At Marc Wood Joinery eco home & living and at home in South Somerset UK the Wood family have made a commitment to explore the practical possibilities of eco living; we don’t have a huge budget to install renewable energy (although that is our long term plan!) but even small everyday choices are making a difference and I’m starting to understand that we can all support the environment in our own way.
Blog posts by Rachel Wood;
In the Wood family bathroom we are all trying to reduce our use of disposable plastic, there is a great non-profit organisation based in South Devon which we follow on Facebook and Twitter called ‘less plastic’ and they feature lots of up to date information on how we can reduce our reliance on everyday plastics and they regularly post local ‘beach clean’ events for us to get involved with.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the memes on social media which encourage us to pick up a few pieces of plastic waste when we visit the coast and I’ve decided it’s time to join in.
Admittedly it is a small contribution, but it does matter and we Woods have all been making an effort over this past year; our son’s beach bucket (plastic, argh no escape!) is really useful for ferrying bits from beach to bin and it also appeals to my nerdy sense of organisation to know that the beach is a bit tidier after our visit!
When most people find out that I work with my husband Marc, helping to run our reclaimed wood furniture workshop, they assume that our Somerset home is full of Marc’s gorgeous handmade furniture.
He’s actually too busy most of the time to create very much for our place and most of our lovely pieces are collected by courier and spirited off to a new home somewhere in the UK; there have been several things that I really wish we’d kept hold of and he’s promised to make them especially for us one day; I suppose I should just be grateful that demand is steady!
We did manage to keep a gorgeous chunky wooden bathroom cabinet and a sturdy shelf with four upcycled coat hanger hooks; perfect for our large, weighty bath towels and (seemingly ever growing) family dressing gown collection.
Starting your day surrounded by beautiful items handcrafted from natural, tactile, eco-friendly wood is a great feeling and you can see a selection here. There are easy cosmetic swaps too, like bamboo toothbrushes and lush soap bars; this one is my current favourite and has a gorgeous seaweed scent!
Our bathrooms can often be most water intensive spaces in our home; thanks to changing attitudes and consumer demand, water saving devices that also conserve energy are now fairly easy to get hold of and there are various suppliers of bathroom fixtures which will regulate water flow.
We can all make everyday choices which reduce our energy consumption (and save on those energy bills) without spending any extra money.
Most of us are aware that taking a 5 to 10 minute shower rather than a bath uses a lot less water. The fabled ‘three minute shower’ may be difficult to achieve every time; I haven’t even tried fitting in a (non-plastic microbead!) facial scrub and hair wash in 3 minutes.
Thankfully an alternative type of shower head not only lowers the amount of water you use, but of course less energy is then needed to heat less water. It’s worth looking around at what’s available within your budget and even sourcing plumbing parts second hand on sites like Gumtree (recycling is always good for bonus eco points)
It’s also important to remember to rinse out your toothbrushes and face cloths in cold water and try not to leave the tap running while brushing; this adds up to a surprising amount of water throughout the year and a 2014 UK study put this at 24 litres lost a day. I’m certainly guilty of making this thoughtless eco-fail, before I realised just how much clean water I was wasting in my morning zombie, pre coffee state.
Of course recycling the water from your baths and running your toilet flush using rain tubs or so called ‘grey water’ is very commendable, but it can be costly to set up in a domestic setting.
They often use greywater for loos at purpose-built conservation sites such as The Eden Project in Cornwall and we definitely recommend a visit, if you get a chance; they have inspirational displays on managing energy consumption and the domes really are spectacular.
In the west country we get a lot of rainfall and if you have access to enough outdoor space for a few rain tubs then it’s fairly easy to catch some to use on your garden; as with most things it can be a simple or complicated as you want and you may even decide to set up a network of pipes to funnel the rainwater from your guttering. In our garden and up on our allotment we just have a wide enough tub to get our watering cans in and off we go!
We are only really just getting started on our eco adventure and I hope that you will check in with us again to see how we are getting on,
Rachel W x