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 2

5 11 2019

Really loving the discussions that have followed these posts! After part 1 someone told me about Bare + Fair who run a stall in Woking each Saturday, so a while ago I popped down to get a few more things to try out!
As well as things like those below, they also do refills of shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, cleaning products, all sorts of things! Just take down any container and they’ll fill it and charge you by weight – brilliant!

Category: Conditioner bar

Brand: Funky Soap
Item: For Normal Hair
Price: £8
Thoughts: If I rub it between my hands it really doesn’t feel like there’s anything to put in my hair, so I’m rubbing it straight on – even then it doesn’t feel like it’s doing much, but my hair seems to be ok after! Makes me wonder about trying a wash without conditioner one day if I’m brave, it’d help me know if this bar is doing anything! It’s going down VERY slowly though so if it is good, it’s good value! And smells yummy.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Will go through this bar which could take a long time – would buy again, but might also experiment without conditioner… or maybe try the refills? I do miss liquid conditioner.

Category: Toothpaste

Brand: Save Some Green
Item: Tooth Tabs
Price: £3.50 (for a tin of 62)
Thoughts: I really haven’t enjoyed these, and keep stopping using them and going back to normal toothpaste, so still have a load left! They look like mints, you put one in your mouth and chew it til it crumbles and mixes with your saliva to become a bit like a paste and then brush your teeth with it. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, I would carry on if I didn’t know I still had normal toothpaste in the cupboard from before I tried going greener. Maybe when I run out of tubes of toothpaste I’ll give it another go.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Will work through the toothpaste I have and then try again.

Category: Face wash

Brand: Friendly Soap
Item: Cocoa Butter Cleansing Bar
Price: £2.99
Thoughts: This is nice enough, my skin seems fine with it, froths up nicely, and is lasting well but not quite sure it’s worth the price when other soaps are so much cheaper.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Given how much Dove soap I can get for less money, I’m going to shift to that when this runs out.

Category: Deodorant

Brand: Fit Pit
Item: For Women
Price: £4 (sample size)
Thoughts: The texture is kind of mousse like – you just scoop a tiny bit out and rub it in! Unfortunately it gave me a bit of a mild rash, but other than that it seemed to be effective! I think they might do a sensitive version which I’d willingly try.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Decision: Stopped due to the rash but next time I go to Bare and Fair I’ll get the sensitive one.

Category: Toilet Paper

Brand: Who gives a C***
Item: Recycled 3-ply double length roll
Price: 76p (for one roll)
Thoughts: I have two main gripes with this product – one more significant than the other. The small one is that if you order from the company, they come in a big box with the company name written massively on the side, I’d have to get it delivered to work and I’m not sure a Christian workplace is the least embarrassing place for that to happen!
The bigger issue for me though is that they really promote themselves as environmentally friendly etc, but in not being available in supermarkets so you can’t get it as part of your weekly shop, (probably an issue with the name?!), they’ll courier it to you (they claim to be helpful in that you don’t have to bring it home from the supermarket – weird) – which they promote as convenient, but at the end of the day is just putting another vehicle on the road.
The toilet roll itself is really tightly wrapped which means you are getting a lot more per roll, so I guess that’s good, and it’s perfectly fine to use, but I think the courier issue still bothers me too much.
Rating: ⭐⭐
Decision: Might pick up a few rolls from Bare + Fair on the few occasions I’m in Woking (parking is fast becoming extortionate), but I wouldn’t get it delivered and therefore won’t use it regularly. I’ll go back to my recycled stuff for now.

Have you tried any of the above and have different opinions? Any recommendations on alternatives? Would love to hear from you!

Going Green – Sanitary Products

13 08 2019

You probably already got this from the title, but if you’re male, this post probably won’t interest you. Ladies, please read on! (Though I guess maybe if you’re a man with a teenage daughter etc, this might be relevant after all – don’t worry, I don’t get too gruesome in it!)

I should open by saying that of the two main sanitary product options, I’ve always been a towel girl rather than a tampon girl, so the fact that I rave about the towel alternative below rather than things like the moon-cup is really down to personal preference – I haven’t tried a mooncup and probably won’t, don’t let that put you off, it’s just my choice!

I ordered a Cloth Sanitary Pad Kit from Cheeky Wipes in Spring 2017. The great thing with this company is they change their special offer every month, so I managed to get it with 25% – worth keeping an eye out! (If you can’t find a special offer that works for you, you can still get 10% off your first order by signing up to their newsletter, OR you can get 15% off any order over £40 by using my link!). Yes the initial outlay was expensive, but for 2 years I haven’t spent a single penny on Sanitary products, it’s a great investment!

The kit comes with a selection of pad sizes, a box to soak them in, and a bag to put them in for the washing machine. I also recommend getting a double wet bag if the kit doesn’t come with one, so that you have something to keep spare clean ones, or used ones if you’re out of the house.

These pads are so comfortable: that slight rustling noise when you move is gone, the discomfort of that slightly plasticy texture is forgotton, and the smell is pretty much history too! Turns out a lot of the smell is the blood reacting in the chemicals in the disposable pads!

Some people say that these aren’t much better for the environment because of needing to run them through the washing machine, but it really makes no difference – I just bung them in the bag and put them in with the rest of my clothes on a standard 30min@30degree wash and it’s no problem at all.

All of the above, plus they come in a variety of pretty patterns as well!

I honestly can’t recommend these enough, it’s not only helping the environment, but I don’t feel I’ve compromised at all, I think they’re an improvement on what I was using before!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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!

White List: Katy Page Designs

20 05 2018

I recently bought the most wonderful Seven Dwarves backpack from Amazon – the reviews were all good, but a lot did warn me that zip tags would go almost instantly. So when on the first day the tags came off in my hand, I wasn’t surprised, and already had a plan.

Katy Page makes the most amazing Disney Princess Charm Bracelets, including a Snow White one, and so I contacted her to ask if she could use some of those items to make keyrings that I could use as zip tags.

Not only did she agree to give it a go, she made recommendations of adding beads to give something more substantial to hold on to (and asked for a photo of the bag so she used suitable colours!), and sent me these lovely pieces!

Really affordable, and fantastic customer service 🙂

One Red Paperclip – by Kyle Macdonald

30 06 2013

I’ve utterly loved this book, reflected in how quickly I’ve read it!

This is a book about a guy who is sick of pouring his money down the drain in rent, and has no steady income, and so, inspired by a game called “Bigger and Better” from his childhood, tries to trade up from a Red Paperclip, up to a house he can call his own.

I really doesn’t sound possible does it? The book works you through each trade and how it came about, chapter by chapter. It’s a real story, the website and blog he wrote at the time all still exist! There’s not too much of a spoiler in them either as the introduction to the book says pretty much exactly where it’s going to end up!

The guy behind it all is really quite inspiring. It’s not about trading up for something of higher monetary value, it’s about the journey, about the people, and the idea that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Definitely worth a read!

one red paperclip