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
Sustainability, ethics, eco-friendliness and being green is the future. It must be for the sake our planet, the wildlife and the human race as a whole. Yet unfortunately we aren’t all eco-friendly individuals or nearly as good as we can be. Yet as a community we are growing. On this blog I explore everything green from the environment to products that stop the harmful waste and help mitigate our daily negative impact on earth. Recently, I have thought about what are the barrier to going green, what is stoppping us as a planet (or at least in my country) from fully adopting a ‘green’ life. Therefore, I have pulled together what I consider to be the big barriers to going ‘Green’. Although this list could easily be very long trying to highlight all the issues with us going eco-conscious I have tried to highlight the mains ones I believe have the greatest impact. Here are my top reasons that prevent the majority adopting a green, sustainable and eco-friendly future.
Unfortunately, anything new will have a higher cost, this is mainly because it is new to the market, so might not have an instant ‘demand’ for the product. This often means they are produced in smaller quantities, which again will not be as efficient, increasing their costs. ‘Green’ products are also of a higher quality and use raw materials that are generally more expensive. They also have better ethics and have a lower negative environmental impact, which is why I believe we need to expect and accept a higher cost. To make products right, without harming the planet, paying its workers and supply chain fairly and for innovation for future green products it will cost more. Unfortunately, for years we have been buying products without knowing fully where they are from and this includes from sweat factories, child labour and more horrendous abuse of workers and the environment, we cannot have this wilful ignorance going forward into a ‘green’ future. To summarise ‘green’ products tend to cost more because they use raw materials that are usually more expensive, produced in smaller quantities, often of better quality and can have a small premium to ensure it is ethical, less harmful to the planet and even potentially having a positive benefit. Unfortunately, this can all greatly increase the price.
What can we do?
Where you can keep buying 'green'. The more that we do they will be mass produced making them cheaper. It will also lead to new technologies and innovation that are green and cheaper. Take it slow but over time you can obtain a collection of jars and bottles to use at your local zero waste store. Further to this, although many ‘green’ products have a higher cost they are often built to last and is reusable, which can make them cheaper in the long run. Finally, we also need to understand ‘green’ will cost more. To pay people fairly, have the additional measures so they do not harm the environment and to be made of a higher quality and to last this will always be the case. Perhaps think it as not paying more but paying fair.
Lack of Time
Another big impact is our lack of time. Unfortunately, when I grew up we are not taught what to look out for, how we harm our planet or much about sustainability and being ‘green’. Although, I believe this is changing now there are still millions who do not know where to begin or what is actually ‘green’. However, I understand that many of us do not have time to research and get educated on these subjects. It takes a lot of time to learn what it means to be ‘green’, what products or way of life is truly ‘green’ or to find the eco alternatives to fit into our life. As well as all the actions we need to do to negate the negative or increase the positive impacts on our planet. This all takes a tremendous amount of time, which I understand not everyone has.
What can we do?
Start slow, it is not a race. Any step, no matter how small toward a ‘greener’ world is great. So spending any time to achieve this is beneficial. Over time you can grow your knowledge and implement systems that make a change and help our planet. Just keep trying.
I know this is a bit of a self-promotion but follow on your socials or go to the blogs of eco, ethical and environmental bloggers. They spend a lot of time looking for ‘green’ products, summarising what to look out for and how you can help our planet, so by following them you can slowly learn more and make changes.
Greenwashing is when companies make unsubstantiated claims to deceive consumer into believing their products are environmentally friendly when in fact they are hiding the negative impacts of their products from our sights. Unfortunately, people and companies lie or misdirect and this is done a lot with ‘green’ products. A product or service that is ‘green’ is more likely to sell, as it is what most people want. Therefore, if companies can make you believe that their products are green it is better for them. Most companies stick phrases like eco, environmental and the like onto their products without there being any true basis for it. At the moment these terms are not protect, so can be used by anyone without justification. Therefore, we need to remain vigilant to look out for unfounded claims or hidden negative parts of a product or service before we purchase them. If you want to know more on this, please read my article on greenwashing ‘Greenwashing: An Evil Mask!’
What can we do?
Get Educated! Learn to look out for how companies greenwash and what real sustainable, eco-friendly products are, so you can make an educated decision. This will take time to learn but once you have learnt the principles they can be applied everywhere. When making a purchase ask more, ask about the product, ask what makes it green, is it truly recyclable or meets the cradle-to-cradle principles. Once you have learnt what harms the planet and its inhabitants you can make choices to not contribute to that. Do not just take the word of a company but look at the companies actions and the impact of its products and service and together we can beat greenwashing.
In the large societies we are living in today and with the controlling systems our governments have forced us into we are incredibly dependant on the infrastructure they put in place. This includes a wide variety of things including transport, energy, food, packaging and the very way we live our lives in our countries. The reason this can be a problem is because unfortunately the solutions to these issues are not always ‘green’ and can even be harmful to the planet. For example so much food comes in plastic, which is practically unavoidable if you want to live some what of a normal life. Also, the energy systems in place that we are reliant on for our survival might be reliant on oil and gas, which I do not have to explain how this impacts our planet. We are part of the system and the system forms our lives, so this can often control how ‘green’ our lives can be.
What can we do?
To solve this problem, we need to go to the source. This is the government and large corporation that produce our daily products and control so much of our lives. We must put pressure on them and demand they do better. You can do this in a variety of ways such as emailing them, signing petitions, protesting and joining groups that fight for our planet (peacfully of course). I always think we should try to start at work, this might not be easy but push for little changes there and over time the improvements will mount up everywhere. Keep making changes and demanding them and eventually we will have a 'green' way of life.
