The world of eco-friendly products is growing which is, of course, an amazing thing but for those who are just delving into it all it can be quite overwhelming. I mean where do you start?! I am often asked, what is best to use? What products do I recommend? What is easy to begin with? And even though a lot of these things can come down to your own personal choice and your lifestyle, I think there are really easy eco swaps for those who are just starting out and finding their feet with where to go with being more eco-friendly.
I will say this one over and over again because a bar of soap has to be the easiest thing that anybody can switch over to. Liquid soap comes in single-use plastic and with most households having more than one bathroom/toilet that is far too much plastic being tossed away. A bar of soap can be bought without any packaging at all if you choose your shop carefully.
Reusable Water Bottle
Again, such an easy eco swap, all you have to do is find a bottle that works for you (or several) and remember to fill it up before you go out. We have a selection of bottles now which means we have smaller ones for the kids which have sports caps for easy drinking (even for the smallest) and we have large bottles which are vacuum insulated and keep our water cold for the whole day.
One thing I think people massively overlook is the fact that being more eco-friendly is about much more than cutting out our plastic use. It is about reducing what we use, recycling as much as we can and reusing. The reduce and reuse are key though. The less we use and buy, the bigger impact we will have on carbon emissions as well as the waste we produce. The fashion industry is one of the biggest problems for our world. The waste, the polluted waterways, the overuse of water, the toxic chemicals, the carbon footprint… the list goes on and on which is precisely why shopping secondhand is now more important than ever. You can get so much in charity shops plus you will also be saving yourself money because their prices are just so low (far too low in my opinion). Just the other week I found what looks like a new skirt for £2.50, a pair of next trousers for £5 and a jumper for £2. I have also bought Jake a wetsuit for £2.50, a onesie for £2.35, a jumper from Next for £2 and a variety of t-shirts for William under £2 each. I know we can’t get everything in them but every little secondhand purchase helps.
Tote bags, bags for life, produce bags, anything you can pop all of your shopping in as well as your fruit and veg so that you aren’t using those horrible little plastic ones supplied by the supermarket.
These not only help to save the environment, but they will also save you money AND they work better than the plastic filled wipes you buy in the shops. Yep, baby wipes contain around 87% plastic which means they are another single-use plastic that you may not have thought about and that’s not your fault because the companies don’t (as yet) have to list what the wipe is actually made of, they only legally have to say what is on it! So yet again you are being misled, especially when you have brands that have names like water wipes. The thing is, they claim to be so much like water so my question is, why would you not just use water then? It’s right there at your disposal and all you need is a reusable wipe/cloth/flannel to put it onto. It’s so simple that I have to laugh (otherwise I may cry) over the fact that I spent so much money buying single-use wipes with my first child. I mean one poo would take up around 4 of those wipes whereas a poo for my second child can be cleaned up with one reusable wipe that I can then wash and use again. You don’t even need to go for an expensive brand, you can make them yourself out of an old towel, fleece, flannels etc. So many people see this as a tough move but it is actually an easy eco swap.
Forget multi-purpose wipes, ditch the kitchen roll and purchase some washable, reusable cloths. These can be used for wiping down surfaces, cleaning the doors, cleaning the sink, washing up, wiping up spills, cleaning up mess… the list is endless! I use cloths all over the house now and they easily go in the wash with towels. I love easy eco swaps that also save you money!
Ditch The Sponges
Yep, kitchen sponges are made from (you’ve guessed it) plastic! Those yellow and green sponges that you see in every kitchen are another item that will be on this planet long after you’ve left. I didn’t even realise until somebody pointed it out to me. So my next easy eco swaps are over to wooden brushes, coconut husk scrapers, coconut scourers, compostable scrubbers and so on. There are plenty of options on all online eco shops and the choice is really all yours. I have all of the above because I find they work on all different kitchen items. They are all long-lasting which makes them worth the money.
Alternative Food Covers
Clingfilm is the devil of single-use plastic. We have all used far too much of it for far too many things and it’s time its day. There are plenty of other options out there which include beeswax wraps, silicone lids, a plate to cover food, cloth covers or just a tea towel etc. This comes down to personal choice as well as budget but I think it’s just a case of looking beyond clingfilm and realising that there are actually plenty of other products out there.
Plastic toothbrushes can be swapped for bamboo ones.
Shampoo and conditioner can be switched to bars but this one can sometimes take a while to get right as your hair has to adjust and you need to be happy with the overall look and feel.
Toilet roll is another plastic-covered culprit which is why we made the switch to ‘who gives a crap’ toilet roll earlier on in the year. So many people think this is far more expensive but in reality, you are getting twice as much paper as normal roll! Each toilet roll has 400 sheets whereas the regular stuff has 200 sheets and I did check all of this out before I went in and subscribed. I looked for the cheapest batch of Andrex toilet rolls on Amazon, calculated the costs and the amount you get and who gives a crap won. I get 48 rolls delivered straight to my door and these get stored underneath my bed! We literally never run out and I’ve even had to adjust the delivery schedule twice because the rolls last so much longer.
Plastic razors can be swapped for metal ones.
All of my face care products come from Beeutiful skincare. A local company, run by a woman, created by her and every product is handmade by her using honey and beeswax from her very own beehives. Natural, eco-friendly and a small business, everything I am passionate about.
I think I have covered quite a few options here but what you need to really keep in mind is that you cannot do everything at once. Make one swap at a time. Get to grips with what changes you can make and what you want to make and take things from there. Don’t worry about what everybody else is doing, don’t compare yourself and certainly don’t overwhelm yourself, some people have been making easy eco swaps for years. If you are just starting out, take one step at a time and enjoy it.
Have I missed anything that you’ve found to be great for you? Let me know your easy eco swaps in the comments.
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