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.”
So, with that in mind, I’ve created this interview series, to inspire and educate anyone who doesn’t know where to start. It will be about how everyday families are making small and big changes to live more environmentally friendly and sustainably. The idea is that together we can prove that no change is too small, all steps count and that maybe we can all pick up an idea or two from each other! These families are really just doing their best to save the planet for the future generations.
Let’s show, how many of us care about the planet, share ideas and create a little community of change makers!
Introducing Victoria from Lylia Rose.
What or who inspired you to make changes towards a greener lifestyle?
Having children definitely sparked my curiosity. I began to notice ‘paraben free’ on baby toiletries and I started researching what parabens were and why some companies didn’t use them. This opened a whole can of worms! Through my research I decided I wanted to change to natural beauty only for myself as well as my children. I was also vegetarian at the time, but as I began to research ingredients in beauty products, I began to question ingredients in food.
I started watching health documentaries, reading books and online articles and decided to go vegan a few years after my natural beauty journey began. Once I started questioning one thing, I started questioning everything from the waste we produce, how we scent our air at home, the cleaning products we use, the whole lot! Over the past seven years since having my first child we have been on a mission to become more eco-friendly in every aspect of our lives.
Do you have any favourite site or person you follow for inspiration?
I don’t follow a specific site, but because of the hashtags I use and things I post on Instagram, I am often suggested sponsored posts that are relevant to my lifestyle so I regularly find new products to try by doing this. I also love the natural health shops both in stores and online, so these are a great way to find out about new products too. One site I do actually follow for vegan news, but also shares a lot of eco-friendly products too, is called Plant Based News.
What aspects of being an environmentally friendly family did you tackle so far? (Reducing plastic, planet friendly diet, up cycling things etc…)
I’d say a bit of everything really. Firstly our energy. We have solar panels, use a 100% renewable electricity company and have a log burner to reduce our reliance on gas.
We are all vegan (2 adults, 2 kids) so this is a much more eco-friendly diet than eating meat and dairy.
We are very mindful of how much plastic we use and the waste we produce. In our bathroom we use toilet roll from Who Gives A Crap which is 100% recycled from office paper and uses no plastic wrap. We also use Friction Free Shaving razor subscriptions and buy Livecoco toothbrush heads for our Oral B electric toothbrushes – both companies offer a recycling scheme, so we collect the razor heads and toothbrush heads to send back for recycling.
We use natural beauty products and cleaning products whenever possible. We’ve just switched to shoap bars (shampoo and soap) to reduce our waste and chemical reliance even more.
In the kitchen we use bamboo and cotton cloths to clean the sides and also to clean the kids faces/sticky hands rather than keep buying wipes.
Oh, I also use reusable bamboo pads to clean my face or remove makeup.
To scent the home we use 100% essential oils and 10% natural incense sticks. I don’t wear perfume, but have an essential oil roll on I sometimes use.
We buy organic clothes, recycled clothes and second-hand clothes as our first choice.
We also eat organic food as much as possible. I will only buy organic fruit and vegetables and if there’s an organic option for other foods then we’ll choose it. We don’t want our money to support a chemical world, so we will always vote with our food choices when we can for a better environment.
We have made a lot of changes and these are a few examples of them.
Did you find it hard to make these changes?
Not really. I feel very passionately and strongly about many environment issues and health issues, so it’s an easy change to make. The more I learn the more I want to change.
What was the hardest thing to give up or change?
I honestly don’t feel like I’m giving things up. More I’m embracing a new way of life and it’s for a purpose that’s so much greater than myself.
With going vegan many people say they’d miss out on so much food, but I don’t miss any of it at all. Instead it’s opened my eyes to a whole new diet and food I never tried before. It’s exciting. I’ve never felt I was missing out on anything and now I would never want to eat the things I used to eat or use the things I used to use. They don’t appeal to me anymore.
And what was the easiest thing to give up or change?
The whole lot. Once you realise the terrible chemicals in things that are destroying our health, the environment and animals, it’s a no-brainer to start giving things up like chemical filled beauty products, cleaning products and even non-organic food that is sprayed with chemicals.
For me this is a total lifestyle choice and choosing a less toxic lifestyle is easy to do if you want to do it and are passionate about it.
Do you feel the changes you achieved so far are encouraging you to do even more?
Absolutely! We are making changes all the time for the better. For example, I was already using organic and Fairtrade cotton pads to remove my makeup, but just recently I switched to washable bamboo pads instead to reduce our waste even more. I’m always trying to be more eco-friendly and improve our choices. It’s a great path to be on.
How do you get the children involved?
We teach the children about everything we learn and we are very honest with them. The children are vegan too and we teach them why. We answer any questions they have. We also teach them about recycling, compost, landfill and so on. I didn’t really have an interest in any of this until my late 20s. It’s amazing that my children are being taught it at ages four and seven and they are so interested in it all. They are the eco-warriors of the future and will put us and our previous bad lifestyle habits to shame!
We also grow veggies with the kids and talk to them about organic farming. It’s important to us to get them involved with everything we do and for them to understand why we are doing it.
Did you manage to save some money too? Or is this lifestyle change actually proving to be more costly?
Yes we save a lot of money doing it. One change I forgot to mention above is that we changed from laundry detergent and fabric softener to Eco eggs and dryer balls instead. These save us so much money! We use the balls for months on end before having to refill them with mineral pellets. Before I was buying toxic detergent every single week.
The resuable side of being eco-friendly is very cost effective. We reuse cloths time and time again to clean up spills and wipe messy faces, whereas before we were buying packets of wipes and kitchen rolls every week or more than once a week!
How did your family respond to the changes?
I’ve definitely been the initiator, but everyone is on board. I guess the children are so young that they know no different, but my husband is very keen for us to be more eco-friendly and he welcomes all the changes I make and ideas I have. They are very supportive.
Do you have any tips or tricks which really helped you?
I think just to remember why you are doing it and that it’s for the greater good – the planet, our future, our health, our children’s health, the animals, soil, water, etc. We’ve been selfish for far too long and we are now aware of the consequences of our actions. We might have been ignorant to these before, but now we know the damage we are doing. We have no excuse not to make better choices nowadays. I think big companies really need to make some big changes still, but it’s up to us to do everything we can as consumers and to vote with our pounds as much as possible!