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Life & Style

Arts & Crafts, Life & Style, Natural Cleaning

Homemade Reed Diffuser DIY

make your own reed diffuser

reed diffuser DIY

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Now, I’m not really crafty, but I’ve got a great DIY for you today.  This homemade reed diffuser tutorial is so simple it’s basically foolproof!  If you can add some liquid to a bottle then this is the DIY for you!

I have a small old bottle collection, and I wanted to use some of them in a practical way, rather than just have them gathering dust on a shelf.  At the same time I was also looking for a way to freshen my bathroom without going down the chemical air freshener route because the smell of standard air fresheners and synthetic fragrances (especially the plugin ones) makes me feel sick, and I don’t like using essential oil burners because of having a small child in the house.

I came up with this idea for a homemade reed diffuser because it had the dual purpose of practically using my bottles, and it scents my bathroom in an environmentally friendly and natural way without the use of chemicals or synthetic fragrances.  Win!

It worked so well I thought I’d share my technique because I’m good like that!  Here’s how you can make your own homemade reed diffuser for pennies, in minutes, and with only a few ingredients:

homemade reed diffuser

Homemade Reed Diffuser DIY

Ingredients

Clean glass jar preferably with a narrow mouth
60 ml of sweet almond oil
30 drops of essential oil of your choice.
A handful of reed sticks

Instructions

Pour 60ml of sweet almond oil into your glass jar
Add your essential oil(s). I used 10 drops of rosemary oil and 20 drops of grapefruit oil as I wanted a clean citrus smell for my bathroom.
Wipe down your jar with a cloth to remove any oils that might have dripped down the sides.
Add your reed sticks.
After a few hours remove your reed sticks and place them in upside down to help the oils travel up the sticks.
Place in a spot away from children and pets and enjoy the lovely aroma!

Homemade Reed Diffuser Notes

make your own reed diffuser

I bought my sweet almond oil, essential oils (rosemary and grapefruit) and reed sticks from eBay.  I’ve got plenty left of each to make heaps of reed diffusers!

Use a bottle or jar with a narrow opening as the oil will evaporate at a slower rate than a jar with a wide opening.

If the smell starts to go a bit flat try taking the reed sticks out and placing them back in the liquid upside down.

The scent in this homemade reed diffuser isn’t anywhere near as strong as its shop bought counterparts, so don’t expect a really strong fragrance.  For that reason, I find it best to place the diffuser in a small area, such as a bathroom, rather than trying to scent your living room.

Some people also swear by adding vodka to their diffuser as they say it helps the oils travel up the reeds.  I didn’t have any vodka in the house so wasn’t able to try this.  Let me know if you do!

I hope you enjoy making!  The diffuser would make such a lovely homemade gift, so definitely one to keep in mind if you’re ever in need of any eco-friendly gift ideas!

ps: if you like this try my homemade beeswax candle DIY!

Life & Style

How To Get An Environmental Job

how to get an environmental job

how to get an environmental job

I’ve been working in the environmental sector for 10 years now.  Lately I’ve had a couple of emails from younger readers asking how to get an environmental job, or looking for advice in starting off in the environmental sector.  It got me thinking that it would be useful to address these points in a blog post for anyone starting off in their career or looking to change career.

My experience is completely in the sustainable transport sector.  It’s an area I’ve worked in since I graduated 10 years ago (ouch!).  Even so, I hope my experience is sufficiently broad enough to help you navigate your way through the education and job hunting maze and help you find your perfect environmental job!

College/University

I studied Environmental Geography at the University of Aberdeen back in the day.  Environmental Geography isn’t a course offered very much these days, but any social science or biological degree is a good choice for getting into the environmental sector.  Geography, Sustainability, Geology, Biology, Ecology, Zoology, Botany, or anything else in the natural sciences is a good bet.  Even courses such as Community Education, Teaching, Marketing and English are good degrees to have in gaining an environmental job.  If there’s one thing I learned from my degree is that the key is emphasising your transferable skills!

Whilst you’re at university get involved and have fun!  It’s not just about the studying!  Join the student newspaper and write environmental articles for them.  Join or set up an environmental group.  Help organise environmental events.  Get involved in student politics.  I could go on!  As well as helping you to meet people, any one of these things will look great on your CV.

I went on to study for a Masters in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh.  A Masters isn’t necessary to get a job in the environmental sector unless you want to go into the world of academia.  I did initially, working in academic research into the links between transport and climate change, but after a while I realised that at the time it wasn’t quite the career path for me.  I don’t regret doing the course though – it has been useful in gaining other jobs.

Masters are expensive and there is no financial support available, apart from Career Development Loans, which you have to start paying back as soon as you graduate.  I took a year out between finishing my Geography degree and starting my Masters, and I worked three jobs to save up to pay for my Masters fees, which at the time (11 years ago) were £5000.

