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.
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.