I founded The Beeswax Wrap Co. in 2017 in a  bid to reduce waste and live a more sustainable lifestyle, but with a family and business to nurture too, living an eco conscious lifestyle could sometimes feel overwhelming. Life is already so mad and living plastic-free can’t always be the number one priority, but I believe you don’t need to overhaul your life to make a positive change.

There are some simple swaps, outlooks and priorities that you can work on from home to get you started on the right path. Read on to see some of my suggestions and pick out the ones that work for you.

Beg, Borrow or Steal (except you probably won’t need to beg or steal)

A great place to start is thinking a little more about our purchase decisions. Instead of buying new clothes for our family, there are other options available to us that can be just as fun (and better for the bank balance too). Borrow from friends or check out charity shops (vintage dress finds are my favourite). These clothes are often hardly worn and it’s so important to start thinking in a more circular way. Kids’ clothes are worn for such short periods of time, that I often kit out our little boy for another two-six months with a trip to our local charity shops. The small moment of satisfaction we get from a new purchase is fleeting really, so for the sake of our planet, I always feel this is a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be for everything, but starting small with a couple of tops or a new jacket is a good first step for changing our purchase habits. It may not seem like the biggest change, but by boosting re-use and recycling through clothing waste, we can save a large amount of landfill waste. The resources needed to make new clothes are huge (it takes 7,000 litres of water to make one pair of jeans!) so a simple swap like this really does contribute to positive change.

Prep meals and shop locally

Food waste is not only expensive but problematic for the environment, contributing to 6% of our greenhouse gas emissions – each year we waste 1.3 gigatons of edible food and this releases 3.3 gigatons of CO2. Especially when most of the food we have purchased has come from all over the world, think of the carbon footprint that goes with it. As a global community, we waste 30% of the food we produce, so how can we help reduce this? It could be a really joyful, new year ritual to shop at your local market or farm shops for your fruit and vegetables (you may find they’re fresher and last longer too!). Becoming more conscious of eating seasonal food is also great for the planet. It’s so tempting to eat berries in January but we can stew more seasonal fruits to add to yoghurts and porridges for breakfast instead and in doing so, decrease the demand for produce to be flown half way across the world.

Making a batch of food may or may not fit into your lifestyle, but again this could become something of a ritual at the weekend and also a great way to prepare for a busy week ahead.  I always feel like I can take my mind off business and cook on a Sunday, focusing on prepping meals that I can then look forward to simply heating up when I’m tired in the week. Freeze stews, soups, lasagnes etc. for the whole family. Beeswax wraps can be used both for batch cooking and fresh produce – extending their life and reducing food waste. Make your beeswax wraps into pouches for cooked snacks, use them to seal jars of premade sauce or bowls full of leftovers. Wraps are fridge and freezer friendly too – so our whole team uses them a lot for meal prep!

Make simple swaps to regular day to day tasks

Washing up dishes: Not only are washing up liquids often made with harsh chemicals, but the plastic bottles they are packaged in contribute towards the 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. Swap out your bottle of washing up liquid for a plastic-free alternative, such as a solid dishwashing soap – ours is vegan friendly, cruelty and paraben free too! This swap helps reduce plastic production and the amount of toxic waste in our oceans from harsher liquids.

Wrapping up food: Cling film is a single use plastic, making it near impossible to recycle. Not only can it not be recycled, but the plastic in cling film degrades over time and creates micro plastics which can transfer onto our food and remain on our planet indefinitely. Switching out cling film or sandwich bags for Beeswax Wraps can help cut the production and waste of tonnes of plastic every year. Not only this, but beeswax wraps help keep your food fresher for longer (they’re naturally breathable and antibacterial) and brighten up your home, lunchboxes and kitchen too. We all need more joy (and less plastic) in the products we use most often.

Shopping with plastic bags: You could also swap plastic bags for cotton bags. Unsurprisingly, amongst the top culprits of plastic pollution are plastic bags. Some 160,000 of them are used every second – that’s five trillion bags a year. Cotton bags are stylish, they’re colourful and they’re washable. Ours are made from organic cotton and printed with low impact dyes so are a fantastic, sustainable alternative. These bags can be used for food storage in your kitchen and home, or even for P.E kits, pencil cases, toiletries and so much more.

Go easy on yourself, being aware is a great start

When you’re exhausted; looking after your children, working, cooking and cleaning etc. thinking about the environment can, understandably, often be the last thing on your mind. Firstly and most importantly, take care of yourself. You are trying your best and if that means keeping a spare roll of cling film in the cupboard and popping to the nearest supermarket for punnets of fruit and single-use nappies, that’s okay. Many people making eco-friendly swaps and decisions imperfectly is better than no one doing it at all. We’re not perfect, find the swaps that work for you and implement them as and when you can, one simple swap at a time.

Fran Beer

Fran Beer

About your author

Fran Beer founded The Beeswax Wrap Co. in 2017 in a bid to live more sustainably and plastic-free. Now the UK’s leading creator of hand-crafted beeswax wraps and vegan wax wraps, The Beeswax Wrap Co. create simple and sustainable swaps to help you waste less. 

You can find out more about Fran and her business here.

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