We talk to good friend, author and Nutritional Therapist, Madeleine Shaw, about low waste living, her experience of trialing a plastic-free life and whether or not it's possible to be sustainable unless we all start slowing down?
"When we are stressed, busy and tired we can only do what we can. It's the big companies we need to put an emphasis on."
Homethings: Let's talk about low waste living. What does that term mean to you, especially in the current climate where zero waste is a very hot topic?
Madeleine Shaw: I think for me, it's conscious consumption – so every purchase, every decision you make, you think about how it affects the planet. I think with the collective, everyone's feeling it, it just becomes part of your day to day thinking. For me, it's just about trying to do the best I can with every decision but also knowing that you can't be perfect at the same time. I went through a stage of having really bad eco anxiety, and now I've eased up on myself, which is important.
Homethings: Makes sense. So what are some ways that you've integrated that into your daily life?
Madeleine Shaw: It's getting creative and thinking of simple ways to adjust; whether it's changing from regular nappies to cloth nappies for your child – that was something that we did. Or buying a jug for water to go in your fridge so that you don't end up buying bottled water. Swapping where I shop – I really like Farmdrop as they have a massive reduction in plastic packaging compared to your regular supermarkets. It's just these little changes that I can make that are important, and I feel like I am supporting companies that are doing good, too.
Homethings: You mentioned nappies and bottles. Has being a mother impacted the way that you think about the world for your child or influenced your behaviours?
Madeleine Shaw: I definitely think it's easier to be more conscious when you don't have a child – as when you are a parent you are more time poor, you're more tired and when you're in that position, you love that grab and go lifestyle. But it equally puts things into perspective that your child will live longer than you and beyond you, and therefore it's important to help the planet for their future. There are so many alternatives out there now that help you lead a life of a more conscious consumer these days, parent or not – clothes, toys, etc. For me, it's just a constant consideration of all areas and a big emphasis on getting him outside and connecting with nature, so he has an understanding on the importance of the environment and our Earth.