When my dream of becoming Queen of the Earth Mothers was kicked to the kerb by actual motherhood – or rather some associated issues, such as emergency c-section, reflux baby etc – I stuck my head in the sand and gave up (everything) for a while.
However, as I explained in this post, now that I’m finding my feet a bit, I’m keen to get back on that green brick road to a more sustainable lifestyle – not just because it will save money and help the planet but also because I think it is a nicer way to live.
The saying “old habits die hard” seems to be true in my case because gradually, without really noticing, I’ve been switching back to my old ways – even riffling through the bin to pick out bits mistakenly put there by my husband (I know, my life is so rock n roll). We have recently had a different scheme come in with lots of new things now able to be recycled, such as envelopes and yoghurt pots, and it’s taking some getting used to. (Don’t worry, he has now been made to memorise the leaflet we had pushed through our door and been tested on it. Just kidding, sort of.)
Anyway, I was looking for a challenge to mark getting myself back on track – only, as I’m still a bit shaky on the old mothering front, one that didn’t have me cowering in a corner (cloth nappies, anyone?)
I mentioned last time that I decided to give up kitchen roll as a starting point and several people said: “Er, why?”
Well, as part of my day job, I get to interview an assortment of wonderful people – many of them doing inspiring things in the green world (more of them to come in future posts).
I was recently lucky enough to speak to the lovely Karen Cannard, founder of The Rubbish Diet, for a future edition of The Suffolk Magazine.
Karen was (and still is when she has time) a blogger who took on a personal challenge to slim her family’s bin, which has, unexpectedly, led to all sorts of exciting things, including setting up The Rubbish Diet – a “slimming club for bins”.
As part of our (two hour, sorry Karen!) chat, she mentioned that after she had done all that she could to reduce, reuse and recycle she took a look at the things that were left in her bin – and one of the items was kitchen roll, which she decided to wean herself off.
It was like a light bulb moment for me. This could be what I did. You might think: “Hardly going to save the world is it, Tara?” And you’re right, obviously. But when you have a young child, with messes almost every other minute, kitchen roll is never more than a metre away at any given time – or at least that was the case with me.
As an idea of just how much I loved it, when I decided to give it up we still had eight (EIGHT) rolls of it on top of the kitchen cupboards to use. But, it is only as I have stopped reaching for it that I realised just how many different things I used it for. (Incidentally, is it only me who used it to blow my nose? My husband thought that was weird. “That’s what tissues are for,” he said. So posh!)
But what do you replace it with? Reusable cloths* that can be used, washed, and used over and over again – although I now have so many of them I could create a lovely colourful quilt (still not quite getting it, am I?).
We keep a bucket in the kitchen for all the bibs/muslins that we go through in a day so they don’t stink out the washing bin. After I have mopped up a spill or cleaned the oven I just rinse the cloth and stick it in the bucket ready to wash. Also, and I’m not sure whether this is necessary, I have different colour cloths to be used in the kitchen and the bathroom – it just seemed more hygienic, although might be pointless.
As well as saving stuff being sent to landfill, if you think about it, an eight pack of kitchen roll is probably about £4.50 and if we were using eight rolls a month, over the year, that would be more than £50 sitting in the bin.
So, while it isn’t going to change the world, I’m working on “mighty oaks grow from acorns” and hope that this is just the start.
Anyone else willing to give up kitchen roll with me? Also, next up, monthly meal planning in a bid to cut some food waste. Anyone have any experience of this?
* Not for blowing your nose, obviously. I went with toilet roll that time but I’m all for hankies (which I’m going to make from muslins that are no longer needed).
7 thoughts on “But what do I blow my nose on? And other taxing questions about life without kitchen roll.”
Oh you are very brave, I don’t know what I would do without kitchen roll, but I do use a lot less now that we have Boo as we always have about 500 muslin cloths around so they have become my go-to thing for wiping up things!
Will be very interested to read about your monthly meal planning, I am trying to cut out food bill and our food waste so I am reading everything!
Thanks Jenni. I had no idea I used so much until I didn’t have it any more. It’s been an interesting process. Please let me know if you find anything interesting in your search for tips of meal planning.
I pretty much only use kitchen roll for blowing my nose 😀 So really I should try cutting it out altogether and having a bash at your idea of washable cloths and I’ll have to get a hanky for my nose 😉 I love ‘green’ tips and especially ones that save money too, so yep, get putting plenty up!
My biggest tip for meal planning is Pinterest! 😀 just gather as many meals/recipes as you can that you like, even ones that are obvious and the ‘usual’ just to remind yourself. Then do a monthly or weekly plan based on these meals, the keepers repin on a tried ‘n tested board for future reference or delete if you didn’t like a meal. I’m going to stick a list of freezer tips up soon as even I was surprised by some stuff you can freeze that’ll save time and money 🙂
Haha, good to know I’m not alone on the nose blowing front. I just hope I don’t get a cold any time soon 🙂 I’ll use your tip in my post, if that’s. I was going to link your blog anyway because your meal planner is fab.
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Thankyou! 😀 Now I’m back home I’m working on a pregnancy foods list to go with the freezer meal tips (especially to combat constipation, mine has returned and I’ve become allergic to fybogel!) including gluten and dairy free meals as they help me a lot even though I’m not allergic, the ones I’ve tried have been really delicious too!
Tissues and kitchen roll can be composted.
A good tip, although surely it’s better to use something that can be reused rather than thrown away after one use? We also live in a flat so don’t have space for compost and, as far as I’m aware, we can only put food in the waste collected by the council for compost.