Going Green – A Miscellany

14 10 2020

Last year I started trying a load of de-plasticing options, (see my other “Going Green” blog entries), some good, some bad, but I hadn’t tried many new options for a while. So given the disposable income I had from not commuting and from sitting around my parents house for annual leave instead of going away, and re-motivated by the plastic free July campaign, this summer I decided to spend some of that money on a few more swaps to try. It’s been long enough now to give you some feedback, see how I got on below!

Category: Laundry detergent

Brand: Smol
Item: Non-bio capsule subscription.
Price: £4.50 per 24 pack
Thoughts: I was apprehensive because there was only detergent available, no fabric conditioner. I contacted them and they said it shouldn’t be needed, and they were right, I haven’t noticed any difference in the condition of my clothes at all! (though, contradicting what they said to me, they’ve now launched a fabric conditioner option!)
They’re cheaper, they come in the normal post as regularly as you choose, they’re better for the environment, they come in a cardboard sleeve instead of a massive plastic tub – there seems to be very little to lose! They even solved the one issue I had with the liquitabs I was using before (the tubs from the supermarket, I got whatever was on offer – Bold/Ariel/Tesco own brand). I found that before, after washing at 30°C, one item of clothing would have a small patch of sticky residue where the capsule hadn’t fully dissolved, but with these I don’t have that problem! Absolute winner.
If you’re interested, you can get a free trial of 9 liquitabs, just paying £1 to cover postage. (It’s my refer link, so for full disclosure, I do get a discount if you sign up.)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Fully converted, my subscription is set up and will continue!
My referral link

Category: Deodorant

Brand: Wild
Item: Natural deodorant subscription.
Price: Initial subscription purchase: case and cartridge, £12. Refills £15 for a set of 3. Or one off purchase of case and 3 refills, £25.
Thoughts: I had a bit of a reaction to the bicarb in it at the start (though this was mid August heatwave when it was 30 degrees), but after a while it seems to have settled down. I’m having to be careful not to use too much as it’s a subscription service, and not particularly cheap, but it’s probably a good thing that I use less anyway! The Orange Zest one smells particularly amazing. Basic deodorant function wise it seems good though! You keep the case, and the refills come in compostable cases, so plastic wise, all is good.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Will definitely stick with it for now as long as I can make it last between subscriptions. To be honest, I’d much rather use non-natural deodorant, but all the plastic-free options seem to be natural deodorants. I have written to the companies that make the old deodorants I used to see what their stances were on providing a plastic free option, but their replies weren’t particularly helpful, so for now, Wild is a good plastic free option!
My referral link

Category: Deodorant

Brand: Nuud
Item: Natural deodorant.
Price: £12.95 for 15ml starter pack “6-7 weeks”. £24.95 for 2x20ml pack “19-20 weeks”. They also offer a subscription service.
Thoughts: The big marketing point for Nuud is that you only need to use it every 3-4 days, it’s shower proof and everything. It worked fine for me, but my problem was remembering when I last put it on, to know when I was going to need to next use it! And this was even just while I was working out how often I needed it, not even once I’d got into a regular routine.
I bought this because of the bicarb-free selling point when I had the reaction to Wild, and indeed I didn’t get a reaction from it. But what does bother me, is that while the tube is made of sugar cane and so is biodegradable, the cap on every tube is still plastic.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Decision: It feels like even at the beginning I couldn’t keep track when it’s not daily, then it’s probably not going to work for me, so while I’ll probably end up using up the tube, I probably won’t re-buy.

Category: Toothbrush

Brand: Glorious Alternatives
Item: Hard-bristle bamboo toothbrushes.
Price: £4.99 for a pack of 4.
Thoughts: I had tried a bamboo toothbrush before, but found the bristles way too soft. I did some googling and found some people recommending these for people who prefer a firm toothbrush. They were better than the other brush I had tried, but still far too soft for me. Though the good thing about this company is that for every pack sold, they donate a toothbrush to a child in need.
Rating: ⭐⭐
Decision: Too soft for me, but as they all come in individual cardboard boxes (which seems a tad excessive), I can donate the other three to the foodbank.

