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What top 10 link Twinkling Tiger, coconuts, nasty greenies and evil film?

The answer is .... my top 10 list of switches and changes to help save the planet! With a big part of the ethos behind Twinkling Tiger being about being kinder to the environment and the world we live in I thought I would share a bit more of what we have changed as a family to live more in a more sustainable way, reduce the waste we create and generally think more ‘green’.

I sometimes wonder if the things we do as a family are really making a difference – in reality we are only 4 people out of billions but then I remembered the Kaizen principle which I came across in my corporate career. Kaizen is the Japanese word for ‘improvement’ or ‘change for the better’ and, focuses on the cumulative effect of small ongoing changes to get large overall improvements. I think that sums up perfectly our approach in the Twinkling Tiger household – we are one small group who have all pitched in to find ways to make small changes but hopefully are forming part of a large overall improvement being made by the human population.

I can’t say that we are experts and there is definitely lots more we can do but I thought I would share our top 10, resources that have helped and the verdict of the Twinkling Tiger household!!

1) Composting

It took us a while to brave this one but lockdown prompted us to give it a go and so far so good! It is definitely a thumbs up for reducing the amount that goes into the domestic waste bin although it is too early to tell how successful we have been at making good compost! Check out RecycleNow for some good hints and tips.

2) &Keep

I came across this great company when I was looking for reusable make up pads earlier this year and love their ethos and their product range! So far we have tried coconut scourers (they are brilliant and you can compost them when they wear out although our are still going months later), reusable make up pads (pop them through the wash in their own little net) and bamboo paper towels. They do lots more plastic free and cruelty products that we will definitely be trying out.

This is a great idea born from someone watching all the single use plastic bottles being bought in supermarkets … buy a refillable bottle from Splosh (or use one of your own) then order concentrated refill pouches (that can be returned to them free of charge to recycle) and cuts plastic waste for their products down to near enough zero! Thumbs up from us for the washing liquid, hand soap, shower gel and floor cleaner although not so sure on the effectiveness of the washing up liquid or toilet cleaner. You can also track how many bottles you have not used if you like to feel virtuous!

4) Moon cup

Possibly TMI for some but I can’t miss this one out of the top 10! Takes a bit of getting used to but it is a definite thumbs up for reducing waste, plus actually really comfortable if you get the right one and practical too due to being able to wear for longer than other sanitary products!

5) Bulb

We switched to Bulb last year who provide their customers with 100% renewable electricity from solar, wind and hydro. Their gas is 100% carbon neutral too and emissions are offset by supporting carbon reduction projects around the world. On average they claim that each customer lowers their carbon impact by 3.4 tonnes of CO2 per year. That has to be a good switch!

6) Wood pellet cat litter

Having had cats all my life (and most of them being mainly indoor cats) the amount of cat litter going into our domestic waste bin was starting to bother me in terms of the environmental impact. Doing a bit of research I discovered that if we switched to wood pellet litter that it is biodegradable so you can put in your garden waste bin (minus any cat poo!), use it as fertiliser or compost it. We get ours from our local Handyman store but you can get the same from Amazon or Pets at Home.

7) Tassimo coffee pods

So the increased time at home during lockdown has directly correlated with an increase in the amount of Costa Coffee Tassimo pods we have been using and I was really pleased to discover that we can recycle them (along with crisp packets, cat food pouches and ink cartridges) to our local Terracycle partner, Feline Cat Care.

8) Washable scouring pad (e-cloth)

It turns out that those green scourers we have all used for years actually are pretty nasty for the environment - they end up in landfill in large volumes but also can contain polyplastics and chemicals that harm the environment and do not degrade. We love this scouring pad from e-cloth that you can wash and keep re-using, and combined with the compostable coconut scrubber from &Keep is actually more effective than those nasty greenies!

9) Beeswax wraps

We converted to these last year to avoid having to use clingfilm (which is not degradable, leaches chemicals and harms marine life) mainly in the girls packed lunches. Combined with a pack of rubber bowl covers for food that goes in containers in the fridge we now have no need for the evil film 😊

10) Shampoo and conditioner bars

Lush is our favourite for these bars and the girls love them as they literally smell ‘lush’. There is no plastic packaging anywhere and they last for ages. We also got some soap nets (another discovery from &Keep) to stop the bars slipping out of their hands when using them!

And of course the list wouold not be complete without a number 11 added for starting Twinkling Tiger, helping to prevent clothes from going to landfill (or sitting gathering dust in lofts and cupboards) by selling them on ‘new to you’ or turning any worn out or damaged ones into cool new things to be loved again!

We have tried plenty of other small changes including Tropics Skincare, metal straws, and ocean saving search engines and still more that we are planning to try out such as furniture upcycling, book folding (although I am not sure if that feels like a crime??), more walking to school rather than getting in the car, the ‘Refill’ shop in Leiston and ‘Who gives a crap’ toilet roll.

The great thing is there are so many companies now realising the importance of manufacturing and operating more ethically, sustainably and green that the choice is growing every day so let’s hope that it’s not long before these are not choices we have to make or research we have to do, they just become the norm. Please do share your top switches too - I would love to hear them so I can keep adding to our small positive improvements!

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