One month of #Green18 gone already! Making the transition to achieve all of the goals I have set myself hasn’t been the easiest task I have undertaken. I want to talk through everything I have achieved (or haven’t achieved) in the short time that I have been working towards a smaller environmental impact. January was always intended to be a transition month to iron out the creases and find my feet in this new way of life.
- Plastic bags are first on my list. I have already bought 4 bags in 2018, which could add up to almost 50 bags by the end of the year… I am aiming to have a plastic-bag-less February to set me back on track. I will treat one of my trusty canvas bags like I would my keys, wallet and phone – going nowhere without them.
- I haven’t used any disposable cups this month! I have been regularly making soup at home to take in my Thermos flask for lunch. I haven’t bought any bottled water – sticking to my trusty re-usable alternative! However, I am guilty of a few bought plastic bottles of other drinks. I can easily stop this by being more strict with myself.
- Luckily, we have an excellent pulley in the flat. We have stuck to using that and so have a perfect record when it comes to air drying clothes.
- It is hard to have an accurate measure of whether my electricity consumption has been controlled. There have been occasions where lights have remained on when I wasn’t in the room or when plug sockets were on without need.
- Despite passing my driving test last week (hooray!), I continue to walk where I can and use public transport for longer journeys. This may become more difficult when journeys make cars more necessary to prevent ridiculous public transport routes. Everyone knows that there is only so much time in the day and sometimes you just need to get to places as fast as you can.
- Food choice is again a hard one to measure. I am still guilty of some palm oil products. The more and more you look at ingredients, the more you realise that palm oil is everywhere. In the flat, we have begun to make our own bread because the majority of big brand and own brand loaves contain palm oil – I do keep asking myself why?! I have also endeavoured to buy British produce where possible – sometimes a lot more difficult that you might think.
- At the beginning of January, before watching Cowspiracy (beautifully recommended by Rebecca, THANK YOU!), I purchased meat and fish that has lasted in the freezer for the month. I have slowly made my way through it whilst eating more vegetarian meals than I otherwise would have. I am now at the tail end of it all and should be very close to my target of one meal with meat a week – you don’t have to be vegetarian to make a difference!
- The heating has been mostly off and jumper wearing is an excellent thing!
- Recycling is one of my keenest endeavours! I have kept at it but become more keen-eyed for what can and can’t be recycled.
- Quick showers and tap vigilance have helped lower my water usage. This isn’t the biggest issue in Scotland but if you read about South Africa currently you will realise the situation is dire elsewhere.
- I have begun writing electronic notes for myself rather than jotting down on paper quite as much. Being conscious and, by printing/using only what you need and then recycling, so many sheets can be saved.
- As soaps, detergents and other chemicals run out, they have been replaced with Method or Ecover alternatives.
- In January, it was my task to take part in the RSPB #BigGardenBirdwatch which I did and thoroughly enjoyed! I haven’t yet found what surveying I will take part in but I will find something in February.
- At work, I have joined the SCO Green Team which deals with the task of being more environmentally aware in the office – still more to be done but I am lucky to be part of such an eco-aware institution.
- I haven’t found a single microbead in the flat yet - that is success!
- I have failed on my target of one #Green18Clean a week. I have completed 2/4 so far. I can definitely improve that and help keep our public spaces clear of rubbish.
- I am finding reducing non-recyclable plastics a difficult challenge. I will aim to find all of my vegetables without unnecessary packaging first and start to make my way through my food cupboards before I can find everything in recyclable or reusable containers.
- I am hoping that all of this has encouraged others out there to join in and do their little bit too. I know that Maia had initially been begrudgingly dragged along but has now joined the team in full force feeling very passionately for the cause!
I think it has been a month of success stories with some less successful stories. I will soon begin some of the fact files to help you on your way with some of the challenges, as well as writing about other things throughout the weeks ahead. Very soon we will also have some other writers talking about their own discoveries and how they are making their own impact.
Let me know if you would like to write about anything – we are contactable via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also share your progress with #Green18, #Green18Clean or #Green8eam!