Category: Cleaning products

Brand: Ocean Saver
Item: Cleaning EcoDrops.
Price: £1.50 per refill
Thoughts: When I first bought these, I bought all the initial plastic bottles to go with them (and then reuse forever) so it felt a bit weird, but from now on all that I need to order is the little capsules that come in cardboard boxes, which you then drop into the spray bottle with warm water, give it a shake, and you’re good to go – for ages, since the bottles are 750ml.
I ordered the kitchen degreaser, the bathroom cleaner, the glass cleaner, the floor cleaner, and the anti bac spray. Am pretty happy with them – occasionally have to get the half finished bottle of flash bleach out of the cupboard for the hob, but not much, and I think I might be able to go without that if I got a metal wire ball scourer thing – and if I followed the instructions and actually left the spray for a couple of minutes before wiping, it might just be fine! My windows are a bit smeary, but I think that’s just my lack of skill in window-cleaning, rather than anything against the cleaner!
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Very happy to stick with it.

Category: Cleaning products

Brand: Eco-Living
Item: Compostable sponge cloths.
Price: £5.50 for 4, or £6.99 for 6.
Thoughts: First thing to say, not only are these compostable, but they’re also washing machine safe, so should last for ages! I was using standard supermarket sponges with the slight scourer on one side before this, and my worktops always felt like there was residue left on them, and now they finally feel properly clean! Whether it’s the cleaner or these I’m not sure, but makes sense as the texture is different that it’d make a difference! They come in a load of colours so you can easily keep track of what you use on kitchen surfaces vs bathroom vs windows etc.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: I love that these are plastic free, washable, and do the job better than my last ones! I’ve just ordered a second set, so that I can use them when the others are in the wash 🙂

Category: Toilet Roll

Brand: The Good Roll
Item: The Cheerful Choice – Maxi Roll
Price: €19.95 for 24 rolls (less without the wraps or if you subscribe, can also order a 48 or 96 box at better value). I also had to pay a few pence for the international transaction with my bank.
Thoughts: I ordered mine with the wraps the first time around, for the novelty value, but pretty sure I would leave them next time and take the discount! I went with The Good Roll for a couple of reasons. Mainly, their biggest competitor, WGAC ship from Australia (in bulk, and then distribute through the UK) whereas The Good Roll manufacture in the Netherlands, from Dutch waste, so the travel miles, while it does come over the Channel, are much reduced. The roll is decent quality, and being longer, obviously lasts longer. They do offer a bamboo version for those who want the luxury option, but this obviously travels further. Additionally, 50% of their net profits are invested in building safe toilets in East Africa.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: If there was a UK based firm doing this, that’d be amazing, but I haven’t found one yet so will stick with these guys for now.

That’s all for now, but I’ve got a few other bits I’ve ordered since and not ready to review yet, so I’ll be back with them another time!

Going Green – Toiletries part 1

6 08 2019

At the start of the year I decided to try and take some steps towards reducing how much single use plastic I get through. What I found really helpful was personal recommendations and online reviews, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the things I’ve tried out incase it’s of use to others in turn.

In this post I’ll go through the toiletries I’ve tried out so far this year – I call this part one because some of these items I won’t be sticking with, and so hopefully I’ll find more things to try. I also bought cloth sanitary towels a couple of years ago and will cover sanitary products in another post. I also have a list of things I’m still looking for recommendations for, so I’ll share that soon too.

Near the start of the year I placed an order with Lush to get a few items to try, their stuff isn’t cheap but I was told by a friend that it lasted a long time. Whether you shop in store or online, nearly all of it came wrapped in paper and no plastic involved – so several of the things I tried below are from there.

Category: Shampoo bar

Brand: Lush
Item: “Honey I washed my hair”
Price: £8
Thoughts: I started using this on 10th February, and it lasted ’til late July, that’s 5.5 months! – yes it was expensive but I’d have got through a few bottles of normal shampoo in that time I’m sure.
It lathers up nicely in your hands, I tend to find I use that to lather the top of my head, and then just run the bar down the back of my head a couple of times before lathering it all up together.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: I’m on my second bar now, I’ll definitely be continuing to use this.

