Being eco-friendly

ArielAriel Shipmate
It was this that prompted me to stop and think:

"One tree produces about 100 pounds of toilet paper. Since one roll weighs just over half a pound, and the average consumer uses about 23 a year or about 15 pounds, then six people use one tree yearly. Globally, toilet paper alone consumes 27,000 trees every day."

I don't want this thread to be just about toilet paper. I'd like to hear from people who have made other small but significant changes - washing up liquid, light bulbs and so on. What small changes have you made, or were there things which didn't work well for you?

Comments

  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    Switching to a mooncup was brilliant. I switched about six years before hitting the menopause and wished that I'd switched a lot sooner.
  • We change everything possible to eco. It's not difficult. In fact, we have been doing it for a long time, and its become the norm. I still eat a bit of meat.
  • SpikeSpike Ecclesiantics & MW Host, Admin Emeritus
    I used to change my razor blade every week. Now I do it monthly.

    I drive a hybrid car. I’d go fully electric tomorrow if I had somewhere to charge it.
  • Switching to a mooncup was brilliant. I switched about six years before hitting the menopause and wished that I'd switched a lot sooner.
    I used a mooncup. I also made and sold cloth menstrual pads (alongside cloth nappies and children’s clothing made from vintage and organic fabrics) when my children were younger.

    I use eco products for laundry and washing up. I buy organic veg and organic or free range meat and we are keen recyclers.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    Our new electric car arrives in two weeks time.

    🚗
  • I try to buy second-hand first before looking for new things.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Long life light bulbs are brilliant. They last so much longer, which is great for vertically challenged people like me who don't have to climb often to change the bulbs.

    I like using white vinegar in the place of fabric conditioner when I wash my clothes. I dislike the smell and the glugginess of fabric conditioner.
  • I hadn’t realised how many eco things we’d taken on, but mostly due to being very budget conscious. Most of my are clothes bought 2nd hand, bargain hybrid car bought through local auction house. Home furnished mostly though auction house purchases/estate sales. Worm farming our vege scraps rather than send to landfill. Garden clippings to green waste, government makes the mulch and sells it to the public. Two aims in retirement are a rainwater tank (as big as we can fit in the garden) and if possible purchase an electric car. The house we moved to 5 years ago has solar panels, but we would like to add more. Husband collects fizzy drink bottles and cans both at home and at work to go to recycling When daughter was a baby she had cloth nappies rinsed in vinegar, but for son we went the disposable route (not proud of it). Would never have survived hospital had he still been in cloth.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    There are a couple of good opshops* within easy walking distance from my house. I have bought 2 beds complete with mattresses from them as well as a comfortable easy chair, dinner and side plates. They are now the first places I look if I break something or, as recently need an extra bed for family who will visit in a regular basis. I also donate items I don't need any more for sale as well as any excess grocery bags.

    *Opshops - I'm not sure how common this term is internationally. Here an opshop means an opportunity or second hand shop, usually run by a Church or charity group to raise funds. My local ones are run by the Salvation Army and St John's ambulance. City Mission (Anglican) and Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul p Catholic) also run shops in town.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Huia wrote: »
    *Opshops - I'm not sure how common this term is internationally. Here an opshop means an opportunity or second hand shop, usually run by a Church or charity group to raise funds. My local ones are run by the Salvation Army and St John's ambulance. City Mission (Anglican) and Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul p Catholic) also run shops in town.
    Opshop is a new term to me. In my corner of the Anglosphere, such a shop would be called a thrift shop or thrift store.


  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Here (UK) they would be Charity Shops.

    I do all laundry at 30°

    I take fits of upcycling clothes I have rather than buy new ones. Since I ignore fashion I'm still wearing items I've had for years, sometimes decades.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    My dog walking raincoat is 35 years old. 🐾🙂
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    Some of my clothes go back decades. None of the furniture in my house is new, except the folding chairs and picnic table. I buy most of my books secondhand, wash everything at 30C, and there is no tumble dryer. I recycle rubbish and put stuff in the garden waste bin or the little food waste bin. If I can mend things rather than throw them out I do. The car doesn't often get used and I generally either walk or take the train somewhere. Currently I'm pescatarian. I've often popped into charity shops: got some nice clothes and a lovely set of crockery that way.

