Here at VFJ Pilates we are trying our best to reduce our carbon footprint, to try and reduce the amount of waste we produce and specifically the amount of rubbish we send to landfill.
So I thought I'd take you through everything we have so far implemented in the VFJ Pilates household.
Before I continue it's important to note a couple of things. This is just the start of our journey there will be more reduction and plastic free alternatives in our future.
We currently have budget constraints and saving money, or rather not spending it, is a hell of a lot more important right now. We have two small kids that are normal boisterous, accident prone kids so a house full of glass isn't ideal right now. In a past life my husband was a hoarder and I cannot deal with clutter so as a family we work hard to reduce the clutter and unnecessary 'stuff' which means reusing everything, or storing it just incase we can reuse it one day, is also not option. For all of these reasons I also only shop once a month which means the freezer is currently my best friend.
We are currently doing the best we can within our constraints.
This is where we are so far:
At the VFJ Pilates house we have a good old-fashioned Milkman…well sort of…we currently use The Modern Milkman.
The modern milkman is not the cheapest and does not at all compare to super market prices but with two small children and our once a month shopping habit I found I was having to buy 8 four pint bottles of whole milk and 8 of skimmed, which required an exclusive shopping trip - and what's the point in shopping once a month if you have to go twice?!? It also means freezeing most of them to ensure you have milk at the end of the month which required nearly a full freezer dedicated to just milk.
This habit has meant a lot of plastic waste for our family and when the swap to wheelie bins for the recycling happened with only a monthly pick up something had to change.
We have tried previously tried a milkman but had issues with it not fitting in with the way I budget and prefer to pay. The Modern Milkman has been a recent find and they are fantastic. They have an app through which you can set up, pause or cancel all your orders. You can order one off items or put them on repeat. They have milk, flavoured milk, orange juice, cream, yogurt all delivered in glass bottles/jars and even a few other products such as sweets and bread all in eco or recyclable plastic free packaging and they take your money on a direct debit weekly both of which, for me make controlling orders and budgeting a lot easier.
My only issue has been the time of deliveries. It is traditional that milk is delivered in the early hours of the morning and previous milkmen have delivered anywhere from 5am to 7am. The Modern Milkman seems to deliver in the very late hours of the evening with us finding the milk on our doorstep at midnight, as the summer months roll in this could present a problem as if we have an early night the milk could have been sat there for some time before we bring it in at 8am in the morning. The purchase of this milk hut and reusable ice packs should hopefuly take care of this problem.
We prefer to use an eco egg to do our washing with. It is environmentaly friendly and also saves us money as they last a lot longer than a bottle of washing liquid would, it also saves on all those single use plastic bottles.
I do still buy a small amount of washing powder as I have two small kids one of whom has only just recently become dry at night but we buy loose powder that comes in a cardboard box and we only use a small amount along side the eco egg just to help get rid of the smell of wee.
Since the little one is now dry we are looking to completely eliminate using washing powder altogether and to help with smells next time I buy re-fills I intend to try the spring blossom scented ones.
Since a competetly plastic free life doesn’t seem feasible right now I have set my sights on reduction. We still buy a lot of products in plastic but where possible we bulk buy to reduce the amount of plastic used especially if it also save us money along the way.
For instance we bulk buy spices from The Range and decant into these little cute jars. We bulk buy hand wash, washing up liquid, bleach and concentrated disinfectant and again decant into reusable containers, though ours are currently plastic. We bulk buy rice and tea and decant into glass jars similar to these.
If we can’t reduce we try our best to reuse, especially tubs and tins that come with lids.
Formula tins have made excellent toy storage and screw and nail storage. We have some old stackable blue plastic turkey trays from an old butcher friend of my Dad's that are used in the wood store on the drive and in The Studio to store equipment. I also have lots of plant pots from deceased plants that get used for many different things anything from pencil storage to snack containers at parties.
I'm becoming a bit of a weirdo about our recycling. I can't believe the number of people I speak to who don't recycle correctly like there is some recycling fairy that come along after it's been collected and sorts it all out for you! I have bad news for you. There isn't. Instead what happens is, if a load is contaminated by dirty items or non-recyclable items the load gets rejected and sent to landfill. I read recently that around 50% of recycling doesn't actually go to the recycling plant after it's picked up.
That means the buck stops with you and only you.
You are responsible for making sure the items you put in your recycling are clean and correct and the same goes for the new recycling points in supermarkets for plastic bags and plastic film that can't go in your domestic recycling! If an item says on it it can't be recycled then why would you put it in the recycling just in case?!? You probably just ensured that the cage of rubbish once again just goes into landfill.
Here at the VFJ Pilates house I am fanatic about checking the instructions and always use my dirty dish water to rinse all my plastic trays, tins and bottle etc.
I know you may think me weird but I just feel that if we can't do more at the moment to become plastic free or even slightly reduce our plastic consumption as it stands then we should at least be doing our utmost to be helping care for the environment in other ways.
We reuse, or make, a lot of furniture here in the VFJ household.
I have book shelves made from old teak science room worktops, a computer desk made form an old drop-leaf table, a computer stand made from an old swivel stool, a TV stand with cabinet made from the afore mentioned worktops and a dismantled old radiogram and finally a dressing table top made from kitchen worktop off cuts (thanks mum and dad!).
We rarely get rid of old furniture we almost always find some use for parts especially old wooden furniture and constantly have a store of interesting pieces of wood kept from various projects.
In our bike shed we currently have one of the science room worktops that has already had two second lives - one as my desk in the old house and another as our TV stand when I needed to move my desk and it didn't fit anymore - it is an interesting shape and has hole in one end where the wires used to go but it's still with us in the new house waiting for it's fourth incarnation.
All this also helps with keeping our budget down. A nice piece of old wood sanded and oiled along with a bit of cheep MDF painted makes for a very nice bookshelf that's doesn't break the bank and is a little eco friendly as a bonus.
I don't have a lot of time to go shopping so I buy a lot of things online. And I know Amazon is a hated company at times but they have been sending their items out in recylable packages well before the rest of the world wanted to ban single use plastic.
The not only use cardboard boxes but they used recyclable tape to seal them and scrunched up paper inside as protection instead of inflated plastic bags or polystyrene packing peanuts.
Becasue of this and their amazing next day delivery service we use them a lot, we do therefore have a lot of recycling, but hey, at least it isn't all going in the bin.
So that's where we are as of July 2022. In the future as, fingers crossed, our finances improve and the kids get older I have my hopes set on making more changes.
Shampoo bars are next on our list I'm just extremely sensitive to smells so it's not an option to just pop into Lush and pick one, I need to do a little bit of research first. As are glass, ceramic or metal reusable soap dispensers for hand soap and washing up liquid.
I also have my eye on are buying sustainable toilet roll in plastic free packaging from someone like Who Gives A Crap,
I hope this helps inspire you on your journey.
It’s important to also cut yourself some slack, remember if you are trying then you are dre doing a heck of a lot more that the person behind you.