6 EASY (& CHEAP) PLASTIC SWAPS
Making more sustainable choices are often thought of as major changes and require a big budget. But what if you could make small, easy changes without breaking the bank?
Well…… you can! Here are 6 easy and cheap ways to reduce the plastic in your home.
1. Don’t Bin your Used Jars!
Jars are just perfect. Never throw them away as soon as you’ve finished their contents; wash them and remove the label and you have a free method of storing open food and leftovers.
They are by far the best method I’ve used for storing leftovers, as they come in many shapes and sizes. You’re guaranteed to find the right size for your leftovers. Any sauce bottles can be reused directly for homemade sauce; half a tin of tomatoes left open? A jar is just what’s needed.
If you have a large enough jar, it can also be used for your lunch – pasta, salad, soup, it’s not going anywhere when the lids on! Reusable metal containers are great, but they’re expensive. You would be throwing these jars away when you’re finished with them, but they’re a free storage method, designed for keeping food fresh. It’s perfect!
2. Makeup Cloths
Makeup and baby wipes are 90% plastic (in the UK), which along with the chemicals, just add to the pollution levels around the world. 90% – hidden plastic really isn’t cool! As soon as I realised this, I immediately looked for another way of removing my makeup and cleansing my face.
Then whilst out shopping, I saw some baby cloths. As they’re made for babies’ skin, they are really soft, which is perfect for your face. They were £1 for 4 cloths, but they were quite big. So, I cut each cloth into quarters, meaning I actually had 16 cloths for £1.
I found it really easy to turn them into wipes, just soaking the cloths in melted coconut oil and water. They store easily in a glass jar and are just washed after their use. Perfect!
3. Shampoo and Soap Bars
Depending on the brand, just like bottled shampoo, the prices will vary. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend lots, like some of the higher shampoo brands. Both soaps and shampoo bars are commonly bought plastic free, in fact shampoo bars are designed for this reason, so its unlikely you’ll come across one in plastic!
Shampoo bars and soap bars are the same as liquid soap and shampoo, but as simple as it sounds, just a solid version. In my house, it also seems that the shampoo bar in particular, lasts longer than a bottle. There is also no product waste with bars, unlike bottles where the very end of the product gets stuck. No plastic waste, no product waste; it’s a win – win!
4. Old Clothes can become Bags and Rags
If you have some items of clothing that have passed their best, but you love the pattern or design, then why not re-purpose them?
Clothes that still may have a little life left in them can be easily made into shopping bags, which completely cuts out plastic bags. But clothes that may have holes in, may be better suited as rags. Cutting up your old clothes to be used for dishcloths means that you don’t need to buy any, you don’t have to deal with the plastic packaging and, you don’t have to worry about disposing of your worn out clothes.
My mum decided to repurpose her wedding dress in to product bags, taking the netting, dividing it up, sewing it together and adding a drawstring. Extreme, but it means we don’t need to buy any product bags or use the plastic ones from supermarkets.
5. Washing Powder
Companies are always marketing new products, but usually the old works just fine. For example, washing powder, liquid and pods are not drastically different. But the big difference? Packaging.
Pods come in a plastic box, liquid in a plastic bottle, but powder comes in a cardboard box. Washing powder is also cheaper than liquid or pods and, studies show that it can be the most effective at cleaning your load.
6. Make your Own Cleaners
Cleaners can be expensive and are full of harmful chemicals that can make their way into the water system, as well as coming in plastic bottles that need to be disposed off each time it’s used up.
But there is another option! When you use up your last ‘old’ cleaner, save the bottle. By simply diluting vinegar (that can be purchased in a glass bottle) in some water, you’ve got a cleaning solution that can be used almost everywhere in your home. You can also add lemon for more of a kick and to remove some of the vinegar smell.