    These are all things that come from having lived years on a very low budget rather than being eco-friendly, but I'm realizing it does all tie in with that.
  • We have just had solar panels installed. Which seem to be having a significant impact on our grid electricity usage.

    We did this for our let properly too.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Huia wrote: »

    *Opshops - I'm not sure how common this term is internationally. Here an opshop means an opportunity or second hand shop, usually run by a Church or charity group to raise funds.

    As it is here.
  • We stopped eating chicken a long time ago, this is particularly pertinent in the light of reports on chicken farms producing huge amounts of waste, see for example the river Wye. Organic is better, of course.
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    I can't currently cope with eating animals, not ones from a species that is inclined to come up and say hello to you, has friends and shows concern for others of its kind. It feels too much like eating people. At present I don't miss meat.

    On past experience this can and does change. It's complicated and I still haven't worked it out fully, but Quorn is good and adds some welcome variety when needed.
  • Switching to a mooncup was brilliant. I switched about six years before hitting the menopause and wished that I'd switched a lot sooner.

    I mean to do this but last time I tried it was fiddly and leaky. I do use period pants sometimes though. They are really comfy and keep my bum snug in cold weather!

    I’m trying not to buy any new clothes. I use charity shops quite a bit.
  • While I certainly agree that the "wear once and then discard" to clothes is wasteful and hugely detrimental to the environment, I'd also make two points.

    1. New clothes do need to be produced and purchased if they are later to be fed into the charity shop network.
    2. Clothing manufacture gives employment - albeit often poor quality - to many people, especially in the developing world.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    There's a huge problem with "fast fashion" though - some clothes are made only to be dumped as the trends change, and the Aral Sea (for example) has been mostly drained to irrigate cotton fields to make cheap clothing that doesn't last very long.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    We had a hybrid car for years. Electric cars are not very practical in wide open areas, especially in hard winters. I use a hybrid van from time to time at work. Anything that extends the mileage of a normal van helps to reduce over all carbon.

    At home, all our lights are LED, we had switched them out from CFL. We use a Smart Thermostat. We just replaced our gas range top with an induction range top. I use a battery powered lawn mower. We also keep a cooler house than most people.
  • Back to add that we also changed our lights to LED and in our previous house had changed our cooktop to induction, like you @Gramps49. Induction was amazingly speedy and in our current house it's something that will be close to top of the list for renovations.

    When Dad was alive we used to tease him for his Saturday garage sale routine and Mum used to go spare about all the things he'd find. All of us love a good Op Shop visit and when doing Dad's place after he died I used to think we bought as much as we took to the Oo shop. That was never going to even be possible, but we did make plenty of visits over the years we were back in our hometown.

    We are also big fans of bookfairs and even though I haven't bought boxes of things, I do know of people who will buy a year's supply of reading, donate it back and go again the following year to get new stuff. I have seen people leave there with boxes and boxes of stuff on trolleys, just for their own personal use!
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I cater to my reading addiction by belonging to two libraries.

    One is a very small Community library where I volunteer, thus saving the incredibly expensive membership fees of $2 to join and $1 to borrow a book. :wink:
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    We (a household of 3) don't use anywhere near 69 loo rolls a year. Back in 2020 we subscribed to one of these eco-loo-rolls companies that send you three months' supply at once. Three boxfuls of 48 rolls later we realised that their idea of an adequate supply was far more than we actually used and we cancelled the subscription. We are still working our way through the backlog and it will be quite a shock when we finally run out and have to buy more.

