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The Waki Way .co.uk - Living full-time in a motor home

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LIVING IN A MOTOR HOME: FAQ's

We always seem to get asked the same questions about living somewhat off grid in a motor home, to which the answers seem to spark a dozen more questions! So (to give our voices a rest!) here's the answers to our most frequently asked questions...

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10 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Packaging & Waste

Reduce your landfill contribution & clean up your conscience! Reduce your landfill contribution & clean up your conscience!

Waste. It's the dirty little secret that almost everyone in this modern world has in common. Of course many of us recycle what we can but despite that effort a lot of it will still end up in landfill or incineration if it's not of the right quality to be used again, or if it's contaminated in some way. According to recycle-more.co.uk, in the UK households alone throw away over 29.1 million tonnes of waste each year - let's just let that sink in, twenty nine point one MILLION tonnes, per year! It's incredible how something can add up to so much across a nation, but the great news is that in the same way just a few simple changes per person can add up to an immense improvement overall.

 

Recycling is still key to salvaging what we can from our waste, it uses far less energy and resources compared to new production, but really the solution for a sustainable future is to not create the problem waste to begin with, ie. the evil   Ψplaštic

 

The trouble is pretty much everything we buy comes in a form of plastic packaging, sometimes excessively so. Every time we returned from the supermarket I would tear all of the plastic off of our poor sweating vegetables (in order to store them properly!) and stare in shame at our kitchen counter top piled high with all the unnecessary plastic wrap, bags and trays.

 

I appreciate that packaging is a means of protecting, portioning and advertising products and therefore does have a purpose in many areas but at the same time it's getting out of hand. Supermarkets do seem to be one of the worst culprits to me, and so unfortunately plastic wrapped single bananas (yes, bananas - which let's face it have the ultimate natural protective packaging already!) and many other equally ridiculous over-packaged items exist. They exist purely because we as consumers buy them for one reason or another. Supermarkets, retailers and marketing experts monitor our behaviour and shopping habits extremely closely so by changing our shopping behaviour, even slightly, we as consumers can send a strong message that we don't care for pointless plastic. I think we are so used to seeing it nowadays we just don't see the plastic coatings anymore but we should be more concerned about its presence. 

 

So if you too are feeling the shame of excess packaging waste, here are 10 simple ways that can bring the amount you use down and leave some room in your bins - no more forcing the recycling bin lid closed as collection day nears! 

    1. Bring your own fabric shopping bags wherever you go, just make sure you return them to your car ready for next time! I prefer the long handled tote style as they can be worn over the shoulder and are much more comfortable to carry, hold heavier items than plastic, and they're also a great way to express your sense of style rather than the name of the shop you've just been in. Treat yourself to a pretty one like the large Owl Shopping Bag above on Amazon↑ or make your own with our shopping bag tutorial here>                                                                      
    2. Use a refillable water bottle & filter instead of buying bottled and you'll save money too. There are many fancy bottles available including ones with a frozen strip in the middle to keep your drink refreshingly cool, and even bottles with a holder for fBuy a real-fruit infusing water bottle on Amazon now!Buy a real-fruit infusing water bottle on Amazon now!ruit so you can make your own natural flavoured water. Buy a real-fruit infusing water bottle on Amazon now!>                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Buy Bodum Stainless Steel Travel mug on Amazon now!Buy Bodum Stainless Steel Travel mug on Amazon now! 
    3. Get a refillable coffee cup & hand it over at coffee shops instead of getting the disposable ones with nasty plastic lids! Some places supposedly give a discount for customers who bring their own but I can't say for certain as I haven't come across it myself, perhaps they will if you're cheeky enough to ask so give it a go!                                                                                                                     
    4. Keep a set of your own cutlery in the car for on the go lunches and refuse the frustrating flimsy plastic forks and spoons . It's so much nicer to eat your lunch with a metal knife and fork anyway than to chase your food around with a bendy disposable set, or to risk eating snapped tines!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
    5. Ask for your fish & chips/kebab in just the paper wrapping if the shop uses those horrid polystyrene containers as well. In fact, for maximum earth and ethics brownie points just avoid fast food altogether - you'll body will thank you too!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
    6. Use waxed paper or cotton food wraps for your sandwiches and leftovers instead of clingfilm or aluminium foil and never run out again! The cotton wraps make your lunch feel so much more special and the paper is biodegradable.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Buy the above Wrap N Mat on Amazon now!↑ or see our Waxed-Cotton Wrap instructable here>                                            
    7. Use real linen napkins instead of disposable paper ones, they're SO much nicer to use and you won't ever run out! Buy a couple of sets so you can have a set in the wash and a set ready for use. Buy the above Terracotta pack of 4 Napkins on Amazon now!↑  Got a spill to mop up? Use a microfibre cloth instead of paper towels, and again you'll never run out!

8. Use cotton dishcloths for washing up instead of synthetic sponges. The weave of the cotton is more abrasive compared to the soft side of the sponge but still kind to non-stick surfaces, they're biodegradable, and when wrung out properly between uses don't harbour the bacteria that sponges do! If it gets discoloured simply soak it in a bleach, or environmentally friendly peroxide, solution in the sink bowl for a couple of hours and it will be a fresh white again ready for the next sink full.         Buy dishcloths on Amazon!>                                                            

9. Skip the flimsy loose-produce bags. Simply place vegetables in your trolley or basket as they are, there's no law that says they have to be bagged before the checkout! If you need a lot of loose veg which would make that impractical, why not bring your own reusable string bags instead of using the horrid thin plastic ones.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       10. Buy directly from farm shops and markets, or grow your own to avoid plastic packaging completely. If you're too busy to visit a farmshop or if you live in the city, try a veg box delivery service like Abel & Cole who will even re-use the packaging if you return it! Not only do you avoid the packaging but you'll get fresher, tastier produce and support your local economy too!


The main thing I'd like you to take from this article is that if you think something comes in excessive packaging – don’t buy it! Just walk away and buy something else or from somewhere else. To move things along if you have the time, perhaps even send a letter or e-mail and give the retailers a reason as to why they didn't win your business and how they can change to get it in the future. It's slightly inconvenient in the short term I know but when people change their shopping habits the retailers are forced to quickly adapt to meet their demands so will soon stock what we do want. 

 

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About us:

My name is Sarah and in 2011 my husband Ryan and I decided to buy and re-fit an old motor home - we named it Waki and now live in it full time in the UK!

We live neither on or off-grid, rather somewhere in between, and are not the first and I dare say not the last to choose this way of life... read more>> 

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