Environmentally Friendlier New Years Resolutions

My husband and I went vegan in June after months and months of mulling it over thinking it would be really difficult and hard to stick at...how very wrong we were. It's been the best lifestyle choice I ever made and along with this decision came a much more passionate attitude towards the environment and my health, not just the animals. I watched documentaries on Netflix and two that really stood out to me were Cowspiracy and A Plastic Ocean, both of which I watched around 4-5 times because I just couldn't stop learning about the mistakes we as humans have been making that are destroying the planet. So here's the plan:

1. Buy bars of soap packaged in cardboard boxes
I love my cleaning products as well as cosmetics and this year I have really opened my eyes as to how much plastic my household gets through and it's mainly my fault. At one point I counted four different shampoos in my bathroom and the amount of times I've cried out of sheer embarrassment and shame I've lost count of. One small yet effective way of making a difference is by swapping hand soaps in plastic bottles for bars of soap that come in cardboard boxes. Better yet, I will try to stick to buying the Lush handmade soap bars for body wash instead of shower gels because they come wrapped in paper AND they last for ages, plus they now have solid shampoo or conditioner bars of the same concept. Lush will also recycle the plastic containers the rest of their products come in - now that's what I call a responsible retailer.

lush daddy-o, lush, lush hair, lush conditioner

2. Stop buying Primark pyjamas
As much as I love Primark pyjamas, I get through A LOT and this isn't just because I see a new design literally every month (Pusheen...you did this). Primark pyjamas just don't last and I can't believe it's taken me so long to realise. Mine always fall to bits, the colour fades after two washes and I will try and get my use out of them by walking around the house looking like a tramp. Then I remembered in the back of my wardrobe I have a pair of Jack Wills lounge pants from when I used to spend a tonne of money there with my pay cheques as a teenager and would you believe, these didn't look like they were 6 months old let alone at least 8 years. So I started wearing these again in November and believe me, I used to live in these bad boys. The only down side is with me being quite short, I have to tuck the legs into my fluffy socks so they don't drag on the floor but overall they're of a much higher quality and you wouldn't know how old they are. Granted they're a little expensive, but I'm going to try and grab a spare pair for when these are being washed from the outlet website, not to mention I must have spent loads more money buying multiple sets of pyjamas from Primark so in the long run I'll be saving.

llama, llama pyjamas, llama tshirt, llama primark, primark

3. Buy loose fruit and veg
We've been putting this into practice a lot more recently so it's not really a brand new resolution, more like something we'd like to expand on in the new year. But once you take a step back and look at the way food is packaged it's a real shocker. Fruit and veg is wrapped with plastic whilst it's also laid into a plastic tray beforehand and whilst we try our best to recycle what we can, it's not really giving the supermarkets the message that this simply isn't good enough. The documentary A Plastic Ocean suggested taking the foods out of the packaging and leaving the packaging behind for the store to deal with but that seems a bit too rude for my liking. Another option would be to take your own paper bags in to collect loose fruit and veg, or if you must use the plastic bags provided for loose food, reuse them. We're trying to be more frugal in our house which basically means buying when you need it. For example if I'm cooking a meal, I'll go and collect one large carrot, two sweet potatoes etc and then I don't need any packaging at all. Give the fruit and veg a good wash as usual when you get home and job done. We get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing our shopping basket containing nothing but loose fruit and veg, the cashiers don't seem to mind one bit and it seems to be a little cheaper.

4. Recycle more containers
Custard and Vespa (our two dogs) got sent a big hamper of festive themed doggy treats to try back in October and the vegan lifestyle isn't something I put my dogs through simply because I don't know enough about vegan doggies, but they sure do love their vegetables! Anyway, a couple of the treats came in fair sized plastic containers with resealable lids so I washed them out and suggested to James that he could use them for things in the shed. Being new home owners, we're gradually collecting things like nails and screws and haven't really got any organisation for them yet but these tubs were perfect. So going forward, I'd also like to really think about plastic containers before they're rinsed and go straight into the recycling bin. We recycle most of our glass jars too which is becoming a bit out of hand I must say, but they work really well for things like nuts and seeds.

5. Continue to reuse mail bags
I've been doing this one for flippin' years because not only does it help the environment, you save a few bob as well on packaging. Pretty much everything I've ever sold on the likes of eBay and Depop have been sent in recycled packages; I just remove my address and as long as the packaging is in a decent enough condition so that it's going to keep everything safe and protected, I'll reuse it and I have a whole drawer in my office dedicated to recycled mail bags and wrapping.

6. Look into new packaging for Pastel Elixir
Running a shop means I get through a fair bit of packaging of various sorts and right now I don't have many options for when it comes to shipping my orders out. They all go in mail bags but in the new year, I'll be ordering in some letterbox friendly cardboard boxes to cut down on how much plastic we use and also hopefully better protect the bigger orders a bit more. Usually we sandwich easily damaged items between recycled cardboard anyway to prevent them from being ruined as they travel to our customers but boxes look a lot more professional and it's about time we upgraded! As for cards and things, they currently have cellophane sleeves to protect them but we've heard that there are eco friendlier options out there that we'll be looking into as well. It all helps and we will still continue to reuse and recycle as much as possible.

7. Take a tote!
It's taken some getting used to, but these days I always try to remember to pop a tote into my handbag when I leave the house. You just never know when you might need a carrier bag and I will do all I can to refuse a plastic one from the shops. We've been known to balance a whole shop between us in our arms because we just point blank refuse to buy yet another plastic bag to dump into landfill. I was queueing in Liberty's in London a couple of weeks back with a Christmas bauble and as I was in the queue on the Christmas floor, I heard the young man at the tills explaining to another customer that they only had plastic bags in that department. My guess was that the customer wanted a fancy paper Liberty gift bag (why wouldn't you?!) and he was told if you would like a paper bag, another department would happily give him one. I turned around and made my way to another till because I just downright refused to get a plastic bag and as I was buying a glass bauble, I didn't want to just chuck it into my tote. The rest of my shopping though, I happily bag together in one of my canvas totes and it feels so much nicer than coming home with hands full of plastic carriers.

8. Take a drink with you
I've got into the habit this year of taking a bottle of water with me where ever I go. I have a dedicated Voss bottle which I bought from Asda many months ago, but it came with water in it and is made of glass. The only plastic bit is the lid but it makes such a great reusable bottle for drinks and means you don't have to buy one when you're out or buy plastic bottles that just go straight into the bin once you've finished. Granted it means carrying around a drink all day, but think of that extra fitness and hydration!

These are just a few of the resolutions we've been working on and will be carrying over to 2018, but we're always on the look out for more ways to help the environment and reduce plastic in particular as much as we can. It's scary once you stop to think about just how much we as humans get through and did you know, every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still on this planet we call home in some form or another? It's such a bugger to get rid of so let's make it heard and reduce our consumption as much as possible!

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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