plastic detox, zero waste

12 months of reducing plastic

This year I have spent trying to reduce our plastic consumption and living a more plastic free life.  It’s not easy and lots of fails – although learning more every week.  I am super fortunate to live in a city where there are more zero waste shops opening.  Local to me is Fareshares, they are a small food co-op, Hetu, on St John’s Hill, Battersea and The Source Bulk Foods in Battersea and Chiswick to name a few.  I was delighted to read that Cook Food have started to switch their ready meals from black plastic trays to cardboard.

The easiest changes were milk, soap & loo roll, I use Milk & More for glass bottles of milk, fruit juice and occasionally yoghurt in glass jars [river cottage].  Loo roll I buy from Who Gives a Crap and soap I buy from Baileys Home as its fab soap and unpackaged.  In the bathroom I switch to glass bottles when I finished products and can find an alternative.  I’ve tried quite a few different types this year and Aesop are best for my skin so far.  Georganics are a good range of dental care products, although I have given up with the toothpaste – it is ok but just not as good as pearl drops, the mouthwash tabs I’m still using and bamboo toothbrush. I have found 100% recyclable toothbrush heads for my daughter’s Oral B electric toothbrush. The Earth conscious deodorant is good and I’ll keep using that, cardboard push up tube and available from Baldwins.  Shampoo & conditioner I refill at Battersea Source bulk foods.  We swaped from plastic razors to Edwin Jagger – British made razors and replaceable metal blades.  We also switched from paper tissues to cotton handkerchiefs, we prefer the mens plainer versions.

I’ve stopped using teabags and only buy loose plastic free tea, so mostly we drink PG Tipps, coffee I drink less often and when I do its Lavazza as its plastic free in ground  & beans.  Baldwins also supply larger bags of herbs including loose camomile flowers, perfect for a non caffeine drink. My laundry is now done with refills of Bio D – as is the washing up liquid, their laundry bleach is not plastic free; for this I use Mangle & Wringer and it comes in a paper bag.  General everyday multipurpose cleaning I use an old spray bottle 50% white vinegar & water.  It does have a scent of vinegar, but this goes and it cleans really well.  I also use white vinigar as rinse aid in the dishwasher and as a fabric conditioner [1/4 cup per load in the washing machine].  In the dishwasher I use Sainsbury’s dishwasher powder as it comes in a 1kg cardboard box.  For bin bags I use biodegradable bags and instead of cling film I use wax wraps, they work brilliantly, covering bowls, wrapping food and in the freezer.  For lunches we use Mintie stainless steel lunch box and snack pot [no spills so far] and also a food flask from Bulk Foods Battersea.

If I have time I’ll walk to a greengrocer, but that is only if I have a free morning.  I’ve a basket and bags – love our string bags as they are so light and carry loads.  My water bottle travels everywhere with me and so does my fountain pen – now I’m used to ink again I love it.  Another great stationary product I’ve wrapped to is brown paper sticky tape that is biodegradable & packaging free, found at Choosing Keeping.

plastic detox letter

I’ve written countless letters to companies asking them about their plans to reduce plastics and found this much better way to contact them, [my printer & inks are HP, they have a free recycling service for cartridges] emails have a way of being ignored.  If you’re trying or planning to reduce, best tip is to start small and with items you can change easily – that way you’ll stick to them.  It’s almost impossible to shop in our supermarkets without buying unnecessary plastics and I do hope with time and pressure from us customers we can change that – although I am getting rather fed up with the super wooly answers from the likes of Waitrose and all the other major stores.  Some brands like Jakemans, have implement changes and that is brilliant.

If you have any tips on plastic free living do get in touch!  I have compiled a map of South London with stores where its possible to find plastic free items – click here for the PDF: plastic free map. And I also have a plastic free pinterest board.


This is not a sponsored post and I have not been gifted any items to mention the companies.


Christmas Gifts to make for children

Trying to reduce plastic waste with children’s gifts is so very difficult and depending on the child’s age it can be difficult to make what they most want.  My daughter and nephews all love dressing up clothes and I love making them.  So below are just a few fun makes.

mary poppins

Mary Poppins doll & clothes

With the new Mary Poppins film due out next year this adorable PDF pattern would be a fu make.

t bear

Teddy bear

This super smart bear pattern comes with the clothes patterns.  Would be great fun to make the clothes to match its new owner as well.

