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Top 30 eco-friendly alternatives to live a more sustainable life
Plastic is everywhere. It's almost impossible to visit the supermarket without coming back with something wrapped in plastic. We still have a long way to go until plastic-free products are readily available on the high street, which is super scary! I mean, did you know that 50% of all plastic that's produced is single use? It literally gets used one time and then gets chucked into the bin.
We use ecobricks for the bits of plastic that appear in our lives (read our blog on ecobricks here), but, in reality, plastic just needs to be cut from manufacturing for it to stop making the horrible impact on our plane that it currently is.
For now, we've put together our favourite eco-friendly and sustainable products that will help you reduce the amount of single-use plastic in your life.
Say goodbye to sellotape and hello to paper tape. It does the exact same thing. It's better because you just tear it off and don't need scissors or teeth. It's also made from recycled paper. We use it on every single parcel that we send out.
Think of all the razors you've used over your lifetime. People think plastic-free razors are scary. They really aren't. Super easy to use, you only have to change the blade - I change mine once a month. So there's a cost at the start... but then you never have to buy another razor, so it's super cheap and you're saving sooo much plastic! This is one of those swaps that isn't taking away convenience or adding in another step. It's simple.
This soap is designed to lather up and create a foam that makes shaving really easy. It's important to keep it dry in between uses, but if you do, it can last you months and months. It comes in paper and once you're finished you'll have nothing left, no waste at all. And it's all natural so no nasty chemicals down the drain or on your skin.
Another straight swap. We're not quite at the stage yet where there's a toothbrush on the market that is completely natural but we're pretty close. Just make sure you pull the bristles out before you chuck it into your compost bin or alternatively, I use my toothbrushes for cleaning the bits in the house that are difficult to reach. They last 3 months, just like a plastic toothbrush, and they do the exact same job. Only plastic-free of course.
Switching to a shampoo bar is a slightly more tricky swap for a lot of people. Some people I know have gone through a 'transition' phase that can last a couple of weeks where your hair feels greasy, others don't go through it at all. There can also be a bit of trial and error until you find the shampoo bar that works for you. My favourite is the Acai Berry shampoo by Funky Soap Shop. Stick with it, it's well worth it once you've found your shampoo bar.
Who needs shower gel when you can just use a bar of soap. People who think they 'need' shower gel have fallen for a brilliant marketing campaign or two! Make sure you keep the bar dry in between uses, but other than that it really doesn't get any easier. No need to unscrew or pop a lid, it's right there, just pick it up and get washing!
Plastic-free deodorant that comes in either a cardboard tube or an aluminium tin is genius. Completely natural, with ingredients that are kind to your skin. What more do you want or need. We have a huge selection of natural deodorants, by a number of different brands in quite a few different scents. The hardest part is picking which you want!
Bamboo Cotton Buds
Another easy swap where you won't even notice the difference other than to your general waste bin are bamboo cotton buds. Completely plastic-free and decomposable you can pop these cotton buds straight into your compost bin or your garden waste. Easy.
So you don't need to buy cling film anymore guys. Beeswax wraps are made from organic cotton and beeswax. They're fairly easy to make yourself if you're into crafting, if not you can get yours by clicking the link below. The amazing thing about these is that they mould around tins, bowls, cups, sandwiches just by reacting to the warmth of your hand. It's incredible. They'll last you for a while too. Once they do come to the end of their life, you just put them into your compost bin as they are a natural product.
Do you even know what you're putting on your skin? I used to look at labels and not even know what half of the chemicals were. By using a natural moisturiser you know exactly what you're rubbing into your skin. Not only is it a natural product, but it also comes in a little tin that can be reused and repurposed.
Reusable Coffee Cup
How many times a week do you get coffee? Or tea, these cups aren't limited to coffee! Most coffee shops will actually discount your brew if you bring your own reuseable cup. And there isn't any sigma attached to it either, it's cool to take your own cup these days.
Gone are the days of plastic water bottles (hopefully) - or at least from my bag. I take my reusable water bottle with me everywhere. If you run out of water, you can pop into shop shops, restaurant and cafes and ask them to top it up for you. We have a great selection in stock so there really isn't any excuse.
Washing Up Soap Bar
Washing dishes might not be fun but it's a reality for most of us. Washing up liquid from the supermarket comes in a single-use plastic bottle and although usually lasts a while, it does eventually end up in your recycling bin. This is where a washing-up soap bar comes into it. It doesn't contain any nasty chemicals, so is okay to go down the sink, it cleans your dishes well, gets rid of grime and grease and also lasts ages!
Facial rounds replace wet wipes. You pop a bit of moisturiser on your face or even just a bit of hot water and then use the organic cotton round to remove your make-up. Once you've done it, you just put the facial round in the wash and reuse. I've had mine for well over a year and they're still going strong!
Toothpaste in a glass jar, isn't that brilliant. It comes with a little bamboo spatula so you can scoop it out and onto your bamboo toothbrush. It tastes a little different, I remember when I first tried it and I immediately thought it was a bit weird. But then what is normal - the stuff I've been buying from a supermarket for years? I think not! Buy yourself a jar, and stick with it. You get used to it and it's well worth it. We stock it in a number of different flavours too.
