One of the hot topics everywhere right now is the environment and our energy and plastic consumption. If you are wanting to make some sustainable swaps for the new year then keep reading. We use and throw away ridiculous amounts of plastic, use chemicals in everything and just basically push our planet to its absolute limit. I know social media can get a bad rap but it is good for some things and it was instagram in particular that made me realise that there were sustainable swaps that I could make to reduce my own impact on the environment.
Looking at the big picture is very overwhelming and it’s easy to think “my little changes won’t make a difference” and to therefore not bother at all. I’m not claiming to be an eco goddess now and will probably never be plastic free but if we all make our own little changes these can add up. So if sharing the changes I’ve made inspires one person to try and make changes of their own then that can only be a good thing.
The first Sustainable Swaps we’ve made have been focused around cleaning and beauty products. These swaps we have made have been gradual. We didn’t go around the house throwing perfectly good cleaning products in the bin because they have chemicals in them. That would defeat the point after all. What we have done is, as things have ran out we have replaced them with better choices.
So I have to confess that I am a big Zoflora lover! Giving up the lush smells of my Zoflora was one of the things I didn’t want to do but then I found these products from Iron and Velvet. Number one, they are completely plastic free! You can keep and reuse some old spray bottles or invest in some refillable glass ones like I did but they come in water soluble sachets. You fill your bottle with the required amount of water for that sachet, pop the sachet in and give it a shake. There are lots of different cleaners available from kitchen and bathroom cleaners to floor cleaners and the best thing about them is the smell. I am not sad at all about giving up my Zoflora with these babies, the sandalwood floor cleaner is soooooo good! And the price is pretty reasonable too. If you buy 5 sachets they work out at £2 per bottle.
Washing up liquid is something that I’m struggling to replace at the moment. Ideally I would like to use a washing up bar that is 100% plastic free but all the ones I’ve found so far are far too pricey and out of our budget. This is one of the things that I dislike about eco products and that is how much more they can cost. And I’m not always sure it’s necessary. For example we were using Method washing up liquid which is plant based and is in recyclable recycled plastic but it still cost a lot even though we were only buying it when it was on offer. I then found this washing up liquid from Marks and Spencer. The bottle is made from 50% recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable. The washing up liquid itself has plant based ingredients and is only 55p a bottle. So this is what we are using for now but I’m still on the lookout for a plastic free alternative.
Next up is toilet roll. I don’t know any of the statistics about how many trees are cut down to make toilet roll but it’s a lot and the cutting down of trees is a big environmental issue. This toilet roll is from Green Cane and is made from Bamboo, they also make tissues and kitchen roll. There are a lot of eco friendly toilet roll subscription services around and a lot of them are quite pricey! I found this company when is was shared by Anna from Make Life Simpler on Instagram. We get a box of 48 (unwrapped) rolls delivered every 18 weeks. This seems to last us so much longer than what we were using before so even though it costs more per roll it works out cheaper for us per week. It costs just under £30 per box delivered so we’re spending about £1.65 per week on loo roll.
We have also signed up to a razor blade subscription service. FFS Shaving costs £9 a month for 4 blades but you can also set it up to get 4 blades every 2 months which I think I’m going to switch to because apparently I don’t shave that often 😀 . You get the handle for free with your first order and although there is still some plastic on these blades they offer a recycling service. Once you have saved up 12 blades you can send them back (you can use one of the boxes that your blades are sent to you in) and they will separate the blades from their plastic frame and both are fully recycled. They have some statistics on their website about how much plastic from disposable razors end up in the sea each year and it is so shocking!
Brushing our teeth is something that contributes to plastic waste in a big way. If you use a manual toothbrush there are a lot of companies that sell bamboo brushes but we use an electric toothbrush so I searched for an eco way to continue to use it. I found electric toothbrush heads that are compatible with most oral b electric toothbrushes that again, although plastic, can be returned to the company who then recycle them. They are available to buy on Amazon and are about the same price as your usual electric brush heads. We may go to manual bamboo ones in the future but for now when we already own our electric toothbrush it seems waste full to just get rid of it.
With Noa being one she is probably going to be in nappies for at least another year, maybe longer. I know that the best possible option for the environment are cloth nappies but I really don’t feel like I would have the time to keep on top of getting them washed and dried. So we have switched to these plastic free, biodegradable nappies from Kit and Kin. Their nappies are cheaper when you subscribe so that is what we have done. If you currently use a named brand nappy these will either be about the same cost or a little cheaper. If you are using supermarket own brand nappies (like we were) they are going to be a little more expensive. We also get biodegradable baby wipes and nappy bags with our subscription.
Ditching the coffee pods will reduce your plastic consumption considerably! You can still have amazing coffee using a home espresso machine and ground coffee. I recently tried coffee from a coffee subscription service called Batch coffee and it was hands down the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. Each box comes with two bags of coffee from different roasters so you can try different flavours each time. Unlike a lot of ground coffee, all of their packaging is plastic free and recyclable too!
Last but not least are the homemade cleaning products we have switched to. I have been making my own furniture polish and fabric freshener but I will share the recipes for them as separate posts so look out for those. Again, I purchased the same reusable glass spray bottles as I mentioned before for these. Cleaning product wise we are almost plastic free! I just need to find a reasonably priced washing up bar and an eco toilet cleaner that actually cuts through the limescale. So if you have any recommendations for those I would love to hear them. Also if you have made any sustainable swaps that have worked well for you that I haven’t mentioned I would love to hear about it too.
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