Rag dolls for every occasion.  Top left is a lovely Alice doll & clothes.  Top right is a superhero boy & girl.  Bottom is Scout and her sausage dog.

Super softies.  The mouse is adorable, complete with the papier mache boat.   Velvet Elephant, and sweet bear.

Fancy dress clothes are always a winner!  Top left wings, girls cloakJedi, Knight, Sir Gawain and unicorn mask.

And finally some super hot water bottle cosies and Playhouse tent.  The kitbag bag is from Dandy star, but one could make the bag or buy a plain kitbag and add on some fabulous patches and pins.  That would make a great bag for girls or boys and also appeal to Tweens and Teens.

sewing, slow fashion

sewing gifts for men

I wanted to share a few DIY gift ideas for men, I have made a dressing gown for my brother this year [more of than in my next post].  But with @my_plastic_free_journey_uk have tried to come up with some good gifts that don’t require much or any plastic.  First up:
purl soho tie.jpgPurl Soho tie

A fun gift for a tie wearer and can be made out of any fabric, be that comic book, silk or Liberty Print.  Or you could knit a version – there are lots of patterns and the Wool Warehouse has a free pattern.

Shaving items can be very synthetic and bad for the skin or packaged in lots of plastic, so here are a few ideas:

For a pre shave oil:  Pour 100mls olive oil and 100mls jojoba oil into 200ml bottle.  Add 4–5 drops of essential oil to the oil mixture – lavender, rosewood, vanilla and frankincense are great.  Seal and shake bottle to mix ingredients.  Don’t forget to add a lovely label.

Shaving cream tutorial.  or this recipe: Place 100mls coconut oil and 100mls shea butter to a glass bowl and microwave for aprox 30 seconds. Stir and microwave an additional 30 seconds. If mixture is not completely melted, microwave an additional 10 seconds.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to mixture and a few drops of essential oil and stir.  Refrigerate until solid and then whisk for until mixture is fluffy.  Decant into a jar and add a lovely label.

Mustache Wax, here is a good tutorial.

Beard Oil: 50ml coconut oil, a few drops of argan oil, few drops of essential oils – rosemary, lemon or mandarin are great.  Pour into a jar or metal tin – Baldwins do a great range and have all the ingredients as well. Do add a lovely label.

Bags are a great choice if you have time, there’s still a few weeks to go!  Merchant & Mills have fabulous patterns and I liked the Costermonger.    The kitbag is a fab tutorial, has a real vintage look to it.  And if he takes lunch into work, what could be better than this lunch bag by Purl Bee?  If you add an insulating batting would be fab all year round.

Do hope this may have helped spark a few ideas, if you don’t have time Etsy has some fabulous products.  If you have a gadget mad man, there is a wooden iphone speaker that is brilliant – not just for men either!

Please note this is not a sponsored post, all items chosen by me.

plastic detox



This month I have finally managed to get plastic free toothpaste, mouthwash & a new type of bamboo toothbrush that is 100% biodegradable.  All found at The Source Bulk Foods in Chiswick, although you can also find the toothpaste and mouthwash on Etsy.  The charcoal toothpaste is good and a thousand times better than the first powdered charcole powder I tried, apparently not as popular as the mint and the mouthwash is great, pop a tablet in half a glass of water and hey presto – mouthwash.  Very easy to travel with.Kiehls-Logo

I was chatting to the manager of Kiehl’s in House of Fraser in Victoria and she told me that they take returns of old packaging to be recycled and very soon will be launching their products in recycled plastic.  It’s a great recycling scheme, would be brilliant if more companies did this and as Kiehl’s is owned by L’Oréal maybe something all L’Oréal brands could be doing.


As promised last month I have researched sunscreen and although I didn’t need it for my holiday, goodness on my return home the heat was such a shock.  So far I have covered up while out and about, although today did spend quite a few hours trying to track down sun protection on my local high street.  Plastic free is very hard to find on the high Street and seems to be an online only product, will keep looking!  Etsy as usual came up trumps and I found one made here in England.

