Smart shopping can make a world of difference. Some of these ideas will take a little getting used to and some will take a lot. But what would life be if it always stayed the same? You, me, WE are The Shift, remember!
Instead of buying shampoo in plastic bottles, try a shampoo soap bar. Most of them will also be free of nasty chemicals that may dry your hair and irritate your scalp.
THE SHIFT LIKES:
- The Printed Peanut Natural Handmade Rose Geranium Shampoo Soap Bar (Various stockists)
- Lush Shampoo bars (Lush)
- Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar - Lavender & Tea Tree (Amazon, Ethical Superstore, Planet Organic)
Billions - yes, billions - of plastic toothbrushes are thrown away each year. Instead of using plastic brushes, switch to a bamboo or biodegradable toothbrush.
THE SHIFT LIKES:
- The Humble Brush for adults (Amazon, Boots, Superdrug, Waitrose, Coop, Holland & Barret, Morrisons, Planet Organic, Wholefoods)
- Georganics for kids (Amazon, Revital, Planet Organic, Wholefoods)
Think how many toothpaste tubes we throw out our lives! But you can buy toothpaste in glass jars. Hurrah! And if you have the time, you can visit the brilliant Trash is for Tossers site for a recipe make your own.
THE SHIFT LIKES:
- Georganics (Amazon, Ethical Superstore, Revital, Planet Organic, Wholefoods)
- Truthpaste (Amazon, eBay, and regional indies)
Instead of wasting plastic by using disposable pump dispensers, return to the good old bar of soap. There is much research to show that ‘antibacterial’ liquid soap is NO more effective at removing bacteria than soap bars, and it’s carbon footprint is around 25% higher. Bars of soap are cheaper and last a whole lot longer: it’s a no brainer!
Whether you use roll-on, stick or aerosol, you probably chuck away a bunch of plastic or cans each year. The good news is that natural deodorants are becoming more and more popular, and are usually available in glass jars. They don’t stop the sweating, but they 100% stop the smell, and as a large bonus they don’t contain worrying ingredients like many high-street brands of deodorant. Well worth a go.
TAKE IT FURTHER
Make your own with this great recipe from Trash is for Tossers
You’d be hard pushed to have missed the uproar about coffee cups recently, but if you did, here’s a quick reminder.
Back in 2011, an estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups were thrown away, and that figure has most likely risen substantially now. Over 99% of those cups are not recycled. (More info here)
SO. Buy a reusable coffee cup and keep it in your bag. Always! No excuses!
Yup, you guessed it. Unless you’re using eco brands, your STs and tampons contain plastic. And not only that, many marine biologists have found such delights floating round in reefs. So, not only are we putting plastic and chemicals into a super-sensitive part of our bodies, we are also flushing them into rivers and seas. What’s the answer? There are a few good ones to choose from, thankfully.
1. If you want to use tampons and sanitary towels, use eco brands. We like Naty & Natracare
2. NEVER flush your tampons or sanitary towels. If they get through the sewers (which they frequently clog up) then they could quite feasibly end up in the sea. Wrap ‘em and bin ‘em
3. Try a menstrual cup.
4. Try period pants. Personally, I’m a fan.
5. Try reusable sanitary pads.
To find out more info on this, check out City to Sea’s brilliant Plastic Free Periods campaign, where you will also see a great video of 4 people trialling the different alternatives.
This is a tricky one. Kids LOVE balloons. But there are lots of decoration alternatives, like buying some upcycled bunting from eBay or Etsy. You can also get lovely paper pompoms that you can hang from ceilings or chairs. And you can still play that game where you bob them around the room without letting them touching the floor. If you simply can’t do without balloons, check out Little Cherry who sell biodegradable ones in all shapes and sizes.
If you do buy biodegradable balloons, please, please don’t release them. They end up rivers, the sea and hedgerows when they eventually pop, and can seriously harm wildlife. They need to be disposed of properly, either in your black bin or in the compost heap.
I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you’re already aware of how important it is to use a reusable bottle (cut down on plastic waste and also keep your carbon footprint low as tap water doesn’t have to be transported from far flung places). So, instead, here is some useful info about bottles and where to fill them up.
We recommend using stainless steel bottles. These will last you for a looooooong time and stainless steel is toxin free. There are some concerns over drinking water out of plastic and aluminium containers. Just something to be aware of.
For those in the UK, the wonderful City to Sea have launched the Refill app, which shows refill points near you, so you never get thirsty on the hop.
Needless to say, never leave the tap running or dripping, like in this picture! Water is precious and we should acknowledge its value.