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Changing habits to meet changing society

(138 Posts)
GagaJo Sun 08-May-22 21:40:13

Interested in what changes others are making, based on the changing focus we have now on ecological and cost issues (plastic products, energy, natural resources etc).

* I'm trying to buy as little single use plastic as possible.
* Walking instead of taking the car.
* Unplugging anything unnecessary.
* Not putting the heating on.
* Recycling more.
* Selling my old stuff / trying not to buy new, only second hand.
* No longer showering/bathing daily.
* Giving up flying unless absolutely essential (for work maybe, although I haven't yet).

merlotgran Sun 08-May-22 21:44:44

I do all those already and nobody’s putting heating on at the moment are they?

Rameses Sun 08-May-22 22:00:00

I am trying to do these things as far as is practicable. However, I think a lot depends on individual circumstances. Let me take them in order;

*Yes. Single use plastic. Everyone can do this.
*Not so easy in a rural area (particularly where there are very limited facilities)
*Yes, generally possible.
*Yes, although there is scepticism about how much stuff actually gets recycled in reality.
*Absolutely, I have been buying in charity shops for some years now. It is often astounding what some people discard/throw away.
*Bathing/showering. This has become an obsession in the modern world. 50+ years ago, showers in homes were not that common and people bathed less frequently. My father worked as a post office sorter and they had nicknames for many places. He used to talk about "once a week" (the city of Bath) and, for many of his time, it was just that.
*I will probably never fly again. I became disinterested in foreign travel a few years ago. Too much hassle for me now.

Further, we have never had either a dishwasher or a tumble dryer. Some folk would really struggle to cope without these fundamentally unnecessary items nowadays.

Libman Sun 08-May-22 22:11:59

Reducing food waste - unless it’s mouldy it gets used.
Heating is on if really cold but thermostats have been turned down
Tumble dryer for emergencies only
If the grandchildren visit and have a bath, the water is used for the garden
Is my journey necessary or do I just fancy a jaunt to John Lewis? 40 mile round trip.
Generally just trying to live within our means which will be different for everyone.

Fennel Sun 08-May-22 22:19:40

I'll have to think, GagaJo but like others have been trying to keep to these new rules for some time.
We've recently been able to afford some solar pannels so that helps with electricity. But not gas.
I wish someone would show a gas substitute. I think propane is different?

GagaJo Sun 08-May-22 22:20:53

Yes, food waste! That is such an obvious one but when I think of what I used to chuck away, years ago, I cringe.

I'm also trying to increase what I forage, but am restricted by not knowing where some of the stuff I'd like to pick can be located, but also by lack of time. I do try to keep a beady eye open when out and about and make a mental note of places where specific resources are.

I can feel smug about the tumble dryer. Haven't had one for years. I think they damage clothes and haven't had one for that reason, but now of course, I'm glad not to be dependent on one for both eco and also cost reasons. Same for the dish washer. Had one when I was younger and didn't like it, so don't have one for that reason, and am pleased now I haven't become used to one.

BigBertha1 Sun 08-May-22 22:21:53

Our main thing was going down to one car unfortunately it doesn't work in a town with poor public transport, no railway station and a paucity of shops so reluctantly we have bought a second small second hand car. We do most of those other things but won't be going by without a fairly shower or even a second shower after playing sports.

BigBertha1 Sun 08-May-22 22:22:33

daily shower

Pepper59 Sun 08-May-22 23:06:56

People don't use tumble driers properly. Ive had one for years and didn't have big bills. I only use it really for bedding and towels. I always line dry things first.

BlueSky Sun 08-May-22 23:18:20

Been there done that bought the T shirt, apart from the daily shower which is not negotiable.

Doodledog Sun 08-May-22 23:42:55

I try to avoid single use plastic, but that's not the same as never buying it. I would prefer there to be a ban on it, or for companies to have to justify why the item has to be plastic before it can be made or imported, but I doubt that will happen.

I don't drive, but Mr Dog does, and I'm not opposed to being a passenger. I do use the bus and walk though, and I've never been one to take the car to get a loaf of bread.

I'm not great at unplugging, but having seen the cost of leaving phone chargers plugged in and not connected to phones I may well change my ways.

I am mid clearout now, and have bagged up unfeasible amounts of coats and shoes to go to charity shops tomorrow.

I do buy second hand, which is why Mr Dog is being sent to get rid of them grin. There are a lot more clothes to get rid of, but I do want to get on top of it all and live a less cluttered life, now that I dress for comfort as I'm all but retired.

I do bath most nights, and don't want to give that up. I find it relaxing before bed, and I don't feel clean if I don't bath at night or shower in the morning, and I prefer the bath.

I used to fly fairly regularly with work, but Mr Dog hates flying, so I don't do it these days. I used to sometimes go away with a friend, but she is coupled up now, so that stopped too. I don't like the thought of holidaying on my own.

I bought one of those Lakeland heated airers with a cover, and try to use that instead of the dryer. It takes ages, but is much cheaper to run, and I can cram a lot onto it. I also got a Ninja Foodi - one of those all in one cooker things - as they are cheaper than putting the oven on if you're just making a small amount. I cooked a chicken in 40 mins yesterday (it was a small one) and it would have taken far longer in the oven. I'll need to get used to it to know whether it actually does save in the long run though, as if the oven is on you can cook other things at the same time. The Foodi won't cope with a casserole, baked potatoes, garlic bread and a tray of scones all at once.

