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How we reduced waste & Eco Anxiety

In the modern world, awareness is helpful, but when social media rules our lives now & not all information is factual or honest, how can we know what to do for the best as consumers?

I thought I’d start by sharing some of the things that we’ve done, both personally myself (& as a family) to reduce our carbon footprint, work our way towards a simpler life and help the planet.

This is by no means me telling you how to live your life, and I’m sure that there are people also doing more than us, but I hope that it can inspire you to also see what you can challenge yourselves to change over time, at whatever stage you are of becoming more eco-friendly

Food for thought

I’ve been a Vegetarian since about the age of 11 and in more recent times; our meals have been flexed to incorporate purely Vegan options. When I met my partner, he was a huge meat eater. Since living together he has completely removed meat out of his diet which he has proclaimed has made him feel fitter & healthier & he no longer has to cook two variations which is an extra bonus for him! It’s a sad fact in life, one I will admit, that a few years before starting Appletree and Avalon, I had been accustom to the stresses of modern day life. I had relied heavily on online grocery shopping & I had fallen in to the common trap of ordering multiples of products to fit around our jobs. There was always an excuse that we needed more, just in case! I mean how many cans of beans or bottles of shampoo do you really need? How had we gotten into this habit? Why were we so reliant on it when we hadn’t always lived like this?
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A few summers ago, we therefore made a pledge to cut down on waste significantly & after programmes such as Blue Planet aired, we knew we had made the right decision. Thankfully we now make every effort to buy smaller quantities, fresher products & shop locally where possible. We no longer buy single use plastic products & I obviously also set up Appletree and Avalon to try to help inspire others. We’ve also cut down how much we drive & changed our energy suppliers to 100% renewable. So far, I’m pleased to tell you that by taking action on the above, our shopping bills have reduced by at least half, we make food last longer & we even go some weeks without replenishing! I truly believe, that no matter your circumstances, this is an easy change to make. It doesn’t mean buying everything organic, from health food shops or cutting out convenience, it just means thinking about what you’re buying & how frequently. Really trying to challenge yourselves on why you need something.
We are also lucky that we have a local farm shop not too far from us & can walk there for our vegetables and fresh goods. We then use these to create meals from scratch and enjoy bulk batch cooking so that we can home freeze meals for the week. This takes some planning & time investment but if managed, it can again save you time in the long run, helps fill tummy’s quickly in the evening & at least you can guarantee what has gone in to your body & where it has come from! The last thing I would suggest if any of the above is not possible is to really get to know the ingredients in your food. We have been searching for a long time to find products without palm oil. Something so small is a massive issue for our planet, its ecosystems & wildlife. Thankfully, we are now in a place where we have found alternatives to all of our daily food essentials.
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Reduce, Reuse, Repair or Refuse!

I’ve always been a massive fan of incorporating old with new, so haven’t naturally been big in to technology, low cost furniture or lots of plastic over the years, but my biggest downfall over time has been fashion. I have a keen interest in it; have studied it as well as grown up idolising the catwalks Something that crept into my life was fast fashion. I’ve always been quite good at sending old clothes to charity regularly but both for financial reasons and landfill I wanted to reduce my spend & impact by stopping my habit of buying unnecessary things including new clothes just because! If I now buy clothes, I check my wardrobe first & I see how I can reuse older items, repair or buy better quality that will stand the test of time! It is more expensive, but I see it as an investment & if I don’t, I don’t buy it.

#Buybetterfornature

Lastly, we have replaced all single use plastic in our home. This was a gradual thing to do & we certainly didn’t just bin & replace with better sustainable options. Where we still have plastic, it’s reused plastic. Most of our cleaning goods were the first to be tackled and replaced with less, concentrated and natural versions. One’s that we sell at Appletree and Avalon. I’ve said it before, but we don’t sell anything that we haven’t trialled or tested or could stand by ourselves. I love the fact that all of our products are now handmade goods and have supported the local UK economy too. When we moved house, we prioritised planting trees in our garden & planting shrubs and flowers. We are currently the only house in our street to have greenery in our garden & the wildlife comes to us! We also saved money by shopping around for second hand furniture where possible. Where we have invested, we have bought good quality products that should last a lifetime Our next ambition is to start growing vegetables. We already have some shrubs in our garden such as gooseberries, apples, cherries, pears & blueberries, but we want to grow more hardy veg. We’re both keen gardeners and love being outdoors, so when the spring comes, that will be first on our list!
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What are your thoughts? Have you tried something similar or just getting started? We’d love to hear about your experiences

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