This month of Simplify 7 is mostly about little things. Apart from the bathing (roll on 1st November!) they really feel pretty insignificant, but – as the old song goes – little things mean a lot.
I know some people haven’t turned their central heating on yet, so it’s no big deal that I’ve turned down the thermostat by one degree. But the potential savings are £80 to £85 a year and 340 – 350kg carbon dioxide. And there’s some research to suggest that turning the temperature down can help with weight loss. I’m not sure I believe it, though, since I always feel like eating more if I’m cold!
Reading about ‘hygge‘ (the Danish approach to the good life) is making me think a little differently about how to deal with my natural instincts when winter approaches. At the moment, I still want to hibernate, but I’m trying to get over it – and some elements of this month’s Simplify 7 are actually helping. Putting a cosy jumper on or wrapping myself in a blanket, for example, instead of turning the heating up or taking a hot bath.
The weather has been pretty miserable most of this week – although I have mostly been too busy to even notice. I was glad that it was a bit better today when I actually had the time and opportunity to walk instead of driving (one of my goals this month). It was refreshing to get some fresh air; around here it’s full of the scent of autumn – damp earth, decaying leaves, wood smoke… It’s nice to get out there and enjoy it.
Recycling is another focus area for this month – and, to be honest, I thought I was already doing a pretty good job. We routinely recycle most metal, glass, plastic, card and paper. But I’m making an extra effort at the moment, and it’s surprising how much more I’m doing. I confess that I wouldn’t normally recycle any packaging that would need cleaning – but it’s surprising how good it makes me feel to go that extra mile!
Just thinking about it a little more has inspired me to make some changes to my shopping. I routinely buy around 4-5 bottles of flavoured water every week. That’s over 200 plastic bottles every year – and that’s just me. I’m glad they aren’t going to landfill, but it would be better if I didn’t use so many in the first place. I’ve cut right back this month, and it’s such a little thing…but it can make a big difference.
The plastic shopping bag situation is a case in point. The introduction of a 5p charge has had a massive impact. In the first 6 months, there was an 83% reduction in the number of bags given out by the seven major supermarkets. The charge raised £41.3m – which shows that an incredible number of bags were still used! In my house, those bags always get re-used (as containers for rubbish or used cat litter if nothing else) but we now use a lot fewer. But it’s amazing how many other packages can also be re-used…and it might seem silly, but this month of Simplify 7 is teaching me that it’s fun to be a little more inventive!
And then there’s the minor miracle of composting. Again, not something that’s new this month – except insofar as I am thinking about it a bit more. We have two compost bins and I love the fact that all those fruit and veg peelings, mixed with garden refuse and a small amount of paper and card will eventually become rich, dark compost ready to spread on the garden. It’s a very small inconvenience for a huge benefit.