Five simple ways to live a greener life

 

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished – Lau Tsu

This is a quote that I remind myself of pretty regularly these days. At the moment, I have two days a week in which to work and I have so much I would like to achieve with them, and I often find myself wondering at the end of the day, ‘What have I achieved today? Am I getting anywhere?’ And yes, I am. Every step is a step closer to where I want to be.

naturedoesnothurry

 

The same can be said for greener living. I know that so many of us would like to live a more sustainable lifestyle, yet there are so many different aspects that could be improved on, in every area of our lives. From our diets, personal care and beauty products, cleaning, our homes, gardening, and any area you can think of! It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by that, so what I am trying to do, is take little steps wherever I can to live a ‘greener’ life.

 

Image Credit - Jennifer Burk
Image Credit – Jennifer Burk

Chemical Free Cleaning

I love making my own personal care products – have a look at my ‘natural remedies’ section for some of my recipes – but my cleaning cupboard left a lot to be desired, with bottles of bleach, chemical filled household cleaners and laundry detergents. To make a start in this area, I’ve made up my own household cleaning spray using essential oils. My favourite blend to use is called ‘Thieves’ by Young Living which is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary, which I mixed with witch hazel and water in a spray bottle for an all purpose cleaning spray.

Since then, I’ve discovered Thieves household cleaner, which you simply dilute with water in your spray bottle in the same way, or it can be used neat in areas that need more, such as in the bathroom. It smells amazing, so unlike chemical cleaners.

Another lovely blend by Young Living is their ‘Purification’ blend, which contains citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, meleuca, lavender and myrtle. This is brilliant to diffuse whilst cleaning, or add a few drops onto the filter of your vacuum cleaner.

If you don’t have either of these blends, another great disinfectant to try is simply 50 ml of eucalyptus oil mixed with a litre of water and kept in a spray bottle. This is great for attacking grease and rust too.

Then of course, there is baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar makes a great glass cleaner, and is wonderful for removing limescale deposits from your toilet or shower screen. Baking soda is good for removing stains from a kitchen surface by applying with a damp sponge and wiping away. It is also great for neutralising nasty smells in your bin or fridge. To help remove fresh stains from clothes, you can try immediately applying carbonated water to the stain – the carbonation in the water bubbles up the stain and the salts keep the colour from sticking.

You can sign up for a Young Living account to try out their products here 

 

Bread bag

Avoid Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap, or cling film, is a staple in most kitchens for covering up cakes, and wrapping up sandwiches. Aluminium foil can be recycled and is a greener alternative, but it does use a lot of resources to produce. So, where possible, I just use tea towels to cover up dishes of leftover food for example, before putting them in the fridge. I’m also quite taken with this natural linen bread bag from Home of Juniper, which would be great for keeping homemade bread rather than wrapping it in plastic to keep it fresh!

Also, why not try wrapping your sandwiches in paper bags or wrap to cut down on your use of plastic, and using baking paper instead of kitchen foil where you can.

Wooden utensils

Use wooden utensils

I was thinking about the utensils that I use in my kitchen, and the majority of them are metal, or plastic weaning spoons. Neither of these are a particularly environmentally friendly option, especially the plastic spoons, so I am trying to move to wooden utensils where I can.

These handmade wooden spoons are also from Home of Juniper, who also have a great selection of wooden boards and other utensils, and even wooden bowls.

I also love these bamboo weaning spoons, which I think would be a good alternative.

Reusable baby wipes

Reusable baby wipes

I often worry about the impact I have on the environment by the number of nappies and wipes I throw away every single day – having two young children who are both in nappies. I’ll admit I feel like a very imperfect parent because I couldn’t get on with cloth nappies, I did try, but found the ones I used almost always leaked, which resulted in needing to wash even more clothes and bedding as well as nappies. However if you’re keen to use cloth nappies, I would of course really encourage you to try, as so many parents use them successfully!

One thing I do still use is reusable baby wipes, which I think are a wonderful idea. Cheeky Wipes sell reusable wipe kits, which come with a ‘clean box’ where you keep your wipes in a solution of water and a few drops of essential oils, and a ‘mucky box’ with a laundry bag liner, where you throw the used wipes in before taking the whole bag out to go in the washing machine before starting again. Much more environmentally friendly than disposable wipes, and another fantastic way to use essential oils!

If you didn’t want to buy a kit, you could try making your own wipes quite easily using flannel face cloths, and put into a close-able tub with water and a few drops of lavender oil.

Similarly, you could also try reusable cloth sanitary protection (CSP) or even reusable toilet paper!