Mouthwash tablets are actually my favourite plastic-free swap because it's so obvious. I don't actually understand why this isn't a standard for everyone. Is it because society have gotten so lazy that we need a company to pre-make mouthwash for us? All you do with these is get yourself a glass, fill it with a tiny bit of water, pop it your mouthwash tablet and let it dissolve whilst you get on with brushing your teeth and then use it as normal.
So a lot of us will have bit and pieces of fast-fashion in our wardrobes. What that basically means is that some of our clothing will be made partly from polyester, nylon, acrylic or other synthetic fibers. These fibers escape from our clothing in the form of microplastics and go out the back of our washing machines, eventually ending up in the ocean. The guppyfriend prevents this from happening, catching the microfibers meaning that you can dispose of them properly instead of them ending up inside marine life.
A lot of the supermarkets are now giving you the option to purchase your fruit and veg individually and not wrapped in plastic. However, they don't always provide a paper bag to put them into and if it's oranges, a paper bag won't help you. What you need are produce bags. They're super light so they won't affect the scales when you're weighing your items and they come in different sizes, perfect for a bunch of different produce.
Taking your own food with you when you're going out or even to work can save you a bunch of money. Wrapping sandwiches in beeswax wraps can work well, but salad or pasta, those sorts of things need a lunch box. These stainless steel lunch boxes come with extra little containers so you can separate everything. These are another thing that come with me everywhere. I've even been known to take my own popcorn to the cinema!
We sell a number of different sponges made from loofah which is part of the cucumber family. Once wet, the loofah sponge expands and softens and is an ideal natural alternative. We use them for washing up, cleaning around the house and also as a bath-time sponge.
I read this morning that Trump has been manufacturing plastic straws to help with his next presidential campaign. Do you ever get the impression that we're going backwards? A lot of people aren't getting on with the paper straw alternative that a lot of bars and restaurants have. Do you even need a straw? If you do, get yourself a bamboo or stainless steel one, keep it in your bag and you'll be just fine.
The OrganiCup is something that will change your month. Plastic-free periods are not only a hell of a lot cheaper than tampons, a menstrual cup also mean you don't need to carry any spare. Once it's in, it's in and you empty it every 4-8 hours depending on how heavy you are. You can't feel it once it's there, it's not uncomfortable, and it'll last you around 10 years. Honestly, it took me a couple of cycles to get used to the menstrual cup, but now there's no going back.
Organic Cotton Tampons
If you don't fancy switching to the OrganiCup or aren't quite ready, these are a great environmentally-friendly alternative. The tampon industry is terrifying and the waste it causes is awful! But there's nothing most women can do about it, these organic cotton tampons are the kinder alternative for your body and the environment.
Natural Sun Cream
Let's not get into the whole debate on suncream and what it does to the oceans and corals. All you need to know, is that this natural sun cream works just as well and doesn't have any of the nasties! Look after your skin the natural way and protect yourself from too many sun rays. Natural sun cream is always one of the first things in my bag on a sunny day.
Organic Soap Nuts
I love using organic soap nuts for my washing. They are sustainably sourced and have been used to wash clothing for hundreds of years. They work best at hotter temperatures or if you prefer to do cooler washes, just 'activate' the nuts in a little bit of hot water before chucking them in. A handful goes a long, long way so these little beauties will last you ages and when you're done, you can just pop the soap nuts on your compost heap.
Did you know that every plaster you've used in your life probably still exists somewhere? I know I've used a fair few over the years. Now, you don't need to worry as Patch have designed a biodegradable plaster that disappears in 6 weeks. Isn't that brilliant! They come in a few different designs, including a kiddie one which is super cute.
Who carries a fork around in their bag with them? No one. Who carries a spork? Hopefully everyone! No more disposable plastic cutlery for you! You can eat your homemade salad, or lunch time pasta without having to worry. They are made from sustainable bamboo, are easy-care and even come in a little travel pouch made from cork.
Natural Lip Balm
Looking after your pout, keeping those lips glowing, healthy and moist (ah yes I've just typed that word!) is super important to most people. Now, let's do that but with lip balm that is natural, comes plastic-free and will last you a while.
I used to hate buying loo roll at the supermarket. Firstly, I'd often forget I needed to get some, then I'd have to carry it as it didn't fit into a bag, and then I'd unwrap the plastic from around it and put it in the bin. That doesn't happen anymore! I used Who Gives A Crap as they post it straight to me. We've put together a little twin-pack for those people who aren't quite sure if they want to commit to such a huge box of toilet paper straight away.
Natural Dental Floss
Dental Floss lasts ages right? And as the stuff you buy in the supermarket is made of plastic and also comes in plastic. The whole concept is a bit of a nightmare, other than that you get clean teeth of course. This natural dental floss also lasts ages, but it biodegrades and works just like the plastic stuff so you won't even notice the difference.
Is there anything we've missed? What's your favourite plastic-free alternative?