Updated: Jul 7
There are so many little changes you can make in your house to help the environment or atleast mitigate your negative impact on it. You might also be on a mission to go sustainable, eco-friendy and become a carer for the planet. Therefore, another great place to do this is in your kitchen. I have collated a list of some of the top alternatives you can make that will help you with this. Many of these focus on reducing waste, which often contributes to the ever growing mountain of rubbish. Well to help you go zero waste and to your greener future I have collated my top 10 changes that you can make in your kitchen to help you achieve this goal and live a more sustainable, green and eco-friendly life:
You might have seen these in some beautiful picturesque Instagram photos. Well there is a reason for this, as they do look great and can work brilliantly at helping you reduce your waste. These eco-friendly glass jars can come in a range of sizes and can be filled with a ton of different items but once you have them you can stop contributing to our growing waste from the often unnecessary packaging. You can do this by buying at your local eco-store where you can fill your new reusable container. They often have a high initial cost but can be used for many, many years. I always advise glass jars, as glass is easily recycable and it means you do not contribute to plastic waste. Here are some suggestions of what you can use them for:
Dried fruits and mushrooms
Corn (for popcorn)
Herbs and spices
Another zero waste item to add to your eco home is dish soap. If you are keen at getting rid of your plastic waste and to stop contributing to those pesky micro plastics, soap bars are the way forward. Luckily, there are plenty of companies producing these for all sorts of uses including dish soaps. I appreciate that some people find bars sometimes doesn’t quite cut it, so I believe it is worth mentioning you can always get a reusable bottle and refill it up at a local eco-store.
I have used these for years and think they work better than a normal sponge to clean your dishes. Natural loofahs, luffas, Egyptian cucumber or even its botanical name Luffa aegyptiaca, whatever name you use are part of a plant in the cucumber family. These are completely natural and can even be grown in your own home. You can pick them up at most places now, including your local eco-store and easily online. They do not need to be used to just clean your dishes, you can put them elsewhere to clean the house, in the bath, basically anything you may need to scrub.
I understand some people do not like to use a loofah sponge or might find it is not strong enough for the hard baked in food. Therefore, you need something a little stiffer to help scrub your plates, trays, dishes, pots and pans clean. Well luckily there are a number of options you can chose from. Many zero waste companies produce natural, plastic free and biodegradable scrubber, which often use wood handles and often using natural fibres (often from the coconut or the sisal plant).
I picked up a couple of these a while ago, one I use for a home fertiliser spray for my plants and another for cleaning. There is not much to say but many companies offer a glass spray bottle, which you can then use with an ever growing number of cleaning solutions. A quick search online and you can find some great eco-friendly recipes you can mix yourself to create a perfect solutions that can help you make your kitchen sparkle. Alternatively, I have seen small pods that you can chuck into the spray bottle and fill up with water to creat a cleanign solution. Take some time, experiment and see what solution works for you and you can stop buying these often environmentally harmful chemicals and its copious amounts of plastic waste.
I use these all the time and they continue to be very useful. Whenever I have some food left over or some items I want to preserve I put them in a bowl and put one of these useful silicone lids on top. They come in a wide range of sizes, allowing them to be used for all sorts. This stops you using difficult to, incredibly frustrating, flimsy cling film to seal in your leftovers.
Similar to silicone lids you can get reusable bags, which again are often made from silicone. These reusable bags again help you reduce your waste by stopping you use plastic sandwich bags, Clingfilm or other harmful products. So pick up a reusable sandwich bags, just remember that you don’t have to use them just for sandwiches but can be for snack and I have even seen liquids that have been stored in them. You can also get them that can go in your freezer to store your left overs for longer.
A popular choice among the eco-conscious, bees wax wraps have been around for a long time and found their way into most supermarkets. These wraps are made from organic cotton infused with food-grade beeswax and organic jojoba oil and tree resin, which also can have antibacterial properties. Again these can be used similar to Clingfilm to wrap your sandwiches, rolls, cover bowls, wrap cut vegetables and more. I would say I find the larger ones the most useful, so try to get the biggest ones you can get. Again another great reusable alternative.
