It’s Easy Being Green

It's easy being green

Viewers of our regular Facebook Live series may remember a few of the “People’s Friend” team discussing our personal efforts to do our bit to protect the environment.

I had recently joined an app called “Pawprint” and discovered it’s easy being green.

I joined “Pawprint” after hearing about it through DC Thomson, the company that publishes “The People’s Friend”. The business is doing its best to improve its carbon footprint.

The idea behind joining the app is for colleagues to improve their footprint both at home and at work.

When I first joined the app, I was pleased to see I was below average in terms of the greenhouse-gas emissions that are connected to my carbon footprint.

In August, I was sitting at 9.706 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent produced a year, and it has now come down a little bit to 9.4.

The UK average is 13.1 tonnes. The app tells me that 9.4 tonnes is the same as driving 17,111 miles, in terms of emissions.

It’s an effective way of letting you know how your actions are affecting the environment.

Minimise the amount of meals containing meat

It's easy being green

Photograph by Lisa Crow.

Our most recent sprint ran at the same time as COP26. I can’t imagine a better time to be more eco aware! There are so many ways that I have been able to make small but effective changes.

One idea that was popular with our group during this sprint was to minimise the amount of meals containing meat that we ate in a week.

As a former vegetarian (twice!) I enjoyed that and easily managed to achieve that goal. However, as a lover of cheese, I didn’t take it a step further as some did and cut out dairy produce!

As a mum of a two-year old, I have already been using reusable nappies and face wipes for quite some time, but there were several other things I was able to do to improve my carbon footprint.

The bars eliminate all plastic waste

Did you know that plastic can only be recycled once? I hadn’t realised that and was only too aware of how much of our shopping comes in plastic containers, from cleaning products to toothpaste tubes.

With that in mind, I decided to try a shampoo bar. The one I picked was a gorgeous-smelling orange and ginger one from Eco Warrior. The Eco Warrior bars eliminate all plastic waste, being packaged in cardboard boxes.

I also started using a shower gel bar, for the same reason. This bar was also from Eco Warrior, too, and has a really nice coconut scent.

It's easy being green

Photograph by Lisa Crow.

I was also bothered by the plastic bottles that my toothpastes and deodorants come in.

Instead of toothpaste, I’ve started using DENTtabs toothpaste tablets, which come in a paper bag. Simply chew one to break it up then brush your teeth in the usual way, with a wet toothbrush.

So far I like the tablets, which are a refreshing minty flavour, and I may very well keep using them from now on. However, someone else in the group recommended a different paste that is packaged in a glass jar. That is something I’m considering trying next.

The plastic deodorant substitute was a natural one that is kept in a compact little tin.

I went for a Peppermint & Tea Tree scented one from Re:Connection which smells great and also feels soothing when applied. It worked just as well as my old roll-on as well. I will never use plastic-packaged deodorants again!

The average family throws away 25 cleaning bottles a year

Several members of the “Pawprint” group recommended Smol products, which were also featured on BBC’s “Shop Well For The Planet“.

Smol laundry and dishwasher products are all free of plastic and are sent through the post in compact, child-proof packaging. The dishwasher tablets are effective on their own, too, with no need to use the likes of dishwasher salts or rinse aids.

The company are aware of the need to eliminate single-use plastics, and supply plastic bottles for life. According to them, the average family in the UK throws away 25 cleaning bottles a year!

Instead of putting bottles into plastic recycling once your Smol spray is finished, you simply rinse them out then top up with fresh, warm tap water.

To the water, you add one tablet from a range of multi-purpose, bathroom or glass & mirrors. Once the tablet has dissolved, you add a little more water and the sprays are ready to use.

Not only do these tablets mean less plastic is wasted, it also reduces the need for water to be shipped.

Global warming isn’t just an issue for future generations

When it comes to their fabric softener, it is slightly different. You are sent two bottles at a time. Once they are empty, just send them back to the company, who will refill them. For every four bottles that are returned, the company gives 24 washes to charity.

By the end of our sprint, our team had saved over 2 tonnes of CO2. The equivalent in driving miles was 1,195, which equates to driving from Edinburgh to Milan in an average car.

I’m aware there are still many more things I could do to be kinder to the environment. In fact, I have only just ordered some reusable kitchen towel – each sheet can be machine washed and reused 85 times, so it’s much less wasteful than traditional kitchen towel.

However, while there is still room for improvement I’m happy to know that I’m going in the right direction and trying to do something about the environmental issues we face.

My daughter is only two, and I want to show her from a very young age that our actions have consequences. Global warming isn’t just an issue for future generations, it’s an issue right here and right now.

I just wanted to do my bit and I’ll continue to look for other ways to reduce my carbon footprint. The brands that I used have all been great so far. However, there are plenty out there to choose from – many with great reviews.

Click here for more from the “Friend” team.