I thought it was about time that I wrote about how we were getting on with reducing single use plastic in our house. It’s something that we’re conscious of all the time, but we’ve not found it not as easy as you might think to just stop using all plastics as there are so many of them in everyday use. We’ve decided that rather than try to change everything wholesale (which might mean creating more plastic waste as we just throw things away), we’ll change what we can when we reach a point that something needs replacing.
That was an easy change to make and we’re still enjoying our tea from Brew Tea Company*
I bought a Cora Ball which is supposed to help catch the microfibres in clothes when you wash them to stop them being washed down the drain into the sea.
Hmm … the jury is still out on this one. The ball itself was expensive (nearly £30) and I might have had higher expectations for it than were reasonable. I was really hoping that it would catch the pet hairs that are constantly stuck to our clothes, but mostly what it’s caught is loose threads from clothes and rather a lot of long hair (that’ll belong to my girls rather than the pets). I suppose that whatever it catches is something that doesn’t go down the drain, and the leaflet that comes with it does say that using top loading versus front loading machines, liquid rather than powder and washing at higher or lower temperatures will all affect what the ball will catch.
The ball is made of recycled plastic and is recyclable itself so I guess that by buying it, I’ve taken some plastic out of the system. This BBC series called War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita was a really good watch and quite an eye-opener – it’s heart-breaking to think that plastic from the UK is being shipped out to countries like Malaysia where it’s making children ill. We have no right to make other people’s children suffer because of our waste.
This is what my ball looks like now, so you can see that it’s been well bashed about in the washing machine (and the dryer sometimes too!) …
Whilst I was taking photos to write this post and thinking that I wouldn’t have much positive to say about the Cora Ball (although at least that red thread won’t be winding it’s way around some poor unsuspecting sea creature), I was really pleased to spot this …
That, my friends, is the microfibre fluff that I was hoping to catch with the ball, and whilst there may not be a huge amount of it (we do tend to wear a lot of cotton in our house), there’s still some that will go into the bin rather than down the drain. Will it make a huge difference to the ocean? (Somebody commented on my Instagram post that it would still end up in the ocean after being washed there through landfill so the only answer was to stop wearing any plastic clothing.) In the end, only future generations will be able to tell us that but I do know that if we don’t do anything at all, then that doesn’t leave the world in a better place than we found it, so perhaps my nearly £30 is well-spent after all. Would I buy another one? Probably not whilst they are so expensive, but I do still think they are a good idea and will still use the one that I have.
What else? Our beeswax wraps got plenty of use but now I think they either need re-waxing or replacing altogether. I’ve found a few tutorials online for making your own which look quite straightforward so I think I might give that a go when I’ve got some spare time.
I’m also going to make some re-useable make-up wipes – I bought some flannels from the supermarket and I’m going to cut them up so that they are about the same size as the little cotton pads that I currently buy and then bind the edges with the sewing machine so that they don’t fray.
I’m hoping to get time to do that over the summer holidays, and might even rope small daughter in to help as she’ll be able to use some for herself too. I’ll let you know how we get on!
I was looking around on Instagram the other day and ended up having a conversation with a lady who recommended earth friendly bleach to me. I’ve never heard of earth friendly bleach, but as we have a septic tank then I’m always on the look-out for something that will be an alternative to the bottled bleach that doesn’t do the micro-organisms in the tank any good.
This is the earth-friendly bleach, and so far, I’m impressed! You mix it with hot water and it can be used for laundry and cleaning – I’ve been using it down the toilet and it has been doing a good job so I might not be buying bottled bleach again. The downside, as often is the case with things like this, is that it’s not cheap but as I won’t be using it every day then I’m prepared to spend a bit more to try it out if I know it’s going to be better for our tank and ultimately the environment.
I bought it from Babipur and whilst I was on the website, I thought I’d take a look around … always fatal to your credit card but I will use what I’ve bought 😀
Organic cotton bread bags for my home made sourdough bread. So far, I’ve been keeping it in freezer bags which I’m re-using from loaf to loaf as the loaves are not the right size for our small bread bin …
Mesh bags for loose fruit and veg – it’s not always easy to buy loose veg, especially at the supermarket, but it’s easier when I go to the farm shop and I’ve got a couple of these for big daughter too, who is making an effort to go plastic-free in Manchester.
New toilet brushes (ours have certainly not been single use and are well past their sell-by date now!) and a new dish washing brush. When I first saw this, I thought it might be a bit small compared to my old one, but actually, I’ve found it to be a great size. That round head fits just nicely into the bottle that my husband uses every morning when he makes his own smoothie and gets all the bits out from around the rim. It’s replaceable too, so there’s no need to throw the whole brush away when the head is worn out.
Finally, I’ve been using this. It’s called Koh and it’s an Australian universal cleaner. I first saw it as a Facebook advertisement and after seeing the ad far too often, decided that I would find out if the testimonials were actually true. The company claims that you can get rid of all the other cleaning products that you have as Koh will clean everything. It’s allergy-friendly, pet-friendly, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, plus think of all the space in your cupboard and all the plastic you’ll save and there’s a 30 day money back guarantee … how could I not try it out?! I decided that if I could send it all back, I might as well give it a good go first so I bought one of the bundles containing a floor mop, atomisers, lots of re-usable cloths (yes, they are microfibre but they’re not single use) and diamond sponges for really tough stains.
Well, that was back in January and I did not sent it back after the 30-day trial. In fact, I’m on my second box of cleaner (it comes in a 4 litre “wine box” to be used with refillable atomisers and has lasted for longer than I expected, even after buying more atomisers and using it in the floor mop!), and big daughter is now a convert too. It cleans the floors, the windows, the worktops, even the enamel of the Aga when it’s on and hot which is something pretty amazing. It gets rid of cat smells (one of our cats has a random piddling issue which is very annoying and very smelly) and has even got rid of a stain on a mattress when small daughter had an unexpected nose bleed. It’s fabulous for getting bird poo off the cars and I use it on my specs too instead of cleaning wipes which are, of course, plastic. I even had the “Wow!” moment that I’d seen in the advert when I attacked the soap scum on the shower door and it feels pretty good to be able to see out of the shower door now after too long thinking that my eyes were even more blurry in the shower than out of it! 😀
I spent a lot of time watching the online videos about it – there are lots on the Koh website and Facebook page – and reading reviews and as with all of these things, there are people who won’t like it and that’s fine – not everything suits everybody after all – but I am really pleased that I decided to try it out and I have no plans to stop using it any time soon. And I’ve given all my other bottles of cleaning products to the church to use up for their cleaning so nothing has gone to waste.
Phew! There we go! I’m still using my shampoo bars and big daughter has moved onto refillable shampoo and conditioner which suits her hair type better. She’s found a shop called The Eighth Day in Manchester which sings it’s siren song to her every time she passes so there’s no chance of us running out of plastic-free ideas!
We’re still a long way from being totally plastic-free and I’m not sure that I actually want to live a life without any plastic at all, but we are making steps towards being more sustainable and we’ve drastically reduced the amount of single use plastic that was coming into the house – I know that by the amount that is going into our recycling bin. We’ll keep on going, and if others are doing the same then every little effort is going to help.
* These are affiliate links
Brew Tea Co – this gives you 10% off your first order and puts £5 store credit into my account.
Koh – £5 off your first order, and puts £5 store credit into my account. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee so you’ve nothing to lose by trying it out if you want to give it a go.