Friday, 17 January 2020

Just Do Your Best ...

There's so much in the news, in magazines and on social media at the moment about climate change, about saving what's left of our beautiful planet for future generations and the drastic things we need to do urgently to change things for the better ... if indeed that is even possible.

The fires, the floods, the extremes of weather that are happening in all the countries of the world are enough to make anyone panic and worry that there is so much we need to do and NOW!!

We can all do our bit, and if we all do our best that is a good start.

We don't have to be perfect in what we do, we just need to carefully move in the right direction.  We can cut down on our plastic use as soon as we can, keeping it only for the things that it is really useful for.  We can of course most definitely try and stop most of the single use plastics where ever we can.  We can cut down on car journeys, on flying abroad, on food wastage and excessive spending on clothes, shoes and household commodities.

My lovely Mum came to me the other week with a box of cotton buds ... the older sort with the plastic sticks … and asked  'What can I do with these?'.  Her first  thought was to get rid of them as soon as  possible but we came to the conclusion that she should use them, after all whether she did or didn't they would end up in landfill.  Better for them to fulfil their purpose before being disposed of than be thrown away unused.  Her next box, which most likely will not even to be purchased until next year will have the cardboard middles and be of no major problem to the environment.

It's little things like this that can confuse people and make them jettison perfectly good things and then have to go out and buy more things to replace them.  It's easy to have a knee jerk reaction and suddenly want all your cupboards to be full of glass jars rather than plastic tubs for instance, but you do have to stop and think.

When I first shared this photograph of one of my food cupboards on my Challenge blog last year, a reader emailed asking where I had got all my mis-matched jars from as she wanted to buy some for herself.  I wrote back with the truth, here, there and everywhere.  Mostly charity shops, car boot sales, jars that I had bought that had held sauces, mayonnaises, pickles etc.  I told her it would be cheaper and much more satisfying to slowly accumulate her own selection as I had done, than to dash out and visit a kitchen supplies shop.

One thing I did do after thinking carefully about it in late Spring last year, was to sort out all my plastic food storage boxes.  Yes I could have kept them and re-used them for years to come, but these were in good condition, I had far too many of them and the sight of all that plastic in my cupboard was getting me down.  So I sold all these and a few more at a car boot sale last year.

And put the money I made towards buying these.  The round ones all stack inside each other saving me space too. 

Doing that made me feel better and meant that the people who bought all my plastic storage boxes would not be going to shops buying them and creating even more demand for more to be produced.

Before you start being hard on yourself, or feeling like there's nothing you can do, think of all the things you are already doing, have already done and are planning to do in the near future.  It's lots of us doing little things that adds up so much more than a few of us doing everything possible.

Things I am doing my best at, at the moment:

Cutting right back on single use plastics

Reusing, re-purposing and recycling

Using my cloth shopping bags and not buying any plastic carrier bags

Eating a plant based diet

Selling unwanted items at car boot sales at low prices to people that want them more than me

Selling, and also giving things away free on Facebook Marketplace

Making sure I have NO food waste whatsoever

Simplifying my whole lifestyle

Reducing my living space 

Giving up my love of speed and instead driving to maximise my fuel efficiency

Heating the house with wood from our own woodland

Using the solar energy harvested by our 45 solar panels

Outdoors only using collected rainwater collected in our water buts and 10,000 gallon underground storage tank, for watering plants, washing cars etc

Following people on social media who inspire me to make more changes, and not make me feel inadequate that I'm not doing enough already

Sharing what I do to help give others ideas about what they can do.

I'm sure there is more but that's my list for now.

What are you doing ... or does it all feel like a bit too much at the moment?

Sue xx


  1. With all the weather and disaster extremes we are witnessing now, it begs the question gave we left it too late. But even if WE have we can work still towards making it a better place for those to come. I too have pledged small changes this year, less plastic, more vegetarian meals, more recycling and less waste overall.

  2. Use what you already have!!!! So, so, so, so, so true! Used or *thrown away,* they still end up in a landfill.

    A pet peeve of mine, is the IG's and the like, done by people who "Preach" sustainable living... But are making a business out of it. Selling their "replacement" products. Bamboo and etc.

    When the logical thing to do is, don't throw out your *bad* stuff, and rush to by her Sustainable Living products. Use ... When used up... Then consider her products.

