In case your on the lookout for methods to ditch the single-use plastic, and search for concepts to decrease your plastic footprint, this checklist is for you. As Plastic Free July rolls round for an additional yr, you could be questioning the place in your life you may make adjustments (particularly when you’re restricted by Covid-19 restrictions nonetheless in place).
Excellent news – there are swaps and substitutions to be made in every single place!
Earlier than we start – one thing vital to know. We are able to’t store our solution to a extra sustainable way of life. None of us want all of the reusables and plastic-free options that exist on this planet.
Please don’t really feel like this can be a checklist of belongings you ‘ought to’ have, that it’s essential to exit and purchase. Not the whole lot on this checklist goes to fit your wants, and shopping for stuff you by no means use is the most important waste of all. Wherever you may make do with what you will have, or repurpose one thing, it’s the most effective consequence.
An merchandise bought thoughtfully and used usually can change a lifetime of single-use plastic, and could be definitely worth the funding.
An merchandise that sits at the back of the cabinet earlier than heading off to landfill shouldn’t be.
Be sincere with your self about you actually want. Reasonably than a procuring checklist, see it as a listing of concepts. And don’t neglect to test for second-hand choices first!
This submit incorporates some affiliate hyperlinks. I don’t submit hyperlinks to Amazon when making suggestions, ever.
Glass jars: my favorite are those I fish out of the recycling bin, or rescue from my native Purchase Nothing group. They’re nice for each shopping for and storing groceries, transporting snacks and protecting leftovers.
Storage containers: there are such a lot of choices for these, and it’s essential to contemplate what you’ll use them for. Many ‘bamboo’ containers use melamine as a binder, and aren’t recyclable, so I don’t advocate these. I discover clear (glass) containers are helpful for storing leftovers, and like glass that’s oven-safe – like Pyrex – so my containers are multi-purpose.
I discover chrome steel extra helpful for transporting meals. Some don’t have silicone seals which means they aren’t leakproof, so contemplate if that is vital to you earlier than making a purchase order.
Just a few choices:
Seed & Sprout – make glass containers with bamboo lids that look lovely (too unhealthy I have already got all of the containers I would like). Australian model.
Cheeki – chrome steel lunchboxes with no plastic elements. Australian model.
Lunchbots – make a spread of chrome steel lunchboxes (some with plastic lids) together with bento containers and a kid-friendly vary. US model (web site is for US orders solely); they’re stocked at Biome (AU) and Eqo Living (UK)
A Slice of Green – UK model with a very good vary of own-brand reusable chrome steel containers.
Reusable produce baggage: from fabric to netting to mesh, there are many totally different choices. There are lots constituted of upcycled material – test Etsy for an upcycler making them close to you. If you happen to’d just like the mesh variations, I’ve and advocate Onya produce bags – they may final a lifetime (mine are eight years previous and nonetheless going sturdy).
I’ve additionally seen individuals use laundry baggage, so if you have already got just a few of those, they might be an choice!
Bread baggage: a fabric bag works positive, as does an previous (clear) pillowcase. If you’d like a purpose-made one, the reusable bread bags by Onya get nice opinions.
The entire objects listed above are good for meals storage in addition to meals procuring. Listed here are another concepts for ensuring the issues that you just purchase maintain recent for so long as attainable when you get them residence.
Silicone storage baggage: take up a lot much less area than inflexible containers, and the most effective ones are dishwasher-, oven-, microwave- and leakproof. There are many choices with numerous worth factors, however that is undoubtedly a case of getting what you pay for. If you happen to can afford it, I’d advocate the Stasher bags.
If you happen to’re a finances choice, learn the opinions earlier than buying.
Cloth (cotton) storage: Vegetables and fruit saved free (with out plastic and never in containers) lose moisture shortly and wild/shrivel. The Swag are baggage made from layers of unbleached cotton which can be for storing fruit and greens. The luggage are dampened down and maintain produce recent for as much as two weeks.
A low finances choice is to wrap our produce in a moist tea towel.
Silicone lids: two choices are inflexible silicone lids (the Charles Viancin range can be found in lots of kitchen shops, usually with flower or fruit shapes).
There are additionally versatile stretchy silicone lids (like these EcoFlexiLids).
Alternatively, put your leftovers in containers (or glass jars). Or (my favorite) you could possibly simply pop a plate on high of a bowl.
Wax wraps: If you happen to’re making an attempt to ditch the plastic wrap (gladwrap/clingwrap/clingfilm), there are just a few options. Beeswax wraps (AU, UK or USA choices) or vegan wax wraps (AU, UK or USA choices) are fashionable – don’t neglect to take a look at Etsy to assist native (to you) makers too. Or you may make your individual.
There’s no want to interchange issues that you have already got, however when you didn’t already know that there are plastic-free variations of merchandise, you may discover this attention-grabbing.