Because I had been working I wasn’t eligible for the means tested Career Development Loan.  I applied and got a big fat knock back even though I wasn’t rolling in cash, so in order to cover my living costs I had to work part time whilst studying, which wasn’t ideal.  Even with working the hours I could I was still so poor I could barely afford to eat and had to walk a 4 mile round trip to get to uni and back because I couldn’t afford the bus.  It wasn’t the most fun ever.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom: I really enjoyed the course, and I did land a good environmental job within months of graduating (said academic research job).  Most of my classmates have gone on to a good environmental job.  Some are lecturers, one works for the United Nations in the climate change division, some have set up environmental consultancies, and most others have directly related environmental jobs, so it has been worthwhile.  It’s just hard work with not a lot of financial support.

Of course, university isn’t the only route into getting an environmental job.  A lot of the environmental jobs I’ve seen advertised do say a degree is desirable but not essential, so if you can’t afford to go to university then all is not lost.  There are lots of shorter term college courses out there, and there are alternative routes to getting into the environmental sector too.

environment job tips

Volunteering

One of the best alternative routes, and probably by far the most important thing you can do to help you get an environmental job, is volunteering.  Granted, it’s not always easy finding the time, particularly if you are working another job to financially support yourself.  Most organisations are completely flexible with volunteering opportunities, and even if you can only commit to two hours a week then it’s well worth offering your time.

Not only is volunteering a great way of gaining vital experience in the environmental sector, but it’s a great way to make contacts and make a name for yourself.  I have known countless people who have gotten a job with an organisation after volunteering for them.  Let’s face it, if you were an employer would you rather take a chance on someone you knew that was committed to the organisation versus someone that is a complete unknown?  Even if any job opportunities don’t arise whilst you’re volunteering keep an eye out after you finish up: you never know what might come up.

Charities I’ve volunteered for in the past are sustainable transport charities Living Streets and Sustrans.  Both were invaluable in getting my current environmental job.  Although you don’t get paid for volunteering a lot of charities will pay your travel expenses and lunch expenses as a thank you for your time and to help ease the financial burden.

Internships

Internships weren’t really a thing when I was at university/after I graduated and I’m not sure how I feel about them.  If you can get a paid internship then that’s fantastic, but I’d be wary of unpaid internships.  Certainly I know I wouldn’t have been able to afford to take on an unpaid internship after graduating – especially a full time one.  Personally I would prioritise finding a suitable volunteer position in hours you can fit in around paid work.

As an aside here, I also wouldn’t be fussy about the paid work you take on whilst job hunting/studying/volunteering/interning.  I had all sorts of completely unrelated jobs during university and after graduating.  I worked in shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes, call centres, cinemas, music venues, and theatres as well as a summer spent caring for the elderly.  I’ve done it all and there’s no shame in it – we all have to make money to house, feed, clothe ourselves, etc.  In fact the call centre work has bizarrely been a plus point whenever I’ve mentioned it in environmental job interviews.  It all boils down to that key point – transferable skills – again!

Blogging

Blogging wasn’t really a thing when I was younger.  I don’t think I knew what a blog was until 2008!  So while this isn’t something I did I would completely recommend setting up a blog or even guest blogging on other sites (like Huffington Post) to show your enthusiasm and commitment, and knowledge on your particular area of expertise.  You can even put a link to it on your CV.

Other Tips and Advice On Gaining An Environmental Job

This one is aimed at school leavers and new graduates.  If you’re interested in an environmental job or a volunteering position then, whatever you do, DO NOT get your parents to phone up or email an organisation about it on your behalf.  Always do it yourself.  It looks so bad on yourself when your mum phones up or emails about a possible volunteering position on your behalf.  Trust me, the organisation will question your interest and enthusiasm.  Be proactive and take matters into your own hands.

Environmental Job Sites I Love

There are a few really good environmental job sites out there that I love:

Environment Job – this is my favourite site; they have a wide range of jobs advertised and their weekly email service is fantastic

Environment Jobs

Goodmoves – this isn’t exclusively environmental jobs, but there are generally quite a few environmental jobs.  I found my current job on Goodmoves!  Although the search function covers the whole of the UK I have a feeling it’s mostly Scottish jobs listed on Goodmoves.

Notes On Having An Environmental Job

Don’t expect to be rich, especially if you’re working in the charity sector.

Particularly in the charity sector permanent contracts are few and far between.  Fixed term contracts are the norm, and are often dependent on being able to secure external funding.   I’ve been working on one year fixed term contracts for the last five years…

If you’re in the charity sector you will get very good at filling out grant application forms!

Expect job satisfaction to be very high!

Environmental jobs are always good conversation pieces.  When someone asks you what you do they are usually very interested in learning about your job.

That’s the breadth of my knowledge on gaining an environmental job!  Everyone’s pathway is different and I’d always suggest talking to a careers advisor – especially if you’re in higher education and can access them free of charge!  Take advantage of these services whilst you can!

Missed anything?  Pop it in the comments below!