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Month: January 2020

The Big Green Move

Moving house is one of the most stressful things a person can experience. I am sure I read it on an internet listicle, so it must be true.

In the past three months, I (Tamara) have:

  • moved all my worldly belongings and crap into storage.
  • moved all my worldly belongings and crap out of storage 8 weeks later into my new Pompey home.
  • moved my mother-dearest from her home of twenty years in Devon to my new Pompey home
  • travelled by train to The Netherlands (#NoFly2020) to help my mother-in-law move house within her local area.

That is a lot of packing of boxes, hiring of vans and moving of people and their stuff.

My move was the only one I had any real control over and I was determined to make it as environmentally light as possible.

We did our own packing and moving. This was primarily because it was cheaper than hiring professional movers but also because I wanted to keep the materials used and waste generated within my control.

This meant using as little plastic as possible, not buying new and reusing and recycling after the move.

It wasn’t a perfect move by any means, but I did my best within my limited budget. *pats self reassuringly on back*

Here are Tamara’s (somewhat obvious) Top 3 Tips on How to Green Your House Move:

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Tip 1: Eco Packing Tape

If you stop reading after this tip, that is fine by me. Because you will now know that paper packaging tape exists and that you can buy it locally from mobile plastic-free shop Refill and Replenish for £2! I bought a ton from online eco-shop Anything But Plastic as Refill and Replenish hadn’t yet started stocking the paper tape – and though I bought loads… I still managed to run out. You are going to use a crazy amount of tape. So much tape. Might as well make it plastic-free. There’s no excuse now you know.

Image by Dirk (Beeki®) Schumacher from Pixabay

Tip 2: Collect (LOTS OF) SECONDHAND Boxes and Newspapers

I managed to not buy any bubble wrap. Not one roll! Of this, I am very proud and owe to friends and neighbours who collected newspapers and bubble wrap for me to use.

I started collecting boxes long before I moved house. My partner, The Dutchman, has moved his work office a number of times in the past few years and after each move, I have collected the cream of the crop of the discarded archive boxes. He thought I was crazy. I knew my day would come.

I kept a beady eye on online reuse sites such as Freegle for offers of moving boxes and also posted a few requests. I sourced most of my boxes through Freegle and some Freeglers also kindly messaged me with tips on where to get boxes, particularly Lidl and PC World.

And now I have moved, when I am unpacked, I will offer out the useable boxes to others to be reused via Freegle.

The used newspaper will be recycled at kerbside as I unpack…which I am doing…slowly.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tip 3: Tap Into Your Community

Collecting such a plethora of boxes, newspaper and packaging material would not have been so easy without the support of others.

One friend donated a load of bubble wrap she had been saving. Another collected newspapers from the neighbours in her apartment block. One volunteered her husband to help on moving day. Another friend let me stay in her flat while she was travelling and we needed a place to stay for a month whilst our house purchase went through. One loaned her garage for my excess stuff to be housed while I staged the house ready for sale. My cousin who was visiting from Trinidad on training for work helped us lug furniture from storage to the new house.

After the death of her beloved nan and the clearing of her belongings which she writes about here, Emma kindly gave me towels and bedding and other linens to use as packaging material. As they were not good enough to be donated for use by people (i.e. it had rips or was stained or had faded), I was gifted them with the strict instructions that once unpacked, I must donate them to The Stubbington Ark for their animals. In the midst of her grief, she would send me texts checking if this or that would be useful for my move. And she helped me move on moving day. Words cannot begin to say how valuable her help and support was. I couldn’t have done an eco move without her.

I tapped into the local Zero Waste Facebook community when I needed help and advice. As mentioned above, Freeglers gave me their boxes and advice. So many boxes.

And finally, when my mother-dearest’s ridiculous oversized antique armchair couldn’t get through the front door, local joiner and carpenter Aaron of Aaron’s Wood ‘N’ Stuff took it apart and reassembled it, saving it from my exasperated idea of taking a hammer to it. My mother-dearest and her armchair thank you Aaron.


