So tell me, how’s your plastic free July going? Successfully? Terribly? Or somewhere in between? I promise you, you’re not alone. I won’t lie, it’s difficult. Especially in a heatwave! Having to go the extra mile to recycle, reuse and shop around for the best loose produce or plastic free offerings is not an easy option. There are some ways you can make it easier though, and obviously we’re here to help and to tell you that you’re doing GREAT, even if you don’t feel like it. The fact that you’re more conscious of your actions and are trying to do better, is a definite win.
So you’ve spent almost a month (or more) trying to make changes but feel like you’re not winning. you might be struggling with certain areas. We’re going to break down some of the areas and ways you can cut down a bit more easily. We’ll share some of our favourite changes whether we stock them or you can find them elsewhere.
Some key areas that you tell us you need help with over on our Instagram page:
If I’m honest, the kitchen is one of the places in the house that I find the easiest to make changes. Whilst it can be tricky shopping plastic free (check out our blog about how to create an eco friendly kitchen ) once the food is home small changes can be manageable.
Dishwashing ~ you can make easy swaps to plastic free dishcloths pan scrubs and sponges, as well as washing up brushes. Plus you can either switch to a dishwashing soap bar, which you can find either via us or from Little Fox Soapery or you can choose to refill the Ecover washing up liquid in Waitrose stores or other brands through your local eco shop.
Cleaning ~ Ocean saver refill pods are so easy, and you can now get these for any room or cleaning area, plus they’re widely available in most supermarkets these days.
Plastic free food covering ~ Beeswax wraps are ideal for wrapping up foods, not for raw meats/fish but great for most other things. Made from fabric and beeswax, they’re then compostable once they can no longer be used. Or you can use pots and tubs with lids, glass tubs with silicone lids are our favourites and you can pick these up in most kitchen shops, supermarkets and charity shops too.
Reusable food pouches/bags ~ these might not be plastic free, but they do however replace the single use options in most food shops and the advantage of these is that you can freeze, reheat, wash and reuse. We have a few different options, such as snack bags, sandwich bags, food pouches and ice pop bags.
Sandwich bags and wrap sets ~ these are made from special fabrics which are ideal for lunches and picnics.
Cups, flasks and bottles ~ we have a small range of coffee cups as well as thermal flasks which are ideal for hot drinks, plus some cups which are great for picnics and in keeping things cold. Our brand new water bottles are perfect for drinks on the go. There are so many options all readily available in most shops and coffee shops, plus many coffee shops will now allow use of reusable cups and flasks and will even offer discounts on drinks when they are used.
Recycling ~ obviously it’s better to cut down on plastic use but where you are unable to do this, you can now recycle more plastic than ever, including the soft plastics used in food packaging, especially for things like bread. Co-op, Tesco and Sainsbury’s now have recycling facilities which include these plastics.
This is also another area I find fairly easy to make plastic free swaps.
Soap bar ~ soap bars are now available in most shops and supermarkets, you do need to check that they are cruelty free and palm oil free though. Lots of lovely small businesses make a variety of different bars and we stock the following fab businesses; Little Fox Soapery, House And, Jim’s Bricks, Emma’s Soap. you can find them all in our Eco soap section along with some lovely soap dishes and soap pods, all designed to help your soap keep from getting sludgy and to help it to last longer.
Shampoo and conditioner bar ~ we love this as a swap and stock two great options Soul and Soap and The Solid Bar Company, both of which we love and find work well on our hair, keeping it clean and soft. However, we do sometimes find that we have to use bottled shampoo and conditioner from time to time. When this happens we use bottled shampoo and conditioner which we stock from MooandYoo in glass bottles, they are more expensive but we use them sparingly and this makes our hair feel great and we can be as plastic free as possible. We also stock hair styling and hair mask products which can be found in our Eco hair care section.
Flannels and wipes ~ we stock flannels, waffle flannels and lots of different types of wipes, some for eyes, most for face and some ideal for baby wipes. All reusable, washable and perfect for swapping for disposable ones. We also recommend using your old towels as flannels, simply cut them into the sizes and shapes you’d like and compost them once they’re no longer usable.
Bathtime ~ we stock a range of great bath products, from things like bath salts, shower gels, face masks, face oils, bath bombs etc, all as plastic free as possible in their packaging and natural in their ingredients. From our suppliers MSA skincare, Gifts by Little Miss, Myrtle and Soap, Lily and Mortimer. We also highly recommend Willowberry Skincare for brilliant natural moisturisers and more.
Toothbrushes ~ we have bamboo toothbrushes in stock and know that you can now also find these in lots of supermarkets and pharmacies. For those who really don’t like using them (like me) you can also get recyclable heads for electric toothbrushes. Teeth cleaning tablets and aluminium tubes of toothpaste and mouthwash are also available. Waitrose stock the Waken brand of toothpaste and mouthwash.
Cleaning ~ as above with the ocean savers. Also remember that you can use any type of cloths and brushes in the bathroom, they can be the same type that you use for the kitchen, no need to buy different makes. They all clean just the same no matter which room you are in. Again, you could also use old towels as cloths for cleaning. You can also find some great DIY cleaning recipes from toilet fizzers to shower cleaners online on Instagram and we also like to search on Youtube and Pinterest.
Whilst it can sometimes feel like a lot of work, we’ve found that by breaking it down room by room, or by topic such as gifting, that we can tackle it in stages. This makes it much easier to make small changes and to keep doing them consistently. It might not happen overnight and that’s absolutely fine, any change is a step in the right direction, just think about one thing you currently use as single use and work out how many you can save going into landfill by switching to a reusable option and you’ll have a real incentive to keep going!