Going plastic free will greatly benefit the planet as well as your life. It is also great to find an eco-friendly alternative to an every day product like your dustpan and bush. Unfortunately, your dustpan and brush will often not last more than a few year but when typically being made out of plastic will be a scar on the earth for hundred of years. This is not to mention the microplastic a plastic duspan and brush will also cause and spread around your house. Therefore, I went on the mission to find a plastic free set, although it was hard I did find one (link below). I have now swapped to this wood handle with natural bristles and metal dustpan in a step toward my eco-friendly life.
Any Other containers:
It does not have to be glass but any bottle, container, you have, perhaps left over from your last food shop. They can then be used for anything you want such as pet food, cereal, soaps, essentially anything glass containers can be used for. This is obviously a lot cheaper and over time you can grow a collection and pick out the best containers for you and for what you want to pick up. As long as you reuse them and refill them up at your eco store and not contribute to the growing waste, you are doing your bit for the environment.
Bonus - Think Natural!:
When buying anything new always think of its entire life. Where did it come from and where will it go when you are finished with it. Pick items that are from renewable resources and that when disposed of will go back to the earth and not contribue to needless waste. On top of this is think abot the logevity of the item, always aim for anything you buy to last as long as it can. A great example that encompasses all this is the humble wooden chopping board, a much greater choice over these horrendous plastic ones you can get now.
There are tons of changes you can make throughout your house and I will be sure to make some other blog posts to detail them. However, here are my top eco kitchen swaps you can make to get you started. Although these are my recommendation, don’t let them stop you getting any other items that helps reduce your waste, the energy you use or any negative impact on the environment. There are many more things you can consider but if we can continue to move towards an environmentally friendly future by making little changes over time the world will be a better place for it.
Updated: Jul 18
I have been getting into my houseplants and to keep them fit and healthy they often require you to use filter water. Additionally, filtered water can often be a much-needed item in your household depending on your local water supply. However, something that has always bothered me about most conventional water filters is the wasteful ‘cartridges’ that constantly need to be changed, often going to landfill and contribute to one of the worst pollutants in our modern day, plastic. Now I know some of these companies may detail some recycle scheme, however, I feel these are often ineffective, as to recycle them you have to go through the onerous task of returning it to the company you brought them from. This is often difficult to do and takes more actions of you, which I believe often leads to the majority of people not doing so. Additionally, you are still going through hundreds of plastic cartridges and the harmful plastic they are encased in.
Therefore, I went to search for an eco-friendly way to filter water. This is where I
found Phox Water, who market themselves as ‘The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Water Filter’. This defiantly peaked my interest and with some research, they defiantly seem a lot better than conventional water filters I could find. So I quickly ordered one with a 12-month supply of the clean refill filter media (they also offer an alkaline filter media, which offer other benefits) and waited. It arrived shortly and I have been using mine for several months, so here is my review of the Phox V2 Glass Water Jug and clean filter media.
Look & Size:
All their packaging seemed to be compact and professional, which was a good initial sign. My order came in a single large box (about the size of two show boxes with some extra depth) with the jug and the 12-month supply. The filter media comes in a very small box with the carbon filter and the media in a vacuum packed tight paper PLA composite that is compostable, keeping it all condensed and easy to store. I assume this can be delivered through your letterbox if you only ordered a 3–month supply. The box has all the instructions on how to insert the filter material and prep the jug for use. This made the installation and replacing of the filter elements simple and easy.
The Glass Water Filter and Jug:
The jug itself was larger than I thought it would be. I have seen a couple of Brita filters in the past and they are quite thin and can often fit in the side of your fridge door. Well for sure the Phox Water Jug certainly cannot do this. It is a large cylindrical shape that can hold about 2.2L. For me this is not so much a problem, as I have not kept it in my fridge and just stored it near my houseplants. However, if you are thinking about having this in the fridge, I hope you have a large amount of free space. For your reference, here are some of the filter dimensions:
- Height: 30.5cm
- Diameter: 14.5cm
(the diameter was taken from the spout to the lip section to take the lid off [widest section])
As for the look, you can see the picture for yourself and make your own judgment, for me it looks fine, nothing spectacular but then again I am not that bothered, as it is not really an item you have on display in the house.
