Are you looking for ways to reduce waste? And single use plastic? Then read on. I hope my experience of making changes might help. If you find the information useful please let me know and feel free to share – you can find sharing links at the end of the post.
Recently someone to the Journey to Zero Waste UK Facebook group asked about ways to avoid plastic. I’ve been trying to reduce waste and our use of single use plastics for a while now and when I started reeling off a list of changes I was amazed at how long the list got! Some of these are things we have always done, or done for a long time, but many are more recent changes, made since I’ve been part of the online zero waste community. So I thought it might be useful to share our list. There are of course many other changes you can make, and not all of these may be applicable, but these are some of the things that work for us.
1) Ditch the Disposables:
- Cloth nappies – even if you only use them part time it’s worth it. There are lots of preloved nappy groups on Facebook so you don’t need to spend big and can try different types.
- Cloth baby wipes – again, even if you mainly only use them at home as we did it still saves loads of waste. Wet as needed and wash with the nappies. We bought some from ebay but if you have fabric to repurpose, so much the better.
- Cloth hankies – buy vintage or make your own from old clothing. No need to sew – you can cut up old jersey T shirts and they won’t fray.
- Washable cloths for cleaning (many of ours are the baby wipes/nappies we no longer need for that)
- Flannel for face washing.
- Instead of cling film, put things in a reusable container or a plate over a bowl. You can just put the cut side of half an onion etc face down on a plate.
- Tea towels and dishcloths or going to sink to wash hands/face rather than kitchen towel.
- Washable menstrual products – either a cup or washable pads as you prefer.
- Dishcloth, wooden brush or sliced loofah for washing up . A metal scourer is great for stubborn things.
- Reusable baking sheet liner rather than greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
My bathroom essentials
- Bar soap instead of liquid hand soap or shower gel.
- Rhassoul clay and diluted vinegar in place of shampoo – you can even make your own vinegar – more in this post: Shampoo bars are not the only option! Hard water friendly zero waste / low waste hair wash options.
- Alternatively just use water for hair washing ( doesn’t work for me but seems to work fine for the rest of the family).
- If neither of these appeal look out for a local refill option – I now have the option of refilling an old shampoo bottle with locally made Green Goddess shampoo at local refill shop Refilled Chichester.
- Home made deodorant: Easy coconut oil deodorant recipe
- Flannel and water.
- Cloth loo wipes (part time – just for wee here). Mine are repurposed baby wipes.
- Bamboo toothbrush.
- Denttabs with fluoride – I buy mine from Anything but Plastic but they are available from several online shops or maybe from your local refill shop.
- Ecoleaf toilet roll made from UK post consumer waste. In a compostable potato starch wrap.
- Safety razor – bar soap can double up as shaving cream.
- Oil in a glass jar for moisturising when needed (currently using a blend of oils bouth in a glass bottle in TK Maxx).
3) Food shopping and baking
- Loose fruit and veg – generally from the local market. I take my own bags and a 4 wheeled Rolser shopping trolley which makes it easier to get it all home on foot. If I can’t get to the market I do my best to choose loose produce in the supermarket.
- Dry goods and refills from local zero waste shop.
- Meat from local butchers – happy to put it straight into our own containers. Waitrose will also do this for meat and fish.
- PG Tips loose tea in a card box.
- Percol ground coffee in a home compostable bag (carbon neutral too).
- Look for less or easy to recycle packaging.
- Milk delivered in returnable glass bottles.
- Make our own bread and pizza etc. I’ve been using a bread machine to make all our bread for 3 or 4 years now but have only recently got into baking sourdough – even less waste as no yeast is required. You can read more about making sourdough here: Simple sourdough bread – by a novice
- Make yoghurt (occasionally! ).
- Make plant milks. I tend to prefer almond milk now but I previously shared a recipe for hemp milk: How to make hemp milk that doesn’t split
- Soda stream for fizzy drinks.
- 5kg bags of rice from the world food section of the supermarket– less plastic and cheaper.
- Save veg peelings and trimmings to make vegetable stock.
Refills available at Refilled Chichester
- Refills of washing up liquid and laundry liquid.
- Ecozone eco balls.
- Soap nuts.
- Laundry powder in a card box.
- Dishwasher powder in a card box.
- Dishwasher salt in a card box.
- Vinegar. I mix vinegar 50/50 with water in a spray bottle for general cleaning or dab a bit on neat to wipe down food prep. surfaces immediately before using – e.g. when kneading dough.
- Bicarbonate of soda.
- Citric Acid – either mix to a paste with a little water as a cream cleaner, or dissolve 2 tbsp in 500ml of hot water and coole before transferring to a spray bottle for general cleaning as an alternative to vinegar
- Borax Substitute.
5) On the go
- Coffee cup.
- Water bottle.
- Stainless steel straws.
6) Other things
- Compost all food waste.
- Grow a few things.
- Forage a few things.
- Buy things we need second hand first – I’ve bought most of my clothes that way for years but now we also look for other things preowned too. Our oak bed frame has to be one of the best finds when we moved house. It perfectly matches the bedside tables we had already.
- Repair what we can.
- Reuse – e.g. jars and tubs from food are saved to reuse for taking to refill shop, making jam, storing and freezing leftovers etc.
- Rehome things we no longer need – via Facebook groups, ebay, charity shops etc.
- Recycle as much as we can.
I’d love to hear about your favourite changes that have helped you reduce waste. Please let me know by commenting below and sharing.
Remember you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @busygreenmum
I’m sharing this as part of the Going Green linky for Plastic Free July over at A Green and Rosie life so do check out the other posts there too. https://eco-gites.blogspot.com/2019/07/going-green-29-july-2019.html?m=1