Keeping waste out of landfill: 5 creatives transforming ‘trash’ into useful stuff

As someone who missed out on the ‘crafty’ gene, I’m always fascinated by people with the talent to create things. In particular, I’m in awe of those people with both the vision and the skill to take ‘waste’, and make it into something actually useful and practical.

What’s most impressive to me is when people are able to create things so good that people are willing to buy them. A demand for ‘new’ things made out of old things – the world definitely needs more of that.

I also think it’s very cool that people are able to make a living transforming waste.

There are a few such individuals and small businesses that I follow on social media. Now I’m not a buyer of things, particularly, but I find it very inspiring to watch others create, and make beautiful things from trash.

Here are a few of my favourites.

This post is in partnership with Etsy and contains affiliate links.

Tideline Art

Nicole is from London, UK, and makes art from the treasures she finds mudlarking, a term used to describe people who search the muddy shores of rivers looking for things of interest or value.

Being a mudlark along the River Thames was an actual job during the 18th/19th centuries, although not a particularly desirable one. Now it’s a hobby for people, who find all kinds of old bits and pieces that were thrown into the river and preserved in the mud.

There are plenty of people who mudlark and create art with their finds, but Nicole is one of my favourites. I just love the idea that Victorian trash now has value, and that others find it beautiful.

Plus, I love that Nicole always tries to find out the origins of the pieces she finds, and shares their stories.

Link to Tideline Art’s Etsy store.

Smartie Lids on the Beach

Michelle is from Cornwall, UK, and makes art from the plastic she finds at the beach. I’ve been following along on social media for a long time, and enjoy the combination of photographs of beach cleanups in action and the random things that wash up, as well as the later transformation into art pieces.

She’s probably best known for her amazing colour wheels, but also creates other fun items out of bits of plastic (her toothbrush fishes are one of my favourites), flower seed heads using nurdles, and other quirky pieces.

Link to Smartie on the Beach’s Etsy store.

Velo Culture

Run by Bev and based in Newcastle, UK, Velo Culture make wallets, belts, toiletries bags and phone cases out of old bicycle inner tubes. Upcycling at its finest.

I particularly love this because inner tubes are one of those unavoidable waste items, but still a really useful and usable material, even once they can no longer be used with bicycles.

Velo Culture have had more than 7,200 sales since launching their Etsy store. That’s a lot of inner tubes (and the occasional bike chain and break cable) repurposed.

Link to Velo Culture’s Etsy Shop.

Wyatt & Jack

Wyatt & Jack are based on the Isle of Wight (UK) and make bags, clothes and purses out of old bouncy castles, broken inflatables and beach toys and damaged deckchairs.

But even better than that, they started Inflatable Amnesty. If you have a broken inflatable or punctured paddling pool that’s beyond repair, you can send it into Wyatt & Jack, who will make it into new bags! They will even cover postage.

And as you might expect from quirky inflatables and brightly-coloured bouncy castles, the products they make are FUN!

I’ve been in love with these guys since forever. The combination of repurposing pretty-tricky-to-reuse items into something so useful – and fun! – well, there’s nothing better.

Link to Wyatt & Jack’s Etsy store.

One Fine Phoenix

This post wouldn’t be complete without including zero waste reusables, and my favourites will always be those using old materials (rather than new) for making their products. There are plenty of stores offering new versions, but finding reusables made from reused is the ultimate in zero waste, in my view.

Siobhan from One Fine Phoenix (based in New South Wales) only stocks products made with second-hand and vintage fabrics. She creates hankies, cleaning cloths, cutlery wraps, unpaper towel, make-up remover pads and the like.

One for those of us who don’t know how to sew. (Also, loving the DIY lemon vinegar props!)

Link to One Fine Phoenix’s Etsy store.

I’m constantly amazed by the things that people create out of ‘waste’ products. This list is hardly comprehensive (and if you have favourites I’d love to hear about them in the comments) but it goes to show that with a creative mind, people really can turn trash into treasure.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Do you have the ‘crafty’ gene? What have you upcycled? Are there any cool projects and businesses you’ve found doing great stuff? Do you have one yourself? Anything else to add? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

5 Bad Habits I Shook by Going Zero Waste

Often when we talk about the changes we’ve made since deciding to refuse single-use plastic, reduce our waste and/or live more sustainably, we focus on the products we buy (or no longer buy). There are plenty of articles online about ‘zero waste swaps’ and indeed, I’ve written a few myself.

