I won’t lie, I feel as though my OCD is the sole reason why I don’t engage in as many environmentally friendly behaviours. Before anyone comes at me and tells me I’m using it as an excuse, I’d like to shut that right down and say that I’m trying. I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this given I know this an area that everyone is passionate about at the moment, but I want my content to be honest and upfront, and if I sit and publish post after post on being eco friendly, I’d be lying. So, today I’m going to be honest and say that as a result of my OCD, I don’t do as much as I could when it comes to doing my bit for the environment. I’m going to talk about the particular things I struggle with the most, but I’m also going to tell you about the changes I have made.
The point of this post? I’m not sure, but I’m aware that there are people out there who shame others for using make-up wipes, plastic bottles and so on. There’s no denying that we need to make as many changes as we can to do our bit for the planet, but at the same time, there’s no need to be a dick about it. I know I might sound a bit naive, and I’m well aware that a lot of the time, it’s just pure laziness when it comes to people doing these things. However, I think it’s important to note that there is a very small portion of us that refrain from making these changes for deeper reasons, which is what I wanted to look at today.
I’m all for reusable cups. Travel mugs are great if you want a coffee on your morning commute – although the one thing I don’t particularly agree with is taking them into coffee shops to use. I completely get the logic of not using cardboard cups, but my concerns about hygiene outweigh that logic. I get the majority of people are going to be bringing in a clean cup, but what about those who don’t? In my mind it’s another way to spread germs about (at the time of writing my anxiety is peaking due to all the coronavirus stuff). I very rarely buy takeaway coffees anymore, however on the days I fancy a drink to keep me warm on the way to work, I’ll make use of my Pingu travel mug. My point is – if you’re going to use a reusable cup, make your coffee at home – it’s so much cheaper!
Knives & Forks
Before you @ me, I’m fully aware I can bring my own cutlery to work, and I do. However, on the occasions when I forget and I buy myself a pasta salad for lunch, I’m torn between the choice of a wooden fork that’s in a communal holder (prongs up so touched by probably EVERYONE), or using the filthy cutlery in my office that I don’t particularly trust to be clean. By all means, wooden forks are fine and much better for the planet, but shops and cafés need to at least think of how they display them. Having a free for all basket for everyone to dip their hand in doesn’t exactly keep things hygienic.
Help Yourself Food Displays
Again, it’s great that supermarkets are taking steps to reduce their packaging, but I’m not going to lie, having self serve displays for loose foods genuinely gives me heart palpitations. I can’t bear the thought of getting pick and mix sweets through the amount of kids that stick their hands in there, and the amount of times you see the scoops being dropped on the floor, so the idea of having to do that on my food shop fills me with dread. It’s not just kids – the amount of people I see at bakery counters picking up bread rolls with their hands when there’s a pair of tongs right there! Just no. Looking at the overall big picture, I’m not slagging it off, it’s a really good idea to reduce packaging, I’m just saying they need to really think about how they’re going to keep things hygienic if it’s going to take off.
Reusable Sanitary Products
Reusable sanitary products are vast becoming a popular part of an eco friendly lifestyle, but I’m sorry to say that it’s not for me. Please note that I’m not slating anyone that uses them, again, it’s a really effective way to reduce waste, however, I’m not comfortable with it. I’ve looked into the idea of reusable sanitary towels, but I don’t think I’m quite there with it, and I’m not sure I ever will be. In addition, I’ve heard so many good things about menstrual cups, and if I didn’t have OCD I probably would consider them, but I’m not particularly sure I could cope with the washing them out and such. Again, please don’t think I’m slating them, they’re a great option – they’re just not for me.
I know people can get quite intense when it comes to this sort of thing, so before you thrash out an angry comment, let me tell you that I’m trying. I’m trying my best to make small changes to do my bit, which I’m going to tell you about. I would love to do more, but the bully in my brain makes it more difficult than you could ever imagine. Doing the small changes I’ve already done have meant that I’ve been challenging this twat of an illness, and I’m doing my best.