And you, dear Reader, what tips and tricks do you have for making a house move an eco one? Let us know in the Comments section.


Written by Tamara,
a Green Hairy Feminist

New Year’s Resolution – Reducing Plastic in the Bathroom

Hello and welcome to the first Shades of Green blog post of 2020. Emma is a bit snowed under this week, so we’re happy to present a guest post from Polly at Your Waste Gone, an environmentally friendly and eco-conscious waste clearance company for commercial and domestic waste. So, let’s hand over to Polly.

So much plastic

Personal hygiene and beauty products are major culprits of wasteful plastic packaging, making the bathroom a dominant source of plastic consumption. Thankfully, however, there are many things we can do to reduce plastic waste in the bathroom. So, why not start the year off right and make your new year’s resolution one that benefits your environment?

Why Plastic is a Problem

Unfortunately, even with climate change concerns growing, many people still see little point in making the switch to plastic-free products. It’s easy to feel helpless in the war on plastic, but by making small changes now, we can make a difference to the future health of our planet.

Microplastics – a Hidden Danger

dolphin

Plastic is not biodegradable, but plastic does break down into tiny, sand-like grains called microplastic. Some microplastics are actually even smaller than grains of sand, and can only be seen under a microscope. As it makes its way into the ocean, toxic microplastic is ingested by fish and other sea life, and if we eat seafood, we end up ingesting microplastics too. Microplastic is also in the air we breathe, and scientists are concerned about the health impacts, with research suggesting that they could be a contributing factor to lung cancer.

Threat to wildlife

Plastic waste poses a major threat to wildlife across the globe as wild animals’ natural habitats are invaded by our plastic waste. Because of this, animals ingest plastic, which causes major problems to their digestive systems. Animals can also easily find themselves permanently trapped or entangled in pieces of plastic waste, with little chance of survival thereafter. Plastic pollution also continues to harm aquatic and marine life. Sea turtles, dolphins, whales and marine birds are particularly vulnerable, as these creatures often ingest plastic when mistaking it for their prey.

How can I reduce my Plastic Consumption in the Bathroom?

shopping cart

When it comes to wasteful plastic packaging, the bulk of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of large industrial companies. However, we as consumers are not exempt. If we think of our shopping habits like a voting system, every time we buy a non-recyclable plastic product, we are voting for companies to continue producing them. By changing the way we shop, we can have our say. Opting for sustainably-packaged, plastic-free products tells the big companies “we want more of this!”.

Many of us don’t have the time to inspect every package label when we’re out shopping. This is why we recommend making the permanent switch to greener options. That way, you always know the products you are buying, don’t contribute to plastic pollution. To help, we have created a guide here.

Hair Care

Black woman with natural hair
It takes a lot of work to have hair that looks this good

Shampoo Bars

Eliminating the need for plastic bottles, these handy bars work just like a normal bar of soap but are designed specifically for your locks!

Angel Hair shampoo bar – Lush £8.00

The shampoo bar may be a little pricier than your go-to bottle, but this mighty little bar is said to last up to 80 washes. That’s the equivalent to three large bottles of standard shampoo. Lush sell packaging-free shampoo bars in various scents, each targeting different hair types and hair dilemmas.

Sunny Orange Bain and Savon Shampoo Bar – Peace with the Wild £5.50

The Bain and Savon shampoo bars are packaged in wax paper and recyclable, recycled cardboard. The bars are made using 100% natural ingredients, are vegan-friendly and made in the UK!

Conditioner bars

Just like shampoo bars, conditioner bars offer all the benefits of conditioner, without the plastic guilt.

The Golden Cap Pressed Conditioner – Lush £8.50 – £9.00

To use the conditioner bar, simply hold the bar under warm water and work between your hands until a silky formula is released, then smooth through your strands as normal and rinse, simple!

