The 2019 Eco Challenge

The 2019 Eco Challenge:

I’ve never been a big one for New Year’s Resolutions (I think I’m still scarred from my attempts to make it past the first week of January with no cheese), but this year I really wanted to use the new year momentum as a kick off to lead a slightly more eco-conscious life in 2019. The small changes I make aren’t going to single-handedly slow down global warming or save the polar bears, but I suspect they’ll make me feel happier and healthier… and that seems like as good a reason as any (and way more fun than giving up cheese!). So, here it goes…

Before we start…

If you’ve been to the blog before then I hope you’ve realised by now that I’m an avid rag rugger 🙂 With just a few basic tools and hessian, I’ve repurposed thousands of old garments into beautiful upcycled pieces for the home (like those below or here). Of all the crafts in the world, I’m pretty confident that rag rugging is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable ones out there. So, if you already make rag rugs or are thinking of taking it up, then you should give yourself a big pat on the back now, as you’re already doing your bit for planet earth… go you!

Sicilian Inspired Rag Rug

Mum’s Sicilian Inspired Rag Rug

Rag Rug Cushions

Rag Rug Cushions

Blue and grey handmade shaggy rag rug on hessian with wide stripes

This shaggy rag rug took 2.3kg of blanket yarn to make.

So, why the change?

Although in my work life I’d consider myself to be a bit of an eco-champion, I had a realisation over Christmas  (unsurprisingly it struck while I was sitting in a nest of cellotapey Christmas wrapping paper) that there’s so much more I could be doing to reduce my environmental footprint, particularly in my personal life. I’m a sucker for convenience… online shopping, pre-packaged food, half-used pretty notebooks… the list goes on.. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, but it did spark an idea… the 2019 Eco-challenge! So, what is it?

What is the 2019 Eco-Challenge?

For the duration of 2019, each month I will replace one product in my household with a more eco-friendly alternative product and I will take on one eco-friendly challenge for the duration of the month. I’ll be chronicling the ups and downs of my journey and at the end of each month, I’ll write an honest review of how it all went and what will be coming up next month.

I’m at the beginning of my journey now, so am feeling enthusiastic… here’s what January has in store for me…

2019 Eco-Challenge – January:

Eco-Friendly Challenge:

I thought I would start the year off with a fairly difficult Eco-Friendly Challenge while my enthusiasm and resolve is at an all-time high. As many of you know already, I sell all manner of rag rug tools, kits and materials on my Ragged Life online shop. I pride myself on putting a lot of thought into the design and sourcing of my products and now wanted to do the same for my postal packaging.

Brown padded envelope sustainable packaging for small businesses

Although the padded envelopes I use keep your kits and tools safe in transit, apparently they’re an absolute pig to recycle. 

So, my 2019 Eco-Challenge for January is to review all my packaging materials to make them as eco-friendly as possible. That means everything from my tissue paper and stickers, to my boxes and envelopes. It’s quite an undertaking! My aim is for all my Ragged Life postal materials to be 100% recyclable by the end of 2019 (I need time to phase out some pre-existing stock first) and, where possible, for key elements to even be biodegradable. Subscribe to the Ragged Life Newsletter to stay tuned and find out how I get on or comment below to wish me luck or give me suggestions!

Eco-Friendly Household Substitute:

Inspired by the mountain of leftovers we ate over Christmas, the household products I’m substituting in January are clingfilm and tin toil. Here’s why… Clingfilm and tin foil are very useful in the kitchen, but both are basically single-use items. Once they’ve been used they get chucked in the bin, where they generally end up in either landfill or being incinerated. Tin foil is probably the better of the two (as it can be recycled when it’s free from food waste), but both are made in very energy intensive ways. My partner, Christian, and I are both avid cooks, so I was interested to see what alternatives we could find. Here’s what I found…

Beeswax Food Wraps:

Penny's Daughter Beeswax Food Covers

I bought a set of four small organic cotton beeswax food covers from Penny’s Daughter for £14.99.

Beeswax food wraps have become quite fashionable in the past couple of years as an alternative to clingfilm and tin foil for covering food in the fridge. Sheets come in different sizes and cling to dishes to keep out the air and moisture that makes food go bad. If used correctly, they last a whole year and can then be composted or reconditioned with fresh beeswax. Sounds good so far!

Elasticated Bowl Covers:

Elasticated Bowl covers

I bought this set of three elasticated bowl covers on Etsy, but think I would make them myself next time.

I have to admit, I was a little dubious about the ability of the beeswax food wraps to actually stick to the tops of dishes, so I also got myself a set of elasticated bowl covers. They do the same job as the beeswax food wraps, but I thought they may be more convenient (think fitted sheet vs non-fitted sheet?). Either way, I thought I would try out both and see how things went. If I like the bowl covers, then my plan is to make more using this nifty tutorial. Watch this space!

Right, those are my eco-friendly substitutes for January of the 2019 Eco-Challenge. Do they work? Only time will tell! Subscribe to the Ragged Life Newsletter to be the first to know how I got on with them or stay tuned on our social media channels below 🙂





As always, thanks for reading.

Elspeth x

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5 years ago

Well done on trying to do your bit to become a bit more eco friendly! I’m trying to do this too. I’ve recently tried the Lush shampoo bars – no packaging. They work well and I’m really pleased (but let them dry out after use, don’t store in a tin). sadly for me their conditioning bar was just too much work to get through my hair, resulting in a much longer shower – I loved the smell, it did condition my hair, but took ages to get sufficient through my hair.
I hope to try tag rugging this year!


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