Week 2: Shower Thoughts, Soap, Safety Razors and Shopping Bags

Picture of low waste shopping in reusable produce bags

Thanks for joining me on my 2nd week of #plasticfreejuly. In my previous blog post here I talk about my main aims and what I want to get out of this month.

Already, the waste my family and I generate is at the forefront of my mind and it has sparked a lot of other avenues of thought in the process, which I’ll go into under the ‘Thoughts‘ section below.

Quick Links

It’s a long read, so feel free to click on a link below to jump to a particular section:


Bathroom

It’s tempting to buy reactively and purchase goods once something has run out. The only problem with buying reactively,, without planning, is that you put pressure on yourself to purchase that item either immediately or in the near future. For our family this means that going to the supermarket and picking up the usual item which is convenient. However, with a bit of forethought and initial research and planning, maybe a new routine could be created.

There are a few things in the bathroom that you can swap for reusable items. Finding the items that you like are maybe going to be trial and error but i hope I can make this a little easier for you. The items below are just a few ideas of the many changes that you could apply to your bathroom products and routine.

Safety Razor; Mutiny Shaving

mutiny reusable safety razor

I think one of my favourite and best purchases in the last few years would be my safety razor. I purchased it last October at the Ipswich Vegan Fayre from Mutiny Shaving.

My thoughts on the razor:

  • I find it easy to use (I initially Googled it to see the best way to use it)
  • It’s always sharp
  • It’s really easy to replace the blades
  • It’s really easy to keep clean and rust free (I’ve had it since October last year and no rust yet)
  • There’s no plastic packaging with it
  • The handle has a really useful grip (grips are essential to stop the razor slipping while shaving)
  • It’s easy to dispose of old blades (put them into an old tin can and place in normal recycling)

I have since purchased replacement blades in Tesco, too. (If you’re looking for them, they’re in the ‘men’s’ section; I guess women don’t have any need for razor blades.) The downside is the plastic packaging and the little plastic storage box that they come in.

The benefit of this razor is that once it’s purchased, the only additional payments are for a cheap pack of razor blades as and when needed. So I think it works out cheaper in the long run and better for the environment. What’s not to love?

Crocheted Cotton / Bamboo Shower Pouf

My Ma’s crocheted cotton shower pouf

If you know the basics of crochet, then you’ll be making shower poufs in no time. My ma has just made a few from cotton thread and they look amazing and feel really luxurious.

I am going to attempt making one, and if that goes well then I’ll make a few more. Because they’ll be made from either cotton or bamboo, their drying time will be different from netted plastic ones, so I want to have at least 2 to be able to rotate them and wash them often.

You can make them:

Youtube video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ms8JRpk6Tc

Pattern: https://www.thestitchinmommy.com/2015/02/puffy-bath-pouf-free-pattern.html

Or you could buy them: Etsy Listing

Hair Care

  • Lush bars
  • Jess makes lovely soap over at the Guilt Free Soapery. Her soap can be used as a shampoo
  • ACV conditioner

Soaps and Hand Soaps

  • DIY handsoaps & Facewash (have a look at my recipes here)
  • Jess’s soap from the Guilt Free Soapery
  • If you have any bar soaps, you can melt them and make them into liquid soap and reuse soap containers in the process.
    In our house it’s easier to have liquid soap so Little One doesn’t destroy the bar soap. Also husband Gruff prefers liquid soap for hygiene reasons, and I agree with him, though I am not completely against using bar soaps. I made liquid soap this afternoon using this method from a naked Faith of Nature bar I’d picked up from Rainbow Apothecary last year.

Food Shopping with Reusable Produce Bags

We went to Tesco for our weekly shopping trip last Sunday and tried to apply the #plasticfreejuly mindset as much as possible. This is what I wrote just after the shopping trip:

Veggio reusable produce bags

We managed to buy carrots, broc and mushrooms loose and put them in our Veggio bags (reusable produce bags).

The tomatoes came in plastic trays with non-recyclable film and both the lettuce and kale came in plastic bags. I decanted the kale before I went to the checkout but kept the packet, barcode up, in the drawstring bag. After the checkout I decanted the lettuce into the kale bag and the tomatoes in with the carrots.

I went for Hellman’s vegan mayo, as it is in a glass jar, instead of Tesco’s own that is in a horrible thin plastic bottle. Downside was that it was 65p more.

