The New Year is here and there is just no better time to make big, positive changes!
One resolution guaranteed to change your life is going plastic-free, and that single choice magnifies to benefit every living thing on this planet! Even better, switching it up to go plastic-free is as easy as swerving plastic bags or choosing bamboo straws. It’s incredibly easy to start and simple to maintain.
In a two-part blog on going plastic-free (and the move into a more eco-friendly lifestyle), I’ll be sharing the swaps, tips and wisdoms I’ve learned over the past year in my own plastic-free journey, to help you (in any way I can) begin yours 🙂
Part one is all about the small, simple changes!
PLASTIC-FREE HAIR, SKINCARE & HYGIENE SWAPS
Some of the easiest and most effective plastic-free swaps begin when we get up in the morning! Our hygiene and beauty routines are full of opportunities to ban plastic and cut waste:
THE BIG ONE: BARS, NOT BOTTLES
Around 12. 2 tonnes of plastic (BBC article) end up in our oceans each year, endangering marine animals and polluting the water. A large part of that is plastic bottles, including toiletry and cosmetic bottles. If nothing changes, by 2050 there will be more plastic in our seas than fish. We cannot let that happen.
Moving to bar-based soaps, shampoos and conditioners radically reduces the amount of plastic household waste thrown out in a year, chipping away at the amount coming to harm our environment. Not only that, but many non-bottled beauty products prioritise natural (and often vegan) ingredients, leaving skin fresh and hair soft, shiny and unclogged by chemical product. They also leave waste water unpolluted.
I can personally say both my skin and hair have never been better than they are now, cleaned naturally without chemicals. For some specific advice on natural haircare, see my blog on moving to natural shampoo here – I’ll be updating this soon too with new tips 🙂
WASH & REUSE
One of the simplest changes we can make in the bathroom is to cut down on short-lived and one-use plastic items and products. Everything from disposable razors to plastic-wrapped tampons can be switched for eco-friendly, reusable and/or washable and reusable plastic-free alternatives, helping our beautiful blue planet.
Peace With The Wild’s Ten Best Plastic-Free Bathroom Swaps:
- Switch to natural soap bars & eco-friendly soap dishes – better for your skin and the environment, natural soap bars smell amazing, too!
- Switch to natural shampoo & conditioner bars – 100% natural ingredients in these bars mean hair shines as nature intended, and bars gradually dissolve with use instead of leaving plastic packaging.
- Switch to refillable makeup – less packaging = less waste. Refillable makeup often smells great, too!
- Switch to facial rounds and vegan cleanser – face wipes are not good for the environment, but facial rounds are soft, sustainable and completely reusable – just wash! The vegan makeup remover we stock is naturally nourishing, cleanses and comes in a recyclable tin.
- Switch to a bamboo toothbrush and natural toothpaste – if we each throw out a plastic toothbrush every three months, that’s a whole lot on the global rubbish pile. Bamboo toothbrushes are a much more sustainable and eco-friendly option, with 95% of the brush biodegradable, and natural toothpaste means no harmful chemicals.
- Switch to bamboo cotton swabs – a fantastic alternative to standard, plastic cotton swabs, bamboo swabs biodegrade – pop them in the compost once your done!
- Switch to a safety razor – the thought of all the disposable razors out there in the world is awful. Safety razors are metal, and being robust and reusable (just change the blades over) are a much more sustainable solution.
- Switch to recycled toilet roll – playfully named Who Gives A Crap, this 100% recycled toilet paper (we do!) saves countless trees and comes in funky, recycled packaging.
- Switch to natural deodorant – one of our best selling products, natural deodorant helps both the environment and your skin, as it’s free of nasty, worrying chemicals. We sell a range of scents and also vegan natural deodorants, helping our fauna, too!
- Switch to reusable feminine hygiene pads – it’s not as hard to get used to as it might seem, and these washable, far more sustainable, reusable (and pretty!) pads are far more eco-friendly than traditional pads and tampons.
PLASTIC-FREE FOOD STORAGE SWAPS
We’ve become acclimatised to wrapping our food in plastic. It begins where we buy it and ends up happening in our homes, too. Although it can help to keep things nicely contained and on the shelf/in the fridge longer, it’s a huge contributor to global plastic waste, with that little bit of convenience coming at terrible cost.
BUT – it’s not the only way!
THE BIG ONE: CLOTH OVER CLINGFILM, TIN OVER TUPPERWARE
Because our food often needs to be wrapped flexibly, the best alternative to PVC cling film (full of chemicals and plastic) needs to be flexible, too. Using fabric-based alternatives to wrap and store food eliminates the need for cling film, and using tins and natural containers instead of plastic tupperware also makes a huge difference.