I thought it might be interesting to change the focus slightly, and rather than talk about products, talk about habits. Now I’ve still got plenty of bad habits to shake (going zero waste does not make you a perfect human, alas), but luckily for me, embracing low waste living has enabled me to shake a few.

Throwing my food scraps in the trash.

That bin went to landfill, and I just thought that the landfill was a great big compost pile. I found out later it is most definitely not. It’s an engineered (and expensive to construct) depression in the ground that entombs waste without air, and creates a lot of methane instead.

Then there’s the fact that food makes for a stinky bin and attracts flies (particularly in hot climates), and needs hauling to the kerb every few days. Did you know that between 20 – 40% of everything the average householder throws away is food scraps?

Not to mention, I was throwing away my food scraps, and then buying plastic-wrapped bags of compost at the garden centre for my plants!

Setting up a worm farm, and then a compost bin, reduced my rubbish bin to almost nothing, solved the ‘how do I line my bin without plastic?’ problem (if there’s nothing stinky and wet going in the bin, it doesn’t need a liner) and gave me free nutrients for the garden.

There are so many solutions to dealing with food scraps. There are options whether you’ve got a garden, a balcony, or no outside space at all. There are options even if you can’t be bothered setting up and managing a system yourself.

Find more info here: How to compost without a compost bin.

Being ‘in love’ with my recycling bin.

Yep, I used to think that recycling was the best thing ever. (And pretty much that I was the best thing ever for filling it to the brim!) I saw that chasing arrow recycling symbol as my ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card for packaging. ‘Oh it’s okay. It’s recyclable!’

It simply never occurred to me that I could say no to unnecessary packaging, refuse the excess, reduce what I did use and even rethink some of my choices for less wasteful alternatives.

As I’ve said often, recycling is a great place to start. But when I realised it was not the place to stop, and there was so much more I could be doing, that was when I really began to reduce my waste and my footprint.

Recycling – and learning how to recycle properly rather than chucking everything in and hoping for the best – that’s the first step. But it’s better to have an empty landfill bin and an empty recycling bin than an empty landfill bin and a recycling bin that’s overflowing.

Accepting free samples of everything.

I loved anything that was ‘free’. In fact, if somewhere was offering freebies, I’d quite often take one and then circle back round to take a second one. Because, free!


Whether it was sachets of moisturiser with real gold flakes in them (yes this was a real sample I once accepted), scented foot odour reducing insoles (again, a real thing) or any ‘free’ miniature or travel-sized thing whatsoever from any hotel, I was snaffling these thing up.

The old me thought all this stuff was great. It was duly popped in the cupboard and forgotten about. Yes, most of these freebies I didn’t even use. The new me just shakes her head at the old me.

What about all the resources? The pointlessness? The waste? The perpetuation of the cycle of more samples and free stuff?

Let’s just say, I don’t do that any more. I actually get more satisfaction now from refusing stuff than I ever did from taking it. (The only freebies I get excited about these days are my friends’ excess garden produce and cuttings from their plants which I’d like to grow in my garden.)

Taking ‘eco-friendly’ labels at face value.

Even before I went plastic-free and low waste, I’d buy all of the eco-friendly products. It was pretty easy, because so many products are labelled ‘eco-friendly’!

(Or if not ‘eco-friendly’, the equally eco-friendly sounding ‘green’. Bonus points – in my mind – for having an image of a green leaf on the packaging.)

It was only after I began to reduce my waste that I began to question these labels, and stopped taking them at face value.

There are no independently verified certification scheme for labels like ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘green’. (Or ‘biodegradable’ for that matter, but I won’t go into that now. If you want to read more, you’ll find my post ‘is biodegradable plastic: is it really eco-friendly‘ a helpful read.)

Anyone can write labels like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘green’ on their packaging. And they do!

Rather than let the person who designed the packaging tell me that a product is eco-friendly, I now prefer to do my own research. If a company is truly environmentally responsible, committed to sustainability and equitable in the way they do business, they will be able to back up their claims.

They will be transparent, happy to answer questions, eager to find out answers that they don’t already have, and keen to talk more!

If ever I write to a company claiming to be eco-friendly, and receive responses that are cagey, defensive or hostile, I choose not to support those companies.

That’s not to say I can always find all the answers. But I make an effort and try to be conscious in my choices.

Waiting for ‘somebody else to do something about that.’

