As we come to the end of Plastic Free July, we wanted to share with you, some of the things we do to help reduce our plastic consumption, besides reusing and selling preloved clothes.
There are so many things that we can do to reduce the amount of plastic we buy and use however, it is important to remain mindful that we are not perfect and changes can be made, little and often and still have a big impact.
To prepare for this blog post, I went around the different rooms in my house and thought about the products which I have swapped to help us live more sustainably.
I have found the kitchen and bathroom to be the places where I have made the most changes. I have found doing a food shop, completely plastic free, practically impossible! It can be overwhelming, disheartening and disappointing, but you don't have to change everything at the same time.
I am fortunate enough to have a handful of refill shops near to where I live. They provide refillable products such as, pasta, rice, cous cous, seeds, nuts, spices and cereals, like in the photos below.
Refill shops are great places to support, they are usually independently owned and staffed by people with a passion for the environment. You can take your own containers and either buy the exact amount that you need, or bulk buy too. Products often end up being cheaper than those that you can buy from big supermarkets.
As well as foods, you can also buy loose leaf tea and coffee beans. Many people assume that because you can throw tea bags in with your food waste or compost bin, that they don't contain plastic however, this is not the case. Most tea bags contain tiny plastics, which can cause havoc to our wildlife.
Cleaning products can also be bought from refill shops, again where you can take your own container to refill (don't judge me on the alcohol bottles! - They make for the perfect cleaning containers).
Soap bars usually come packaged in recyclable materials, often cardboard. They are a traditional product, one that has been used for centuries! If you are anything like me, you may prefer a liquid hand soap. The glass pump and spray bottles pictures above are a brilliant alternative to plastic containers. They will most definitely last, in order to be used again and again.
There are lots of products made from more sustainable materials these days, instead of plastic cleaning brushes and single use kitchen roll, bamboo and reusable products are being championed.
We can recommend microfiber and bamboo cleaning clothes, which in our household are used for washing up dishes, wiping down surfaces and cleaning up any spillages. They are super affordable and extremely versatile.
Reusable coffee cups and water bottles are brilliant - not only does owning one help to reduce waste, it is so much cheaper to carry your own bottle of water, than to buy one. More and more coffee shops are accepting customers using their own cup and some are really encouraging it! There is a huge range of cups and bottles on the market.
We would recommend buying from a small, local, eco-friendly business however, if this is not an option for you, then there are plenty available online and in supermarkets.
Moving onto the bathroom - for years I have used shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in plastic bottles and didn't think anything of it however, a few years ago, I was introduced to a 'Lush' shampoo bar and then never looked back! Shampoo, conditioner and soap bars last such a long time, far longer than any liquid form!
Recycled toilet tissue is awesome and tends to last a lot longer than most. We buy a box of 48 toilet rolls and it can last us months and months. Some families who use reusable nappies and wipes for their babies, sometimes introduce reusable wipes for the whole family. You simply use it, pop it in a wash bin and wash at 60 degrees along with other soiled items.
Refillable bathroom cleaner (I will recommend refill shops at the end of this post).
Homemade dry shampoo - simply rub cornflour or baking powder into your hair when it gets greasy. The powder soaks up the grease and leaves your hair looking as if it has just been washed. If you have dark hair, you can mix the powder with some cocoa powder, to disguise the white powder.
A shaving bar I use is one from Faith In Nature and the safety razor is from the brand Bambaw. Imagine not having to buy a disposable razor ever again! They are kind to our planet and leave your skin feeling super smooth. Bars are often made from natural ingredients and are against testing on animals.
Toothpaste is often a controversial one, Colgate and Aquafresh have such strong flavours and are ones that many of us have used for many years! Getting used to a new flavour can sometimes put people off. There is a variety of dental products available for example, dental tablets, toothpaste sold in glass jars, refillable mouthwash and mouthwash tablets.
Wooden accessories, such as a bamboo toothbrush, nail brush, comb and hairbrush. Depending on the brand and style of the toothbrush and comb, some are suitable for home composting, which is extremely appealing.
Lastly, I will touch on personal care products. For those that wear make up, reusable make up wipes are a great option and easy to use. Simply dampen with water or toner, use, wash, dry and reuse.
Sanitary items, such as reusable pads, menstrual cups and period pants, I can highly recommend. They can sometimes be seen as quite a costly product when first being purchased, but if you think about the amount you spend on reusables each month, it really adds up!
Perfume and deodorant are products which I have only recently started using. They come in cardboard, recyclable packaging, which is a real appeal to me. The fragranced used are suitable for all genders.
Recommended sustainable shops
The Eco Pantry - Seal, Chart Farm
The Zero Waste Comapny - Tunbridge Wells, The Pantiles
Zilch - Zero Waste - Tonbridge
Organic Village Market Tonbridge - Tonbridge
Please check them out and support them when you can. They are all small independent businesses, who are fighting to survive since the start of Covid-19.
As always, we would love to hear from you. What plastic free swaps have you managed to make or are hoping to make soon? Has our blog post inspired you to make any changes?
Lily and Oscar x