5 plastic free bathroom swaps

Zero Waste week is currently in full swing but once it’s over how do we keep up the momentum?

We all know that plastic is bad for the environment but surely everything comes in plastic bottles/jars now?

It can be hard to make changes to our routine and sometimes we just don’t know where too start. Which is why I’ve compiled a list of 5 pretty easy beauty/bathroom swaps for you to try.

Number 1 – Bamboo toothbrushes

We buy ours from our local zero waste shop but if you are not as lucky as we are to have one close by, you can buy them on the internet. The Ethical Superstore sell them, as do F.E.T.E. although they are a bit more expensive. If buying online isn’t your thing, Holland & Barrett sell them too.

Number 2 – Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

This particular shampoo bar comes from Lush. It comes packaged in a paper bag and you can buy a small tin to keep it in. I also use a shampoo bar I buy in my local Zerowaste shop. That one is made by local maker Folk Soap.

Number 3 – Toilet Roll

I am not brave enough to swap over to *ahem* family cloth and will be sticking to toilet paper for the foreseeable future. The main issue with toilet paper for me is the fact it comes wrapped in plastic. Who gives a Crap toilet paper comes wrapped in paper and even has some interesting facts printed on some of its wrapper to provide “reading material”. My two thought this was the best bit!!

Number 4 – Shaving cream

For those that shave, why not swap the shaving cream in a can, for solid shaving cream like your grandfather used?

The one above was gifted to hubby as a Christmas present by a family member and was bought in one of the supermarkets. If you want to buy something in a tub that can be recycled then try this Lush shaving cream. You even get rewarded when you take back 5 empty full sized tubs. Win win.

Number 5 – Soap

Soap is an easy swap. We all had soap bars before liquid soap became the “norm”. Soap bars are easily bought and are probably the easiest swap on this list.

How many of these can you swap the next time you need to replace the products? Is there anything else you would add to this list?

**Disclaimer** I bought each of these products (with the exception of the shaving cream which was a Christmas present for Hubby) I have listed everything here because I use them (or have used them) personally.

Why go Zero Waste?

Well first off I am going to add a small disclaimer to this post. I, myself, am not totally zero waste. I am quite far from it if I am honest. But I try. And in reality every small step I take to reduce my waste is a step closer to reducing all waste.

Day 1 of Zero Waste Week was Monday and the question that was posed was “Why?” Why are you reducing your plastic? I would love to hear your reasons. Please leave comments or link to your own blog post explaining your reasons. I would love to read them.

What about me? Why do I spend time trying to reduce my plastic?

My reasons are quite simple really. In this post Rae lists 10 reasons for reducing plastic, but I only have 2. My kids!

Like any mother I want the best for my kids. I want them to grow up in a world that can still take their breath away (for all the right reasons). One that is inhabited by many many species of animals and fish.

I want them to look in the sea and see fish not plastic.

by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish

I want them to look to the horizon and see mountains, not landfills.

oil takes millions of years to form

I know that my decisions today can help shape their future tomorrow. Why wouldn’t I try my best?

Click here for Zero Waste Week

Zero Waste Shop

As you know we have been reducing our plastic use for a number of years now. Sustainability  is definitely getting more popular due to the exposure from documentaries like Blue Planet etc and with more people getting on board, the more companies that are trying to keep with popular opinion.

In our little town we have a small catering shop that has slowly been stocking plastic free items. Over the summer, the owner Claire has taken a leap of faith and on Tuesday she reopened as a Zero Waste Shop. I was lucky enough to be invited to the relaunch and I was very impressed by both the shop and the turn out.

Claire stocks loose pasta, rice, lentils, oats and spices to name a few.

There is also has a refill station for items such as washing up liquid, disinfectant and sanitiser.

I bought some soap nuts to try, some chickpeas and some fresh eggs laid by Claire’s very own chickens.

All you need to do is bring your own container, weigh it on the scale, take note of the weight of your container and then fill it with the items you’d like to buy.

I’d really like to see this shop be a success as I do believe that this is the way of the future. If we can use less plastic while shopping then the better it is for the planet.

Have you got a Zero Waste Shop near you?

What’s your Carbon footprint?

I don’t know about you but I seem to be in various “groups” on facebook. There’s a crafting one, a reduce plastic one and a sustainable living one to name but a few. I enjoy these groups and they are mostly easy going places where I can pick up different tips.

Last week however, someone posted this link in one the groups. A link to a calculator to work out your carbon footprint. The original poster lived in Australia and flew home to Britain a few times a year so as expected her carbon footprint was pretty high.

I was excited to try out the link to see what my footprint was. We are a family of 4, a guinea pig and a tortoise and we try to live as sustainably as possible. So I took the quiz and got the results….

I’ve got to be honest I was a bit shocked. I didn’t think it would be so high!

The quiz is split into 4 sections and the results give you a breakdown of each section:

From the results above, it seems that we fall down on the travel section. We have been abroad twice this year already but only once by plane, we have two cars, Hubby commutes almost an hour each way 5 days a week, I have a medium sized family car which I use to ferry the kids about to their various activities and to carry my stuff from school to school when needed for my job.  We do walk to school as often as we can, even in winter, but sometimes it is necessary for me to drive the kids the mile to school.

It also gave a breakdown of our carbon emissions. Apparently we are just lower than the UK average but much, much higher than the world average.

I realise that this isn’t an accurate figure as it uses guesstimates based on your answers to a quiz that doesn’t really cover all the bases. It is however, a good starting point.

Does anyone know of a better calculator?  Have you tried this one? Please let me know

Is there plastic in your tea?

Almost 4 years ago I wrote this blog post about teabags containing plastic. I was absolutely horrified to realise that I had been ingesting plastic (albeit tiny amounts) but it did explain why I kept finding the bags in the compost bin.