    I also worked from home long before it became fashionable, rarely buy new clothes (I have jumpers that are older than my daughter) and have cut my meat consumption. Have been using bath salts and solid shampoo for several years now. Tried toothpaste tablets but my dentist told me to go back to Sensodyne, so cannot claim a halo for de-plasticising my toiletries yet.
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    I used to buy jars of instant coffee-substitute - things like chicory or barleycup - from the local health food store. I wish supermarkets would stock this kind of thing but none of them have anything like it. Every time I went back the price had gone up. When it reached £2.75 I bought three, with the idea of making them last. Now on the last one, I've found they're just under £4 a jar. I could get them online for less, but p&p actually costs more than the items themselves.

    This is the point at which I stop buying them. They ought to be cheaper - chicory was used as ersatz coffee during the war - but clearly are not.
  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    Ariel wrote: »
    It was this that prompted me to stop and think:

    "One tree produces about 100 pounds of toilet paper. Since one roll weighs just over half a pound, and the average consumer uses about 23 a year or about 15 pounds, then six people use one tree yearly. Globally, toilet paper alone consumes 27,000 trees every day."

    I don't want this thread to be just about toilet paper. I'd like to hear from people who have made other small but significant changes - washing up liquid, light bulbs and so on. What small changes have you made, or were there things which didn't work well for you?
    In respect of toilet paper, we have had a bum washer fitted to the toilet for nearly 8 years.
  • One thing that is becoming more common here is double glazed windows, which it seems have been a thing in the UK for years. I am not sure how prevalent they are in the US. Our house has a number of large windows and one in particular I think would be good to have double glazed. I wonder though whether anyone knows if there is benefit from making a change to just one window, or whether it would need to be a whole room done at once to get a benefit in reducing the amount of heating/cooling. I do notice that I can feel this window being very hot in summer and cold in winter, we do have fairly good curtains which I delay opening in summer as that window gets sun from about 6am.

    I hadn't given too much thought to shampoos/toothpaste, but daughter does buy block shampoo and I have bookmarked a site with tooth tablets, but I suspect I should consult dentist first.

    When we were younger and recycled paper loo rolls came on to the market we eagerly took up that option. Older friends continued with bottom friendly paper and as I get older I see the attraction, though I do note that the charity rolls that church uses are nice and soft.

    Husband organised our lights to be changed over to LEDs, which I am sure is better but does not show on the bill. I think people in my family need to be better at turning off computers when they are at work, TVs, all the things that use power when they are not being actively used. Husband pays the electric bill every pay day and thus no bill shock for him, but I think a bit of frugality would go a long way!! If my kids ever leave home, I'll be interested to see how much our usage declines.

  • RockyRogerRockyRoger Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    My dog walking raincoat is 35 years old. 🐾🙂

    And how old is the dog? Is he/she eco friendly? ... not sure our cats are ... or any pets for that matter! Lord, have mercy!
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    RockyRoger wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    My dog walking raincoat is 35 years old. 🐾🙂

    And how old is the dog? Is he/she eco friendly? ... not sure our cats are ... or any pets for that matter! Lord, have mercy!

    My dogs are 2 and 11 years old.

    Eco friendly? They love squirrels, does that count?

  • RockyRogerRockyRoger Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    RockyRoger wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    My dog walking raincoat is 35 years old. 🐾🙂

    And how old is the dog? Is he/she eco friendly? ... not sure our cats are ... or any pets for that matter! Lord, have mercy!

    My dogs are 2 and 11 years old.

    Eco friendly? They love squirrels, does that count?

    Yup!!!!
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    @Cheery Gardener double glazing is usually recommended for stopping heat loss through windows, but it also cuts down on noise as well. Someone did research on how effective it was at keeping heat in - basically by going round Edinburgh in winter after dark with an infra-red camera, if I remember rightly - and found that heavy curtains and/or shutters work almost as well, which is good news for anyone who can't afford double glazing (can't find the reference for the research, sorry). I have been obsessive about drawing the curtains in the evening ever since... we have double glazing, but the latest thing is triple glazing which we can't afford.