EARTH AND FIRE
Wooden, stone, all-natural composites (such as rice husk) and metal are the way forward in cutting demand for plastic tupperware, at least for now. The future is bringing more and more amazing alternatives – who knows what 2019 will bring!
Peace With The Wild’s Three Best Plastic-Free Food Storage Swaps:
- Switch to tin containers – While tin isn’t the ideal answer, it’s a lot better than plastic tupperware!
- Switch to bowl covers & wooden bowls – bowl covers are a great, eco-friendly alternative to cling film and actually allow the food to breathe, being made from cotton. They come in different sizes and designs, and work great with our sustainable coconut bowls.
- Switch to vegan or bees wax wrap – wax wraps are warmed by hand, which shapes and seals the wrap to the container/foodstuff. They come in amazing designs (I love them!) and are reusable for up to a year if cared for well, plastic-free and perfect.
PLASTIC-FREE ON-THE-GO SWAPS
It’s just as easy to live plastic-free away from home as it is at home! We just need to Refuse and Reuse: refuse plastic and reuse better alternatives when out and about.
THE BIG ONE: DITCH PLASTIC BAGS, BOTTLES AND ONE-USE COFFEE CUPS
Again, this is really more about the breaking habits we’ve grown so accustomed to as a society we hardly think about them! One of the very first things I did to cut down on plastic when I started Peace With The Wild was carry a glass water bottle with me when out and about, which I’d fill before I left and refill with tap water where I could. I still do this, and if everyone did, it would make a colossal difference to the plastic problem. There’s an estimated 13 billion plastic bottles produced every year in the UK alone, and having seen a sickening island of floating rubbish with my own eyes (off the coast of Koh Tao, Thailand) mostly made up of plastic water bottles, I was so happy to do my bit in cutting demand for something that, in the UK and most of the Western world, is completely unnecessary.
-Note: If you do get caught out when on-the-go, try and find Belu. Belu is a non-profit organisation where 100% of profit goes to WaterAid and comes in a 100% recyclable (and reusable) glass bottle. –
Something else I do is carry a cloth produce bag with me whenever I leave the house. Plastic bags have a reputation for a reason, and having watched Drowning In Plastic this year, I’m even more determined to never use a plastic bag again in my lifetime.
Last but not least – a very easy and effective swap is to carry a reusable coffee cup. Standard coffee cups seem like they’d be recyclable as they’re mostly card/paper, but a plasticised lining inside the cup mean that they are not. Although some chains are trying to change this, it’s still safer for the environment to carry a glass, ceramic or composite (i.e bamboo) cup and reuse, reuse, reuse. I personally don’t drink coffee, but if I did I’d make sure to ask for shops to fill my reusable cup.
PREPARING TO AVOID PLASTIC
Another big part of going plastic-free when on-the-go is making sure you’re prepared before you head out the door. This area is all about carrying something with you so you don’t have to rely on buying what’s available when you’re out, which is often fully plastic or wrapped in plastic instead. So don’t forget your lunch stuff, cutlery and all!
Peace With The Wild’s Five Best Plastic-Free On-the-go Swaps:
- Switch to glass bottles or metal jerry cans – the bottled water industry is a huge contributor to the plastic problem and worrying health of our planet. We don’t need it here, and carrying a reusable glass or metal water bottle means we stay hydrated while considering the bigger impact.
- Switch to paper or bamboo straws – this switch is one of the plastic-free pushes with the most attention! Such a small change, but so effective. We stock a variety of plastic-free reusable straws and paper straws in really pretty colours and designs.
- Switch to reusable coffee cups – most coffee cups end up in refuse, rotting in a heap somewhere and contributing to the single-use plastic issue! Luckily, you can choose otherwise and carry a reusable coffee cup, filling that up instead and keeping countless more coffee cups from just becoming rubbish somewhere.
- Switch to fabric produce and lunch bags – the deceptively humble plastic bag is the prime example of how mass produced, convenient plastic is choking our planet. No more. Ditch plastic bags and switch to fabric instead, whether to carry produce or lunch. It’s crucial!
- Switch to bamboo travel cutlery – plastic cutlery sets are another one-use plastic item killing our planet. Bamboo cutlery is sustainable, natural and cute! I love the travel spork we sell.
So, there are some of the simplest swaps and switches you can make as part of your New Year’s Resolution to go plastic-free in 2019 🙂
Come spring, we’ll be doing a post on plastic-free cleaning alternatives too, as this is another area where small changes can make a big, positive difference.
Don’t forget to look at the Peace With The Wild shop for a collection of products I’m proud to play a part in selling as we push to live more sustainably and protect the planet!
Next up, part two – the bigger picture 🙂