How has our plastic free journey developed over the years?
My family and I took part in our first Plastic Free July challenge in 2017.
You can see how we got on with our first one in this blog post from August 2017
Some things have changed and some haven't! Here's a round up of the latest challenges and differences.
- Out and about
- Beauty and personal care
- Home cleaning
Out and about
We were all about refusing the straw in 2017, well it seems to have had an effect. Plastic straws (along with stirrers and cotton buds) were banned in the UK in October 2020. No need to keep saying no thank you now!
Our water bottles and reusable snack/lunch containers are all still being well used and going strong. Proof indeed that if you buy well you can make it last, my boys are now late teens and the bottles and containers have seen them through school, camping, D of E expeditions, holidays and more!!
One addition to my kit has been a couple of collapsible coffee cups. For convenience, you cant beat them. They fold down to fit in a small bag or pocket so you can keep them with you and have a coffee on the go without using a single use cup. Half a million single use cups are thrown away every single day in the UK alone - don't buy into the disposable culture when you can save money every time you pick up a cuppa!
In 2017 we were concentrating on food, and drinks whereas the last few years have seen an explosion of plastic free cleaning and beauty products becoming more readily available.
Beauty and personal care
Switching to refillable for shampoo, conditioner and shower gel was the first step for us. Then, after they ran out (and it took a few years!) we switched to solid bars. We fell in love with Shower Blocks and nothing will swap us back to a bottle of shower gel! I estimate that we are saving more than 20 single use plastic bottles a year between three of us, a great step forward.
We haven't used disposable wipes for a long time, but adding reusable organic cotton facial pads and wipes added a touch of luxury to our bathroom and they reduce the amount of products that we use, so win- win!
We have also all swapped to bamboo toothbrushes this last year. As well as being plastic free, they seem to last much longer and give a better clean, so we are very happy with them.
Next steps for us now in the bathroom is to switch from toothpaste to plastic free tooth tabs, swapping a few things at a time reduces the overwhelm aspect for you and your family, it's easier to adapt slowly! That will be another 12 (un-recyclable) plastic tubes prevented.
Next up - cleaning! One of my favourite topics! What a revelation we've had in the last couple of years. We were paying for 3 things when we bought a bottle of cleaning product:
1- A new plastic bottle
2- 500/750 ml of water
3 - The cleaning solution
Hmmm, why were we doing this? Because we always had, I guess!
Now we buy one thing:
And reuse an old spray bottle, topped up with water from the tap.
Seems madness now.
I have also switched to using more natural cleaning solutions, for instance scrubbing my stainless steel sink with bicarbonate of soda, and descaling my kettle with citric acid. These zero waste, remedies are healthier for you and the -planet, whilst costing next to nothing.
For more great cleaning remedies have a look at our journal post form June all about home cleaning.
I have been building up my toolkit of plastic free cloths, scrubs and brushes as my old ones ran out, and I have to admit they work just as well, if not better and they look so much more beautiful by the sink. Plus they are easily disposable at the end of their life, which means kindling and composting at home.
It all seems so simple now, but it has been a journey of small steps over quite a few years. If you are thinking about making any changes yourself but don't know where to start, have a look at our Green Guide, website, Instagram and Facebook.
Send us a message or comment below and we will be very happy to help guide you on your own journey to reducing plastic and waste.