Getting Started

A discussion with a friend of mine inspired this post. We were discussing my projects over a toddler picnic lunch amd she expressed that she “wouldn’t know where to start!” This struck a chord with me because at various points over the last 12 months I too have looked at some steps and found them too over whelming to take on.

It also reminded me of how I sometimes feel these life choices can be a burdan. I had a bit of a melt down over a difficult shop with my two monsters a few weeks ago. Toddler-monster was being a pain, I had loads to carry and a shop assistant was snooty with me when I tried to avoid packaging. I questioned why this was so hard, why aren’t the big businesses doing more to make this easier for the consumer? If it’s hard for me as a motivated individual it will be next to impossible to pursuade others. And what about those on very tight budgets for whom choosing the more expensive item because it’s packaged in cardboard is not an option?

Then I reminded myself that change takes time. Motivated individuals need to do all they can to lobby businesses and use their consumer power. Rome was not built in a day and every step is a good step.

So the aim of this post is to inspire and help with getting started on a path to a  more ecologically aware way of living. I remember growing up in the 80’s and nobody had a recycle bin and nobody took their own bags to the shops. These things are second nature to us now amd should serve to remind us that we are moving in the right direction.

Tip 1 – Choose one thing to change

Start with small steps. Small steps that are allowed to embed are much more likely to be sustained. So pick one change that you can make easily and start your journey there. Hopefully you will feel inspired to make another change in the not too distant future.

Tip 2 – Choose an easy change to start

Research some options for small changes and you may be suprised by how many you already do. Remember just pick one! Changes I found easy were:

  • Shopping bags – stash them in the car boot and then you’re never without one.
  • Bamboo tooth brushes (a few clicks to order online – I bought ours from Save Some Green)
  • Coffee – get hold of a small thermos and pack it on days when you’d otherwise buy one.
  • Take a packed lunch – save your pocket and some packaging!

Tip 3 – Reduction is positive

I would love to say that as a family we now completely avoid all plastic packaging, but I’d be lying. I squirm at the thought that we own two Diesel cars. Some days I have to use my tumble dryer. Sometimes I forget to pick up a bag for life. But we are trying to do these things less frequently. We still use disposable nappies for Baby-Monster at night but we use an awful lot less than we did for Toddler-Monster. Reduction is better than not bothering at all.

Tip 4 – Follow some zero waste social media groups

I’ve found some great ideas and inspiration by reading about the journey others are taking. Fellow posters have supported me on aspects I’ve found tricky and kept me on track with the reason we’re trying to do better. Some groups/pages I like are Zero Waste Weekly and A Week Without Plastic. Social media was really helpful when I gave up shampoo. I was inspired to start a local group but it’s still in its infancy.

Tip 5 – Commit

You’ve picked one small change, one that you think fits your lifestyle and is achievable. So now commit to it. Tell you’re friends, get your family on board. Give it a good few weeks and then assess how well it’s working for you. Most things I’ve tried have taken a while to tweek and refine before they really work. Give yourself a pat on the back for taking the first step in what I hope you’ll find an interesting journey.

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