A week into 2018 and I have spoken to several friends who made the resolution to try and cut down on plastic. We are six months into the cut down and I can say it is no easy, or cheap task. Undoubtedly items that come wrapped in plastic are cheaper than those that don’t. BUT we have definitely made inroads. With so many friends asking for tips I thought I would write a quick (albeit slightly boring) post on the amazing products that have helped us succeed, at least a little, in the mammoth task of reducing the globe of plastic.
There are plenty of blogs out there telling us where the best starting points are; refusing a straw when out for a drink, no plastic toothbrushes, but what can you use instead? We have done some of the legwork so you don’t have to.
1- Toothbrushes. There are lots of Bamboo toothbrushes on the market now and I find Amazon the best market place for them. We use the Matana brushes, made from Bamboo with Bamboo infused bristles, biodegradable/recyclable and they have natural teeth whitening properties, which isn’t just a sales ploy, they have actually made my teeth whiter. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pack-Bamboo-Toothbrushes-Whitening-Biodegradable/dp/B073TYRW7B
2- Shampoo. Beauty products are a big one, most of us don’t want to miss out on the products we love, but there are alternatives. I swapped to Lush shampoo and conditioner bars and love them. I was previously prone to dry scalp and they have wiped out that issue, they don’t use packaging, but I do advise using a little tin to keep them in (can also be bought at Lush) as they last longer. They are not particularly cheap compared to supermarket shampoos but they do last a lot longer if stored correctly. They also do bubble bars, cleansing bars etc... fab! https://uk.lush.com/products/shampoo
3- Milk. Going back to the milkman is the best way to reduce the plastic cartons! We use Milk and More https://m.milkandmore.co.uk/h5/index who also provide freshly squeezed glass bottled orange juice too. Check your local area.
4- Fruit and Veg- Buying a fruit and veg box cuts out all the individual packets that they seem to come in at the supermarket. There are large, national companies such as Abel and Cole that provide fresh organic produce. https://www.abelandcole.co.uk/fruit-veg/fruit-veg-boxes
But your local area may have businesses providing a similar service. In Oxfordshire we have an amazing local business Taylormade http://www.taylormadefruitandveg.co.uk/ not all organic but very reasonably priced, reliable and I don’t think I have received a single piece of plastic from them. The best thing is on occasion they fill the box with things we haven’t even tried before, so stretches the cooking boundaries too!
5- Food Storage. We recommend Elephant Box for all your food storage needs. Yes, not cheap, but you only need to buy the items once. They supply a fantastic range of Stainless Steel containers and cups as well as Bees Wax Wrap- a biodegradable alternative to cling film. https://elephantbox.co.uk/
6- Coffee. Invest in an eco friendly Bamboo coffee cup and try and remember it when on the go! Retailers will be happy to fill it and stops one of the biggest waste problems of today! Alternatively consider having coffee in to avoid disposables. https://www.redber.co.uk/products/ecoffee-cup-reusable-bamboo-travel-cup-0-4l-14-oz-ithcykoo
7- Sanitary waste. Periods. Never fun, but a fact of life, and the waste sanitary products leaves is enormous. In place of sanitary towels why not consider Thinx- reusable period proof underwear https://www.shethinx.com/ or a replacement of tampons the Mooncup https://www.mooncup.co.uk/
8- Baby wipes. Baby wipes and nappies are an enormous problem. There are photos published of entire sewage blockages attributed to baby wipes (despite the packaging telling us not to flush). We are aware of reusable nappies but I can highly recommend reusable wipes too. Yes, it means more washing so not ideal but saves so much waste. We like Cheeky Wipes best. http://www.cheekywipes.com/cloth-baby-wipes/cotton-terry-cloth-baby-wipes.html
9- Toilet paper- ok so the paper itself isn’t plastic but a large proportion of companies still use plastic in the packaging. We love Who Gives a Crap because they deliver your toilet paper to you in a recyclable cardboard box, the paper itself is made from either recycled paper (but doesn’t feel like sandpaper on your arse) or from sustainable Bamboo. Bonus fifty percent of all their sales go to non profit organisations which help with sanitation and hygiene worldwide. Did you know more people in the world have access to mobile phones than to toilets? Their sales help more people have access to proper facilities and help reduce diseases caused by poor sanitation. Buying from them is good for the earth all round. https://uk.whogivesacrap.org/products/recycled-3ply-toilet-paper
10- Phones- On the subject of mobile phones, we all own one, and given the cost of them we want to protect them. Pelacase provide a mobile phone cover made from recycled materials mixed with flax straw to add strength. The case is biodegradable and fit most newer models of phones. They are made in Canada but can be purchased on Amazon, an example here- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pela-Eco-Friendly-iPhone-Case-Quartz/dp/B07588Q2QH
Becothings also provide a range made from similar material, biodegradable dog bowls and poo bags for example. A few years ago we bought our potty from them too, although they are currently out of stock in the UK. Being biodegradable means that they can simply be planted in the garden when you are done with them. However, they are by no means flimsy. Our potty was purchased six years ago and still going strong.
Finally my main tip is to try and be more organised. Making fresh pasta cuts out packaging, as does making fresh soups etc for lunch. My biggest downfall is when I’m not organised so dive into a supermarket and come out with arms full of plastic. Buying your meat from the local butcher or market stalls means you can use your own storage containers too. If you are trying it this January good luck!!