Before I decided to reduce my single-use and other plastic, I was the person picking all the overpackaged things off the supermarket shelves and muttering how ridiculous it was, and how somebody should do something about that, whilst piling those same things into my trolley.

I thought it was up to the manufacturers to change their packaging. I thought it was up to the stores not to sell these items. It did not cross my mind that I also had a role to play in this, and a way to influence change – I could just not buy them.

I don’t think it is solely the responsibility of individuals to create change. But we buy things and support (or don’t support) brands and companies, and companies pay attention. We can apply pressure, start conversations, write letters, share the good and try to hold the bad to account.

I don’t have the empirical evidence, but I’m pretty sure that nobody ever successfully influenced change by muttering under their breath. Nor by doing the exact thing they were complaining about.

It feels so much better to be doing something, and trying, however small that ‘something’ might be.

Embracing a life with less waste might not have ironed out all my flaws, but it’s definitely helped me shake some bad habits along the way.

Now I’d love to hear from you! What bad habits (if any) have you kicked through reducing your rubbish and trying to live more sustainably? Any bad habits you’re trying to shake that are still a work-in-progress? Anything else you’d like to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

How I chose my solar system setup (+ avoided unnecessary waste)

When I moved house, my number 2 priority was getting solar panels. (My number 1 priority? That was digging in the compost bin, of course!) I was pretty keen to get a solar system sorted as soon as possible, and as of Tuesday, my roof is now wearing 11 lovely panels and making me free electricity from the sun.

I posted a photo of my roof on social media, and received a few questions asking which company I’d gone with, and a lot of nervousness about making the ‘right’ choice or finding the ‘best’ company.

I get it! Solar systems might pay for themselves eventually but they are a big cost upfront, and the internet is a crowded place when looking for help and information.

I thought I’d talk you through my decision-making process, and how I came to choose the system that I have.

I’m not saying it’s necessarily right for you, but if you’re thinking about getting solar, some of the questions (and answers) will definitely be relevant.

How Solar Systems Work – An Overview

Yes, solar panels make electricity from the sun. But beyond that, it’s important to understand how they work so you can choose a system that meets your needs, and not pay more for something that’s too big. That’s a waste – of your money and resources generally.

Solar panels make electricity when the sun hits them directly. In Australia and the southern hemisphere, this is on the north facing roof; in the northern hemisphere it’s the south-facing roof. Where I live, a north facing roof will get sunlight from 9am – 3pm (ish) in winter, and 8am – 6pm (ish) in summer (the sun never sets after 7.45pm here).

So that means I can use ‘free’ electricity during those hours, but outside of that, I still need to rely on the grid (or use a battery).

The excess electricity I produce during sunlight hours will go to the grid. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as giving electricity to the grid in the day and getting it back at night. Or at least, it’s not a simple exchange financially. I sell my spare electricity to the grid during the day for 7 cents a unit (this is called the feed-in tariff), but when I buy it back, it costs me 28 cents a unit.


Let me explain the numbers. When you receive your electricity bill, it will tell you how many units you use every day. If you’re a low electricity user and/or have gas, you might use 5 units per day. If you have a big house, with heaps of gadgets, you’ll use more. The Australian average is 19.8 units a day. It will also vary by seasons (winter means more heating).

A unit is 1kWh, shorthand for 1000 watts per hour. When we talk about solar systems, we talk in kW – for example, a 1.5kW or 3kW or a 5kW system. What this means is every hour that the sun is shining, a 3kW system will produce ~3kW of power, meaning 3 units every hour.

Except this isn’t quite accurate, as panels and systems aren’t 100% efficient. In the morning or the evening they won’t crank at full power, nor if shaded, and once they reach 25°C/77°F they lose output efficiency – which can be 25%. (In Australia, panels tend to work better in spring and autumn than summer – black glass in full sun is going to get very hot very quickly.)

An average 3kW system might generate ~13 units per (sunny) day. (That’s 3 units per hour in the middle of the day, and a bit less in the early morning and late afternoon, and none that time the sun briefly went behind a cloud.)

Panels are usually 250 – 380W each depending on the brand, so 3-4 panels makes 1kW (1000 W). A 3kW system might have 10 – 12 panels.

Solar systems are made up of panels, and also an inverter. The solar panels use the sun to make direct current, and the inverter changes it to alternating current that can go into the grid/fed into the home.

The inverter is the limiting component: if an inverter is 3kW it will only ever be able to produce 3kW per hour, even if you had 20 panels, adding up to 6kW.