Reusable Water Bottle
With my resolution of aiming to drink more water, I made sure to invest in a reusable water bottle. One person made the incredibly helpful comment of “but think of the germs that could mount up in that,” which filled me with doubt, but for some reason, I managed to gradually phase it out of my mind. At the end of the day, I wash it every day, and it’s only me that drinks from it. This one I picked up on Amazon for £10.99, and it comes in loads of different colours, plus you get a cleaning brush included.
I used to be terrible when it came to taking a packed lunch into work. Sandwiches would be wrapped in cling-film, apples would be in plastic sandwich bags, basically anything to stop germs getting on my food. However, we’ve gradually swapped out the cling film for Tupperware, a shit ton of the stuff. I have these cute Pusheen snack boxes which I found on Truffle Shuffle for £7.99 – they’re perfect for pretty much all small-ish snacks, and I have a larger Tupperware box for larger things. Considering the fact I take a packed lunch to work every day, it really has reduced the amount of plastic wrap that we use. For Christmas I also treated Liam to these adorable Toy Story ones too, again which I found on Truffle Shuffle for £9.99.
Okay so most of us have been doing this for ages now, but I feel in recent months I’ve really stepped up my recycling game. Making more of a conscious effort to separate recyclables along with bringing my rubbish home with me (there aren’t really any recycling bins at my work) are two of the main things I’ve been doing, and more than anything I’ve noticed how much longer it takes our bin to fill up!
I was always reluctant to have a reusable carrier bag in my handbag – again, you guessed it – mainly down to germs. However, it’s yet another thing I’ve been working on and I’ve gotten so much better at it. The same goes when it comes to remembering to take the carrier bags when we go food shopping too. I used to have real issues when it came to lingering germs in the bags after I once read an article about bacteria growth in them, however I later found out this is more of an issue if you pack your raw meat in the same bag as fruit and such. So we made the simple compromise of having a dedicated bag for life which we use for raw meat, and the rest for everything else. Plus, the great thing about being reusable is that you can give them a good clean every now and again too.
I was never the kind of person to not buy a product because they tested on animals, however I’m now working on changing that, as in this day and age there are far too many brands that still do so. Of course it’s not going to be a straight switch, but I’m working on phasing out the make up and beauty products I have that aren’t cruelty free and replacing them with products that are. I’m currently using a few different Barry M cosmetics, along with a Revolution Concealer, and I’ve switched to using skincare products from Superdrug and The Body Shop. If anyone else can recommend any cruelty free brands feel free to let me know as I’d love to try some new ones!
Reusable Cotton Pads
This is the most recent change I’ve made when it comes to my attempts to be more eco friendly, and I’ll be honest with you, I’m super proud of myself for doing it. I bought these Bamboo Cleansing Pads on Amazon for £8.99 and so far I’m really pleased with them. I’ve been using them combined with The Body Shop’s Camomile Cleansing Balm, which I’m totally in love with. It removes every single scrap of make up. These two things combined have worked incredibly well and even after a week I feel as though my skin is looking better. My reservations were again down to germs. Mainly worries that they’d pick up bacteria from the washing machine and I’d then be transferring it to my face, but I’m trying not to let my mind go beyond that. After all, we wash pretty much everything else in the washing machine that touches our faces! Towels, bed sheets, clothes – it’s all the same!
As you may be able to tell from reading this, my OCD has very specific rules on what is and isn’t acceptable. I’d love to be able to go into further detail around my logic for each one, but I’m afraid I’d keep you here for much longer than I already have. I hope you can at the very least understand my reasons for why I’m not particularly keen on certain changes being made – in a nutshell, pretty much anything and everything involving either the general public or bodily fluids. I’d like to think that in the future I can make the transition and make even more changes towards a more eco friendly lifestyle, but for now, I’m quite pleased with the small changes that I’ve managed to make.