. You can save a little piece of the world while you do it and you can feel good about that!

*This is a collaborative post.