Ice lolly molds: Onyx containers make an amazing vary of plastic-free chrome steel merchandise, together with lolly / icy pole molds in varied shapes together with rockets, paddle pops and popsicles.You may’t purchase instantly from their web site, however the next shops have a very good vary: Biome (AU) , Little Acorns Mighty Oaks (UK) , The Tickle Trunk (USA)
(If chrome steel is out of your finances, there are silicone variations obtainable (akin to these ice block push-up moulds by Avanti.)
Rest room paper: I switched to a plastic-free model of bathroom paper known as Who Offers A Crap (it’s a social enterprise that donates 50% of income to charity). They’re an Australian firm that now additionally promote their merchandise within the USA and UK.
(Additionally they make kitchen towel and tissues – not issues I purchase, however belongings you may.)
Bidet: Others change to utilizing a bidet to cut back rest room paper use. Haven’t tried it and might’t actually remark, besides to say I do know there are kits you possibly can set up with out a plumber.
Rest room unpaper: Some individuals change to reusable fabric rest room paper (sometimes called ‘household fabric’) – not one thing I’ve tried both, however it’s an choice.
If I did this, I’d most likely use previous minimize up towels or sheets, however there are companies on the market promoting purpose-made merchandise like this, with cute designs (a well-known model is Marley’s Monsters, who’re primarily based in Oregon, USA, however you’ll discover heaps of makers on Etsy – search for ‘toilet unpaper‘. If that’s your factor!)
Rest room brush: I’ve needed (needed, not wanted) a wooden toilet brush since without end, however I’ve a plastic one which does the job. Ought to it ever break, I’m getting this. Most likely.
Bamboo toothbrush: One of many first swaps anybody who begins a less-plastic life goes to is the bamboo toothbrush. I’d counsel Brush with Bamboo, as a result of they had been one of many first corporations and I discover them very clear about their ethics and selections. Their bristles are predominantly plant-based, being 62% castor bean oil and 38% nylon.
Replaceable head toothbrush: Personally, I didn’t get on with bamboo toothbrushes, and I exploit a toothbrush which has a replaceable head. I’ve had the identical deal with since 2014, and I simply change the top each few months. The model I exploit is Silvercare, which was what was obtainable in my native retailer (the model is definitely Italian).
If you happen to’re in Europe lookup Lamazuna, who make related brushes with a bioplastic deal with, and in addition use cardboard (plastic-free) packaging.
Floss: it’s attainable to purchase floss in a refillable glass jar. Various manufacturers supply this product. If you happen to’d like a really compostable model, the floss is made from silk; when you’d like a vegan model the floss is normally bioplastic (not recycable or compostable). There’s additionally the choice of peace silk (Ahimsa silk) which is taken into account a cruelty-free choice: Geoorganics spearmint floss (UK model) is made with this.
Interdental brushes: Brush It On (Australian model) promote bamboo interdental brushes (packaged in cardboard) in two sizes, 06mm and 0.8mm.
Toothpaste: I’ve made my very own for years (right here’s my toothpaste recipe) but when DIY shouldn’t be your factor, it’s attainable to purchase toothpaste in powder or pill type, which suggests it doesn’t want the plastic tube. Once more, there are actually heaps of corporations promoting these merchandise: my solutions could be Geoorganics (UK) .
Mouthwash: not one thing I exploit. There are many zero waste mouthwash recipes on the web (maybe do this DIY mouthwash recipe by the Zero Waste Chef), however it’s additionally attainable to purchase pill mouthwash.
Shampoo: Strong shampoo bars eliminate plastic bottles and there are actually numerous choices available on the market. While they’ll appear costly, most are lengthy lasting, so general don’t find yourself costing extra. It’s price making an attempt just a few, as totally different hair responds in a different way to totally different merchandise.
Having tried just a few with less-than-ideal outcomes, I settled with (and love) the Source Bulk Foods shampoo bar for my curly hair. Beauty Kubes (A UK model, however stocked worldwide) are sometimes beneficial.
(Or, you could possibly strive the ‘no poo’ methodology and use bicarb or rye flour as a substitute: here’s how it works.)
Conditioner: Strong conditioner bars are the answer to plastic bottles. Ethique bars are a well-liked alternative and are available extremely beneficial (they’re a New Zealand firm that ship worldwide).
Personally, I exploit a white vinegar rinse as a substitute of conditioner, and it really works in addition to any conditioner that I’ve ever used.
Moisturiser: I make my very own cold cream moisturiser, and plenty of bulk shops promote the substances to make DIY merchandise.
(Biome has a web-based vary of substances that they pack with out plastic.)
If DIY shouldn’t be your factor, there are many merchandise packaged in glass. Or you should purchase strong moisturisers too (Ethique make a Saving Face serum bar that I usually hear beneficial).
I notably just like the Lush moisturiser bars (they’re listed on the Lush website as facial oils), which could be bought in-store with completely no packaging in any respect.
