Single Use Plastic – An Update

plastic free

Dress and Scarf – SkunkFunk
Shoes – Po-Zu

Backpack – Brag Vintage

At the begining of the year I pledged to try and stop using single use plastics! Now 7 months into 2018, I thought it was time for a little update.

I knew when I pledged to give up single use plastics, I was possibly setting myself up to fail but I had completely underestimated how difficult it would be. Everything is wrapped in plastic  from fruit and veg to meat, shampoo, toiletries and pretty much just about everything that you could possibly buy. Moving away buying items wrapped in plastics has required a monumental change in the way that I shop.

Previously, all of my food for the week was bought online at a well known supermarket and delivered. Visiting a supermarket to shop each week is one of those activities that I consider life too short to waste doing. However the well known supermarket make it near on impossible to reduce plastic use. Even if I try and by individual pieces of fruit, guess what they put it in a plastic bag. If I buy meat already packaged in plastic, guess what they insist in packing it in another plastic bag. Disgusting!

I spent quite a bit of time at the beginning of the year looking for alternatives to my weekly supermarket delivery. The first and most successful has been the local market on a saturday which I have carried on with. I actually really enjoy going down there and feel pretty pleased with myself for the ridiculous amount of lovely fresh fruit and veg that I buy for £12-£15. The meat has been a bit more tricky. I have heard that Morrisons will put items from the meat counter into reusable boxes but truthfully, I just don’t have time to go right across town to buy meat on a weekend. I do sometimes manage to get boxes refilled from a meat van at the local market but the choice of unwrapped meat is often pretty limited. I have also tried to cut back a little on the meat we eat which helps a bit.

About a month ago I moved to a new job and started working full time which means that I have less time and do sometimes find myself falling into the convenience trap, just because I don’t have time for anything else. Once I am back from summer holidays and we start to get back into routine again, I plan to start a renewed effort to reduce plastic use with homemade snacks rather than shop bought and cooking as much as possible from scratch again.

plastic free chilly's bottle

I have however continued with making lunch in reusable containers and a reusable water bottle for work and the gym (as I always have). I find the reusable plastic bottles don’t last that well and often start leaking so decided to invest in a Chilly bottle with the added benefit of keeping my water ice cold which has definitely been a benefit over the summer months. Although fairly pricey, I would definitely recommend.

I am afraid to see after a few months of using solid shampoos and conditioners, I have reverted back to  my old shampoo and coonditioner in a bottle. Whilst the solid ones seemed ok to start with, I think they did possibly affect the condition of my hair after using them for a while. If you have found any good options for plastic free hair care, please do share.

Newquay Beach

Despite some of the set backs, I am continuing to persevere. I have also taken part in some beach cleans in Newquay with my daughter. This is a great way to get involved and encourage a responsible attitude to rubbish!

I am going to continue to research and work towards single use plastic alternatives and hope publish a full list/guide to reducing plastic here before the end of the year. I also think that encouraging brands to take a more sustainable approach to packaging via social media particularly Twitter. There are also a few organisations which are great for info on going plastic free:

Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Coast Lines

Friends of the Earth

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Free July

Less Plastic

If you have any great tips to share in the comments, I would love to know!

With warmest wishes


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Plastic Free – Lush Shampoo and Conditioner Bars and Soap

Lush shampoo bar

In my quest to reduce my usage (and ultimately eliminate) single use packages, I have discovered a way to cut out the plastic bottles that are filled with shampoo, conditoner and shower gel by using solid soap, conditioner and shampoo bars. Lush was the most obvious place to try out first as I am a big fan of their products already, been unable to resist the fragrant smell and enthusiatic staff every time and wander into a shop.

After perusing the Lush website for a bit and reading the reviews for a variety of different solid bar products, I decided to buy the following 3 products as a trial to see if I could be persuaded to make the switch away from single use plastic bottles.

Jason and the Argan Oil shampoo bar

Big Solid Conditioner

Maypole Soap

I also decided to try out this Sea Spray Hair Mist  It is not exactly plastic free but the bottle is made using plastic with their closed loop scheme. This means that the bottle can be refilled and reused and then returned to Lush to be recycled into a new container.

So what did I think of the Lush products?

Effectiveness 

I was a little worried a about the impact of solid shampoo and conditioner on my hair as it can get pretty dry. I also only brush my hair through when I wash it and have put in conditioner as it gets quite tangly. I was definitely pleasantly surprised with both the shampoo and conditioner bars. Generally my hair seems to feel a lot more managable and sets into more defined curls after using them although this could also be due to the sea spray mist that I have also started using. I am also convinced that the hair colour I use seems to last longer and looks more vibrant since I have started using these products. The soap feels slightly drying in my skin but not enough to bother me. All of the products smelt amazing and left a lasting fragrance in my hair and bathroom.

Number of washes V cost

I found that one of the big advantages of using these products was the amount of time that they lasted. Although quite expensive to buy in the first place, I think the number of washes from them made them comparable with if not cheaper than buying bottled products. I think the shampoo has lasted at lleast 3 months and I wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week. The soap has lasted much much longer than that. There is also a lots less waste as I use a fraction of the amount that I would use with product from a bottle.

Application

Applying the solid shampoo and conditioner is very different to using liquid varieties. It has to be first rubbed through the hands in water. I found the shampoo bar was pretty easily disolved in water allowing the lather to be applied to my hair. The conditioner was a little more time consuming and I had ti be careful not to drag over my hair as I didn’t want to pull out to much. It did take a bit longer to apply the conditioner and I had to be more carefull about brushing through as it was quite as easy as when I usually use conditoner but I think I can live with this. I have been doing a deep conditioning treatment once a month to ensure that my hair stays in really good conditon as I have had put my hair through quite an ordeal lately with the salt water and wind when surfing, diving and walking in Cornwall.

Storage

The storage of the bars was a little more tricky. I my bath room at home, I just keep them in a soap dish but if travelling I have stuck with using traditional bottled products so far. I think that you can buy tins from Lush to keep them in so may give this a go in the future.

Packaging

Unfortunatley due to lack of time, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit a Lush store and instead had to order through the website. I was pretty shocked to recieve the parcel filled with lots of packaging.

I asked about the packaging on the website chat and promptly got the following answer…

The boxes are filled with packing peanuts that are made from potato starch that are 100% compost-able. 🙂

Which is great news! I still think it would be best to pick up my Lush products when able to visit a store as everything has some environmental impact even if it is biodegradable. That said making a special visit to Bath just to buy Lush products would also have its own footprint caused by the travel.

Overall I would defintiely continue to use these products and I am also planning on trying some more styling products to replace a plastic bottled product that I currently use. It could be quite tricky to find a replacement as I have been looking for the perfect styling product for my hair for years and my current option is the best that I can find to keep it under control without looking greasy. I will keep you posted on how I get on!

What are your favourite Lush products? Do you have any other recommendations for a plastic free bathroom?

With warmest wishes


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