We made the switch to loose leaf tea and we’ve used that ever since. However, that’s not really the end of the story, as the most convenient form of loose leaf tea (supermarket rather than trekking into Cardiff) still comes wrapped in plastic *sigh*.

So it was great to read that PG Tips are switching to plastic free, fully biodegradable tea bags  (article here). The Co-op are reportedly following suit with their Fairtrade tea going plastic free by the end of the year.

Hopefully in their rush to remove the plastic from their teabags, they won’t overlook their packaging.

Still, it’s all a step in the right direction.

 

Bamboo toothbrushes

Continuing with our quest to have a plastic free bathroom, the kids and I have changed over to bamboo toothbrushes.

I was slightly apprehensive as I’ve read some negative reviews where the bristles fall out after a few uses.

I had my mind changed by the lovely Claire who owns Plant2Plate in Caerphilly town centre. A caterer by trade she has recently branched out into environmentally friendly and plastic free products.

I first became aware of Claire and her lovely shop through Facebook and decided to go and check it out. She had some lovely products and says that she doesn’t stock anything that she doesn’t use herself. We talked about the toothbrushes and she showed me what she had.

I decided to pay a bit extra and skip the economy version as I was still unsure over the quality of the bristles. This brush cost me £2.50 which is more than I usually pay as I normally pick the cheapest one available. The kids also wanted one each (the children’s version was slightly cheaper) so I bought one each for the three of us.

Unfortunately I seemed to forget about hubby so I’ll have to go back and get him one next time I’m in town.

We’ve used them now for over a week and the bristles are holding fine. They are softer than the normal toothbrushes I buy and the handles are thinner so it took D a bit of getting used to.

Both Little Lady and D seem to like them. There’s a lot less fuss when I ask them to go brush their teeth now and their teeth do seem to be getting a better brush than usual too. Let’s hope that keeps up.

As an added bonus the packaging is recyclable too.

Have you tried a bamboo toothbrush? What was your experience?

Bath Bomb Success

I recently wrote about our attempt to make bath bombs and how the first attempt had gone awry due to an issue with the recipe. We had to have another as the kids were desperate to have homemade bath bombs in their bath.

A quick search of the internet and I found a recipe that worked on The Soap Kitchen. They suggest

300g Bicarbonate of Soda

100g Citric Acid

10ml of fragrance (we used less than this)

We also added a 6yr old’s handful and a half of dried rose petals.

When mixed they gave a much better texture and held together better. I had bought small round moulds and this mixture gave us 6 balls.

They’ve been used in the bath and the verdict is mostly positive. The main negative came from me and that was that there were waaaaay too many rose petals left in the bath once they got out lol! If you have a 6yr old to use as a measuring tool, maybe suggest only 1 handful 😉

If you use this recipe please let me know how you find it. I’d love to have your views too.

Our Plastic Free Bathroom

In my last post I told you about our bath bomb experience. The kids thought it was great fun and can’t wait to do it again.

The point of making our own was to cut down on the plastic wrapped versions you can buy in the shops.

It didn’t quite work out very plastic free though as the ingredients came wrapped in so much plastic it was unbelievable!

Each individual item was in a plastic bag, two of which was in another plastic bag.

One of the items, the honey powder, had a plastic tub option instead of a plastic bag so I chose that thinking that at least the tub could be reused. But the tub came wrapped in so much cling film it was unreal!

I was pretty disappointed to be honest and will be looking for another source for the ingredients.

Have you ever done anything trying to minimise plastic use that ended up a complete fail?

Bath Bomb making

As part of a drive here to get our bathroom completely plastic free this year, I bought some bath bomb making ingredients.

I have an awesome friend who used to run workshops for children, so my two have had plenty of experience making bath bombs before.

I, however, don’t! But how hard can it be? Right? If kids can do it, then I certainly can! Pfft!

So we gathered the ingredients and pulled up the recipe given on the website.

We measured and weighed all the ingredients

Then emptied them into a mixing bowl.

We added dried rose petals and some honey powder.

Now the recipe called for fragrance oil but said that it could be substituted for water which we did as we didn’t have any fragrance oil. And that’s where it all went wrong. It was too much water and it started to fizz and expand out of the moulds.

A whole batch ruined and had to be thrown away!

We re made them as the kids were very disappointed but used a lot less water than was suggested, and this time we had lovely round bath bombs ready to use.

One plastic wrapped item we no longer need to buy. Woohoo!

Do you use plastic free alternatives in the bathroom? Please let me know in the comments if you do.

EDITED If you’d like to see the recipe we used to make the second lot of bath bombs please see here

Reusable Cups

In my last post I told you about our trip to Berlin.

As a family we do try to be as environmentally friendly as we can. We have cut down on a lot of our plastic use over the past few years and are conscious of where we can improve.

Knowing we had a big train journey ahead of us we packed sandwiches, home made snacks and drinks. But I have to admit I did succumb to a cuppa on the last ICE train and when hubby went to buy it he treated us to a bar of chocolate each too.

Neither the drink nor the chocolate was really needed but I wanted a hot drink and the cafe on board was only too accessible.

The drink came in the usual one use takeaway cup with a plastic lid. I felt guilty that I hadn’t brought my own cup to put the tea in.

Since we’ve been home I have been researching collapsing reusable cups to carry in my handbag in case I fancy a cup of tea while out and about again. Something like this

Or something like this maybe….

We did have one of these and I lost it oops! Please don’t tell Hubby!

But there is so much choice. Does the plastic in a reusable cup outweigh the plastic in a single use cup? Is it small enough to fit in my handbag so that it can go everywhere with me? I don’t want to end up buying something that doesn’t fit the purpose.

I’d love to know if you have any recommendations before I buy anything.

Do you use a portable reusable cup already?