What did I learn from not using toilet paper for a month?

Toilet paper has really been on my mind recently strangely enough after all the media questions about it 🙂 and aside from reminding myself why I tried living without it – read more here, I’ve been thinking about what I learned from not using it for a month. I realised the thing that surprised me the most was how many alternatives to toilet paper there are (some listed in this article here).  In fact there are a surprising amount of alternatives to things that most of us just stick with one method or type of day in day out. Becoming eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to swap one way of doing things for another, it opens up a multitude of other options we are often blinded to during our busy daily lives.
Things that we either forget or don’t even realise there are alternatives to:
Fruit and vegetables:
Most of us eat orange carrots, red raspberries, red tomatoes and orange pumpkins. There are a variety of colours of carrots though – black, yellow, purple, orange, white and red! Last summer we grew red and yellow tomatoes (the yellow ones were so delicious) and red and yellow raspberries too in our garden! We also picked blue and orange pumpkins from a local pick your own farm. The blue pumpkins have more flesh than the orange ones and I found them tastier! Growing our own and visiting pick your own farms not only saved us money but gave us more variety in fruit and veg! Home grown veg also avoids all the food miles, pesticides, fertilisers and packaging associated with shop bought food.
Making food:
It is really easy to reach for your favourite brand or to rely on a ‘making’ (e.g. bread, rice, icecream, yogurt etc) machine, but it is actually also really easy to make foods like yogurt at home and you don’t need a machine to do it. There are lots of different methods you can try to suit what you already have at home and then a world of flavours you can add yourself!
My basic yogurt making method is to:
1. Bring 2 pints of milk to a boil in a saucepan, 
2. Let it cool for 40 minutes, 
3. Mix in a few spoons of live plain yogurt. 
4. Put the lid on the saucepan and put the saucepan in a freezer bag. 
5. Leave for 10 to 12 hours.
If you don’t have a freezer bag you could do any number of the following:
  1. 15 minutes before the milk has finished cooling heat your oven for 5 minutes. Then when cooled and yogurt added, wrap your pan in a towel and leave in the warm (but off) oven.
  2. Put your saucepan in a thermal cooker  (homemade or otherwise – see ideas here) instead of the freezer bag
  3. Replace step 4 with pouring the yogurt / milk mixture into a thermal jug which you can further insulate by wrapping towels around it.
  4. Work out your own method with the stuff you have available to you!
We love adding cinnamon and fruit to our yogurt, but you can add honey or jam or if you want to go savoury there are loads of lovely dips which use yogurt as a base e.g. tzatziki or raita. If you are into baking save the crumbs to add to your home made yogurt (we used to do this before we went sugar free – read more here) . It works out cheaper than the little pots and means less is chucked in the bin too! 
Wrapping paper:
In my previous life I just wrapped gifts in wrapping paper. Now I have discovered there are so many more interesting, thrifty and less environmentally damaging ways to wrap gifts. Kids artwork, old maps, even old clothes can make great wrapping paper. The possibilities are endless – read more here. A lot of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable because of the glitter and other decorations added to it and so it either contaminates the recycling stream or goes directly to landfill.  Aside from that it is looked at for all of 5 seconds before being discarded – what a waste of money!
It has been loads of fun discovering that there are so many of alternatives for things I never really questioned before and not only that I think it has improved my quality of life!
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  1. Congrats on getting featured in the papers by the way Zoe, that's awesome!

    Some great tips there. I really want to try making my own yogurt, it sounds so easy but I never realised just how easy it is! Thanks!

  2. Zoe

    Thanks! My tips to make yogurt successful is to insulate it as much as possible – so add extra layers of towels or even jumpers around or in your insulating equipment. Also leave it in the warmest room in the house, not the coldest whilst being made. When it is made I mix it up and it can look a little runny, but after leaving it in the fridge for a bit it usually gets a bit thicker.

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