Often the panels will go slightly higher than the inverter (for example, 3.84kW of panels for a 3kW inverter), to help offset some of the energy ‘lost’ as inefficiency.

How Big Does My Solar System Need to Be?

There are a few things to think about when choosing a solar system. These are three questions I asked:

  • How much electricity do I use? (check previous bills);
  • How big is the part of the roof that faces in the right direction? (north for southern hemisphere, south for northern hemisphere);
  • What about battery storage?

Considering solar panels: how much electricity do I use?

I haven’t lived here long enough to know how much electricity I use, but I know that at my old place (which had separate solar hot water and no gas) I used 5 – 7 units a day. There was no air conditioning (the building was 10* energy rated) but I did use a heater sometimes in winter months.

I’m pretty careful with my electricity use, so it’s reasonable to assume that my electricity use might be the same, or a little bit higher (this place has air-con, which I might bust out on those 40°C/104°F + days in summer).

Considering solar panels: what is the orientation of my roof, and is that optimal for solar panels?

My roof doesn’t face north, it faces north-east. The back faces south-west, and the side faces south-east (there are only three sides as it’s a duplex/semi-detached). Not having north, north-east is best (because I’m in the southern hemisphere; if you were in the northern hemisphere, south and southern variations are best). Where I live, the south-west might pick up a bit of summer afternoon sun but would be useless in winter, and the south-east would be completely useless – in theory it might pick up a bit of morning summer sun, except there are heaps of trees on that side, so it’s in permanent shade.

The arc of the sun changes over the seasons. In winter it has a narrow arc that doesn’t get as high in the sky. In summer it rises further from the east, gets higher in the sky, and sets further to the west. The exact difference changes according to distance from the equator.

Because of the shape of the roof, I could fit 11 panels on the north-east side (which would be a 3kW system). Any additional panels would go on the south-west, only getting (some) summer afternoon sun.

Considering solar panels: is considering a battery an option?

Batteries in their current form don’t make sense (to me). Take the Tesla Powerwall, which holds 13.5kW of energy and costs around $9,000. If I use 7 units a day, I could use up the entire storage capacity in 2 days if the sun wasn’t shining. Then I’d need to buy power from the grid.

So a battery wouldn’t actually mean going off-grid.

When the sun is shining, of the 7 units I use a day, 2-3 units are outside daylight hours. To buy these costs me 28 cents a unit, so less than $1 a day. If I save $1 a day by having a battery, but that battery costs me $9000 to install, it will take 24 years to pay it off.

As a small user of electricity, I’m currently better off buying my evening electricity from the grid (well, if I actually had $9,000 to spend on a battery, which I do not).

Isn’t a bigger solar system ‘better’?

It’s easy to think that a bigger system is better. But that isn’t necessarily the case.

The issue is, most of us want to use at least some electricity when it’s evening, night time, overcast or raining. A bigger system isn’t going to do anything differently if there is no sun.

What about producing excess in the daytime? As I mentioned, I can sell my electricity back to the grid for 7 cents. That’s better than nothing, but it’s not a route to riches. Say I have a 3kW system that generates 13 units a day and I don’t use any of them (unlikely, as I keep my fridge plugged in even when I’m away).

Selling all 13 units to the grid, I’d make 91 cents a day.

The reality is I’ll be using some of that myself, and when I need electricity in the evening, I buy it back at 28 cents. If I use 2-3 units in the evening, that’s my 91 cents gone.

That might seem cost neutral. Except, where I live, I also have to pay a connection fee to the grid: it’s $1.03 a day.

(The connection fee is also a tax on people who can’t afford solar panels. In 2014, it was 36 cents a day. As more people get solar panels, the electricity company needs to get money elsewhere, so it tripled the supply charge. The people who lose the most are renters and those who can’t afford solar panels.)

So I may be able to sell electricity to offset my evening usage, but I’m still paying $1 a day in service fees.

If I wanted to offset this cost, I’d need another 3kW of panels, generating another 13 units of energy a day.

Except, then there are those days when it’s overcast, or it rains. Those days don’t make any units, so there needs to be more panels to cover this.

Once you get more panels (which cost more) you also need a bigger inverter (which costs more). Not to mention more (correctly oriented) roof space. This extra cost might pay itself back over several years, but the prices for buying and selling electricity and the connection fee costs aren’t guaranteed, and could change.

If the government changed its mind about allowing customers to sell their excess back, I wouldn’t get anything for what I didn’t use.