Category: Conditioner bar

Brand: Lush
Item: “Jungle”
Price: £7
Thoughts: This I was less impressed with, it only lasted a couple of months at best, but on top of that, it took so long to get enough in your hair, and even then, it never really felt like enough when you gave up and decided you’d been faffing long enough and were gonna be late for work.
Bit of a disappointment, as soon as it ran out I went back to bottled conditioner. I’d like to try another brand but wonder if it’s just that conditioner doesn’t naturally suit being in a block – would love to get your recommendations if you’ve found a good option.
Rating: ⭐⭐
Decision: Back to liquid while I look for a better option.

Category: Shower Soap

Brand: Lush
Item: “Rock Star”
Price: £3
Thoughts: Nothing particularly special, again didn’t last particularly long and just didn’t justify the cost – I think that mainly covered its colour and shape. Hands had that weird friction-y, un-moisturised feel after using as well.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Not worth the cost, see below.

Category: Shower Soap

Brand: Dove
Item: Shea Butter Soap
Price: £2 for four
Thoughts: I thought it was worth trying a cheaper option than Lush for a shower gel replacement, and this is lovely. Seems to be lasting well, cheap as chips, and lathers up nicely and easy to use. Hands feel so smooth after using, and it’s lasting for ages more than shower gel did.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Got a nice stash of these in the cupboard from the multipack and will buy more when they run out!

Category: Hand Soap

Brand: Tesco
Item: Extracts Magnolia Soap
Price: £1.20 for four
Thoughts: After the initial Lush shop I realised that I hadn’t considered handwash. I’ve kept my kitchen handwash as it seems more hygenic when dealing with things like eggs and meat, but for the bathroom it really didn’t need to be anything special – I hadn’t really thought about it but then during my weekly shop decided to see if people even still sold basic bar soap, and it turns out they do! Had to buy a soap dish as well, but obviously that’ll last!
It’s done that weird thing that I remember soap doing when I was a kid (before I moved out and switched to liquid soap which seemed so much better in a world prior to awareness of single-use-plastic problems) of starting to split down it’s length creating dark lines, but it’s not affected it’s quality at all, very happy.
It’s really lasting forever, so value for money is through the roof, and while hands aren’t left as soft as the Dove one, they’re not bad at all.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Converted, definitely will keep on with this.

Category: Deodorant bar

Brand: Lush
Item: “Sunflower”
Price: £6.50
Thoughts: I’ve never been thrilled with any deodorant option I’ve used, so thought maybe this would be the thing I loved! Aerosols I use way too much of each time and have to move away to not choke on the fumes, roll-ons seem to never dry, haven’t used them in years, cream sticks is where I’ve been lately, but sometimes you seem to end up with half the stick in your armpit and waste a load of it wiping it off!
So yes, high hope here, but unfortunately, even though it’s a pretty dry bar as you wipe it on, it felt pretty sticky probably until about lunchtime each time I used it. Yes I think it was effective as a deodorant, but it wasn’t comfortable through the morning.
The one time it was really useful was when I’d gone back to using the cream stick but just ran out one morning and for some reason didn’t have a spare – and because this really does seem like it’d last a long time, it was just sat there for me to use.
Might give it a try in the warmer weather, but to be honest that feels a bit risky!
Rating: ⭐⭐
Decision: Works but not comfortable, back on cream sticks and aerosols combination again for now, again, recommendations appreciated for other options.

Category: Toothbrush

Brand: Humble Brush
Item: Medium toothbrush
Price: £2.99
Thoughts: This had been on my list of things to try substituting for a while, but it seemed that everywhere I looked I could only find subscription services, which I wasn’t ready to commit to yet, or soft bristles. In my plastic toothbrushes I always buy a firm, but when I eventually found these for sale as medium, I thought it was the closest I’d get so got one to try.
I have no issue with the wooden handle at all, but the bristles are just still too soft for me. Can’t comment on durability as I won’t be sticking with it for that reason.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Decision: The fact it’s bamboo isn’t a problem, it’s just the bristles! If you’ve seen any firm bristle bamboo toothbrushes anywhere, please let me know!

Would love to hear what things you’ve tried and loved or hated! Comment below!