    We haven't got a heat pump yet, but I gather they can do air-conditioning in summer as well as heating in winter.
  • That's really helpful @JaneR, thank you. I listen a lot to our local radio station and one of the announcers used to work on a TV program with advice around improving the energy efficiency of houses. Because it's frosty in winter here, some people use bubblewrap against their windows to help keep heat in as few homes are double glazed. It would be a dream for us to do double or triple glazing, but we might have to do it as a staggered project just due to the expense. I think this will be a job I get Cheery Husband onto when he retires in a couple of years time.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    @Cheery Gardener Thank-you for mentioning the use of bubble wrap. Both my front and back doors have a border of wood with 3 glass panes set in it. As the nights are getting colder my bedroom temperature is also dropping. I was thinking of putting bubble wrap on the glass, but couldn;t remember which way around to put it.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    It would be most useful, I think to put the bubble side against the glass. What is helping is the trapped layer of air. In that respect the advantage of bubble wrap is that you can simply put it against the glass.

    And if you’ve got glass you want to see through, even cheap secondary glazing options can improve thermal efficiency by 140%. The payback time is quite long, even in colder parts of NZ.
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    Bubble wrap may filter the amount of light that gets into your house, btw, in the way the net curtains do. If the room isn't naturally bright and sunny, you may find yourself using electric lights more. The other thing is how to secure it. You'll be fine if there isn't much condensation. I used to find that stuff pressed to the window lost its adhesiveness and started to peel off.

    Having said that, if you can get round this, it should work well for you.
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    Thermal blinds might help as well, and they keep the house cool(er) in summer, too.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    And if you’ve got glass you want to see through, even cheap secondary glazing options can improve thermal efficiency.
    When I was growing up on the Canadian prairies, this kind of solution was standard. It still is!
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Years ago I did something similar for my sister who was living in a draughty old student house in Bristol. I made a simple lightweight collapsible wooden frame which fitted into the window opening, and to which transparent plastic was fixed. I can’t now remember how the assembly was held in place, but it needed to be removable without damage from the landlord’s point of view.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    BroJames wrote: »
    And if you’ve got glass you want to see through, even cheap secondary glazing options can improve thermal efficiency.
    When I was growing up on the Canadian prairies, this kind of solution was standard. It still is!

    We did this in our current house for the first 15 years or so that we lived here, until we could afford to get better windows put in. Every winter putting on the plastic, every spring taking it off again.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I forgot we also replaced the majority of our windows with double pane weather proof windows. The previous windows did not seal properly. Also the sliding doors to the outside deck. We noticed a difference almost immediately. In the winter, our previous sliding doors would develop frost on the inside when it was super cold. No more. Another small item we added was a smart thermostat which allows you to have multiple settings throughout the week. When we are gone, it automatically turns down the heat. When we return, it turns up the heat before we even get home. We also installed thermal blinds. The house had some when we bought them, but they were getting old, and we just replaced all of them.

    If I may make a suggestion. My wife has started as a volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity Store. They will take any leftover hardware items and even old furniture. I am currently going through some of the tools and what not I have collected over the years to donate.
  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    Using my bike instead of my car where possible. I have to assess people in their own homes all over the city, and in 2023 my car mileage claims and bike mileage claims were almost exactly equal (each around 600, just 4 miles further by car). The bike mileage rate is minute but as I’m not spending money on petrol, it doesn’t matter.
    I don’t use the bike if it would take more than 15 minutes longer, or if there really is no safe route, or if it’s pouring with rain, or if it’s an area where I am likely to find parts of my bike missing when I return to it (there are a few). Or if I’m carrying equipment, though that’s rare these days.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thanks for all the ideas. After Easter I'm going to talk to the friendly staff at my local hardware store. I don't mind losing some light from the hallway as there's a well lit room close by that will help with the light levels.

    Also, reading ideas here I've remembered there is a group that helps with insulation etc by sourcing second hand curtains and checking levels of insulating material in the roof (apparently it settles).

    After the quakes more help was available for people who lost chimneys and could no longer have open fires. This improved the heating in my house and my asthma disappeared.

    I count that as one of the good effects of the quakes - along with a new Central Library.
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