Here’s how the Hanlon Household stacks up on the whole reduce reUse reCycle malarkey (a work-in-progress…).

The Good:
I stopped using plastic bags for groceries a good 2 years ago. I nearly punched the cashier in M&S when, on spotaneously buying some food, she patronisingly suggested I bring a bag in next time, then I wouldn’t have to pay 5p for a bag. I was all for putting the nosh in with Lily’s new school uniform, but the cashier wasn’t having any of that.
Any plastic bags that do make it past the door are used as either nappy or litter bags.
I use EcoVer products for laundry & dish-washing, and for cleaning the floor. I used to have laundry balls, but they weren’t great at ketchup-stains, and they fell apart. I used to have 2 dryer balls, but they look too fun, and so now I only have 1. The other is somewhere in the house. I have yet to track it down.
I dry clothes outside when the weather’s good enough. It recently stopped being good enough on a regular basis. I make sure I wash on the lowest setting, then add a spin to get more water out.
I like to think our Dyson is more energy efficient than a regular vacuum cleaner.
I used to have a shower-timer, but it kept falling off. I was concerned about the broken-glass-in-shower risk, so now I just remember to be quick.
My beauty routine involves washing and occasional slapstick. I don’t generate cotton wool balls on a daily basis.
I nurture an ideal environment for dust mites, etc by cleaning irregularly.
I use new-fangled cleaning mitts for cleaning the bathroom, whose name I will add when I’ve checked as my brain is letting me down just now.
Clothes are worn until they’re visibly dirty. In my case, 2-3 days, in the kid’s cases, usually 1, maybe 2 days. It depends if tea involved ketchup or not. Lily’s school shorts are washed daily, as she appears to wipe her yogurty fingers down the front of them each lunchtime.
We make our own sandwiches for weekday lunches, except for when Joel is at the childminder’s. She makes his lunch. Unless he’s not in the mood, in which case he is kept going by the sustaining power of TV.
I grow vegetables in the back garden.
Our kitchen waste is composted.
We burn dead trees on our open fires.
We haven’t switched the aga on this year.
We have a new, energy-efficient boiler feeding our hotwater system.
We recycle cardboard, paper, plastic, glass, batteries and tetrapaks.
We don’t use a water filter (hi Beth!)

The Bad:
Our loft is poorly insulated. At the moment, the loft above the kids’ rooms is insulated with a thin layer of rubble. This needs addressing, especially as we’re not turning the aga on this year, which basically kept Joel’s room heated last year.
Two of our taps drip. I know, it’s an easy one to fix. I just have visions of geyser-like skooshes hitting the ceiling as soon as I attempt anything.
For 6 months with each child we used washable nappies. When they started eating proper food, I got fed up with being covered in poo. I used biodegradable nappies for a while. Now we’re on an economy drive, so I buy the store own-brand nappies. We tried Tesco smart-price nappies once, but they were bascially like wrapping a plastic bag round the Tink, so we’re not going there again. When I’m more confident about cash-flow, we’ll go back to degradables, unless he’s using the toilet by then (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE).
Our radiators don’t regulate – they’re either on or off. That’s not good.

Our letterheads are printed on recycled paper.
We recycle our ink cartridges with a charity.
I recycle all our cardboard & paper.
I switch off my printer and screen when I leave my desk. The screen usually gets switched back on by the time I’m back at my desk. It’s a flat screen rather than CRT these days, though.
We have an eco-kettle.

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