We have always tried to reduce our negative impact on our environment, and self sufficiency has played a part in this – and has been the driving force behind running our own smallholding. But as with so many big projects, sometimes life gets in the way and we let things slide. With two young boys and another pregnancy in 2017 I’ve fallen into a bit of a conveniency hole. With the New Year approaching I’m looking to re-establish some of my sustainable principles, as well as incorporating some new ones, whilst being realistic about the time and energy I will have available.
With another addition to the family due in March I will be bringing my stash of cloth nappies out of storage in the next few weeks for a wash to freshen up and check we’ve got everything we need. I’ve cloth nappied pretty much from birth with both my boys and have a selection of two parters, all in ones and hybrids, the majority birth to potty as I tend to have big babies, so newborn nappies don’t last all that long for us. If this is all a foreign language I will be putting another post together on the benefits of using cloth nappies and what works well for us. Ultimately, we use cloth nappies as I just can’t stand the amount of rubbish going to landfill, and by switching to cloth, even just part time makes such a difference.
Cloth is not just for babies but mummy too! I discovered cloth sanitary products after the birth of my first son, and have never looked back. Skip to the next section if you are feeling fragile, but honestly, it is a lot less gruesome than dealing with disposable nappy blow-outs! Cloth pads are so much more comfy, more absorbent, and less smelly and irritating that single use products. I would wash with cloth nappies, or with towels after a quick rinse out with cold water. I’ve recently bought some more larger pads for postpartum use that will also be fine for overnight/ heavy days when my period returns.
I’ve topped up my supply of washable breast pads and wipes ready for when Baby makes an appearance. I’ve struggled to find washable breast pads that are absorbent enough for my initial dairy cow milk production in the first months, but hope these from a Close Parent will do the trick. Washable wipes are also something that I wouldn’t now be without, they are like mini flannels and can be cotton or bamboo. They are so much better at cleaning babies dirty bottoms – one cloth wipe will do the job of half a dozen single use wipes. They are also great when weaning starts, to clean up dirty faces.
There has been so much in the news recently about the horrendous effects plastic has had on our oceans, so I’ve taken a few steps to reduce the amount of plastic we are all using. The boys each had a stainless steel Kleen Kanteen in their stockings this year as well as some reusable straws. This should cut out our need to by drinks when we are out and will replace the endless drinks bottles we seem to get through at school and preschool, which seem to last all of five minutes!
I don’t tend to buy a lot of clothes for the boys, and number two gets a lot of hand-me-downs, but we’ve had a few items from Frugi recently and love the quality of organic cotton.
Realistically I know there will be only so much work I will get done in the vegetable garden this year with a new baby – anything I do grow will be a welcome bonus to our diets. As an alternative I am looking into starting with a veg box scheme – I like the look of these from Riverford Organics which looks very reasonable, and I can top with organic meat/dairy and fruit if I need to. This should hopefully cut out the depressing amount of packaging used by supermarkets, and give us good quality organic produce.
Another change we’ve recently made is to buy in loo roll in bulk with no plastic packaging from Who Gives A Crap. I went for the 100% recycled paper and I’m happy with the quality – though if you are used to a bit of luxury then the bamboo may be better! The price per sheet is equivalent to branded loo roll, but I have found the sheet size is smaller, so we get through a bit more. With 50% of their profits going to build toilets for those in need, I know where I would rather spend my pennies.
There are so many more things I would like to do, but will have to see how things go this year. I know making a few small changes is more achievable than a complete lifestyle overhaul, and will still have a positive affect on our environment. I would love to hear from you if you are also hoping to take some steps into making your lifestyle more sustainable and reducing your plastic use – leave me your tips in the comments 🙂