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Following all the conversations that have happened at COP 26 it’s important for all of us to reflect on our own impact on the environment.

I am by no way perfect in the pursuit of reducing my CO2 emissions nor reducing my reliance on single use plastic… but I’m trying, and that’s the most important thing. During the numerous lockdowns of the past 18 months, I took a personal challenge to investigate alternatives to the everyday plastics we all use.

And I’m not talking re-usable coffee cups or water bottles (that’s the minimum we should be all doing by now). I looked for the less obvious and more challenging products. Below is a list of what I discovered, what works and what I would recommend. I’ve made the mistakes, so you don’t have to.

Long live the milkman!

Do you remember in lockdown 1.0 when milk seemed to be impossible to buy!? Well, I was one of the lucky ones. Just as things became harder to buy and folk were stockpiling 400 toilet rolls under lock and key, I had begun my plastic free mission.

As part of this I had signed up to the local milk man. And as my neighbours where scrambling around for milk for their morning coffees, I had a fresh supply delivered to my door twice a week. It’s great that even in 2021 that old profession of milk delivery is still going strong.

Delivering in an electric vehicle, with glass bottles that are returned and reused, it’s a simple and brilliant alternative to the dreaded plastic bottle, and an easy swap that we can all make. Not only that, gone are the days of the simple milkman from when I was a kid in the 90’s. They can deliver everything from Oat milk to fresh eggs, straight from the farm.

The Laundry

Have you ever noticed how much plastic is used in laundry detergent? It sits in your cupboard for a few weeks before being chucked away. Have you ever stopped to ask why? Well. It really doesn’t need to be that way. One of my favourite finds was the wonderful guys at Smol.

They offer an amazing range of products that are delivered through your door and almost all plastic free. I say almost all, as their fabric softener comes in a recycled plastic bottle that once empty, can be posted back to them, and refilled for you to use again. But don’t worry, you won’t be down the post office every week, their fabric softener lasts for outstanding 6months!

And don’t worry about young kids being able to access the laundry tabs without that locking plastic tub. Their packaging is an excellent piece of cardboard engineering that makes it extra hard for little hands to open.

I get a regular delivery of both the laundry and dishwasher tabs and their social media is full of great tips and tricks!

The spring clean

If you’re like me and find yourself obsessively cleaning the kitchen sides, you’ll know how quickly you can get through a bottle of generic anti-bac kitchen spray. Ocean Saver are a great alternative.

Keep your old plastic bottle, fill it with warm water, drop in one of their EcoDrops and give it a shake. One less plastic bottle being thrown in the bin, and you can keep it in the cupboard to be used again and again and again. I often order these online, but they are also available in a lot of supermarkets. Next time you’re down the shops, keep an eye out for them and give them a go.

The dreaded bar of soap

Now, this one was a challenge. Most plastic free alternatives to a shower gel or body wash is the classic bar of soap, and there is a lot of great ones out there. But, if you’re like me, and thought of using a bar of soap in the shower sends shivers up your spine and haunting memories of being at your nan’s house as a kid… I found a few alternatives.

If you live in a more urban setting, there a lot of great refillable shops out there, where you can pop in with a reusable bottle and top up on staples like body wash. But if you’re like me and neither have the time to trudge out to the shops or don’t have one in your area, a great option is Milly & Sissy.

Milly & Sissy have a great selection of body washes that come in powder form. Similar to Ocean Savers Eco Drops, you pop the powder in a refillable bottle, add hot water and give it a shake. By the following morning you have a lovely body wash ready to go. Not only that, but their packaging is also compostable and with no need to lug the liquid part around it has 94% less transport carbon emissions. Win win.

The Pits

I stopped using aerosol deodorant a long time ago, but it always annoyed me how roll-on deodorants are mostly plastic bottles. There has been a lot of plastic free deodorant on the market for some time, but they often have weird and wonderful application methods that quite frankly seem strange.

For me, the obvious change was Wild deodorant. It acts like most of the traditional roll-on deodorants that we are all used to, but comes as a timeless custom aluminium case with plastic free refills that can be delivered direct to your door. Not only that, but they also have some amazing scents and outstanding reviews, and you can even purchase the refills from the supermarket.

Washing Up

The washing up liquid. A staple in every home, but again, another plastic bottle that has a very short life before being cast away. A great product to top up at your local refills shop, but if you don’t have that option I’ve found a great alternative. Choose Packaging have the first market-ready paper bottle. Yep, you read that right… a paper bottle.

Currently they offer a limited number of products including washing up liquid. It does a great job soaking those burnt pans, but most importantly their bottles are biodegradable, 100% natural, sustainable, and vegan-friendly which will take less than a year, instead of a few centuries to degrade. They also offer a great hand soap and antibacterial gel that are all delivered direct to your door. A great alternative and easy swap that we can all make.

The Essentials

Ecovibe is great place to start your plastic-free journey. Sometimes it hard to know where to start and although I hope this blog has given you a good steer, if I had one top tip, it would be to visit the Ecovibe website.

You can find a plethora of daily essentials to start your journey. From kitchen sponges, biodegradable bin bags, bamboo cotton buds, all the way through to beauty products. It gives you a great starting point to give things a try. They even sell sample and starters kits which are a great deal and gives you a chance to sample the product.

We all know and understand the climate crisis and it’s important we all start to make these changes in our everyday life. From reducing our dependence on plastic to minimising our carbon footprint. It’s not about a few people being perfect, but all of us trying to do our bit. I hope this blog has perhaps convinced some of you to try a plastic free alternative, and in the meantime I’ll keep searching out further alternatives and testing out what I find. Till next time, Ross.