Lavender and Geranium Friendly Soap Conditioner Bar – Friendly Soap £4.95

Just like their shampoo bars, the conditioner bars from friendly soap are packaged in recycled card. They can even be turned into liquid conditioners and stored in a glass bottle or old conditioner bottle at home by dissolving in water.

Grooming and Personal Hygiene

Shaving beard
That’s not a safety razor, but you get the idea

Cotton Buds

Despite their convenience, cotton buds are a big contributor to plastic pollution. Whilst the bud part of the cotton swab is made from cotton, the stem is often made from non-recyclable plastic. According to Cotton Bud Project, cotton buds are also one of the most commonly-flushed household items and they pass easily through the fine mesh screens in our sewage filtration systems, landing them in our oceans and contributing to more microplastic pollution, as well as threats to marine life and human health via toxic release…scary!

We encourage you to ditch those plastic cotton swabs for swabs with paper stems. Even better, why not try a reusable bud. LastSwab is looking for supporters in their latest endeavour, a reusable bud made from medical grade silicone.

Razors

Packaged in plastic and made out of plastic, disposable razors are one of the least environmentally friendly beauty products in our bathrooms. They’re simply tossed into the bin at the end of their short lifespan and only to add to the growing plastic pollution problem.

A more sustainable and economical alternative is the safety razor. Safety razors made from wood and metal and are designed to last a lifetime. Once they do reach their end, they can then be recycled and turned into new razors or new products. The blades of safety razors can also easily be recycled using a razor bank. Just be sure to check with your local council first, as some areas have other ways of recycling blades.

Mutiny Double Edge Safety Razor – Peace with the Wild £14.00

Bambaw Double Edge Safety Razor with long bamboo handle – &Keep £16.99

Skincare

Image of a genderqueer person using a makeup remover wipe
“There’s got to be a better way to remove makeup!”
Image of a genderqueer person using a makeup remover wipe by Broadly’s The Gender Spectrum Collection

Cotton Pads and Cleansers

Although cotton pads themselves are usually made from 100% natural cotton, they are often wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Plus, to actually remove makeup and cleanse the face the pads are used with a makeup removal solution, often from a plastic bottle. To reduce plastic consumption in your beauty routine, swap the cotton pads for a reusable makeup removal pad and the cleanser for one in a recyclable glass bottle instead.

Pack of 10 Imsevimse Reusable Cotton Cleansing Pads – Natural Collection £12.50

These pads are made from soft organic cotton terry and are a generous 8cm size.

Flawless Micellar Water – Wearth London £4.95

This beauty staple is handmade in the UK and packaged in a recyclable glass jar with a recyclable aluminium lid.

Eye Makeup Remover – The Zero-Waste Maker on Etsy.co.uk £3.00

A skin-friendly, effective eye makeup remover packaged in a recyclable brown glass bottle.

Deodorants and Body Sprays

Asian woman in exercise class
Royalty-free images of armpits with hair are hard to find.

While aerosol deodorant cans are often made from aluminium and can easily be recycled, most roll-on deodorant and non-aerosol sprays are sold in a wasteful plastic shell. Aerosols are also a harmful air pollutant, so even with their recyclable packaging, they aren’t the most environmentally-friendly choice.

The good news is, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to both deodorants.

Grapefruit and Lemon Natrual Deodrant Stick – & Keep £7.00

Packaged in 100% recycled cardboard, the earth-conscious deodorant range offers a selection of delectable scents that are vegan and cruelty-free as well as plastic-free!

Fit Pit Tea Tree & Orange Natural Deodorant – The Green Woman £4.00

These are plastic-free and handmade in the UK. They stock a variety of scents and cater to those with more sensitive skin with their ‘Fit Pit Sensitive’ products.

Your Waste Gone specialises in waste removal. Their range of services includes house clearance, rubbish removal, refuse collection and more. Your Waste Gone will never send your recyclable waste to landfill.