It makes more sense to get the smallest system you need to generate the power that you actually use, rather than going bigger and then selling the excess back to the grid.

I know for me, a smaller system means I will be more careful with the electricity I use. A bigger system would encourage me to be more lax, choosing less energy-efficient appliances, perhaps.

How to choose a solar system that lasts (and continues to work)

At my previous address, I had solar panels (installed when I moved in). After 18 months, they stopped working. There was no power to the inverter. I called the builder, who told me the developers had decided to organise the solar panels themselves because they were cheaper, and that the company they had used were going to be hard to chase up and that I would need to call them every day.

Which I did – to their call centre in India – for 8 months. When I moved out 18 months later, the panels were still not fixed, despite having a warranty on parts and labour.

This time I was very clear I was using a company that was based in Australia, with a local office I could call and a good reputation. I also wanted to ensure that the panels and the inverter I had were made by a reputable company, and had some kind of warranty.

Paying less money for a system that breaks and then cannot be fixed is not a good deal, in my mind.

Many panels have a 10 year warranty, however a few have a 25 year warranty (for performance and the product itself). We all know that things like to break the second they are outside the warranty, and I don’t want to have to replace the system and buy a whole other set of panels in 10 years.

Also, panels lose efficiency every year, and conventional ones may operate at only 80% in 25 years. Better ones guarantee higher returns.

Good inverters also come with a warranty: the longer, the more reliable you’d expect the inverter to be.

My solar system: what I chose

I chose a 3kW system (with 3.96kW of panels and a 3kW inverter). I think I could have made do with slightly less (maybe 2.5kW), but my roof is north-west, not true north, and being able to run the air-conditioner in summer is a privilege I’m looking forward to.

The panels have a 25 year performance and product warranty and the inverter has a 12 year warranty. With the savings made on my electricity bill, the system will have paid for itself in 6 years or so.

A top-end 3kW system actually cost the same as a mid-range 5kW system. Whilst it seems tempting to go for bigger, I knew that system was more than I needed and half the panels would only make electricity for a few months of the year (they’d have to go on the back roof). Choosing a system that’s guaranteed for 25 years (although I may have to replace the inverter) was more appealing.

For those interested, the company I used to install my solar system is Infinite Energy (the link is a refer-a-friend link, but I wasn’t paid or given any kind of discount to write this post). As I’ve only had my system for 2 days, I can’t speak about the longevity of the system (yet!) but to date, they’ve been helpful, efficient and quick in getting everything set up. So yes, based on what I know I’d recommend them.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Do you have solar? How do you find it works for you? Are you thinking of getting solar? Is anything is putting you off (aside from saving up the initial cost)? How do the feed-in tariffs work (or not) where you live? Any other thoughts? Please share in the comments below!

Tired of ‘eco-judgement’? Here’s how I’m tackling it

Have you ever made a deliberate choice to do/not do something because of the environmental, ecological and/or social impact, and then mentioned that choice to a friend, shared it on social media, or made a comment to a colleague, only to be told:

That’s not the best* thing you could be doing’ / ‘your actions don’t matter’ / ‘why did it take you so long to start’ / ‘what about doing x instead’ / ‘don’t you know y has a bigger impact’ / ‘it’s not perfect’ / ‘you’re not perfect’ / another equally frustrating and deflating thing?

Oh you have? I had a feeling it wasn’t just me.

I don’t know about you, but I do not find it the least bit motivating to be told all of the gaps in my effort, nor do I get inspired after hearing all the ways I’m doing everything wrong.

And yet… it happens. To all of us.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this (well, one of the reasons) is that I’m currently in the process of redoing my website (it’s long overdue). Part of that means updating my ‘about’ page, which I last touched circa 2015. Not even kidding.

Writing an ‘about’ page isn’t just writing about me. It’s introducing the website and the ideas and topics I cover to new readers, explaining the types of things I write about, and giving a good idea of what to expect.

As you can imagine, over the last four years, things have evolved a little, and I want my updated page to reflect that.

Now I’ve always tried to keep this website reasonably upbeat, and focus on the positive and practical. I also try to be gentle in my approach. I’m not perfect (and really, who is?), plus I still remember the time before I went down this path, when I did all kinds of things and made all kinds of choices that I wouldn’t now.

I’m sure I’ll be able to say the same thing in 10 years time about choices I make today.

But over the years I’ve softened a little more in my approach and outlook. The more I see other perspectives, the more I see that change is a process, it’s not always easy, and everyone has a different capacity to do so.

