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Consumer Power to the People

I have recently acquired a healthy dose of consumer guilt. You may remember my advice earlier this year of never looking at the big picture. Humans weren’t made to be able to process anguish on a global scale and it can often feel overwhelming to think of everything that’s wrong with the world and try to fix it. I’m not saying that we cannot achieve great things by being bold and brave but sometimes it’s the little things that add up.

I’ve always been somewhat of a hippy girl, an earth child. My Mum used to make her own beauty products, dye and sew clothes and dry hydrangeas around the fireplace. I have some of that power in me. I was raised in a vegetarian household that respected the world around us, spent time with nature, celebrate the seasons and valued history. But lately I’ve been having pangs of guilt. Without getting preachy here, we waste so much and throw away so much plastic that the earth can’t cope. I’ve initiated the ‘make a difference in small ways‘ strategy. I’ve decided to exercise my consumer power here by choosing to spend money on the things I value and to avoid things that cause a lot of waste.

I’ve started with a few (experimental) changes to my daily life, pictured above and explained here:

Solid Shampoo Bars

I recently read a post online about how much water is in shampoo and how backwards that is as you’re standing in a cascade of water, duh. I bought this solid shampoo bar from Lush for £6 (eek) and a metal tin to keep it in for £2.50 that you can refill. It’s blue and seaweedy and I’m skeptical but hey-ho. No plastic bottle to throw away! I have a lot of hair that always needs taming so we’ll see how this goes. I only wash my hair twice a week so if I need to use it more often than that it’s probably a false economy and false ecology (is that a phrase?). I’ve used it twice so far. I didn’t use enough the first time so my hair was a little oily the next day. The second time I used it I did a better job and my hair is still clean 2 days later (I know, I told you I was a hippy). So far so good!

Glass Fridge Jug

I already have a larger one of these from Ikea that I love. I use it for tap water and like to put it on the dining table or just use it for cool drinks throughout the evening. This one was £3.99 from TK Maxx and I intend to use it for homemade almond milk but to be honest I’ll believe that when I see it..

Almond Oil

I love essential oils and use them quite often for aroma therapy – lavender makes me sleepy and frankincense calms me down. I’ve been researching homemade beauty recipes and carrier oils come up a LOT. I bought this almond oil from a heavenly shop in Chichester called Manuka for £5.99. It;s in a glass bottle that I can reuse so there’s no plastic waste! Although I have today realised that I maybe was supposed to buy sweet almond oil and not regular almond oil and I have yet to find out whether what I bought it the correct thing… It’s a learning curve!

Charcoal Soap

I got this charcoalogy soap from TK Maxx for £3.99 for 3 100g bars. I was a little disappointed to open it and find that each bar is plastic wrapped – that kinda killed my Zero-Waste-Buzz but it’s still better than a big tube. So far it’s left my face feeling super clean.

Natracare Panty Liners

These panty liners are organic cotton and are more about treating my body right than treating the earth right. I have a Mooncup which is brilliant but sometimes you need a back up. I’ve also got some reusable pads but I’m still adjusting so these Natracare liners are perfect for now.

DIY Multi Purpose Cleaner 

Simple ingredients cleaning up my home in more ways than one. Read more here.

Glass Containers

Boo to single use plastic containers. Yay to glass jars and bottles! Simples. No purchases necessary, I already have a LOT.

And lastly, a few things I already did to help myself and the planet:

Reusable tote shopping bags – this is pretty much becoming normal now in the UK -hooray!

Reusable water bottle – I have a Hydr8 which nags me to drink more water. No throwing away plastic bottles.

Not showering every day – I use ecology as an excuse to be lazy, basically. Anyone else seen that video of the little girl who won’t shower and wants her Mum to hold her ipad so she can watch it in the bathroom? “But I’m gonna be COLD”…

Mooncup – As above, it’s the bomb. What are tampons about anyway?

Reusable cotton face pads– washable and no more throwing away a cotton pad a day.

Natural Deodorant –  from The Natural Deodorant Company. No aluminium, no nasties, glass jar. Smells heavenly. Actually works!  

So I’ll keep you updated on all these little changes: which ones I’m able to keep and which I need to work on. I’m not sure how this less waste thing is going to work our with my printmaking… there’s always quite a bit of waste paper, lino cuttings, scrap fabric etc. but I’ll see how it goes. For me right now it’s just important that I’m making some small positive changes.

Anyone got any tips? A little help here?


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