So I thought I’d start a list of online retailers that I’ve used to help those of you that want to try to minimise your waste. I’ve put this list onto the Health, Wellbeing and reducing waste page.
Last year I started with my kitchen, trying to minimalise the plastic and crap we throw out. We still seem to throw more than I’d like, but I think some of this is transition. When things run out, I will replace them with more thought.
In order to make the journey less daunting, I have decided to tackle my home room at a time. This year I’m starting with the bathroom. The biggest things for me that I’m want to really find an alternative for are deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. I have long hair which I love and have a ‘thing’ about my conditioner especially. I like my hair to feel soft and am not prepared to go through a total hippy no-poo conversion in order to eventually get clean and silky hair, I’m afraid I’m just not going there. Therefore I need to find an alternative.
Last week I ordered a few pieces from Peace with the Wild.
Their shop had been popping up on my facebook feed for a while, so I decided to check them out. They have a particularly lovely and perusable website, so be ready to spend more than perhaps you set out to. I was particularly looking for some shampoo bars and conditioner to reduce plastic, but I didn’t want parabens jumping in or SLS. I know I can go to Lush to lose the packaging, but their stuff is not always natural. I got a soap, a shampoo bar, a rather expensive conditioner in a glass jar to initially fill my reserve about scrubbing a bar of conditioner over my hair, and some charcoal dental floss. It came to around £35 and then I had a £3.95 shipping charge. Shipping is free over £50. It hasn’t yet arrived, but I’ll fill you in on the packaging. I am a little hesitant about the bars, not the soap, but the shampoo, so I’ll let you know how I get on.
The other area I wanted to tackle was deodorant. I have been attempting to tackle it for a while now and my current best is from The Natural Deodorant company.
It is in a jar in a firm paste form and you wipe it under your arms. For me (obviously a stinky bugger), it works for about half a day, then it needs reapplying. If I go to a Spin class or do a hot yoga, then forget it. Following others’ suggestions, I have opted for trying a new one by Ku.tis. It’s a solid stick in a compostable container, so let’s see if it deals with what my pits have to throw at it.
I found this one at a company called One Little Company and also ordered a few ‘non-paper’ towels (which frankly is lazy because I could make some. I made a load more face wipes the other day, but now I’m back at work, the sewing machine will not come out until the summer!) and a little sisal bag to put my soap in either for scrubbing my skin rather than using body scrubs or for the small bits together when they run down. This company charges a standard £3.95 for orders under £50 but they are currently offering free delivery for all first time orders with the code 1STFD. I will let you know about their packaging and delivery times.
Toilet roll is another area that I have made changes. Whilst I, nor my family, are ever going to do family cloth, we did cloth diapers and that was enough with babies, I am aware that although cheap, the stuff in the shops is wrapped in plastic. We buy on subscription from Who Gives a Crap and get a replacement box every 3 months, although it is really easy to alter your subscription to suit your needs. The boys have just gone back to uni etc, so I’ve pushed back my next delivery as we won’t get through as much. The cost of the paper is more expensive per roll, but it’s all wrapped in paper, recycled and the company donates 50% of it’s profit to building toilets in the developing world, so you can feel a little less guilty with each wipe of your arse.
Of course, there is also the more delicate subject of sanitary protection. I have had a mooncup in my drawer for a while now. I tried one about 10 years ago and it felt like I was walking around with a prolapse!! It wasn’t a fun experience. I have friends who swear by them, but sadly I am not getting the love at the moment. I am therefore trying to find as eco friendly pads as possible because with a daughter, we get through a lot each month. I have tried cloth in the past for this too, but it’s never been too successful and they stain so badly. I know there are other things, such as Thinx, but they seem SO expensive and I have heard mixed reviews, so maybe I’ll wait for them to get a bit more mainstream, or maybe I’ll get through the menopause before!
However, to eleviate my guilt I am looking into setting up a Red Box at work. If you don’t know about period poverty both in this country and around the globe, check out this company here.
Hopefully you’ll find some of this useful. I could talk for ages on these topics about the pros and cons of what works for me and my family, but that is exactly the point. It’s what works for us. What is important is to do what you can where you can. Reducing is exactly that, reducing, making less, not going cold turkey or feeling bad because you bought shower gel in a plastic tube, hell I have lots! It’s about making little changes where and if you can, being more aware and actually saying ‘no’ to stuff. Say no to a plastic straw, take a cloth bag, put your mushrooms in a paper one, start using a reusable cup, this is reducing your impact on a much bigger picture.
If you have any other suggestions for the UK, please let me know in the comments.