I knit the vast majority of my jumpers (and I wear thin ones in warmer weather, so wear them pretty much all year round). It doesn't cost less than buying them (often a lot more), but I am happy to unravel an old jumper and re-knit it if it doesn't fit, or develops a hole, or I just find I don't wear it a lot. That is true recycling.

I never know whether it is better, planet-wise, to use cloth dishcloths (cotton=bad) and bleach them (bleach=bad), which is what my mum did, or use J cloth type ones and throw them away (wasteful). If anyone knows the answer I will happily comply with whichever is better, but I don't know. I usually put a capful of bleach in the washing up bowl or sink, add water and soak the dishcloth overnight about 3 times a week. I then use the water to wipe the surfaces with the clean cloth. I only replace the cloths when they are really past it, so a pack of 4 dishcloths can last a year.

GagaJo Sun 08-May-22 23:46:55

Can't you boil the cotton dishcloths? That's what my mum used to do to sterilise them.

Hetty58 Sun 08-May-22 23:50:39

I'd already made drastic changes, many years ago. The difference I've noticed is that my friends and family no longer laugh and joke about my frugal, planet friendly - and miserly habits!

merlotgran, only the rich and reckless have their heating on.

Doodledog Sun 08-May-22 23:50:55

Would that be better or worse than a small amount of bleach, as it would use energy? I almost never have the machine higher than 40 degrees, so I'd have to do a special load or use a pan of some kind. I have no clue about these things.

GagaJo Sun 08-May-22 23:57:56

Ah no. Boil, as in a pan on the hob. I used to do it too when I had hand knitted dish cloths (loved them!).

GagaJo Sun 08-May-22 23:59:02

Thought of another one. Wash and reuse plastic bags. Been doing this particular one for 20 years.

rubysong Mon 09-May-22 00:02:36

This is an interesting thread. My dishcloths used to be a t shirt and I throw them in with every wash. I can't remember the last time I bought dishcloths or floor cloths, (old towelling bathrobe cut up and stitched round with a zig zag).
At a WI committee meeting we were discussing eco tips and I said I didn't shower every day as it's perfectly simple to have a good wash. They were all horrified! I'm sure most of them didn't grow up having daily showers. It is so wasteful of water and power.

Rosie51 Mon 09-May-22 00:06:38

I think you need a healthy degree of scepticism about many 'Green' alternatives. Take electric cars for instance, there's controversy about whether they are actually better for the environment. Their daily use may well be better, but is their production really an improvement? The carbon footprint is huge! If you use water usage as a guide cotton isn't green, but do we really think polyester is the saviour of the world? Nothing is as simple as some would try to assert. Definitely cut down on waste, reuse in preference to recycle, but recycle in preference to land fill. We can all make a difference and as the advert says 'every little helps' but ultimately it's governments that will decide the future, not the individual.

Galaxy Mon 09-May-22 06:20:33

I think the thought of people not travelling to other countries quite frightening to be honest. I think there would be some interesting unintended consequences to that.

BlueBelle Mon 09-May-22 06:32:01

I have been doing your list for always gagajo except I shower every day and will continue to do so I couldn’t not …
I wash my hair and clean my teeth in the shower so utilise one lot of water
I use all my peelings and uncooked food waste for the garden and allotment
I wash everything on 30* have for years
I don’t have a car l cycle or walk and use public transport
I ve always re used any carriers that come my way I ve always shopped in charity shops
I never leave chargers plugged in because of safety but am trying hard to remember to turn the tv off at the main at night
I don’t have central heating and use hot water bottles or my heat lap blanket in spring/ autumn

I still have a way to go though I can’t not buy online as most shops here have gone and that means unnecessary plastic and packing I do reuse them but it’s still there isn’t it

grandMattie Mon 09-May-22 06:41:58

No one mentions saving water much…
I have been recycling and doing all of the above for as long as I can remember. I rarely shop online - especially loathe Am****n! Difficult to do any more.

vegansrock Mon 09-May-22 06:57:35

No one has mentioned cutting down on meat and dairy , which is the biggest contributor to carbon emissions.

MissAdventure Mon 09-May-22 07:13:14

I boil myself in a bucket with some pieces of old cloth, then throw in some lentils to turn it into a nutritious soup when I've finished.

vegansrock Mon 09-May-22 07:17:46


Calendargirl Mon 09-May-22 07:21:51

I am always amazed when food waste is discussed on tv, and the average family apparently wastes several hundred pounds worth a year.

How? Do they overbuy, leave half of it on their plates, chuck out stuff that is a day beyond its ‘best before’ date?

There’s only DH and me at home now, but I buy and cook what I know we will eat. The remains of yesterday’s small beef joint will be eaten today, along with the spare veg and gravy.

8 ounces of fresh mince makes two lasagnes, bulked out with mushrooms, peppers, whatever, one eaten, one frozen.

I buy fresh loaves from the local baker, far more expensive than a supermarket one, but much nicer, and all gets eaten, no crust thrown away.

Can honestly say we hardly ever discard any food.