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Reflections: A 2019 Alphabet of Sustainable Changes

How many times have you heard people say recently “I can’t believe it’s December already,” or “Where’s this year gone?” It does seem the older we get the quicker time flies, and that is magnified when you have children too!

But December is naturally a time of reflection and review of the past year; what have we re-committed to, what have we changed, what have we learned on our journey to zero waste.

I should say here; we’re definitely not experts and just your average family trying to make changes so I’m sure (in fact I know!) there are other people out there who are much further along their journey than us. But if you’re looking to start your journey, or make some changes for 2020, then look no further than my 2019 Alphabet.

A: Advent-tures replaced traditional advent calendars in an attempt to be zero-waste and also more conscious in our commitment to ‘slow Christmas.’

B: Beeswax Wraps became a staple for covering leftovers as an alternative to cling film or plastic bags; with fun designs and anti-bacterial properties we absolutely love them!

C: We all became a little more conscious of our Carbon-footprint; from unnecessary car trips to UK holidays instead of going abroad. We were more than a little shocked when we used the calculator here to check our carbon footprint:

D: Thanks to Marie Kondo, decluttering has become one of the nation’s favourite activities of 2019; as long as those things aren’t going to landfill and are being gifted, thrifted and shifted, decluttering can help us all live better, with less. Whether it’s the garage, the man drawer, or even decluttering our email inbox can have a positive impact on the environment; so maybe this can be part of your 2020 spring clean!

E: Of course 2019 for us was all about Eco-education; we needed to educate ourselves, our children and our communities about the damage we were doing to the planet. A lightbulb went on and Ecologico was born!

F: Furoshiki has become the wrapping method of choice for many this year; see my blog post about how and why furoshiki is such a good way to combat the waste of single-use wrapping paper with beautiful consequences.

G: 2019 had also been the year of enjoying our garden; whether it’s planting flower to attract birds, butterflies and bees or growing you own fruit, veg or herbs. This is going to be a big one for us next year as we plan to plant (and hopefully grow!) some of our own produce in our beautiful garden.

H: From cardigans to chutneys, and even Christmas, 2019 has been the year of homemade; and let’s face it there’s nothing quite beats the satisfaction of making it with your own fair hands, even if it is more time-consuming. And how nice is it to receive a handmade card or gift, instead of the mass-produced shop bought one. Nothing says ‘I love you’ better than something homemade.

I: I have found so many like-minded people, pages and campaigns on social media this year, which I find really supportive and encouraging, and I feel like this is a great time to big up the Instagram community, from #XR to #slowfashion and even something for the #ecomummies, #ecobabies and #vegans, there’s a tribe out there for everyone; we post daily over on Insta; if you haven’t already, give us a follow, pop us a comment or drop us a DM.

J: Since we started making changes, and especially since I went maternity leave in June 2018, I kept floating the idea of doing something with our knowledge; a blog, a business, a community. Mr Ecologico’s words in the summer of 2019 were ‘Just do it.’ And this is my advice to you: just make a start, just make one change. It may seem small, you may not have a plan of what you want to achieve but actually committing to change is the first, and best, step you can take. So, I just did it, and here we are!

K: One of the main places we’ve made changes this year was in our kitchen; from food swaps to making our own cleaning products, the kitchen is a great place to start some simple swaps for sustainability and notice big changes.

L: Our journey to zero waste started 2 years ago when I read Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne. Lagom is the Swedish ethos of ‘not too little, not too much,’ and if we all live by this mantra and only took from the earth what we actually needed, imagine how much lovelier life would be. Check out my upcoming blog on Lagom for more info and top tips.

M: Meal-planning was one of our starting points to zero waste; coming from a family of food wasters, I was determined to cut down our food waste and spend last year. We’ve honed this now and meal-planning is an everyday part of life for us as a family; which is not only kinder on our wallet but also on the planet!