You may have already started to make transitions towards a greener lifestyle before Covid-19, but could the pandemic be the motivation you need to take things a step further? Whilst there is so much worry and devastation around this disease and the impact it is having on peoples lives, we are certain that many people will be noticing the positives that could come from this, for your own family and hopefully for the environment. Perhaps you have more time on your hands to think about your habits and how green your house is, or perhaps you feel drawn to a more self-sufficient lifestyle now that so many of our luxuries have been taken away or limited. As you struggle to book supermarket delivery slots, or grab the last of the toilet paper, you might not help but notice how dependent we have become on convenience. Now imagine a lockdown where you have your families weekly veg supply in your back garden, or a never ending eco supply of toilet paper without ever leaving the house! Here are just some ideas for making your lockdown a little more eco friendly, which could hopefully become life long changes in your household even when the convenient but costly (for you and the planet) options return.
Grow Your Own Veg
This one is something that I’m sure many of you dream about, think about, talk about, plan, or even attempt but perhaps face too many obstacles to commit to a more permanent lifestyle. Of course space can be a major deciding factor on what you are able to grow at home, but there are many tutorials online that show how easy certain vegetables can be grown in pots and on windowsills. You can also see if there are any allotments nearby with spaces (they often have waiting lists but why not join now whilst feeling motivated and give yourself something to look forward to in the future! In the meantime you can do some research and learn a little bit more about how to become green fingered and feed your family without spending money on veg that comes in plastic packaging.
Zero Waste Deliveries
Following on from that, zero waste shops are great places to find dried goods (rice, pasta, oats, spices etc), eco friendly household products, toiletries and more, and with less to no packaging. Our local zero waste shop has been delivering veg boxes and anything from their shop, ad we are so happy to support them. Most shops and businesses offering deliveries will take card payment in advance to avoid exchanging cash, and leave your shopping on the doorstep.
Veg Box Deliveries
If that isn’t an option for you, or you just don’t have the time to do so, why not find out if there are any veg box schemes near you? This is also a great option right now (because even if you start growing veg in your garden it won’t be ready for a while!) as it means you don’t have to visit the supermarket. You are also supporting smaller businesses during this uncertain time that will be devastating for so many small, local businesses. If you can manage to find other staples that can be delivered (for example your local bakery, butcher, zero waste shops) then you might even find you don’t have to visit the supermarket at all. We’ve been trying to do this as much as possible and it has introduced us to new businesses, saved money, reduced our waste AND kept our public exposure to an absolute minimum – good news for everyone!
Cheeky Wipes Reusable Toilet Paper
You may be familiar with cloth nappies, washable wipes and even reusable sanitary products, but did you know in these times of toilet paper craziness you can be fully stocked and eco friendly, without ever leaving the house? We think this is a great idea from Cheeky Wipes and would urge you not to knock it until you’ve tried it! If you already use cloth products you might be more open to the idea, but if not, rest assured it is easy, mess free, hygienic and zero waste! As well as great value for money. Read more from their website below and don’t forget, we also have a giveaway here from Cheeky Wipes for an All in One Kit!
Toilet Roll Alternative Family Cloth Wipes Kit from Cheeky Wipes
- 50 lovely soft cotton terry wipes
- 1 Fresh Wipes container – single clip for one-handed opening
- 1 Mucky Wipes container with removable mesh bag insert for washing, single clip for one-handed opening
- 1 bottle of ‘Fresh Wipes’ essential oil blend (choose from Lavender & Camomile or Mandarin)
- 1 bottle of Tea Tree & Tea tree lemon ‘Mucky Wipes’ essential oil blend
- For 25 wipes, fill the Fresh container (blue) with cold water to 3cm from the top of the box. If you are soaking more wipes, add a little more water
- Add 4 – 5 drops of the ‘Fresh Wipes’ essential oil blend. Then pop your wipes into the water/oil solution. Turn the pile of wipes over so the top ones get damp too. Once all the wipes are damp they are ready to use. Gently tip out any excess water so the wipes aren’t sitting in it.
