This is just a quick post, completely unrelated to the Everyday Radical mission, but I wanted to share an exciting thing which has happened.
I have been working on crafting my skills as a writer in various different formats recently, and I submitted a piece of flash fiction – which may possibly be an excerpt from a forthcoming novel, in about ten years’ time – to the very excellent collaborative writers’ blog, The Finest Example (the guys who also published my article about “zero waste” as a troublesome concept).
And here it is, A King in Darkness. I’m very proud of it and super stoked that someone else thinks it’s worthy of publishing (yes, imposter syndrome having a field day here!) So if you like it, please flatter me and say nice things and share it far and wide! Also you might want to follow my other blog, Secret Scribbles in London (not so secret any more, kids!), where I share flash fiction, poetry and ramblings about my life. I have 10 followers, it’s practically a viral internet sensation already!
Just a small aside, to keep some relevance to the eco theme in case my shameless plugging is too annoying. I’ve written here about my deep and long-lasting love for stationery (which I have now learnt to spell correctly, at last). I have not, since that post, bought myself any new stationery at all. But I bought a new note-pad today for £2.49 from Ryman, because my note-pad I use for meal planning and budgeting and other fun adulting activities has just run out. The keeping of this “housewife” pad definitely contributes to reducing our food waste, so technically today’s purchase is saving the planet. And I’m a published author now, so it’s allowed. I didn’t buy any new pens though. So I still get to be smug about being zero waste. (Incidentally, they have Terracycle collections in Ryman branches now for recycling used up pens, so don’t bin your biros, folks!)
Gosh, it’s nearly two weeks since I last posted. Sorry, people. I am a very good example of how NOT to maximise the success of a viral post… (this is the ragey post I wrote at the beginning of October which got retweeted a lot and nearly 1000 views – seems it resonated with a lot of people who are fed up of mothers and women in general being judged for every single thing they do).
Anyway… since we last met, dear reader, my very limited spare writing time has been taken up by some freelance work for the NHS, writing and rewriting a few business cases. I am enjoying it a lot – it’s not exactly got me hankering for the old days of 50+ hour weeks in a front-line operational job, but it’s good to get the brain cells whirring again (and earn some actual money, of course, which is always nice). So if you follow me on social media (Twitter or Facebook – no Instagram, ever), you’d have known there was a blog hiatus on the horizon, sorry if you missed it. I’ve also got another super secret writing thing going on, but it’s super secret and staying that way. Literally not one single human that I know in real life knows about it, so there.
I’m finding it a bit frustrating at the moment, to be honest, having so little time for writing. But it seems I can’t simultaneously do paid work, unpaid work, have a clean house and sleep, let alone keep a toddler alive and fed (and feed a husband too, of course). So something has to give at the moment, and it’s the clean house and the unpaid stuff, of course.
I have been plugging away at the eco switches in the background. I’ve been to SWOP today for Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner. I confess I’ve given up on shampoo bars for now – fed up of looking like a scarecrow. I could have persevered but I didn’t want to spend tons of money on different bars to see what worked for me. I feel that refills is the next best thing – although it has occurred to me today to tweet SWOP to ask them what happens to the 5L bottles they get from their supplier and whether they’re sent back and refilled. I maintain that there’s no such thing as truly zero waste, I don’t think…
And dishwashing! The obsession continues. I took the plunge and switched to Splosh dishwasher tablets, and I’m really happy with them. They come in this snazzy little tub:
The tablets are covered in a water-soluble film, which looks a bit like plastic but definitely isn’t, and they are cruelty free. They came in a box padded with a bunch of things that looked alarmingly like styrofoam, but this apparently is a starch-based packing peanut, which is biodegradable.
I also bought hand wash, washing up liquid, kitchen and bathroom cleaner refills, to use in bottles I’ve kept, and refillable Splosh laundry liquid. I’m happy with the laundry liquid but it seems to be disappearing pretty fast, so I’m considering halving the amount I’m using per wash to see if it’s still effective, as I would with the dosage recommendations for powder or tablets.
My Splosh account tells me I’ve already saved 19 bottles. I was a bit concerned about the refill pouches, but the blurb on the website is convincing – the combined effort of using very concentrated products and pouches reduces plastic use by 90%, and the pouches can be returned for reprocessing with only a 2.5% waste rate from this process (they call this “zero waste”, but of course it’s not… but it’s miles better than new bottles every time, made out of virgin plastic then plunged into the over-burdened recycling system to end up goodness knows where). Splosh say that their customers have saved 257,511 plastic bottles from going into the waste system this year, and they’re aiming for one million next year.
I’m pretty happy with the Splosh switch. Nothing’s perfect, of course, except living in a cave and eschewing all modernity (tempting sometimes!) But it felt like the right choice, after quite a bit of research.
Next switch – not sure. Check out Tortoise Happy‘s blog if you want some inspiration while waiting for my next post. She’s doing well in her challenge to make 12 eco-switches before the end of the year.
There’s loads I want to write about – XR, climate change and feminism, eco-anxiety, Christmas… Anyone want to sponsor this blog so I can spend more time on it? (*wishes for fairy godmother*
Until next time – keep on truckin’.
(Here’s the Splosh refills all neat in the cupboard like a row of books).
And you don’t need to be going back to school with a shiny new pencil case to make some September resolutions.
This blog is all about making small, sustainable lifestyle changes to help the environment. Some of the switches I’ve made so far include:
ditching shower gel and going back to the bar with The Good Soap.
I’ve also switched to refillable Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner from the Shop Without Packaging, which is an amazing shop that I feel very fortunate enough to live within a bus journey of.
I’ve ditched furniture polish and swapped to damp dusting, and started using refills of cleaning products.
I’ve ditched clingfilm and embraced my Tupperware collection.
I’m making much more effort towards plastic-free food shopping.
I’m having a serious stab at Buy Nothing as a lifestyle change – this is my September/”rest of year” resolution.
There’s SO much more I could be doing, so much more we could all be doing. The choices seem overwhelming, and there are opposing views on so many things – are paper bags really better than plastic? Are compostable bags actually compostable? Do you need a degree in biochemistry to understand this stuff? Should we all go vegan, or is it enough just to boycott South American meat and buy local and organic? Should we all stop flying and using petrol/diesel cars? The challenges and the decisions are huge.
Can we as individuals really do anything to turn the tide on plastic pollution and climate change? Personally, I believe that we must put the pressure on our governments and corporations to lead the change, through voting, petitions, protests, and withdrawing our custom from environmental offenders. And by joining XR protests and being prepared to get arrested? Maybe.
So after the hiatus over the summer, I’m refocusing my attention on these thoughts and decisions and relaunching the blog. I have an absolutely HUGE list of things to research and write about, and I hope I can help people to think these decisions through, maybe make some changes in their own lives, and contribute to the voices already calling out for change.
SO. Competition time. Like and share the newly launched Everyday Radical Facebook page, or like and retweet this post and follow @TheEverydayRad1 on Twitter, for a change to win a £25 gift voucher from The Good Soap – bonus prize draw for new followers of the blog via WordPress too. Help me spread the word, and tell my your September eco resolutions!