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5 top tips to living a more eco-friendly life without becoming overwhelmed

How to live the perfect “not perfect” eco-friendly life.

This month we have been chatting to Elly Obeney the founder of Contain Yourself. A company that offers you the perfect eco-friendly life with refills of natural, vegan toiletries & cleaning products to reduce plastic.

Elly believes small changes can make a difference. And in this blog she will share with you  5 top tips to living a more eco-friendly life and offer advice on step to step actions so you can make the changes right for you without becoming overwhelmed.

Plastic pollution, climate change, zero waste.

Phrases which have been constantly used alongside devastating photographs of how our planet is being destroyed by human actions. Its understandable that so many of us think “I’m just one person, what difference can I make?”

 

I began Contain Yourself in October 2018, after reading many books and watching documentaries on the effects of plastic pollution.  I was overwhelmed when I thought about:

  1. How much plastic I used for everyday items
  2. Items which are used once then thrown away

I wanted the option to buy my products without plastic packaging, which is why, after a few months of research, I decided to start Contain Yourself and provide this service to my local area in and around Tunbridge Wells.

How one person can make a difference

I took probably the biggest risk of my life and handed in my notice at my stable office job – I was terrified but relied on this and my passion to drive the idea and soon after, stocked up on bulk toiletries and household cleaning products, and started to offer a refill service to various farmers markets in Kent and East Sussex.

Community spirit and educating each other

I had the honour of becoming a finalist in the Kent Muddy Stilettos Best Newcomer award recently.  While I didn’t win, the fact that I reached the final was a huge deal to me and reinforced to me

  • how lucky I am to be able to do this
  • and that there are so many people out there supporting this idea.

5 top tips to living more eco-friendly life without becoming overwhelmed:

 

Number 1 – Get organised!

Make sure you carry a reusable water bottle. If you have a busy day be prepared and sort out lunch and snacks so you don’t need to buy anything on the move, which will almost definitely be wrapped in plastic and way more expensive than bringing something from home.

 

Number 2 – Really consider if a purchase is necessary.

I know how tempting it can be when you want to reduce plastic to just throw away every plastic item in your house, but if you have tuppaware in good condition – there is no need to throw it away. Plastic is seen as the devil (and I believe unnecessary, single use plastic is) but if you’ve got it and it works, it’s way more wasteful to get rid of it and replace with a stainless steel version which does the same thing.

How do you reuse your clothes?

Elly has a yummy challenge here for you can you…

  • give them to charity

  • swap with friends

  • upcycle them 

 

Number 3 – Buy local.

I became vegetarian at the start of 2019 due to the environmental issues surrounding meat. And in the meantime I am cutting down on dairy, although cheese will always be my downfall! So, rather than number 3 being – “stop eating meat” or “you need to go vegan to save the planet” – our suggestion is

  • reduce meat where you can
  • cut down to maybe once or twice a week
  • when you do buy meat – try buying from a local farmers market or butchers
  • buy seasonal, – local veggies from the greengrocer or farmers market!

Buying local doesn’t have to stop at food either, try finding small local businesses to support rather than bigger chains and online shops like amazon!

 

Number 4 Make changes one small step at a time.

Don’t try and make big changes all at once, but as when feels natural to your lifestyle. Here are our top two examples for slow changes

  1. When your toothpaste runs out – look into alternative plastic free toothpaste options
  2. When you run out of cling film – consider buying reusable beeswax/vegan food wraps.

Most Important Note to Self – Don’t feel guilty about what you’re not doing, feel proud of the changes you are making! Keep looking into alternatives to plastic and take it step by step!

 

Number 5 Reuse, repurpose, refill.

Refilling is becoming more and more popular, but it is still a big change to get used to. When we are  so used to picking up food and household items at a weekly supermarket shop.

Here’s our advice on how you can recycle anything you can’t find another use for:

  • gather empty bottles and containers
  • find your nearest refill station
  • enjoy the challenge as you change your habits.

What if one day Contain Yourself refill stations are accessible to all? 

I hate throwing anything away now! I will hold onto something until I have considered if there is any other use for it. I’m not perfect, I live in a small top floor flat so at the moment can’t home compost food waste. I recycle anything I can’t find another use for.

I believe having local refill stations which are accessible to everyone will be a massive step towards reducing plastic. Think about all the plastic in your bathroom and kitchen! Most of which is used once before being thrown away or recycled. Refilling items such as hand wash, washing up liquid, even toilet cleaner will save so much unnecessary plastic being thrown away!

After only 8 months of running, Contain Yourself has grown quicker than I imagined. People want to reduce plastic but it needs to be accessible to be effective. I find being able to pop up at a wide range of farmers markets and pop up events to be a great way of reaching more people and giving them the opportunity to refill their products. It always brings a smile to my face when people remember their empty bottles from home to stock up on products!

 

I had the honour of becoming a finalist in the Muddy Stilettos Best Newcomer award recently, while I didn’t win, the fact that I reached the final was a huge deal to me and reinforced to me how lucky I am to be able to do this and that there are so many people out there supporting this idea. Hopefully one day Contain Yourself refill stations will be accessible to all!

 Together we can make a difference 

It is so reassuring to see that people are becoming more and more aware of the environmental crisis we are living through. And although  it can be overwhelming I believe we can all make small changes in our lives. We can’t all commit to being vegan, or getting rid of plastic 100% but if everyone does what they can, then together we can make a difference.

Contain Yourself attends farmers markets and pop up events in Kent and East Sussex to find out where you can find Elly click here 

 

Written by Natalie Farrell | 04 Jun