Hi, I’m Gem.
A mum of 2, wife to an amazing, supportive hubby and a strategic marketer by trade.
I am all about combining the love of my family and gardening with my most recent love of being green! I love all things eco and have recently started the family out on our green journey…
Q1 ) What was it that inspired you to start your eco journey?
We were on holiday in Egypt in Feb of this year, enjoying a sizzling day on the beach. Our eldest had gone snorkeling in the sea and was just surrounded by fish, the excitement in her voice, on her face, was just – I wish I could have bottled it (Not in plastic of course).
After a little while of swimming around, she comes out of the sea, hands full of something that I couldn’t quite make out… Rubbish. She had been collecting it as she swam about so that it didn’t harm the fish, but it didn’t stop there. Our then nearly 2 year old, saw what his sister had done and later that day came to me carrying some empty plastic cups, saying “oh no mummy”. My heart broke and that was when it hit home for us – we needed to do something to stop this, to help save the planet, our oceans and everything living in it and let our children enjoy these beautiful places.
Q2)How do you make eco choices in your house?
After Egyptgate, I had no idea where to even begin! So I started looking at social media, researching the world wide web for help. I didn’t want to start by making choices that impacted the hubby or kids directly as I wanted the family to buy in and enjoy the journey to make life easier so I made choices that would impact my day to day first.
I started with cleaning stuff, then on to the food – trickier than I envisioned. Moving to my own personal products as they ran out – safety razor, bamboo cotton buds, deodorant, and feminine hygiene. That’s an important message as well, only replace with plastic-free once your existing products have ran out, otherwise, you’re still generating unnecessary waste.
Q3 How do you stay eco on the go?
Haha, it is hit and miss. I have a travel mug which any reputable coffee shop will fill – some even have money off incentives when you use your own. When I travel for work, I am terrible at remembering to take my lunch, so on a few occasions have starved when I have struggled to find something quick and plastic free to eat. However it is second nature with the kids. Our youngest has a dairy intolerance, so we have always taken our own food out with us, tucked nicely into reusable containers and wrapped in beeswax wrappers and their own reusable juice bottles is just how we roll.
Q4 How do you encourage your children to be eco?
Slowly. As we know, like with anything, forcing a child to do something they either don’t want to do or don’t understand, won’t get us anywhere. We had a challenge recently where our previous house owners had a compost bin in the garden which on inspection….was full of plastic. Our eldest wanted to help me clear the space ready for our own composting and was shocked at how long we think some of the plastic had been there and actually what should be composted. We see her now, thinking before putting things in the bin about where it should go…75% of the time it’s the right one!
Toys and craft! It is the one thing they interact with on a daily basis. To be honest, they don’t know (or care at this age) if mummy sourced their tomatoes plastic free, but they do enjoy playing! We are trying to teach them that second hand isn’t a dirty word, it’s an environmentally friendly one and where we do buy new, we buy consciously and sustainably, including trying to get our family and friends to think the same when purchasing gifts.
Q5 What are the best environmentally friendly swaps you have made?
The eco egg has been one of the best swaps we have made, not only from an environmental point but also a financial one. Having it for 3 months has already saved us around £30 and our reusable dish pads and food covers have been amazing.
Oh, and our toilet roll swap has been up there with the best. We use who gives a crap bamboo toilet roll and yes, while initially seeming expensive for well, loo roll. Long term it is much cheaper and better quality and goes without saying, better for the environment.
It’s good to celebrate the fails though as well, and there are things like our recent birthday celebration which meant my fridge was full of food in plastic. We also still use nappies. Cloth nappies are a huge investment and with potty training on the horizon, we have struggled to make that commitment.
Q6 What easy steps would you recommend to people wanting to be more eco-friendly?
Do it within your means and think long term. Going plastic free, more environmentally friendly isn’t always the cheapest route but there are plenty of quick wins like not using tumble dryers or cutting down on beef that helps. There are plenty of quotes out there that I have seen that support this. We don’t need 100 people doing this perfectly; we need millions doing it imperfectly!