I’ve come up with the idea of this interview series, because I realised how people feel so overwhelmed about all the bad news we are flooded by media outlets. On one hand, the truth is, if we carry on like this, the future will be grim. On the other hand, we also need to read positive and uplifting stories how lots of lots of good people with green heart trying to save the planet – and they are succeeding. But we all have to be part of the change, as I’ve read it lately and totally agree with this statement form the Zero Waste Chef Anne-Marie Bonneau: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Introducing Jo from A Rose Tinted World
What or who inspired you to make changes towards a greener lifestyle?
Having a child has definitely influenced my lifestyle. I have realised that I spent a lot of my 30s being selfish and accumulating ‘stuff’. And that this is neither sustainable nor good for the planet. I’ve always been aware of being green and recycling, but now I have a little one I do want to leave the planet in a better state for her.
Do you have any favourite site or person you follow for inspiration?
I don’t really. Whilst I am so pleased that this topic is currently being spoken about widely, I tend to look at the past more for inspiration on how we need to tackle our world problems of climate change and over consuming. Some of the best things that I do now are very much in the same vein as the “Make Do And Mend’ mentality of the war years. People had to deal with rations and a lack of resources, so they got resourceful in fixing, reusing and recycling what they had. I think if we followed this philosophy more then we may find more solutions. The world has got too used to just buying things and throwing them away.
What aspects of being an environmentally friendly family did you tackle so far? (Reducing plastic, planet friendly diet, up cycling things etc…)
I am definitely into the up cycling of things. My sewing hobby has helped me to do this. I’ve used old clothes and towels to make reusable kitchen towels, unsponges and sanitary pads. I’ve also made rag rugs from some of our old clothes. I am always looking for new ways to slow down our consumption culture.
To be fair, I have a policy of ‘only buy if it is necessary’ and ‘buy less, choose well, make it last’. If something isn’t broken then there is no need to buy another.
Finally, my partner has taken the decision to go meat free. He is doing it more for health reasons. But I do see it as being healthier for the planet too. So win-win.
What are the changes that you implemented so far?
I am trying to buy less and reuse most things as much as possible. If I can reuse packaging and cloth in any way then I will do so. I have bought far less clothing for myself certainly, and then I resell and donate clothing rather than send to landfill.
I’ve stopped buying sanitary towels and use my own. I’m currently trying out the menstrual cup, but the juries out. And I reuse my own kitchen roll and unsponges, instead of buying those horrible scrubbing sponges and reams of kitchen roll.
I am far more energy efficient, and try to only use the energy that I need. And finally, I have bought a compost bin.
Did you find it hard to make these changes?
Some changes are harder than others. And I must say I am not perfect. I do have a busy life. But I am trying to make a difference and feel that if everyone did the small things then the whole world would be far better for it.
What was the hardest thing to give up or change?
I will admit, I tried cloth nappies when E was a baby and I found it too much to cope with. Having wet nappies in soak and having to be mega organised soaking and washing cloth nappies was too much to ask of me at the time.
But I now do this with my reusable sanitary pads every month, and although people may think it is a faff to soak and wash reusable pads, it is actually been quite easy to do in comparison.
And what was the easiest thing to give up or change?
Giving up scrubbing sponges in favour of my homemade unsponges has been the easiest thing. I always hated those bacteria breeders anyway.
Do you feel the changes you achieved so far are encouraging you to do even more?
I always feel that I could do more. Some things are hard to control, such as how much plastic packaging is on everything we buy from the supermarkets. And yes, in an ideal world I would try to avoid this and buy everything fresh fresh, but as a busy mum it is very difficult to avoid some of the plastic.
How do you get the children involved?
I actually don’t as yet, other than trying to let my little girl see the different ways of processing our waste. She knows about the compost bin, and realises that some of the food waste goes in a little bin in the kitchen, and that we have different bins for different things.
As she gets older, I hope that she will take a more active interest.
Did you manage to save some money too? Or is this lifestyle change actually proving to be more costly?
Some things really do save me money, such as the reusable sanitary towels. The horse chestnut washing liquid that I made this year is also almost free. But other things are more expensive. I recently tried some compostable coffee pods that are about 20% more costly than Nespresso aluminium ones. I will continue to send the Nespresso pods for recycling.
With some changes, there may not be an actual monetary cost. But it can cost time, which possibly puts a lot of people off.
How did your family respond to the changes?
I am finding it hard to get through to certain family members. Even my partner has a lazy attitude to recycling at times, which I find frustrating.
Do you have any tips or tricks that really helped you?
Keep remembering that every little thing helps. I am quite lucky to have a lot of space in which to organise everything. I keep separate bins and places to store different things before they go to the bottle bank, charity shop etc. So my biggest tip would probably be to have a cupboard in the kitchen to get organised. But not everyone has the luxury of space.
I am Jo at https://www.arosetintedworld.co.uk