Barbara Olszowy Profile Photo
by Barbara Olszowy
4 min read

Table of Contents

Introduction

Do you ever feel like you want to be “eco” but have no idea where to start? Do you think it’s expensive and all your good intentions go away before even starting? Have a look at my little story about how it all began for a lassie from North East Scotland and how it has continued since then…

Early stages

To begin with- I’ve been recycling whatever I was only able to since I can remember. However, at some point I realised that maybe it’s time to focus on something more important, which I believe is reducing and following that - reusing. So I had a little look around my house to identify what are the products or items me and my family use in our everyday life and then investigated, whether it was possible to replace them with something more sustainable.

Phase 1

I started from myself - bathroom, kingdom of various types of plastic bottles- shampoos, conditioners and all kinds of cosmetics. Once this horrible fact occurred to me, I started a little research and- how exciting- it turned out that in the area where I live, there is a quite few places where you can actually re-fill your own containers! And not only with food but also many types of personal hygiene use goodies- brilliant! And that’s how it turned out that I’ve been using the same plastic packages for hand wash for over 2 years now-by simply refilling them only when required, instead of buying new ones all over again and throwing out when used. I also purchased a set of reusable cotton pads to remove make up- again, less waste produced.

Refilling my own bathroom containers.

Refilling my own bathroom containers.

Phase 2

Another place at home for some more environmental friendly improvements was the kitchen. Obviously, that’s where you can continue your adventure with re-fillery shop purchases- not only related to food but also cleaning products or washing up liquid. That’s all subject to your local shop’s stock.

Refilling my own kitchen containers.

Refilling my own kitchen containers.

Phase 3

However, don’t stop here, there’s potentially more opportunities for areas of improvement. For example, have a look at your stock of kitchen foil, cling film, even paper towel- that all can be easily replaced with silicon mats or different shapes/sizes silicon covers, which you can wash and use countless times, again and again. And a nice alternative to paper towels (although I appreciate maybe not on all occasions) and also any kind of wet wipes can be… a cloth.

Wipes made from old clothes.

Wipes made from old clothes.

How many old clothes can you find in your wardrobe which cannot be used any more as either stained or badly ripped? Cut these to smaller pieces and use for cleaning, drying off any types of spills on your floor or trying to sort out your children’s faces after they had their meal.

Phase 4 and so on…

If you are not one of the lucky owners of the dishwasher- how many sponges a month you go through when washing your dishes? Do you know you can buy 1 silicone pad which does the same job (if not better) and lasts forever?

My Silicone pad

My Silicone pad

If you’re going to freeze something, please try to put it in a reusable container rather than freezer bag. Don’t pack your sandwich into a single use foil bag- buy a nice sandwich box or a beeswax alternative.

Glass of tap water

Glass of tap water

Thirsty? Grab a glass and say hello to your tap- we’re lucky enough to have this brilliant quality water here, so no need to purchase it in plastic bottles from supermarket.

And the journey still continues

These are just a few examples of how a single person can incorporate little changes into their life with no big (or even zero) cost involved. And bear in mind- you don’t have to all of sudden take a 360 degrees turn in your life in one day- take your time and introduce any changes slowly, get used to them, adjust to your needs, investigate but please do start as it’s worth it! Things are improving every year and all these environmental friendly alternatives become more available, so even if there is nothing stationary in your area you can always order it to be delivered (I know, not ideal but still better than producing more waste).

I am perfectly aware of more wonderful alternatives out there, which I didn’t include in this story but this is my story.

And I wanted to focus on what I (as an ordinary person) did myself specifically and hopefully proved, that after all, it’s not so complicated or difficult to become “eco”.

Do you feel inspired now and perhaps ready to start experimenting with your own swaps? If so, I keep my fingers tightly crossed for you- I’m sure you’ll find your own way to your perfect sustainable life.