This website has always been about the choices I make, why I make them, and how I go about doing what I do. It’s a reflection of the way I think and my personal navigation of the issues. My hope of course, is that you find this useful and practical – but there is no expectation that you will be able (or want) to do everything that I do.

I am not the zero waste police. I want people who visit my site to feel supported, without any underlying tone of judgment. Something I’ve been really trying to do in my vocabulary over the past year or so, and in anything I write, is remove the words ‘should’ and ‘should not’. These are judgment words, full of opinion and swayed by the values of the person doing the judging. I don’t find them helpful.

And so, I am declaring this space a ‘should’ and ‘should not’ free zone. That’s not to say I’ve never used those words in the past, but I am trying not to use them now. My place is to tell you what I do, not tell you what you should do.

Removing judgment words from your vocabulary – you should think about doing this, too. (See what I did there?! There is absolutely no ‘should’ about it. You might like to think about it. I found it helpful. That’s what I really mean.)

One of the reasons I wanted to do this, is because more and more I see and hear about eco-judgment and eco-oneupmanship in the sustainability space – and it makes me sad (or is that mad… maybe both).

Aren’t we all meant to be on the same side – team planet?

Yes, if you have the capacity to do more, then do more. No need to gloat, however! And it isn’t realistic or fair to expect that everyone will be able to make those same choices.

Nor is it realistic to expect everyone to be at the same point in the journey. I know that so often these critiques are given with the best of intentions; but at the start of the journey, when everything is already so new and overwhelming, being bombarded with a whole other set of ethics/morals/values/opinions that weren’t even on the radar a minute ago isn’t usually that helpful.

I feel lucky that when I started out with living with less waste, back in 2012, there really weren’t that many people ahead of me in the journey. So by default, I had the space to find my own way, discover things I could change and make progress at a pace that worked for me.

Now I feel like it’s a little more tricky.

Just today I read an article published by the BBC (no less) declaring that asthma sufferers had as a big a carbon footprint as people who eat meat. But the article was not about reducing air pollution. Instead, it seemed to be entirely the fault of asthma sufferers, for having asthma. Apparently some could switch to ‘greener’ medication.

I don’t know why this ‘eco-guilt’ and ‘eco-shaming’ is on the rise. In the case of asthma sufferers (and is this reflective of these issues in general?), maybe it is simply easier to blame individuals than address the systems that need changing.

Anyways, in my own small way, and in the spaces I hold, I am taking a stand.

There is no room for eco-guilt, eco-shaming, eco-oneupmanship and generally feeling bad whilst trying to do good over here. We’ve got to keep that room available for creating positive change and motivating others, not dragging them down!

When other corners of the internet start to get a little shouty, know that this is my pledge to you.

That’s not to say I don’t want to hear your opinions, especially if they are different to mine! Now I love the comments section of this website. It easily doubles (triples!) the value of anything I write when others share their perspectives, experiences, and yes – opinions. You’ll notice that at the end of almost every post, I invite people to share their thoughts and leave a comment.

Yes, I want to hear from you!

Comments are great. Opinions are welcome. Alternative experiences being shared is encouraged. There’s plenty of room to disagree and offer alternative viewpoints. And I’ve no plans to change this. It creates a richer experience for everyone, and I’ve learned a lot from the comments that you all leave.

This isn’t the same as judgment. That’s when people rock up and start telling others (often people they’ve never met) what they ‘should’ do. I don’t really even need to say this, because we already have such a positive and judgment-free space, but when addressing others, I’m going to encourage you to leave your ‘should’s and ‘should not’s at the door.

Change can be difficult. Eco choices aren’t always straightforward. People have different energy levels, priorities, budgets, commitments, accessibility and skill levels. Everyone is at a different stage of the journey.

Personally, I think we can get a lot more done – and have a much nicer time doing it – if we spend less time looking out for failings, and more time being supportive of where people are at.

Others make choices we wouldn’t make ourselves, but that doesn’t make them wrong. We’re all just imperfect humans in an imperfect world, living in a system where sustainable solutions aren’t always within reach. We are all doing what we can. That’s not a reason to feel guilty. That’s a reason to feel good.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Do you ever feel guilty about when it comes to trying to be more eco-friendly or live with less waste? Do the opinions of others add to that guilt? Any tips for dealing with negativity? How have your views changed over time? Anything else to add? Please share your thoughts below!