At the moment I believe there are a number of barriers that are preventing a ‘green’ future being fully adopted. Above are some of the largest barriers that need to be solved for the sake of our future. I wanted to raise these points, so we can better understand them, begin to discuss them and to help us reach a solution. To me I believe the biggest barrier to most is the cost, even if you want to be the perfect ‘green’ individual it can be almost impossible making you bankrupt. However, I do believe it is slowly getting better and more affordable. I also believe if more of us keep pushing and keep trying to be ‘green’ it will become the new norm and easier for all. I would be interested to know what you think is preventing a greener future and what we can do about it?
Updated: Jul 18
Technology has been integrated into our society over the last 20 years and is now a vital part of our life. It helps with everyday tasks, connects us with people around the world and has changed the way the world is run. It also allows information, stories, ideas and suggestions to be shared. For those reasons I love technology. On top of this, it can increase your productivity and ease of life, whilst being fun to use and a massive point of entertainment in the twenty-first century. However, technology and electrical products are often very poor at caring for the environment, which is something I hope they change and I am here to advocate for. I believe most people do not realise the impact they have on the world and this is more so in technology and getting the “latest” phone, laptop, camera or home tech. Therefore, for those that are considerate for our future but still wants to pick up some technology to help them connect with the world here are some key aspects to look for when making your next tech purchase and how to find eco-friendly technology:
Transparency is key to a green and sustainable future. The first step to being green is understanding your impact and to do this you need to understand the product and the company. Before you look at a specific product, look at the company, are they clear with their goals, aims and impact as a whole? In regards to a product, can you find out what parts are in it and where they come from, were it is put together. Even right down to the source of the base materials? This will all help with understanding the full impact the item will have. Look out for open and honest companies that give as much information about the product as possible. Just be careful of greenwashing, as the company might highlight certain credentials to hide or overshadow others or altogether have unfounded claims.
A clear and obvious one is to check how much carbon does the product produce in its creation and even its life (the power consumption). Carbon counting is and will hopefully continue to become a must have figure to all products and if a company offers this it is a good indication on a product's sustainability. The lower the carbon footprint the better. However, if the company does not tell you it can be very hard to find out. When looking at carbon footprint if it is possible you should look at the whole life carbon, as a higher initial carbon footprint might result in a lower one over the life of a product or even the carbon to recycle the item at the end of the products life. I believe this will become a huge part of our future, so look out for it and ask these companies to provide it.
Power is unfortunately not always sustainable and certainly not green or clean. It is also not infinite (yet) and with an ever growing population the demand for it is constantly increasing. Due to this, we need to get more power efficient items of tech going forward to reduce what we use. The more efficient and less we use the less is needed to be produced. This reduces any negative impact from fossil fuel power stations but also allows power to be used for more critical functions such as at hospitals.
Many materials in tech harm the planet. This can be from materials that are mined, which can scar the earth or can be from materials we create like Plastic that also pollute the planet. Therefore, it is good to look for sustainably sourced and natural materials that are used. When looking at the materials in a product look for those that have a higher recycled content, use natural & sustainable materials (if safe to do so) and that minimises the amount they use compared to others. Also, look at the packaging used and make sure this is recyclable. Look for sustainable, no-toxic and ethically sourced materials to be eco-friendly. It is also important to begin to think of the products end of life (see below) and how the materials used will affect this.
Ethical supply chain
This one might be a little tricky to track and check but a company may note it or have a certification with the product detailing it. An ethical supply chain looks at the social responsibility of the corporation. The aim of which is to ensure the product is created in a way that treats workers and the environment ethically. If you know where some of the parts of the product come from then you can check if they are ethical too. It is not just the company itself but the entire supply chain leading to the product being in your hands. Some obvious things to think about is making sure they pay their staff a living wage, do not use sweat factories or child labour or actively pollute our earth.
Repairable and Upgradable?
Moving away from our wasteful culture we need to look at keeping our items including tech in use for as long as possible. To do this we want products that are repairable, so we can continue to use them or upgrade them to keep up with the rest of the world without completely replacing the whole item. Upgradability is an important factor in technology in order to keep up with new software, games and the hardware needs to meet this demand. Therefore, we need to make products upgradable without having to waste the entire device. Look out for companies that design their device to have key components replace increasing the longevity of the product. This all leads to less waste, better use of resources and less carbon emissions, which is obviously better for the environment.
End of life
The world has grown a throw away culture, which is literally killing our planet. We need to get away from this and adopt a circular economy (cradle-to-cradle) approach that allows a product to be reused, remade, or recycled in some way. A lot of companies do buy back or offer discounts for your old trade in, which is a good start. However, the product needs to be made with materials that can be reused and recycled. When purchasing a new item consider its end of life, as this will be something that has to be dealt with in the future.
As an additional bonus a company may back positive initiatives such as charities, planting trees, carbon off-setting, recycling programmes and the like that help them get closer to a truly eco-friendly company. Although this is a great addition your first consideration should be the sustainability and eco-friendliness of the product itself but if the company supports charities you do it is a great addition to your purchase.
At the moment it might be quite hard to find out all this information, as many companies do not disclose it at all (especially when it is not very good for the environment). However, the more we understand about the product and company the better we can view how sustainable, eco-friendly or green it is for us to buy it. I understand you probably do not have the time to fully check a product , nor do I but a quick google search and a run through of the criteria above will help you make the right choice. Always think of the life of a product, as the longer we use something the less waste is produced and the less carbon is used. We also need to push for companies to fully disclose their products information and supply chain, as well as making their products repairable and upgradable. This will put sustainability and our planet's future as a priority when making new products. I hope the above will give you a few items to consider when making your next tech purchase and hopefully in time we will be able to find eco-friendly tech that meets our needs without jeopardising our future.