So as plastic free July is upon us, I thought now was a great time to share what we do as a family.
As a preface to all this, I am under no illusion that this is for everybody. And I am grateful for the privilege we have where this is affordable and accessible for us.
We started eliminating plastic after reading It Starts With The Egg a few years ago when we initially embarked on our baby-making journey. By started I mean it was a few small changes and nothing compared to what we do now.
But having Ottilie has put a whole new perspective on the way we live. Truth be told, I’m a hippy at heart and my ideal would be living off the land, never wearing a bra or shoes – but steering clear of any drugs obvs!
After Ottilie’s operation we moved to disposable nappies for a short time for her comfort (the ones that are ok-ish for the environment and worked for us) but we weren’t happy about it. Amy was positively unhappy about it actually. But we have been potty-training for a couple of months now so only use a disposable at night and occasionally one for nap time at nursery. With things like this, I often counter it with all the other good stuff we do…
I could literally write a blog post on everything individually but here’s a list because it’s just easier. I have included details of the brands where I can.
All things body:
- Cloth nappies for the full two years (except for three weeks when we were on holiday) – Bambino Mio – MioSolo
- Reusable potty-training pants – Bambino Mio
- Reusable wet wipes (exception as above), using essential oils – Cheeky Wipes
- Bamboo wipes for O’s nose – also Cheeky Wipes
- Dry shampoo – Kitenest from Plastic Freedom
- Soap not shower gel – bars wrapped in paper/cardboard
- Cotton make up pads – Etsy
- Crochet face exfoliators – Etsy
- Toothpowder in glass jars – Georganics
- Biodegradable dental floss – Georganics
- Mouthwash tabs – Georganics
Tits and Vulvas:
- Cloth sanitary towels – Cheeky Wipes
- Belly Balm (opposed to painkillers in plastic) – Forage Botanicals
- Bamboo breast pads (still in use due to Amy’s mega tits) – Amazon
- Who Gives A Crap Toilet Roll – this is the bamboo version, we tried the recycled paper but prefer this.. 50% of profits go to building toilets in developing countries. And we use the paper wrappers and tubes for all sorts, crafts with Ottilie, wrapping gifts…
On the go:
We don’t leave the house without these, either on our own or as a family. Most places offer a discount on drinks with reusable cups and whilst we don’t use straws all the time, with a two year old we sometimes need one. Or if I get a juice or something when we are out.
- Cutlery kits and reusable straws
- Reusable hot cups
- Reusable water bottles
- Food containers – if we are going somewhere where we might be buying food then we always chuck in our Minties lunchboxes. So we can either package up fruit we have brought packaging free or bring home leftovers. We obviously use them to take food out too. I use my Elephant Box round container most days for food to take to work. Its just the right size for overnight oats.
- Cutlery Wrap – keeps it all contained. Amy made this one ❤
- Eco friendly and recyclable cleaning products – we have been using Method but switched to the Tesco version and loved it. We are now moving to Iron and Velvet which is a plastic free option instead of products in plastic allbeit recyclable plastic (Plastic Freedom)
- Reusable kitchen roll – this has been hit and miss but we haven’t gone back to traditional kitchen roll – and anyone who knows Amy know’s this is a big deal
- Wax food wraps not clingfilm
- Buying loose dry foods – oats/lentils/nuts etc. Our local farm shop has introduced a bulk buy section (big up Macknades) and if we take a half hour drive to another town we can get everything we need including pasta and chocolate buttons (essentials)
- Loose tea not tea bags – we have a local tea house that has about 400 teas loose but even so buying loose tea in a box with one plastic inner is better than tea bags, I also have resuable tea bags for on the go
- Buying fresh produce without plastic – we have found Morrisons to be the best supermarket for this, failing that the farm shop or greengrocers
- Bringing glass or paper packaging home to recycle if we eat out
- Reusing parcel packaging to wrap presents etc with string not tape
- Presents for each other wrapped in muslin cloths
- Wooden or recycled plastic toys – we buy brands with good ethics or from charity shops
Now we don’t both do all these things yet – it’s been a gradual process and we still want to do more. Some of it has been quite difficult, I recently bought a tube of toothpaste because I was struggling a little bit with the tooth soap and tooth powder. They just don’t give you that super clean feeling. So, I alternate now which is a compromise.
We have found finding the right shampoos a challenge too, and have gone through a lot of different bars without finding one that is ‘right’. I scrape my hair back so if it’s a bit rank it doesn’t matter! And it does take time for your hair to get used to not having all the chemicals and nasties you tend to find in bottled ones.
We both also have quite a facial routine of cleansers, toners etc. I suffer with super flaky skin and Amy with spots. In jobs where we are constantly engaging with people it’s important that we have the confidence to do that. This is something we would love to change but we haven’t found replacements for everything just yet.
Amy has recently tried a couple of plastic free mascaras – currently trying B&S vegan cake mascara which has no palm oil and you utilise your fave brush from a previous mascara – genius.
I’ve also been trying to shop more consciously, in the past I’ve bought a pair of cheap jeans and my chub-rub would wear them thin and I’d replace them with another cheap pair. Buy cheap, buy twice and all that. I’ve moved on to better quality and fewer clothes now. I would literally wear the same outfit everyday if I wasn’t such a sweaty Betty.
We still shop on the high street but we try and buy from the ‘conscious’ ranges or with retailers who have sustainability on their radar. Amy shops in advance for O and will buy in a bigger size to get more wear out of it – we love her in an oversized tee and rolled up legs anyway.
Going forward we want to buy more second-hand clothes – vintage, charity shops and eBay. However this is quite difficult for a plus size 30 something lesbian who dresses like an adolescent boy.
I would also like to, and this list is by no means exhaustive:
- Make our own washing powder
- Make our own dishwasher tablets
- Make our own dips – hummus etc
- Find alternatives to vegan meats in plastic
- Find an energy supplier with a good sustainability policy
My ultimate dream is to have a kitchen full of beautiful food that we’ve bought without packaging, put straight into jars and have on shelves for all to see…but for now I think we are doing alright.