We also needed some teabags, so I went for some plastic free Clipper teabags.

Our Plastic Feedback

I ended up giving the packaging back to customer services. The plastic waste was:

  • The bags from the kale and lettuce.
  • The tubs and plastic film lids from the tomatoes.
  • The plastic wrap for 2 packs of juice cartons

It was met with a “thank you”, then a “we’ll recycle this for you”. Yeah; sure you will love.

Unavoidable Plastic Packaging

The few bits of plastic waste that i gave back


On my shopping trip, I did purchase a few items that I’m not sure I could remove the packaging from;

  • Dishwasher salt
  • Rice (dried)
  • Laundry detergent

I mean, I probably could have decanted the rice into a bag, but I didn’t want to spill it and I wasn’t sure whether the grains would escape the bag.

This time I purchased Ecover laundry detergent but once it runs out I think I’ll go along to our local refill station and refill it. The price is actually better from the refill station for 1.5L.


Mindful Shopping


Looking for items in the least amount of packaging was a really interesting exercise because it forced me to look at different products. I also found that I bought more realistic amounts of things so for instance; instead of a big bag of carrots, I bought about 6. The mushrooms were a good amount too and they filled an old (small) punnet when I got back home.

I had the benefit of being toddler free on this shopping trip, so I had some more time on my hands to take my time and make informed choices. Now I’ve done it, my next shopping trip (which most likely won’t be toddler free) will hopefully be a more streamline and quicker affair.

Future Shopping Trips

On my searching around the internet, I found this website zero waste near me. It shows you on a map where your nearest zero waste options are.

I’m so excited to be able to say that our first order with Cupboard Love has just been placed. This means I’ve been able to purchase the following items completely plastic wrapping free, not to mention at decent, competitive prices too:

Mixed nuts, 200g £2.50
Apple rings 250g £2.50
Goji berries 125g £2.35
Toilet roll £1.00
Denttabs – Toothpaste Tablets (with fluoride) x60 1£2.50
Turmeric 25g £0.60
Noodles 2 blocks £1.00
Long grain brown rice 250g £0.57

Total £13.02
Shipping £3.50
Total £16.52

I’m happy with that price and I’m happy with the feeling that we are both supporting a local business and that there will be no single use wrapping in this order. Also, the it’s being delivered to my work which will save me a trip to the supermarket. I just have to remember not to buy anything on this list before it’s delivered on Wednesday.


Things to Note

Tesco’s wall of reusables.
  • Nestlé launched a new snack bar in recyclable packaging. They are mostly vegan flavours with the exception of the banana and pecan and dark choc and sea salt. Shame,because that last flavour sounds immense.
  • TK Max and Tesco have a massive wall of reusable cups
  • I went to London on Thursday and bought lunch in a local Tesco. Unfortunately the items I bought had plastic in them. To me, this was unavoidable waste as I needed to eat.

Thoughts

My thoughts have extended to the root cause of waste in our household which is organisation. In my experience, the more organised your space, the more aware you are of what you have. As a result you are less likely to buy items that you don’t need which saves on packaging.

  • Conscious consumerism: On week 2 of #plasticfreejuly , I am thinking beyond plastic and looking at what waste we generate as a family and whether any of it can be repurposed.
  • Over this past week I have been really asking myself ‘do I need this’ before I purchase it. I’ve been listening to a great podcast by Mama Minimalist which covers a lot of topics with a focus on living more sustainably. It’s a good listen and really informative; give it a listen if you have a free moment or, like me, as you’re doing the washing up.
  • Purchasing items gives you a feeling of power and ownership, but by practising the KonMari method you have almost an identical feeling of ownership of your space. This then extends to wanting to keep your space clear and not introducing new items into your space when they’re not needed.
  • To get more into the mindset of #plasticfreejuly, I have tried to watch some documentaries where I can. One of which is Plastic Fights Back that I review here.
  • It’s never been more apparent to me that what my husband and I do are demonstrating to our son how to conduct himself and navigate the world. It makes me stupidly happy now when Little One spills something and he heads to our reusable wipes drawer. After he’s used the cloth he then puts it into the wet bag instead of the bin. Hopefully this will be his normal.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. This is good to read & know that I’m not the only one who struggles with trying to recycle soft plastic while wondering if removing from the packaging is going to affect its shelf life, i.e. cooking salt!

    Like

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