Category

Families

Families, Whole Family

Climate Week 2013

climate week logo

climate week logo

As I mentioned yesterday, this week is Climate Week.  Now, Climate Week is all about inspiring others to be greener.  You could say that it’s like that every week here on Moral Fibres, so I thought I’d bend the rules a little and do something a bit different.  I already consider myself to be fairly green, but there are some things I do which aren’t so green, and I thought I’d hold myself accountable here on Moral Fibres.  I know we all have our own un-green habits, so here are mine:

Waste Food

wasting food

This is probably the biggest un-green thing I do.  Quite often vegetables rot in the fridge, or leftovers which I haven’t frozen sit for longer than is fit for human consumption.  Sometimes bread goes off in the bread bin.  We used to get a weekly vegetable box delivered with local seasonal veg.  We found however that we had no control over what vegetables we received so it was hard to plan meals in advance of receiving the box, so quite often things went off.  We switched to fortnightly deliveries but even then we still found it hard so we cancelled our box.  Now I buy seasonal British veg from Earthy in Edinburgh when we need it.  Still, there’s been a single solitary leek in my fridge for longer than I care to admit…!

We’re trying to be better at reducing the food we waste, but we could be much better.  We could plan meals, batch cook meals at the weekend, and freeze leftovers straight away rather than putting them in the fridge.  We already compost vegetable peelings, rotten vegetables, tea bags, egg shells etc, for our garden, but we could also get a bokashi bin for all non-compostable food waste, liked cooked food.  Watch this space (edited: I’ve made progress!  Check out my food waste tips I’ve discovered since writing this post!)

Shopping at Tesco

There is a Tesco Metro beside my work.  I quite often find myself popping in there for lunch and bits and pieces even though there are lots of little delicatessens and independent shops that really could do with the custom.  Tesco is one of the evillest supermarkets, and I always hate myself for going in there.  I should really stop giving them my custom – I think I’ll give it up during Climate Week and take it from there!

Using the Tumble Dryer

To be fair on myself, I’m pretty good at not using the tumble dryer in spring and summer (unless we’ve had a spell of terrible weather).  However, come autumn and winter it seems like my tumble dryer is never off.  With a baby, and two adults we seem to generate a lot of dirty washing.  Our house is very small and there isn’t a lot of room for clothes horses.  I’ve rammed our tiny kitchen with as many clothes horses it can hold (to the point where we get tangled in them!) but still there isn’t enough drying space, so unfortunately the tumble dryer has to go on.  It’s A rated, but it still doesn’t ease my guilt.  If we had a garage or porch I’d dry clothes in there, but alas we do not.  I’ve tried drying my clothes outside in winter, but living in Scotland, they often come back in just as damp as they went out.  I’m not sure what the solution is here to be honest.

Having Long Showers

Showers use less water than baths, but not when I take a shower.  Oh no.  Twenty minutes is about average shower length for me (what can I say, I like to make sure I’m super clean!).  I could easily reduce the amount of time I take in the shower, and also fit an aerator.  I just haven’t yet…

Charging my Phone Overnight

If my phone is low on battery (which it often is – these pesky smartphones with zero battery life) I’ll plug it in and charge it overnight.  This means that when it has finished charging it’s still switched on and using electricity.  I really should get into the habit of charging it during the day so that I can see when the battery is full and switch off the plug as soon as it’s done but I always seem to forget until bedtime.

What could you do better?    Let me know in the comments below – I promise we won’t judge and you’ll feel better for sharing!  And are you doing anything for Climate Week?

You can also follow along with Climate Week on the #climateweek twitter hashtag.

Babies, Families

Eco-Friendly Wooden Kids Toys

wooden kids toys

wooden kids toys

Look into any parent of a young child’s home (including ours) and you’ll most likely see a sea of plastic toys, many electronic with music with flashing lights (my least favourite!).

I have to say that I am not a fan of plastic toys, not least for how they are produced and the time it takes for the plastic to break down in landfill (often longer than 700 years).  They are also not the most aesthetically pleasing, and are full of nasty chemicals linked to illness in later life.

I much prefer wooden kids toys.  Wooden toys are (if you choose correctly) sustainable, degradable and free of the chemical risks that plastic toys possess.  They can also be  real hand-me-down pieces.

Of course, we have plastic toys bought for us and I do not discourage my daughter from playing with them.  However, since the age of about 6 months old, when she started showing an interest in toys, her preference has been for wooden kids toys.

Our first purchase, found in a charity shop, was a wooden shape sorter in the shape of a house.  She adored banging the blocks together and other toys barely got a look in.  Since then our collection of wooden toys have grown and she still loves her wooden toys as much as ever.  Her current favourite is a red London bus from Habitat – hours of fun taking the people in and out of the bus!

Here is the rest of our collection:

eco-friendly wooden toys

As wooden kids toys are so durable, even though they all look like new, we actually found most of these in charity shops, and the walker came second-hand from eBay.  The bus was the only toy we bought new, as a Christmas present, and the jigsaw was a gift from a family member.

If you’re looking to buy a special toy for a child in your life, perhaps for a birthday or Christmas present, then here is a run down of some other great wooden kids toys I found on the internet, separated into age groups:

Babies

wooden toys for babies

Links: 1/ 2/ 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

 

Toddlers

wooden toddler toys

Links: 1 / 2. Canterbury Toy Shop / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Older Kids
wooden kids toys

Links: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Most of the wooden kids toys I’ve showcased here are from sustainable sources or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited – if you are uncertain of the provenance of a toy then do contact the manufacturer.  You can also find a list of international and UK FSC accredited products and suppliers here on the FSC website.