It's that time of year where we reflect on the previous year (or even decade!) and look forward and think about what resolutions or goals we want to achieve in 2020. This time last year I set myself the goal of becoming more plastic free and reducing, ideally eliminating, plastic at home, particularly single use plastic. This is now the first 'NYE Resolution' I have actually kept for a whole year! So I thought I would share some of the swaps you can make and some of the hints and tips I have learnt over 2019.
The bathroom gives us a plethora of plastic covered products that can easily be swapped. Here are some of the products that you can make plastic free but do also think about other nasties that can be in products that are getting washed straight down the drain and end up in our waters. Making changes with our bathroom products give us the opportunity to do more than just be plastic free.
* Toothbrushes and toothpastes - bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative to plastic ones and either toothbrush tabs or pastes can replace the traditional plastic toothpaste tubes.
* Soaps - For both body, hair and hands, bar soaps can replace so many products including shampoo, conditioners, body washes and liquid hand soaps. There is a huge range out there depending on your particular needs.
* Razors - Safety razors long term not only save on plastics but also are cost effective after the initial outlay. Grab yourself a shaving bar too and your saving plastic on both counts.
* Toilet rolls - There is often a stigma when it comes to recycled toilet roll paper and that it wont be comparable in softness to traditional types. Things have come a long way and companies like Who Gives a Crap not only provide great quality and sized rolls but also donate to good causes.
The kitchen also gives us plenty of opportunity for swaps
* Bees wax wraps are a great way to replace cling film and help keep food fresh. Easily reusable and can look a darn sight prettier than ugly plastic wrap!
* When it comes to washing the pots and pans, you could try replacing the washing up liquid with a washing up block (think soap bar from dishes). You can also swap what you are using to scrub with, there are various scrubbing alternatives such as bamboo brushes, scrubbing pads made from coconut fibre and also from recycled coffee bags... there are lots of choices to fit your budget.
* Cleaning sprays can also be made plastic free by either making your own and using glass bottles, or refilling your current plastic ones with soluble sachets of cleaning products - check out Iron & Velvet's range of these.
Of course making plastic free swaps are not limited to just the bathroom and kitchen, they are just two of the easiest areas to make significant swaps and switch from several items to less. Here are some other items found in the house that you could go plastic free with -
* Beauty products - this list is forever growing and deems its own blog post (watch this space) but for now think about things like swapping to bamboo cotton swaps, reusable material make up pads to plastic packaged and chemical free deodorants.
* When doing the laundry, nowadays we can end up using one plastic bottle for detergent, one for conditioner, one for some sort of 'perfume pearls' and possibly one for a stain remover. All in all using quite a few! Think of switching to Laundry Eggs or soap nuts to really cut this amount down and be putting less chemicals into our waters. Don't forget those clothes pegs, if you currently have plastic ones, keep using them but when it comes to replacing them think about sustainable wooden pegs.
* First Aid - you can change your plasters to plastic free ones and think about getting balms and rubs in metal tins rather than plastic tubes.
* On the go - of course as you are about to leave the house, grab your reusable coffee cup and/or water bottle to cut down the waste and plastic bottles when you are out and about - and to save money!
We hope these ideas give you some inspiration of things you can replace your current household items with. The idea isn't to throw out everything plastic you currently own, but to replace these items with more sustainable options as and when needed. Don't forget up-cycling as well, not all items will need to be replaced with new options, even if more sustainable. We hope you all have a happy and eco friendly 2020!