Now, I have to say this filter is still not perfect but then I do not think there one that is. The reason it is not perfect is due to the filter media. Unfortunately, even though the media is derived from natural sources it contents are not recyclable or compostable. I believe this is because there aren't components that can be used to ensure the water is properly filtered, which are also compostable or recyclable. Now, this is still a negative and I wish there was a solution, having said this, in order to get filtered water I would much rather only have to replace the filter media than the whole plastic cartridge.
To replace the filter media you take the jug apart and twist out the cartridge and clean the parts. The cartridge has its own lid, which has a carbon filter flattened between it and is where the first point the water runs through. You then fill the top container with the media, which filters the water to the holes at the bottom, which lead into the large 2.2l reservoir jug.
Now, I do not have any tests or knowledge to check the water quality before and afterwards. Additionally, I have not had much experience with previous water filters. However, in my opinion the water to me taste cleaner after it has been filtered, which must mean it works, right !? Further to this, I have been using it on my plants for the last few months and they have not shown any negative signed and are continuing to grow.
To summarise the overall positives of the Phox Water system here are my key points:
Its more Eco – You do not have to bin large cartridges with all its additional plastic. They have made a filter system, which you can easily replace the filter media only,
Packaging is small and completely recyclable, reducing your waste impact.
The water tastes cleaner and fresher, so it does its job as a water filter.
The instructions are clear and concise and makes it easy to reuse.
Now for some negatives. These are some I have noted and others I have seen people mention online but thought as this is a review I should put these into this article. I should note though that I always like to be a bit pessimistic, as I do not know your personal circumstances and if you want to buy this I want to be as open and honest. Although there might be more negatives than positives, this is not to say that the filter is poor. It does what it is meant to do; I just wanted to share everything with you:
The jug is a bit heavy, which is not a problem for me at all but if you think it will be for you, it is something to consider.
It has a wide spout, again this is not much of an issue, as long as you are filling something bigger than it is you shouldn’t have a problem. However, if you are filling anything too small like a typical bottleneck you might get your hands wet.
Some people have noted the filer is a bit slow but again, I would not have thought this is much of an issue. Most people fill theirs up and leave it (often in the fridge) until they want a drink. For me as I mainly use it for my plant it is much the same. I fill it up and let it sit until I want to use it for my plants.
As mentions, the filter media is neither recyclable nor compostable.
In my opinion, considering these negatives do not affect me, these are nit-picky and very small compromises to make for the benefit of reducing your waste. I would much rather use a heavier, wide spout and wait for the filter to do its job than contribute to the plastic pollution destroying this world that our typical filters cause. I will admit it is not perfect, as the media still has to be wasted but it is a step forward and drastically reduced the amount of waste you would typically produce.
Well I have decided to share this on my sustainable blog, so I do believe it works and overall a far more sustainable option than conventional water filters. I find the filter works fine and replacing the filter media simple and easy. Most of all I am happy more and more companies are working towards producing a more sustainable, eco-friendly and less harmful product of everyday items. Having said all this, if there is a more sustainable, eco-friendly option out there I would love to know what it is, as I haven’t been able to find one. I will conclude with, if you need one right now that filters the water to a level of non-eco-friendly water filters does and is better for the environment, why not try Phox Water?
Updated: Dec 12, 2021
This was my second year in my own house allowing me to grow anything I want in the space I have, which is quite limited. I wanted to start of easy due to still sorting out bits, moving into the house and getting everything set up that has taken a long time. However, I still grew a fair bit for my little garden. I have always wanted to grow a number of unique plants, as well as my own fruit and veg to eat. However, I still have much to learn, so I am trying out new thing and love sharing my progress with you. So here is all the fruit, veg, herbs and other plants I grew, ate and enjoyed caring for in 2020.
One of my main goals throughout the year was to grow as much edible food, as possible. I have always loved the idea of being somewhat self-sufficient and although I will not be anywhere near that with the size of my garden I still hope to grow some delicious fruit and vegetable to eat and learn what works for the future, so this is what I have decided to grow:
This is a sweet summer favourite of nearly anyone in the UK. I thought I would start with a few of these sweet treats in one of my hanging baskets. I have three different types of strawberries two British and one French to see how they grown and if there is much difference. They all did well but the British variety defiantly faired better, I assume due to the fact it climatises better to our weather.