- Prepare your Mucky Wipes container (green) by filling with water to the fill level marked, then add 3 – 4 drops of the ‘Mucky Wipes’ essential oil blend
- Once you’ve used the wipes, place them inside the clever mesh wash bag in the ‘Mucky Wipes’ container. This saves you having to touch those mucky things again.
No extra washing…or drying required!
- Your mesh bag of mucky baby wipes can go straight into the washing machine (30 – 60 degree wash is fine!) with your next load of washing –
- Washing at 60c once a week (with your towels or bedding for example) or occasionally using an anti-bacterial washing solution will help keep them in tip-top condition.
- No need to dry them if you’re in a hurry, just place them back in the ‘Fresh Wipes’ box with some fresh essential oil solution. However getting them out on the washing line helps keep them hygenic too!
Of course we are fully aware that there may be temptation to go online and spend right now; out of boredom, stress (retail therapy is too real!) and because of the need to keep things fresh and interesting at home. If you do find yourself doing this you can try to shop ethically and only buy what you really need. We are going to talk about toys but this applies to all of your online spending and there are plenty of ethical clothing companies for adults and kids, eco kitchenware, eco paint for DIY projects, eco friendly and cruelty free make up and beauty products and even differences in the technology products we choose, so do your own research and shop responsibly!
As for toys, there are so many wonderful options for all ages, that provide lots of opportunity for open ended play, imaginary play and physical activity, from well known companies such as Babipur and Myriad Toys. We also absolutely love Fairkind who attended Tribal Hearts 2017 with their beautiful ethical products and have since expanded and opened a shop.
If you find your children getting a little bored during lockdown why not check out some of the following options:
- Whirli is a toy subscription service that allows you to borrow toys, delivered straight to your door, and simply send them back and swap for different ones whenever you like. We’ve used it before and the customer service is excellent, the range of toys is vast and includes some beautiful wooden toys and the whole process is simple. They are ensuring, as always, that toys are sterilised every time they are returned so you don’t need to worry.
- For Spring days spent in the garden you will love Dr Zigs Bubbles. They avoid plastic where possible and are made 100% in the UK, supporting UK businesses and making long-lasting, quality products.
- Curvy Balance Boards are a wonderful open ended Waldorf inspired toy from Young and Learning, who would have attended Tribal Hearts this year in our ethical marketplace. An award winning eco friendly company their balance boards are beautifully handmade here in the UK with sustainable wood and provide endless opportunities for play for all ages.
- If your kids love receiving post why not try a subscription box? There are many available including arts and craft boxes or how about this wonderful option from Mud and Bloom that inspires children to connect with nature.
- You can never go wrong with a lovely new book. Great for bonding, encouraging language development and helping children to understand and express emotion. Perfect during the pandemic and you can check out our book recommendations from Jo at The Little Literary Society by clicking here.
- And don’t forget we have some great step by step kids activities on Tribal Hub, as well as a list of fun things happening online to keep them busy!
Send Birthday Videos
Many people will be having their most unusual and difficult birthday this year, especially children who might not fully understand why they can’t have a tea party or have a visit from Grandma and Grandpa as usual. You might think the next best thing is to send a card in the post to show you are thinking of someone, but is this time not proving that people are more creative than that? Something we started way before lockdown was birthday videos. This is a zero waste way of sending an incredibly personal message, more so than an e-card and far more unique and exciting to receive than a normal card. When you can’t physically go to see someone we think this could be the next best thing and really brighten someones day. Plus, children absolutely love helping to create them and it can tick a few boxes for the home education part of your day too if you let them help plan and edit it!
Make Your Own Toiletries
Maybe you’ve just run out of your favourite natural moisturiser and the local shop that sells it is closed. There is a wealth of information online about making your own beauty products and toiletries, the perfect zero waste lockdown solution to self-care. Natural ingredients can be found online, or even around your house! And many recipes are super simple even for beginners. Don’t be put off if the first thing you try isn’t for you – different skin likes different ingredients. And be sure to be safe when using essential oils. Save old jars to store your creations, they look lovely lined up on the bathroom shelf and make great zero-waste gifts too!
Go No Poo!
