We all want to do our bit to help the environment, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. Recycle this, re-use that, don’t buy that but definitely buy this. Ditching plastic straws, using reusable shopping bags and recycling paper is the norm for us now, but I have put together a little list of other sustainable swaps you can incorporate into your everyday which helps the environment.
I will also be sharing some businesses that offer these fabulous swaps too!
1. Refill your household cleaning products.
Forget recycling your plastic bottles once your cleaning solutions, hand washes and shampoo bottles are used. Refill them instead.
Cut out the middle man, why recycle a plastic bottle when it can just be re-used in the first place? Black plastic is still not recycled in this country and darker containers often get missed too.
A couple of lovely small businesses I would recommend for this service are Refills by Beez and The Hippy Hare Company.
2. Use travel mugs and water containers.
With many of us back to the office now or doing hybrid working, the all essential tea, coffee and water is the fuel that keeps us going. A lot of us do use travel mugs and water bottles, but what are they made from?
You can now get travel mugs that are made from bamboo or rice husk, and water containers that are made from metal so they will not only last, but keep your water nice and cool.
Not only does re-using the same cup/ container save on plastic, but it is also much cheaper too!
I have a lovely BioGo travel mug made from rice husk and after two years it still does the job brilliantly.
3. Swap to bars (shampoo, conditioner, soap and moisturising bars).
Another new item that I have come across recently is moisturising bars. We already use soap bars and have just delved into the world of shampoo and conditioner bars - but the newest one I have found and fallen in love with is moisturising bars. Something that wasn't entirely obvious to me at first was how much plastic waste I was getting through when it came to using moisturiser.
A couple of lovely small businesses I would recommend for buying bars from is The Oxford Soap Company and The Edinburgh Natural Skincare Co.
4. Swap to loose leaf tea.
Something that we have been doing for many years now is drinking loose leaf tea. To be honest, our first reason for doing this was not for the environmental benefits, but for flavour. Did you know that the tea found in tea bags is actually tea dust? It is the leftovers that are found at the tea barrel bottom and the broken leaves and tea dust are then collected and filled into tea bags. The dust and the broken pieces contain tannin, which is sometimes why a cup of tea made from a tea bag can taste quite bitter.
Swapping to loose leaf tea not only tastes better, but it omits the tea bags, which are made of thin and permeable papers and some of them are not biodegradable. White tea bags have been bleached and contain chlorine and these will often end up in landfill.
Swapping to loose leaf tea and a stainless steel tea strainer will not only save on plastic tea bags ending up in landfill, it will taste better too!
If you haven't tried Team Tea yet then you're missing out - they do the best loose leaf tea around.
5. Ditch the coffee pods and grind your own beans.
Okay, you don't have to grind your own beans, you can get them ground up for you, but ditching the coffee pods will save on your single use plastic consumption. By using a cafetière or a stainless steel coffee filter you are completely omitting any plastic consumption, plus your coffee will taste much better too! You can also keep your ground up beans and turn them into an effective body and face scrub.
A lovely small business that sells coffee that we love is Monsoon Estates.
6. Natural fibre cleaning items.
Did you know that your everyday sponge is made from plastic? That they are completely indestructible and that every time you use them, they release plastic into the water that goes down your drain. I was shocked too. I think these everyday items we have been so used to using have become the "norm" and so much so that we don't stop to think about them.
You can swap your plastic sponges and switch to a completely biodegradable sponge for cleaning your home. Using brushes that are made out of natural fibres, such as coconut husk can really switch things up in your kitchen and help you on your way to becoming a more eco-conscious space at home.
The Zero Waste Club has a whole host of wonderful eco-friendly products for your home.
7. Buy sustainable homewares
Why should we be thinking about this? Because unfortunately, fast homewares are heading down the same road as fast fashion, as many of these fast fashion giants are now heading into the homewares sector.
Buying organic cotton, high quality homewares that are built to last may be more expensive than a £6 pair of oven gloves from Asda, but not only will they last you a long time, but they will also not be made from plastic and they will have higher protection from the heat rather than melting after a few goes on some hot baking trays.
You can view my full homewares collection here.
8. Try a razor recycling scheme
Joining a razor recycling scheme is an excellent way to cut down on your plastic use when it comes to personal grooming. Disposable razor blades often end up in landfill, but why when they are mostly made from metal?
By joining a razor recycling scheme you can ensure that the metal blades you use is being recycled or re-used as well as having a reusable razor handle made from stainless steel.
I love Fricton Free Shaving and use this company myself (so does my husband - they do a men's subscription too). Another big bonus is that all of their cosmetic range is eco-conscious using only natural ingredients, and it is cruelty free and not tested on animals.
9. Beeswax wraps
Something that isn't immediately obvious when it comes to sustainability is how we store our food. Old habits suggest reaching into the drawer and getting out a bit of cling film out or perhaps some tin foil? By using a beeswax wrap as a sustainable alternative, you are eliminating your single-use plastic consumption to preserve your food. Beeswax wraps are breathable and allow food to stay fresher for longer, reducing the chances of food waste as well as cutting back on single-use plastics. Double bonus!
This lovely small business sells gorgeous Beeswax wrap designs, go and check it out The Cling Keeper.
10. Make up remover pads and flannels
How we clean ourselves and what we clean ourselves with is not always the most obvious choice when it comes to sustainable swaps in the household. Do you have one of those large puffs that lather up the soap really well? Yep, they're plastic - but not something that would immediately spring to mind when thinking about cutting back our plastic consumption. The great news is is that there are so many lovely alternatives, 100% organic cotton flannels and make up remover pads, loofas (they're made from plants), bamboo brushes and natural sponges.
The Ethical Superstore is a great place to start if you want to explore brands that are offering alternative bath accessories.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and have been inspired to make a few swaps and changes. What staple would you love to see an alternative to, or what sustainable swap have you made that you want to rave about? I would love to hear from you in the comments below or on social media.