I don’t know about you, but my house and my shopping lists are constantly evolving to cut down on plastic. I’ve highlighted some simple plastic-free swaps to reduce plastic waste in the past, but as this is an ever-continuing journey, I’d like to keep sharing my new favourite ways to embrace a greener lifestyle.
I’m always on the look out for the next way to avoid single-use packaging, throwaway plastic products riddled with chemicals and generally reduce household waste. For me, finding those plastic-free swaps that I can continue to commit to is as much a rewarding personal goal as it is vital for the environment.
I think we all know by now how desperate the struggle is to rid our planet’s oceans of plastic pollution, and how impactful the ‘Blue Planet II‘ effect was on alerting the global population to the tipping point that the world’s seas find themselves in.
Last month I agreed to become an ambassador for Ocean Conservation Trust, and as such, I’ve felt more motivated than ever to reduce my household plastic waste going into the next decade.
1. Reusable cosmetic and sanitary products
I’m very fortunate since my move to Norwich to have a brilliant local ethical shop ‘Little Shop of Vegans‘, which stocks a range of plastic free, reusable products alongside food, vegan-friendly toiletries and seasonal extras.
My favourite buys since moving to the area are these colourful Aunt Irma’s cloth pads and facial rounds for make-up removal. Cute, colourful, useful and reusable; they come with handing washing instructions and look fab in your bathroom too. They can be purchased online here: auntirmas.co.uk
2. Soap, shampoo and conditioner bars
This past year I’ve come to love using Lamazuna Chocolate Solid Shampoo Bars, which I found on Babipur.co.uk — a favourite shop for cloth nappy liners and eco detergent. This shampoo not only smells amazing, but has come to make my hair incredibly healthy.
Admittedly, it took a little getting used to rubbing the bar through my wet hair and finding the right amount to use, and also to adjust to my hair not looking as glossy… but it has certainly reduced frizz and stopped my hair from drying out and breaking, so it’s been worth the trade off for me.
I’ve also been trying out lots of different organic soap bars for hand washing (Emma’s Soap is a win!), and faithfully found a brilliant conditioner bar to go with this new favourite shampoo — from the afore mentioned Little Shop of Vegans. Alter/Native by Suma‘s Lavendar and Geranium conditioner bar is my top recommendation; it makes my hair — and the entire bathroom — smell amazing! Check out their whole range here: www.ethicalsuperstore.com/products/alternative-suma/
3. Reusable food wraps
I was incredibly grateful to be gifted these lovely whale-design Bee Bee Wraps from Ocean Conservation Trust when I agreed to become an ambassasor, which are great for on-the-go lunches with my children. They work really well with crisps, biscuits and sandwiches.
For vegan cheeses, leftovers and refrigerated foods, I continue to make my own reusable vegan soya wraps from a guide I found on inspirecreateeducate.co.uk
4. Extending the life of fresh food
Something I’d given little thought to until more recent times was the amount of food waste generated by my household — something that’s become impossible to ignore since both my children have moved on to solid foods.
At my previous address, there was no food waste collection from the local council, but thankfully, where we’ve moved to in Norfolk there’s an option to order a food waste collection bin for your household, which is collected weekly. This has been great for dealing with the food scraps left by a fussy toddler.
One of my best buys of this year though, has been this Fresh Pod from The Green Lady Eco Store. You simply place the Pods into your fruit bowl or fridge salad drawer along with your fruit and vegetables and the contents of the pod extend storage life by up to four times longer.
At the end of their use (you get two per pack, which lasts you up to a year!), you can use the stones from the pod to fertilise plants. I’ve seen a huge reduction (to just about zero!) in throwing away spoiled, uneaten fruit and veg. You can find them here: freshpod.co.uk
5. On the go reusable items
Since becoming a mum, I never leave the house without a big bag or two of spare clothes, nappies, food, etc., etc., for the children, so it hasn’t been too hard to get used to adding a few extras in.
My daughter is 2-years-old, and drinking with a straw is much easier than tipping juice all over herself! So metal straws have become a must. I love my reusable shark cup for my own hot drinks, and this #PassOnPlastic ‘Moby Sick’ by Sienna Miller cutlery set from Sky Ocean Rescue has proved endlessly handy in allowing me to turn down the plastic alternative still handed out from many kiosks and cafes. Did you know a plastic fork takes 400-500 years to breakdown?!
I love the design one this set too — which looks great with my shark cup and whale food wraps. I do love things that match!
What are some of your best plastic-free swaps? Leave a comment below.