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Working towards a waste-free life

‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world’. I am always encouraged by this quote by Mahatma Ghandi when it comes to making changes in the way I live my life. I understand its meaning to be, by doing small things you can make big changes and if lots of people do lots of small things great differences can be made.

The other thing that inspires me is the beauty of rural France where we have chosen to make our home. The rolling hills of Gascony are like a sleeping giant, that could lurch and roll over at any moment and I never tire of the beauty and sheer splendour of the Pyrenees mountains in the distance.

Surrounded by all of this nature and beauty kind of makes you want to preserve it, and keep it, well, clean somehow. My handmade soap business was born from a desire to use more natural skin care products but, more importantly, it was a way to lessen some of the waste we propagated from using plastic bottled shower gels, shampoo and hair conditioner. That was the start!

I know that converting to a waste-free life doesn’t happen overnight and so should you. I think that if you try to do something life-changing overnight then it probably won’t last so, lots of small changes are needed to ‘shake your world’.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

I know that converting to a waste-free life doesn’t happen overnight... lots of small changes are needed to ‘shake your world’.

Tip 1 – Don't try to do it all at once

Firstly, you do not have to buy zero waste alternatives all at once. Use up your old items. For example, if you have just bought a pack of disposable razors then use them before investing in a stainless steel safety razor. Throwing your razors away unused is pretty wasteful too don’t you think?

So, replace items as they run out! Things like plastic buckets, washing up bowls, dust pan and brush should be used until they are no longer useable before investing in new steel or enamel versions. I love seeking out local brocantes and vide greniers for these items and giving them a second life.

Tip 2 – Invest in some cotton bags

Secondly, invest in some cotton re-useable bags for your fruit and veg in the supermarket. Here in France all the bags for loose groceries are biodegradable but for me it’s about not using the bag at all, so a re-useable alternative is a great idea. I have just swapped to washable muslin cloths for make-up removal and I love them!

Tip 3 – Make your own detergent!

Thirdly, and this may be a step too far for a ‘zero waste newbie’ but hear me out. Make your own laundry detergent! This is my newest thing and now I have started I cannot believe that I didn’t do it years ago. I have never had great success with store bought laundry detergent and it is costly to boot and the packaging fills my re-cycling bin on its own! I haven’t done any research but I guess that their environmental impact is pretty high too.

Here in SW France most homes have a wood burning fire right? Well you can make your laundry detergent from the ash from your fire and best of all? It’s free and virtually effortless! Follow this link to find out all you need to know

I would love to hear about the small changes that you have made on your journey to waste free and if you are just about to start then Bonne Courage!

Until next time! x