Wildflowers

Plant a wildflower meadow

Ok, so we might not all have our own meadow that we can fill with wildflowers, but any patch you may have will do! I wrote in my last post about red poppies about how I made my un-used vegetable patch into a little wildflower patch, but you could even do the same in a pot.

Choose a bee friendly flower mix, and not only will it look beautiful but also help the environment by keeping the bees happy. Wildflower seeds are again available from Home of Juniper who also give 10% of each sale to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Whilst talking about gardening, I read recently a tip that if you cover a terracotta pot in yoghurt, it will encourage lichen to grow, giving it a beautiful aged look. I’m yet to try this out!

Aged terracotta pots

I hope this post has given you some inspiration, I feel so much better knowing that I’m making small changes where I can, although I still have a long way to go!

You can get 15% off your order and free shipping at www.homeofjuniper.co.uk until the end of August 2017 with the code ‘sparkle15’

This post was inspired by 1001 little ways to save our planet by Esme Floyd.

greener life

About The Author

thesparklenest

Mama of two beautiful boys. I’m veggie, vintage loving, a bit of a crafter and a bit of a hippy. I love the countryside and pretty things.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Mummy Times Two | 8th Aug 17

    I love the idea of planting a wildflower meadow. I think this may well be a ptoject the children and I love doing together x

  2. Sarah Bailey | 8th Aug 17

    These are some great ideas, I have to admit I love wooden utensils as well, I’ve been slowly buying in more and more of them for myself.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Outfit Ideas from Simply BeMy Profile

  3. Journa Ramirez | 8th Aug 17

    It’s one of our goals to have a greener life but we don’t know when, where and how to start. Thanks for sharing these things!

    • thesparklenest | 8th Aug 17

      It’s hard to know where to start isn’t it? There is so much I could still change, but every small step makes a difference!
      thesparklenest recently posted…Five simple ways to live a greener lifeMy Profile

  4. Stephanie Merry | 8th Aug 17

    Love these ideas, I really want to try and live a more sustainable lifestyle so thanks for sharing x
    Stephanie Merry recently posted…The haircare essentials you need for frizz free locks this summerMy Profile

  5. Nichola - Globalmouse | 8th Aug 17

    I love your tips. I’m constantly trying to be greener so these are perfect, thank you.

  6. Gareth Torrance | 9th Aug 17

    Chemical free cleaning is definitely something I want to try in our house. My OH has a bit of a cleaning OCD, so it would be a great way to make the house a bit healthier.
    Gareth Torrance recently posted…5 Ways to Boost Your Business with Online MarketingMy Profile

  7. Stephanie Usher | 9th Aug 17

    I actually use a lot of wooden utensils, as I actually prefer them to the metal alternative! xxx
    Stephanie Usher recently posted…New Monsoon Home Fragrance Collection | Seaspray & CottonMy Profile

  8. Rhian Westbury | 9th Aug 17

    Great tips, I have been buying more wooden utensils, but it’s something I hadn’t really thought of before x
    Rhian Westbury recently posted…The Importance Behind Watches And JewelleryMy Profile

  9. Sally Akins | 9th Aug 17

    I used to use cloth wipes for my babies, and I switched to a menstrual cup about 14 years ago – would never go back to ‘normal’ sanpro now!

  10. Ana De- Jesus | 9th Aug 17

    I try and be ethical when I can. I don’t use products that test on animals and wear fake suede, fake leather and fake PVC. I am working on chemical free cleaning products as well, is there any you would recommend ? x
    Ana De- Jesus recently posted…I Was Catfished Before MTV Even Made It A ThingMy Profile

  11. Rachel | 9th Aug 17

    Some brilliant tips here, I try and make an effort with certain things to make a difference! xo
    Rachel recently posted…The Top 15 Instagram Spots in Disneyland ParisMy Profile

  12. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes | 10th Aug 17

    I love these ideas, especially using reusable baby wipes, the Cheeky Wipes kit sounds great!
    Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes recently posted…Mediterranean Pickled OlivesMy Profile

  13. Sarah Ann | 10th Aug 17

    I love wildflowers and always go for wild flower bouquets for my home. I have a little patch of garden I have no idea what to do with and growing wild flowers would be perfect.

  14. Lubka Henry | 11th Aug 17

    These are really good tips. I try to follow some of them, but I’m definitely failing at the reusable baby wipes at the moment.

  15. Alison | 11th Aug 17

    When I think of a “greener” life, I think consuming less, spending less. The old make do and mend attitude. I try to recycle and upcycle where I can now and it can be really fund, as well as challenging.

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