Seeing as we aren’t going to be socialising any time soon, now is the perfect time to try going Poo Free. Shampoo free that is! There are lots of benefits to ditching the shampoo, including healthier hair, less waste, reduced chemical use, and, of course, it saves you money! There is a transition period where your hair will be a little more greasy, and how long this lasts for can vary. It may be as short as 1 week or could last several months, but generally it tends to be around 6 weeks, making lockdown the perfect time to give this a good, solid effort!
Lucy from Lulastic and the Hippyshake Blog is the expert on all things No Poo! (She also has great info on other stuff, such as home education, off grid living and natural parenting). We could tell you more but it would be far better to check out her book and give up the shampoo with confidence and ease. You won’t regret it! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Lots of you will be taking this opportunity to declutter and sort bags for the charity shop. This could be a great time to start to think about minimalism and reducing your overall consumerism habits. It may also be a good chance to see what you might be tempted to get rid of or replace, that could instead be upcycled, recycled or fixed. Perhaps you can repaint or decoupage some old furniture, darn old socks, cut up old t-shirts to make rag rugs, add patches on to holey clothing…there are so many other creative ideas for upcycling old bits and bobs – just have a look on pinterest for inspiration!
As for minimalism and zero waste, it’s an interesting topic. When we start to clear our homes of unnecessary items and organise our belongings we can feel a greater sense of wellbeing and organisation in our minds as well. It gives higher value to the few things you do choose to have displayed or use in your home, perhaps making you more resourceful with what you have, and therefore more appreciative of them, resulting in the items in your life bringing you more joy. We also start to awaken to the amount of items we have purchased unnecessarily in the past and may experience a huge shift in our consciousness when it comes to consumerism. However, in order to begin this process, we have to first get rid of the unnecessary stuff, right? Could that not add more to landfill and increase our footprint as we bag up tons of old plastic toys and man made clothing? Synthetic and non-biodegradable fibres, such as polyester, are used in around 72% of clothing items, which never fully decompose. So we’ve rounded up some tips for decluttering in a more conscious, earth friendly way (please note it’s considered fly-tipping to leave donations outside charity shops and organisations when they’re closed so avoid them for now!)
– For ideas on what to do with old clothes CLICK HERE
– Many toy companies send spare parts if you are missing or have broken parts that might be stopping your child from being able to play fully with their toy or game. Some of these companies include Orchard Toys, Lego, Playmobil and Little Tikes. It’s always worth checking with the toy manufacturer before giving up on the toy!
– Toys4life recycle plastic toys and have drop off points around the country. They collect your reusable plastic toys and export them to third world countries and socially deprived areas where people are unable to afford new toys. They are also working with plastic recycling companies in the UK towards closing the loop hole in the recycling of any damaged toys. CLICK HERE to find your local drop off point.
– Organise your own toy swap with local families (of course this is not recommended during the current pandemic due to the risk of spreading germs)
– British Heart Foundation offer a furniture and electrical goods collection service for free! This is currently unavailable but it is really great option in the future if you can hold on to your items for a little while longer. These do need to be in good condition (e.g. stain free) and meet certain criteria (e.g. fire safety label must be on sofas)
Once you feel satisfied that you have recycled or donated anything that you no longer need, it is time to get in to the minimalist mind set. There are some great documentaries and books to help you get started. We highly recommend Minimalism on Netflix as well as the following books:
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
- Essential by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
- Minimalist Parenting by Christine Koh
We hope for many more days of sunshine during lockdown, so don’t forget to pack your eco friendly suncream (you might even fancy making your own suncream if you’re giving our ‘Make Your Own Toiletries’ idea shot!) and reusable water bottles when heading out for your daily walks. We love the Frugi bottle for kids and One Green Bottle (which you can also buy from our lovely friends at Fairkind) or the Klean Kanteen for the rest of the family.
So hopefully that has given you some interesting and simple ideas for making positive changes today! We have to hope that some good could come from all of this, and perhaps we are being given the nudge we need to start to realise that we could be doing so much more, and the luxuries we have when life is normal are, well, exactly that, luxuries. Let’s not take Mother Earth for granted and start to think more carefully about how we can make better choices for ourselves, our children and our world. If we can make this upsetting and stressful time even a little bit worth while for future generations to come, then that has to be a positive that we can focus on amidst all the worry.