Ok, so if you have been around for a while you will be very aware that reducing our waste, becoming more eco-friendly, cutting out plastic and making a positive change for our planet have all become my mission. I have been pretty vocal (*cough* Pampers *cough*) just of late and even though it may have caused a stir I don’t really mind because what gets people talking will have an impact and that is what my message is all about. Change HAS to happen now, there’s no if’s or but’s or sorry I upset you, this goes further than that, it’s the future of our planet and the future for our children. So, with that out of the way, here are a few, ok, quite a lot of ways that you could change in your lifestyle or around your home to help you during this Plastic Free July.
My Plastic Free Solutions…
I couldn’t not start with this one, could I? Single-use nappies are made from plastic and are a huge problem for a lot of countries. They take 500 years to decompose in landfill which means every single nappy ever used is STILL here! Honestly, going reusable is so, so simple. I never thought I would be converted and here I am trying to convince everybody else to swap now. I have plenty of blog posts to help and my inbox is always open for any extra questions.
As above really. Wipes are also plastic (the majority at around 87% plastic) and if you missed the recent BBC War on Plastic programme please do catch up on it because if that doesn’t shock you into changing I’m not sure what will. I have a blog post on this too. Reusable wipes are usually a cotton/bamboo mix and completely plastic free.
Reusable Water Bottle
A quick easy fix for a growing problem. Just always make sure you have one on you and find somewhere to fill it up when you’re out and about.
Bar of soap
We do not need liquid soap, the only thing it does is add yet another plastic item into your household. Regular bars of soap work in the same way and will massively reduce your plastic. We used to have 4 liquid soap dispensers on the go in our home and now we have none, think how much we have already prevented going to landfill in the year we have been doing this.
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
This can be quite a hard one to change but once you find the bars for you, you will be fine. I have been to Lush who sell both shampoo and conditioner bars and they can explain what they have, chat to you about their products, ask about your hair type and recommend a product. I struggled with the first shampoo bar I bought but Lush have told me to go back in with the bar and I can swap it for another! What great customer service.
Cloth Sanitary Pads (CSP)
Sanitary towels and tampons are also classed as plastic single-use waste. I never really thought about them before but my eyes have been well and truly opened just recently. I have made the change to reusable cloth pads, something I had never even heard of before which I think is disgusting. We are all just pushed into these single-use products by the companies and their marketing and no one tells you that there are alternatives. Think how much money and waste I could have saved since starting my periods at around 12 years old. Urgh, it makes me shudder! I have found cloth pads to be comfortable, absorbent and there is little mess. An easy swap for me.
I think everyone would have heard of these by now and as we throw so many toothbrushes away each year these are a no-brainer. A simple plastic free solution.
I have now seen these made from silicone, metal, paper, bamboo and grass so there are plenty of options for everybody.
Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to clingfilm which is basically the devil of all plastics. I’ve never liked the stuff and I am so glad I have rid my house of it.
Beeswax wraps may not be suitable for all of your foods and you may not like the smell (my hubby doesn’t) so silicone lids are another great choice. I bought a pack from Amazon and now have plenty to see me through the rest of my life I should imagine! These lids come in a variety of sizes and stretch over cans, plates, bowls, dishes and so on to provide an airtight seal for your food.
Homemade Cleaning Products
I have just started doing this and so far so good! I have made a kitchen surface spray by half filling a glass spray bottle with water, the other half with white vinegar and adding 10 drops of Lavender oil. I am not working on my Rosemary and Lemon spray by doing the same thing with water and white vinegar but allowing lemon rind and 2 sprigs of Rosemary to soak in it (advice says it can take 2 weeks). I am looking forward to learning more recipes and seeing how I get on. Oh and if you don’t want to buy glass bottles, just wash out plastic ones from the cleaning products you are using up and reuse these instead. For more eco-cleaning tips take a look at my printable graphics here.
Compostable Washing Brushes
I hate to break it to you but those sponges we all use for washing up are also plastic. I know there’s no escaping the stuff!! I was really surprised at this, I’m not sure what I thought it was made of but as I knew sponge is a natural product I guess I thought that’s what it was. I was naive. This is a manmade sponge and again takes years to break down. So swap these for coconut husks, for bristled scourers that can go in the compost, for wooden scrapers and so on and you will have a plastic free solution.
Citric Acid for Descaling
Oh my god, I am in love with this stuff! All natural, no chemicals, comes in a cardboard box and works absolute wonders on the limescale here (and we have a HUGE limescale problem). I wish I’d known about this sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of money, time and plastic.
Material Shopping Bags
Simple swap, cheap to do and will make a big difference for the environment.
Cloth Bags for Fruit and Veg
We do not need those annoying tiny plastic bags that the supermarket offer us. For starters, fruit and veg do not need another layer, they have one to protect them and second of all you could just buy cloth bags if you feel you need to pop them inside something. They look and feel so much better and you won’t be adding to the rising plastic bag problem.
Shop at Your Local Farm Shop
Loose fruit and veg, no plastic wrappings and no plastic bags. Need I say more?
Switch Back to the Milkman
I have just made our very first order for this week and I am so excited at the prospect of opening my front door to bottles of milk again! I have also ordered orange juice in a glass bottle too. Milk and More also offer boxes of fruit and veg, bakery items and more so you could easily reduce your supermarket shop by switching.
Take Reusable Containers to the Counters
We have become a nation who loves convenience and if that means picking up your meat in a wrapper at the supermarket and not having to think about quantities, speaking to somebody or waiting for them to serve you then all the better… But it’s not, is it? It means that each time we unwrap these foods, we throw away yet another piece of plastic. Why not try taking reusable tubs to the supermarket and popping over to those counters and asking them to put your cheese, fish or meat inside? It can be easily done and once you have used it all up you can wash your container out and do it all again.
Eco-friendly Toothpaste in Glass Jars
Toothpaste is a pain, isn’t it? Not only does it come in a useless cardboard box it also comes in a plastic tube and yet it is an essential item. You can now purchase toothpaste in glass jars though and these can be recycled.
Lush Bath Bombs
Bath bombs are a great alternative to bubble bath that comes in a plastic bottle.
Washable Cloths for Cleaning
I am loving the fact that we now wash so much more and throw less away. There are plenty of reusable wipes on the market to choose from too.
Honestly, this list could go on and on because once you start looking closely you start to see how much plastic we all bring into our homes that isn’t always necessary. Now, I am not saying that you now need to go and rid your home of plastic because that will just be adding to the problem. Things like containers, toys, bottles you can use again, utensils, bowls and plates, kids cutlery etc. are all reusable and all essential. The single-use is the problem and that is what needs the focus because this is the stuff that ends up in the bin after a few moments, a day or weeks. Let me know what you are swapping this month, I’d love to hear from you.
Let’s make going plastic free easy and simple!
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