Although I did not have a full sized planter, I did manage to get my hands on three small troughs that I planted two rows of carrots. I created a mix of soil and sand, so the carrots could grow easier and watered regularly. As they sprouted and gotten larger I have thinned them out by repotting them into the third planter. We got a decent number of carrots from this but I believe the planters were too small to allow the carrots to properly grow.
Tomatoes are the quintessential gardener food of choice and the first point of call for anyone wanting to grow some veg.. They are easy to grow, incredibly rewarding and can produce a huge amount of food, I have three tomato plants in a single grow bag with a bamboo support frame, with garden twine between them to support the heavy fruitful tomato growths. One thing I have learnt was not to forget watering them, seeing these plant droop so low like a sulking child is saddening, so it is a every evening job and sometimes in the morning too.
I wanted to grow potatoes, as I believe they would give the highest return in nutritious value and volume. It is also one of the most versatile vegetables that can be used for a number of things on your dinner plate. I have a small garden but still wanted to get as much out of it as I can, so seeing these grow bags in my local garden centre and quickly berried a sprouting potato. The amount of foliage this plant sprawls out is outstanding and really indicates a large return.
Additionally, I am growing a number of herbs that can be added to loads of dishes and be used to feed my rabbits. I have some outside permanently and the others growing in the windowsill. They are useful and provide a great aroma whenever I walk by them. I don’t do much to upkeep them, just keep them watered and occasionally pull out any weeds that manage to join my herbs. Here are the herbs I am growing this year
Indoors I am growing:
Outdoors I am growing:
My main goal, whilst trying to make my garden look nice and colourful was to help the bees and other pollinators, so I tried to ensure the plants I picked benefited them and their efforts to collect nectar and pollen. I won’t mention all the flowers growing in my garden, you can look at some of these through scowering my social media. However, some of the key flowers I grew are:
Clematis – It came with the garden when we brought it and it comes up beautifully with more than three dozen flowers each year. All I have to do is provide a little wire for it to climb up and keep it well watered.
Dahlia – After seeing these in a number of gardens I was keen to have them in mine. I have been told these are difficult to grow, especially in pots, so I decided to give them a try, although I did get it to grow unfortunately it wasn’t the grand Dahlia I was hoping for.
Senetti – Me and my partner saw a beautiful bunch of purple Senetti at the garden centre and could not leave it there. After picking it up we put it in a larger pot and left it to its own devises. It was clearly a good choice as the bees seemed to love them.
Roses – We have a couple of rose bushes at the back of my garden, again, I don’t have to do much other than water them regularly and ensure my rabbits don’t try to eat them. However, each year they flower nicely for the local insects to enjoy.
As mentioned above this is my first year in my own house and I am trying to grow as many things as possible. This is because I enjoy the site of them and think they are incredibly beneficial for the environment and my household. They provide tremendous benefits mentally, cleaning the air and a tool to learn from in one of my bid to grow a nice collections of plants. I won't be able to name them all but some of the ones I got this year:
· Pilea Peperomioides
· Snake Plant
· Fairy Washboard (Haworthiopsis Limifolia)
· Dracena Fragrans
· A couple of cactuses & succulents (sorry, I don’t know their names)
Further to the above, I also thought it would be a bit of fun to have a little competition between myself ad my partner. So on top of everything we decided to grow some sunflowers. We picked up a giant variety to see how well we could do and who would come on top. We had a lot of fun watering our own plant, carefully putting them into larger pots to see who would get the largest one. It is also a great flower for the wildlife, we saw tons of bees on them and when they had finished growing you can either use the seeds for yourself or leave the heads out for the birds.
My garden is quite small and I am still learning a lot about growing both indoors and out. However, I am still managing to grow a lot and having a lot of fun doing so. I hope to continue to grow more and learn about how best to grow them and when. I already feel like I have become more akin to gardening and growing food, which I hope to develop to increase my return in the food I grow year on year. I also hope to grow more flowers and other plants in my garden to make it look nice but to also help the hopefully growing wildlife in my backyard. I am just starting my journey into gardening and growing my own food but I hope to learn plenty and develop my skills for the future. I would love to hear what you are growing this year, so let me know in the comments or by tagging me in your pictures on Instagram, twitter or Facebook.