We are going to try different products and different ways of reducing waste, this may end up being a list of things we have tried with suitable comments around whether they have worked or not.
If at any point we are given products to try and review we will note that it is sponsored and we have been asked to create a review.
As you can imagine we are pretty anti plastic wrapping in all its forms. We have been clingfilm free for approaching three years now. We get paper wrapped meat, or use recycled containers for it.
We turned our focus on toilet roll in the last few months. There are several well known ‘eco’ brands that paper wrap each roll then box it and have it imported from china using bamboo as their base material. We wanted something not shipped globally that would do the job just as well and not be hugely expensive. So after searching what was out there we have settled on ‘Nicky eco’ we get it shipped from a wholesaler, it comes paperwrapped in packs of 9 then boxed in our required volume. Its fsc certified, made in the UK and not that much more to buy than other premium brands…
We had a 4kW photovoltaic system installed on the roof of a previous property for a few years as part of the roof was almost due south facing. For East Anglia we generated a good amount of electricity saving on non-renewable energy. What we generated was fed back into the grid, and we benefited from the feed in tariff, and free electricity which we maximised by running the washing machine during day light hours. We have now moved and have an east – west facing roof which is not ideal for panels, in addition the government have changed the rules on payments microgenerators get for the electricity they generate and what they feed into the grid, this makes panels less cost effective.
REDUCING PACKAGING #1
For as long as I can remember I have preferred home cooked to ready meals, this by default means we have less packaging than if everything came out of a packet.
However at the moment we still seem to generate a large amount of rigid plastic.
We have abandoned cling film and not used it for over two years now.
Sandwiches are wrapped in greaseproof paper or foil, we reuse plastic takeaway containers for fresh meat from butchers or if we have to supermarkets.
We also use them for freezing left overs, they make great salad boxes for lunches,
The girls use them for craft pots, seed trays for flowers, veggies, and anything else we can think of until they are only fit for recycling.
We now buy milk direct from the farm, we use refillable glass bottles, this saves plastic going to landfill, significantly reduces the carbon footprint of our milk, and it means we drink less processed higher quality milk than if we bought a mass produced product. We have found it pretty cost neutral as we used to buy supermarket Gold top, and the milk tastes so good. The big win is that by refilling our bottles at the farm means at least 210 litre milk cartons not going into the recycling system every year. For more on farm milk see our page on the subject.
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A CUP OF TEA, BUT DO YOU WANT PLASTIC WITH THAT?
So you would think there is nothing more natural than a cup of tea wouldn’t you? Leaves simply picked, dried and packaged. Well that is until you learn that the majority of tea bags sold in the UK contain plastic.
Yes those little bags of flavour hide a secret. To stop them coming apart the majority are heat sealed, to allow this they contain polypropylene to help keep their shape and stop splitting when wet.
This means that they are not fully compostable, and rotting them down will leave tea bag skeletons in your compost and release plastic particles into the soil and thus the food chain. Worms munch what’s in the soil, birds eat the worms, and so on….
For more on this see our Tea page
09/02/2018 We are trying the Splosh refill solution as a way of reducing out plastic container consumption. The packages were ordered (free p&p we like that) and a few days later they arrived through the post.
The boxes are small enough to go through the letterbox so are postman friendly.
Opening the boxes you are greeted with a plastic pouch of washing up concentrate, and eight sausage shaped hand soap ‘sausages’ these go into bottles with hot water to create your soapy product.
The pouches can be recycled by sending back to Splosh in one of the boxes free of charge using the return label. We will update further when we have an empty bottle to mix the product in…
In use it seems everybit as good as our usual supermarket brand, bubbles stay til the end of a moderately greasy wash, we are not using more than normal, and it seems to clean very well… So a thumbs up from living gentler.
Having explored Splosh products we switched to using Carex pouches for hand-soap, we found we were having problems with the Splosh capsules bursting and the product leaking out, so we decided to temporarily change to a more mainstream product, which brings our cost down and also still helps minimises the plastic entering our waste stream. We are looking for hand-soap refillables locally as well as using natural soap bars that are not plastic wrapped.
With cost in mind we found a retailer that offers a refill service on Ecover washing up liquid. We take a 2ltr container and it gets filled with Ecover Washing up liquid. As we buy in bulk and use our own packaging this offers a cost benefit whilst still being kind to the environment.
Having tried the Carex refills in our own soap bottles we have progressed to soap bars. While less waste was produced we still didn’t like throwing the plastic pouches into the bin, because great as the idea of a branded refill pouch is, the recycling capacity just isn’t there yet. We would rather generate no plastic waste from this aspect of our lives than some waste, or generate the waste and have to drive 20+ miles to recycle it.
So we are now using bar soaps that we can buy either boxed or unwrapped.
Having tried faith in nature’s grapefruit bar, we wanted to find a soap that we like and that is palm derivative free (something that is a challenge), we have now settled on soaps from the Friendly Soap Company. They have a great range are palm free come plastic free, and are not massively expensive being around £2.00 a bar.
We now have several refil stores so use whichever washing up liquid they stock. We also use it for handwash as the eco-brands are quite skin kind.