One step at a time

I am the world’s worst at beating myself up over small things. It’s a habit I am trying to let go of, but I do seem to rather delight in self critique.
Even little things like going out to get some groceries and forgetting the shopping bags – never mind that we had a day bordering on insanely busy, or that my usually delightful girls had decided to have some fun with Mummy and so leaving the house had been like trying to herd cats, (seriously how can such little people remove shoes so fast?!) or that the bag I had to use has already been put to use many times over, and will continue to be used until it finds its way to being recycled – I wasn’t about to cut myself any slack for neglecting the most basic of eco practices.

However, when an acquaintance asked me if I really felt I could advise on eco matters if I still did things/bought things/used things that were not eco friendly it got me to thinking. Thinking that led me to the conclusion that actually, it is not about beating myself up for the things that I or my family don’t do, guilt is rarely a good motivator, but rather about celebrating and giving ourselves the odd high five for the things that we do do (I would also like to add at this juncture that I do not feel like it is my place to give advice! Merely to share, experiences, knowledge, mistakes, finds etc.if any of that ends up helping anyone then, yay!)

We have come a long way in our efforts to live in a more sustainable way, but I am under no illusions that we still have a long way to go. It takes a very special person to decide that they are going the whole hog approach when it comes to changing lifestyle and if you are one of those people, then I wholeheartedly take my hat off to you. But a lot of people are adverse to change, myself included and so the only way this was going to work was for us was to take it slowly, one step at a time.

We started really simply, by changing the kinds of bags we used, from bin bags to shopping bags (before we were charged for using plastic shopping bags). Out went the usual off the shelf bags and in came some lovely degradable ones for the rubbish and cotton string bags for the shopping.

Then a month or so later we started swapping our toiletries, shampoos, soaps, moiturisers etc, as the brands we had used for years ran out so they were replaced. A little while after that we swapped out our laundry products, then cleaning and so on.

With some products it took some trial and error before we found the ones that worked for us, (I will do some quick comparison posts later on to try and help you if you are having trouble deciding what to switch to. For example, switching your Persil for soap nuts ((which literally grow on trees)) might seem a bit of a stretch for you, maybe not, but if so then perhaps a laundry powder or liquid without chemicals will be a better fit…) but we were amazed by the options out there, that we had just never known about because they are not stocked in the supermarkets (generally speaking) or advertised on TV.

Sometimes it can be hard knowing where to start. What is the first step to take? So it can be surprising how once you do start, the way opens up in front of you and it can take you much further and in more directions than you ever imagined. It’s one of the things that gets me really excited about what we do and about helping people when they are just starting out. Even if you only change one thing a month, that will make a huge difference after a year. Pick something that speaks to you the most, and go from there.

One of the areas that we are still working on changing, but is also a great example of how your horizons and point of view can change as you go, is our diet. When we first started this I would have sworn that I would never be vegan, you could not have induced me to go down that road for love nor money and my husband even more so…but now… well, we are not there yet, but we do not eat much meat at all now, our diets are certainly much healthier. We are more aware and make more conscious choices about where any meat, diary products etc come from, and I can see it being a distinct possibility that we will be slipping more and more into that lifestyle choice, it just seems to be a natural progression

Another great example is re-usable menstrual products. When we first started stocking them I was horrified! I couldn’t think of many things worse! However a few years on and I cant imagine what I was making such a fuss about, I wouldn’t be without them now!

So now, as a family we do quite a bit to lessen our footprint upon this world, we’ve done it slowly, nothing has been a shock to the system. Is it all we can do? No. But next week we will be doing a little more than today. Our next personal project is to cut down on waste as it has started creeping up a bit lately. Sometimes I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack and celebrate the things that we do that are great. Whether they be big small, green, kind, thoughtful, or just ordinary and every-day. So wherever you are now, take a moment to celebrate and congratulate yourself for the effort you are already making, then think of the next thing you are going to change and when, and go tackle that goal with a spring in your step.

Action Steps – Make it Happen! 

  • Choose some first products to start swapping. It can be overwhelming to swap everything over straight away, so pick an area you would like to start with, Cleaning? Laundry? Personal care? And get some more eco choices in to try.
  • Have a look around your home for the amount of products you use that could be swapped out. It can be quite surprsing!
  • Have a look into the options avaliable to you. A great place to start could be with ECO EGGBIODFAITH IN NATURE ,  D2W BAGS, Or more generally with CLEANING or LAUNDRY to see the wide range of options available to you
  • If you have any questions or are unsure about where to start, please get in touch with us or your local Wikaniko consultant for a no obligation chat. We are always excited to talk eco and we would be happy to help you.

Where it all began….well, for us anyway…

It began simply enough, as most things do, with a conversation around the dinner table at my parents house. A conversation about an article that my mum had read about an Island made of plastic… “A what now?” ” An Island made entirely of plastic rubbish that has ended up in the sea, it’s all caught up in the ocean currents and collects in this one place in the ocean and it has formed this island of plastic.”

(We now know there is a bit more to it than that, and it is not an island as such but more of a plastic soup. Sadly that there is not just one of these but several. But at the time they were the ‘facts’ we had.)

“No one will clean it up” she continued. “Because apparently by making any effort to clean it up that country then admits responsibility for it and no-one wants to do that!”
Well from there, we started putting the world to rights, – as you do in close company when there is absolutely no danger of anyone calling you on it!
Except this time one thing led to another (and there wasn’t even any wine involved!) and before long we had decided that actually we should do something about it…. we perhaps weren’t in a position to head on out to the mid pacific with nets and start collecting, but perhaps we could do something to stop any more plastic ending up there???……

So we started doing a little research. Up until this point we were just a “normal” family living our lives, without too much thought for the waste we were producing or the chemicals we were using, where our things came from (food miles etc) or where they ended up once we had finished with them and threw them away. What we discovered was a big wake up call for us and was really shocking.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, globally up to 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die each year from eating plastic.

Perhaps the most shocking and saddening thing was the sheer amount of alternative products out there that were just not being utilised by the mainstream.

Seeing as how plastic was what had piqued our interest this was where we decided to start. We found a company that sold all manner of plastic bags that would degrade to Co2 and water in 18 months, a much better alternative than the 100’s of years that conventional plastic bags take. They were no different in feel, function, quality, or appearance to regular plastic bags and so should not be too scary as an alternative. So we pooled our resources, bought some bags, designed a leaflet and set out to sell some bags!

As and when we were able to we have slowly but surely built up our range until it is what you can see today. What we want to provide you with is a way to make ‘making eco choices’ easier, by giving you access to a great range of products all in one place, cutting out some of the research for you, making it easier to get what you need buy cutting down on the time you need to shop or shop around to get the eco products you want. And also to educate and help people to understand what they can do to help, show ways they didn’t even know were available to them, because we believe if everyone does even just a little bit, that can add up to a whole lot. After all, look at the reverse, we are all just throwing away, a little bit of plastic, and look at the chaos! If humans can cause so much devastation without consciously trying, and just each doing a little, surely the same or more can be true when we actually try to make a difference?

We would love to hear what first interested you about eco issues, or why you first started looking for ‘alternative’ (I am not a fan of that word, but for the life of me I cannot think of another at the moment!) products. Leave a comment below or drop us an email!