HappyNaturalsEtsy has a SPF 30 – 40 and comes packaged in aluminium screw top pot. Made to order.  Raw Love is a brand from the USA, it’s a zinc oxide (non nano) broad spectrum with a SPF35.  Cocoalohasurf  all natural & waterproof facial broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen SPF 45, that comes in untinted and 2 other shades.  Shade, all natural sunscreen,  broad spectrum UVA and UVB.  Again it contains non-nano zinc oxide.  Suntribe natural sports & face sunscreen, with an SPF 30 with broad spectrum UVA/UVB.  It is water-resistant, reef safe and contains the least ingredients of any of the products I’ve found – only organic beeswax, coconut oil and non-nano zinc oxide.  Again Kiehl’s would also be an alternative, not plastic free – but you can take the bottle/tube back to Kiehl’s to recycle.

My search for a good mascara continues and other plastic free alternatives.  I have found a refilable mascara by Kjaer Weis and will do more reaserch into the refils.

This is not a sponcered post and all views are my own.

plastic detox

#plasticfree April


I was appalled to hear yesterday about Sainsbury’s adding even more plastic packaging, you can read more about it here and here.  Has no one ever told Sainsbury’s that may be they should consider giving advice on washing hands after touching raw meat instead of adding to the #plasticpollution problem?

hand washing

Did you watch the One Show last night, about #plasticpollution? I do hope that the Sainsbuy’s board and share holders were watching (as well as all the supermarkets and shops)! Ok, rant over. This month i have got into more of a routine and helped enormously with the discovery of Source Bulk Foods, Odd Box and a couple of amazing butchers, groucery shopping has become easier.  Source have risotto rice, popcorn, baking powder, organic sugar, sweets and so much more, if you’re in London it is so worth a visit.  This month I switched to their shampoo and conditioner refill, so delighted to have found it there.  Also trialed a facial cleanser bar and found it too drying for my face, a friend suggested Neals Yard  – so will head there for ideas.  Any suggestions?  I liked the Made for Life balm, although prefer a facial cream wash – Liz Earle’s cleanse and polish is my all time go to and sadly that’s in double plastic and not refillable.


Georganics on Etsy, they have toothpaste, mouthwash & natural floss as well as bamboo toothbrushes.  As soon as my toothpaste is finished will try, they also have coconut oil pulling, has anyone tried this?  Sounds intriguing.


Finally, while pottering around my favorite garden centre with my youngest nephew, we kept seeing plastic pots and decided to try growing things from seeds.  I recently bought a fabulous new magazine called The Flower Patch, in there they show how to make origami seed pots.  Fun to make and great at recycling old newspapers, my garden in super small and I don’t need loads – the loo roll and egg box ideas in the clip above are great too.

plastic detox

#plasticfree March

Thought I’d give an update on my #plasticfree challenge.  Still enjoying our OddBox weekly delivery and after a few hick-ups with Milk & More when they launched their  new website found them to be super reliable.

This month saw the launch of PG tipps compostable packaging and completely plastic free tea.  Was so delighted that they launch this so quickly and ahead of the other companies who seem to have such unrealistic long-term plans, PG are also launching plastic free teabags later this year.  If you’re not a fan of PG, or looking for loose plastic free herbal teas, head to The Source bulk foods in Chiswick.

I was visiting friends a couple of weeks ago and popped in for a quick look and went back with a shopping list, jars and bags on Saturday.  So much choice from lentils to spices, shampoo to balsamic.   Lots of herbal teas as well as regular tea, flours from regular organic strong bread flour to more unusual flours that can be hard to find.  So we now are stocked up with organic sugar that is impossible to find not wrapped in plastic, peppermint tea and lots more.  It carries a larger range of goods than Hetu and if you can get to West London is a fantastic option.  Also just across the road is a branch of Borough Wines with 6 wines on tap and next door to the source was a wonderful natural and organic butcher.  Chiswick is so lucky!  Finally I managed to find pine resin at Baldwins and decided to experiment.

First I tried the recipe i saw most online, using the same weight of wax to resin with a few drops of jojoba oil.  The equal parts was super sticky and not all that pleasant to touch.  After a few tries I melted beeswax with half the weight of resin and then painted my prewashed fabric using a silicon brush.  I found this was so much easier and they work brilliantly, they are stickier than just beeswax and more like ‘cling film’.  Will have another play and use pinking shears to give the fabric a pretty look rather than overlocking I used for mine and will give as gifts.  Enjoyed the 2 YouTube videos below with one how to make wraps and another on how to make sandwich pouches:

this is not a sponsored post, all views are my own.