    Thank you for making this point!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. We use one black plastic bin liner per week in a metal dustbin ( our council will only take rubbish if it's in those ), and we line the kitchen bin with newspaper, we use bar soap and shampoo bars , our own shopping and produce bags,make my own cleaning spray, use ecover washing powder and loo cleaner. I eat a plant based diet and husband does most of the time, we buy the oats in cardboard box and try to buy as little as possible wrapped in plastic but it's not easy is it and can work out expensive but we do the best we can. Our toothbrushes are bamboo and I am using coconut oil as make up remover and moisturiser. We only have the heating on for a few hours in the evening and very rarely use the tumble drier. I too would love to do more and will try, I find it satisfying. My food waste is non existent and shopping with cash helps me not to impulse buy and shopping day soup, practically everything left in the fridge, is a favourite of ours and is never the same twice !

  4. I just try to be careful about what I buy and how it is packaged. Luckily I don't like shopping so don't mind putting it off as long as possible, and I have always used my own shopping bags even before the bag tax. My daughter is very committed to reducing plastic consumption but also has the mindset that it is better for a million people to do one thing to help than for one person to try to do a million things.

  5. Anyone who watched Sunday's Doctor Who saw what our world will be like in the distant future - a dead planet!
    Lets hope it is science fiction that doesn't become fact

  6. Buying fruit and veg on our market does mean that that avoids plastic packaging, which is so u - and I do also unnecessary. Also I am slowly and purposefully moving toward more of a plant-based diet.

  7. I am vegan, buy 95% of my clothes and household stuff from charity shops and car boot sales.I do not drive a car though my husband does so I walk everywhere or catch a bus when he is at work. Reuse whenever and whatever I can.
    I have planted new trees in my garden and will be growing my own salad crops this year. I feed the birds including the starlings and crows! I also have a bird bath which although I keep full all year is especially important in the summer heat. I have water butts for the garden and two that my husband rigged up that are gravity fed to our downstairs toilet so that flushing is off grid at least while we have rain!

  8. We have quite a different situation over here. Our winters can be frigged. For over a week now the temperature hasn't been above -25C. The central heating is on all the time, although set at a lower temperature over night. The clothes dryer is used all the time as there is no chance of drying things outside, something that is rarely, if ever, seen over here, year round. We have to leave our cars running to warm them up. It is rare that you would see people walking anywhere in this weather. We are victims of terrible urban sprawl and very little is in walking distance anyway. We can still do our part with many of the things mentioned in other comments though. Cloth shopping bags, less plastic, reusing instead of replacing things. I guess every little bit helps.

  9. I have been vegetarian for 14 years, buy most things at charity shops, furniture, clothing,linen, kitchen items,lucky to have many in my city.
    Have used cloth shopping bags for 8 years as well as small produce bags of cotton crochet.make my own soap, cleaning spray and washing all helps.

  10. I live in a small apt. - don't drive so walk or take public transit and try not to waste any food (it costs too damn much)! I buy the best quality I can afford, look after things, and keep them for as long as possible.
    I have reusable produce & carrier bags - although still use plastic for garbage. I recycle - including organic waste - gift or donate, rather than throw out and try to limit packaging. I also don't need to own the "latest & greatest" of anything!
    But - I would like to mention that none of this is new - my parents lived this way and that' sthe way we were raised. They lived through the Depression & WWII and tried not to waste anything - plus - my dad loved the outdoors and from childhood we were taught not to leave ANY garbage behind! He especially believed in quality over quantity and I have adopted that philosophy.
    I do eat meat as I believe we are meant to be omnivores however, I do recognize the issue with industrial farming and believe that we could all cut down on our meat consumption, again, quality over quantity.

  11. I love what a meme from New Zealand said a while back. The gist of it is like your post. "We don't want a million people to be perfect, we want millions to be imperfect but try". If we each try just one way of reducing the world will be a much better place.

    God bless.

  12. Just yesterday I got round to making wy own beeswax wraps to use instead of so much clingfilm. It's only a little thing but it all adds up, I guess.

  13. I do my best but, even so, I find myself becoming overwhelmed with guilt when I see certain posts on social media, as though nothing I do is good enough. These quotes are perfect. Little actions all add up to make a big difference. X

  14. I used branded spray cleaners for years. One day I ran out so I tried a teaspoon of bleach and a teaspoon of washing up liquid in the empty bottle, filling up with water. This has proved more than adequate for cleaning toilets, sinks, surfaces etc I’ve now used the same container for years. The bleach for the mixture came from a bottle I already had and its contents will last me a lifetime.

  15. I do my best. 95% of goods on offer in supermarkets, I don't buy. The other 5% is fresh fruit and veg, frozen fruit and veg, drinks, and general groceries. I don't fly and probably won't again.

  16. It sounds like we are all on a very good journey of doing the best we can now, and we are always on the look out to do more. It really is the best way to be. Thanks for all these excellent comments, it makes me realise how much we really are trying. :-)


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