Confessions From a 'Plastic Free' Journey
So just over a week of Plastic Free July has passed, and although I've tried to cut down on single use plastic as much as possible there are a few items I've struggled with. I never set out to totally eliminate single use plastic from my life within a month. I'm a firm believer that any contribution you can make is better than none and will hugely contribute to the greater efforts. In the whirlwind that is life, this week I cocked up and bought cereals and flowers that were both in plastic. I didn't even think about it until I got home and was pretty disappointed in myself. But none of us are perfect, and at least now I'm more likely to question buying these products in the future. That being said, I am thinking about (almost) every purchase and whether or not there's an alternative. And this week there have been a few minor plastic hurdles.... PASTA: We tend not to visit the supermarket much anymore as our fruit and veg arrives in a weekly box and we pick up any extras from the Farmers Market in Stroud on Saturdays. The only pasta I could find this week in Stroud was in plastic packaging. HOWEVER there's a really great new plastic free shop in Stroud called Loose. They stock all sorts of grains, pulses, dried fruit and other plastic free products. You take your own vessels and they will fill up your containers at a cost per 100g. We didn't even think about trying there until it was too late - again I'm pretty ashamed to admit that! I've just double checked on their website and they do in fact stock loose pasta! This shop is absolutely tiny but totally worth checking out if you are in the area! I've added a link to their website here for you to check out what else they stock! Just remember to take something with you to fill up!
TOILET ROLL: I try to by the stuff that's made from recycled paper but not everywhere stocks it. Loose came up trumps again as they sell 'Who Gives A Crap' toilet roll - each roll is made from 100% recycled paper and is wrapped in recyclable and compostable paper. The company began as a Crowdfunder when 3 guys realised how shit (pun fully intended) it was that around 40% of the world's population lives without access to a toilet and in extremely poorly sanitised environments. Reading that figure I was pretty shocked too. They decided to set up Who Gives A Crap and 50% of their profits go directly into improving sanitisation and building toilets in underdeveloped areas all over the world. You buy in bulk from their website - found here - and it works out at £1 per roll. Sounds a lot BUT I've worked out some loo roll facts for you - skip ahead if you're not keen on the nerd part! A pack of 4 Andrex toilet rolls costs around £2 - that's about 50p per roll. HOWEVER Andrex rolls are 2ply with roughly 200 sheets per roll. Who Give A Crap rolls are 3ply with roughly 370 sheets per roll. PLUS 50% of what you're paying goes directly to charity. So really you're paying the same amount for more loo roll and helping the environment in the process! No Brainer! You can either buy them online or head to Loose where they are £1 per roll.
RAZORS: I'm part of a group on Facebook that shares planet friendly ideas throughout all aspects of life. Whilst in the shower this week I noted I needed a new razor and began to wonder where I'd find one that was a bit more eco! My first port of call was the Facebook group. The most common resolution was to invest in a Safety Razor. I admit I had to google them as I wasn't entirely sure what they were - and was immediately put off. They consist of stainless steel handles and you buy the blades separately to insert. It works out incredibly environmentally friendly and if looked after properly the handle should last a lifetime. BUT I read a few sentences such as 'I don't cut myself that often anymore' and 'I very quickly learnt not to apply much pressure' and it was enough for me to race back to google. Obviously this matter is ENTIRELY down to personal preference but I 100% don't want a 'safety' razor anywhere near my lady garden!!! Another common result was either an epilator or electric razor. I've tried both in the past and again they're unfortunately not for me, but there are plenty of good ones out there!! Finally I found a more viable option for me - a recyclable razor made from recycled plastic. Now I'll be honest this definitely isn't the most eco friendly option - although the handle is recyclable and made from 100% recycled plastic, I can't find any information anywhere about the replaceable blades being recyclable. They also come in a plastic case BUT this can be reused as a travel case when you go away - my fingers have met a rogue razor in my wash bag before and it's not an experience I'd like to repeat! I've added the link to this particular razor here.
MAKE UP: I have used Bare Minerals makeup for about 8 years and absolutely love it. I was even more chuffed to discover recently that they're cruelty free. I've found it so difficult in the past to find a makeup that suits my skin and this has been fab. But as I was about to order a new Primer this week I thought I should double check whether or not the plastic pots and tubes can be recycled. I'll admit I usually chuck it all into the recycling bin but after closer inspection there aren't any recyclable symbols on the containers. I've read some articles about Bare Minerals refilling old pots but can't seem to find any concrete evidence anywhere. So my next step - as I was advised by Raechel Kelly at the Cheltenham Maman Eco event - will be to write to Bare Minerals. I absolutely love their makeup and really don't want to have to begin my search for new products at this stage. However I have no suitable waste solution to their packaging so I'm hoping that if I'm not the only customer who's concerned there may be something they can do about it! If by any chance you're in the same boat, I've added a link to their contact page here so you can get in touch too! Just a side note and a small business plug - I use my Reusanble Organic cotton rounds for my skincare routine. Ive saved a fortune on buying cotton pads and I just pop mine in the wash with my clothes. I've still got a few sets for sale in my Etsy shop - click here to shop!
So pasta, toilet roll, razors and makeup aside I'm pretty chuffed with how my Plastic Free July is going so far. It's really making me stop and think about certain purchases and I've often put things back on the shelf to search for an alternative. The best part about this journey so far is that I've had a few friends tell me I've inspired them to go plastic free too in one way or another! I'm not on a preaching mission and I'm definitely not setting out to hate on anyone or make them feel guilty. I want this to be a challenge that everyone takes on to some extent, and for us to help each other out in finding plastic free alternatives. BIG things are already starting to happen - I've even seen plastic free cucumbers in my local Morrisons this week!!! - and it's a sign that as a community we really can make a difference!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GUYS!