(In relation to skincare and haircare merchandise, just a few shops promote a number of these manufacturers, and are even have occasional gross sales which make the merchandise extra reasonably priced. Nourished Life have some Ethique bars at half worth, Biome and Flora & Fauna additionally inventory a very good vary.)
Security razor: a metallic razor with replaceable metallic blades. There are many manufacturers now promoting these – I hear experiences that low cost ones rust. One of many authentic and most-trusted manufacturers is Parker; their merchandise are offered in numerous shops.
Menstrual cups: the primary zero waste swap I ever made (manner earlier than zero waste turned a motion) again in 2003. Again then, there have been two medical grade silicone choices: the Mooncup (UK model) and the Diva Cup (Canadian model – and the one I purchased). There was additionally the Keeper (US model) ,which is made from pure rubber. Lately there are many choices, however I choose to assist the manufacturers that led the best way.
Within the USA and Australia, menstrual cups are regulated by authorities. These have approval in Australia (nation of manufacture listed in brackets):
The USA has a barely greater vary of registered merchandise, together with all talked about besides Juju.
Menstrual pads: reusable pads are an amazing choice, and can final 3-5 years if sorted. Nearly all manufacturers use cotton with a PUL (plastic) liner.
Just a few higher recognized manufacturers:
- Ecopads Australia – cotton, fleece and/or corduroy pads with PUL liner;
- Hannahpad Au & NZ – licensed natural cotton pads with PUL liner;
- Juju (Australia) – cotton and licensed natural cotton pads with PUL outer;
- Imse Vimse (Swedish model offered within the UK) – natural cotton with PUL liner;
- Gladrags (USA) – cotton and fleece, PUL-free*;
- Hannahpad USA – licensed natural cotton pads with PUL liner.
*The one model I’ve come throughout which can be utterly plastic-free are Gladrags (US model). I’ve their night pad, and it’s by no means leaked.
Menstrual underwear: that is underwear that has a built-in liner. I’ve the Modibodi model, and I exploit together with my cup on heavier days. They’re extremely snug. Some extra established manufacturers:
Cleansing merchandise: I’m a fan of inexperienced cleansing, which makes use of principally edible merchandise like bicarb/baking soda, white vinegar, cleaning soap and a little bit of elbow grease to get issues clear. I’d advocate Clean Green by Jen Chillingsworth as a useful information to recipes that work (there are many the web that don’t).
Cleansing brushes: there are heaps of wooden, metallic and/or coconut fibre choices. I exploit a Safix scourer (it lasts for ages and doesn’t odor, ever) and the Import.Ants vary of brushes that are offered at my native zero waste retailer.
Unpaper towel: I don’t trouble with kitchen towel or the reusable model made of fabric, however it’s a well-liked choice. Look on Etsy to search out native sellers to assist (some additionally use upcycled material, which is a bonus).
Laundry powder: I purchase this from the majority retailer. One other different is to make use of cleaning soap nuts/cleaning soap berries – barely sticky berries which have a pure saponin content material. (You pop just a few in a small bag in your washer together with your garments, and they’re going to final just a few washes.)
Pegs: If you happen to’ve been utilizing plastic pegs, at some stage they’ll seemingly want changing (plastic pegs break down in daylight – little bit of a design flaw). Picket pegs are fairly broadly obtainable, however when you’re on the lookout for an unbreakable, buy-it-once-and-it-lasts-forever choice, metallic pegs are actually an choice.
There’s totally different grades of chrome steel embody marine grade when you dwell close to the ocean. Pincinox are a French model and the unique chrome steel choice, however numerous manufacturers promote wire pegs which can be extra reasonably priced.
Sock hangers: If you happen to’re restricted to a balcony and don’t have a garments line, it’s attainable to purchase chrome steel sock hangers (like this one from Biome).
Microfibres: One thing else you mild like to contemplate is a Guppyfriend laundry bag. It’s much less of a ‘swap’ and extra of an funding – it’s goal is to cease microfibre plastic air pollution in waterways. You pop your artificial fibre clothes (issues like polyester and nylon) inside, then put the entire thing within the washer, and wash as regular. It traps the fibres and stops them entering into the ocean.
I’m an enormous fan of unbiased shops that promote zero waste and plastic-free merchandise as a result of they imagine within the trigger, reasonably than as a result of they see it as a advertising and marketing tactic. I can solely checklist the shops I’ve heard of – little question there are a lot of extra unbelievable choices:
That is under no circumstances an exhaustive checklist of all of the merchandise that exist, however hopefully it provides you some choices not just for helpful swaps, but in addition for unbiased companies to assist. Simply bear in mind, relating to lowering waste, much less is all the time extra!
Now I’d love to listen to from you! Are there any apparent swaps that I’ve missed, or any merchandise that you just’d actually say you couldn’t dwell with out? Any swaps you’ve made that you just remorse, and wish to warn us about?! Any questions? Anything so as to add? Please share your ideas within the feedback beneath!