I’ve been living a more ethically-minded life for almost 6 months now, and along the way I’ve constantly heard about (and strived towards) ‘zero waste’ as the ultimate environmental holy grail. But what does ‘zero waste’ ACTUALLY mean, and is it even possible?
I am incredibly excited to introduce my very first guest post on this blog, and the first post in what I hope will be a regular series featuring handmade, plastic free, cruelty free and chemical free product swaps!
Up first is my incredible pal Ellie Bee from @bakingdetectives, sharing the recipe for her homemade chemical free washing up liquid. Ellie is passionate about replacing her everyday essentials with more sustainable options, and you can find her chatting more about this and her love for baking and fictional detectives over on her twitter, Instagram, blog and newsletter!
Every time I’ve been, there’s been something new or unique on offer at the Tour, and it’s this what keeps me coming back (not that I wouldn’t go ever again otherwise. I’d probably visit every weekend if I could). A few months ago, my sister Sophie and friend Gemma messaged me to say they’d both got some time off and maybe fancied a trip down to London, and as soon as we found out that the Goblet of Fire was coming to the Tour we’d booked tickets faster than you can say Quidditch!
I’m going to start this post with an immediate disclaimer: I am in NO WAY having a dig at JK Rowling’s writing or the series in general by pointing out these plot holes. I’m not setting out to be malicious or catty, and I very much hope my comments are taken in the fun, lighthearted and intriguing way I intend them to be!
The idea for doing a blog on plot holes and continuity errors rose from one of my many annual re-reads, at which point I started noticing a few tiny things that didn’t add up – when you’ve concentrated on a text so many times for so long, you start picking up on every little comma and detail! A couple of innocent looking sentences here and there got me thinking IF THIS, WHAT ABOUT THAT?!, and IF NOT X, HOW Y?! – which led me to while away a good few (incredibly enjoyable!) hours deliberating, arguing, researching and speculating.
As a long term fan of Harry Potter, every minute that I spend immersed in the wizarding world is an absolute treat, and when new questions and theories are thrown up after so long it almost feels like we’ve been given brand new material to dive into all over again!
For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying, testing and using a number of plastic free product swaps within our household, in an attempt to cut down on our environmental footprint wherever we can.
Items like clingfilm, sandwich bags, bottles and toothbrushes all add up day to day and month to month, and the majority of times we only reach out for them to fulfil a single use before disposing of them straight into our bins – which go directly into landfill sites or our oceans, harming animals and affecting their habitats.
As I’ve touched on before in my previous posts, we can all massively reduce the amount of plastic waste we produce by making small changes individually, including the replacement of single use plastics with hardier, reusable and biodegradable alternatives. Due to the recent upturn in awareness about the plastic free movement, we are lucky in that we’re seeing a significant increase in the amount of these alternatives on the market – and with more being developed as we speak, it’s only going to get easier and cheaper for us to commit to being better!
I’ve personally banned clingfilm, plastic carrier bags, plastic water bottles and plastic wrapped snacks from my life, and I’ve recently also replaced my disposable plastic toothbrush with a bamboo alternative. I’ve still got a long way to go (I need to hunt down plastic-free toiletries and cleaning products next!), but I thought I’d do a quick review of just some of the product swaps I’ve made and loved so far:
A little while ago (OK, it was last year, but only 2 months in real terms!) The Telegraph posted a slideshow ranking and rating 60 Harry Potter characters. They claimed the ranking was based on ‘who is the most magical’, from worst to best.
Unsurprisingly, I had Issues with their choices. A LOT of Issues. I won’t go into each reaction here, as that could be a whole post on it’s own, but safe to say any wizarding world in which Petunia Dursley is ‘more magical’ than Fred & George Weasley is NOT MY WIZARDING WORLD. (Seriously, I am not over that one. I will never be over that one.)
I did however have a mini rant on twitter, which prompted a few of my followers to suggest I post my own (more realistic) version. At the time, I was incredibly busy with work/Christmas/parties etc, but the idea has been brewing in my mind ever since and I think I’ve finally got my choices down to pat! In the interest of a fair comparison I’ve used the same 60 characters as The Telegraph (another of my Issues with the list is how many people they left out), and I’d love to hear what you think of my ranking….
One surprising thing to come out of recent increased focus on product packaging is the sheer amount of unexpected plastic hiding in plain sight. We’re all aware that carrier bags, bottles, straws and sandwich wrappers are The Worst, but luckily we also know we can easily cut down on those items without any huge lifestyle upheaval or financial consequences (I did a blog post with easy, cheap tips on reducing your plastic footprint here!)
However, what about the every day necessities that we can’t just do without, or swap for better options? What can we buy instead of bin bags, cleaning solution, earplugs, even TEA?
Although it’s not obvious, all of the above products (and hundreds more household items) contain or are made in the majority from plastic, and it’s a lot harder to find biodegradable or eco-friendly alternatives on the shelves. It’s also hard not to feel disheartened about making small changes, however necessary and worthy they are, when you find yourself still using plastic in so many other areas with no accessible or easily affordable alternatives. I was especially disappointed to hear that almost all teabags are sealed with a plastic derivative, as I thought that by drinking tea (and not plastic juice bottles etc) I was making a considerable difference to the environment. Were ANY companies offering a plastic-free option?