Nothing makes me happier than knowing that our own eco living journey has inspired others. Just after Christmas, our middle child’s best friend’s mum (are you following me?) told me all the changes she’d made since reading my blog and following my Facebook page. These included changing her cleaning products, switching liquid soap to bar soap, changing her husband’s disposable razors to a safety razor, saving scrap paper for starting the fire, giving up toiletries with microbeads and giving up straws. She was amazed by the reduction in their household waste. What’s more, she’s also hoping to start up an eco business. Watch this space!
I was recently at a friend’s house when her mum called in to take her to an appointment. My friend happened to mention to her mum about all my waste reduction efforts. Her mum admitted that she only recycled her newspapers and everything else went in the landfill bin. Trying to control my rising panic, I gently asked her where she thought all that rubbish went and what happened to it. I’m pretty certain she hadn’t really thought about it before. It was a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, the rubbish disappearing off to that magical place ‘away’.
My friend urged me to tell her mum about all the things I do: making my own deodorant, cooking from scratch, doing without clingfilm and plastic bags. Her mum challenged me by asking whether we use toilet paper (yes, we do, for those of you that were wondering!). I’m okay with a challenge that comes as a form of defence. She was probably feeling a bit ‘attacked’, though more by her daughter I think!
The conversation ended there and I thought no more of it, apart from occasionally feeling defeated by the huge amount of rubbish going to landfill, not just from my friend’s mum’s house, but from millions of homes.
A couple of week’s later, at the same friend’s house, a similar conversation occurred but this time with a mutual friend. Again, gently asking where their rubbish went and what happened to it solicited a genuine consideration of the answer to that question.
The next time I was at my friend’s house and her mum called in, she gleefully told me how much she had increased her recycling, now adding her tins, jars, cards, scrap paper and bottles to the newspapers. I was so pleasantly surprised to hear this.
And then I bumped into the mutual friend in the shop, who said, clearly very proud of herself, ‘Guess what? I’m thinking about my rubbish and recycling more. My landfill bin has gone down by a third!’
It’s great seeing people take those first steps to reducing the amount of rubbish they send to landfill and I love knowing that I’ve inspired that change. Fingers crossed they continue to become more conscientious consumers and in their turn inspire others to make changes too. Who said individuals can’t change the world?