Switch up the plastic: simple swaps

plastic free washing up kit

Once you see plastic you can’t un-see it. It’s crept into our everyday lives and taken over; we’re so dependent on it and we don’t even realise. It has slowly spread to envelop just about every aspect of our lives and so when the light bulb goes ‘ting’ and you want to stop using so much, the challenge really begins.

There are things that you can do to reduce the amount that you use though. It’s essentially reverting back to the good old days. This does mean though that you have to change up your habits – it’s essentially adopting a new lifestyle. It means you will have to change the way you shop, the way you cook (maybe) and the way you clean. I’ve personally not broached the topic of clothes yet as I am terrified of the outcome but I know that will have to come sooner or later…

What can you switch up to reduce your plastic intake?

1. Drink me: water bottles

This was a major one for us… While we were living in Peterborough where the water doesn’t taste very nice we got into the habit of using bottled sparkling water. We’d go through a two litre bottle a day – you do that maths – that’s a lot of bottles in a year. Our recycling bins were bulging! We have plenty of reusable plastic bottles from cycling and running and so we’ve switched to using these. When these have run out I’ve got my eye on a nice stainless steel Klean Kanteen water bottle… I have a Kleen Kanteen insulated flask that lives by my side, which leads me on to…

2. Stop the waste: reusable coffee cups

We both have reusable coffee cups that usually come with us wherever we go. However, on the odd occasions that we do forget our cups we didn’t think twice about getting a takeaway cup from the service station. This has now stopped. If we forget our cups, we don’t get coffee. It’s that simple. Coffee is a luxury product anyway.

I’m planning on doing a round up of coffee cups so check in soon to see some options.

You may think that coffee cups are neither here nor there but they actually can’t be recycled. There’s a plastic lining in them that often stops them from being processed. Coffee cups are responsible for such a huge volume of rubbish that clogs up landfill, rivers and the ocean that it’s truly shocking. I promise you that it’s a much nicer experience drinking out of your own coffee cup – one that you love the look of and feel badass carrying around.

Check out my long term review of the Klean Kanteen insulated flask here – perfect for taking with you on a day out.

2.1. Make coffee at home

Find a deli or health food shop that sells loose coffee (or loose tea) and take your jar along to get it filled up. Rather than get a coffee on the go, why not make it at home using a cafetière or an espresso pot – either drink it at home before you go or take it in a flask with you. You’ll definitely save money if you do it this way. We’re a huge fan of coffee out of the cafetière on a morning before work and the espresso pot is a delight on a weekend morning. If you’re in the Hay-on-Wye area, I cannot recommend Hay Deli enough. The Columbian coffee on sale there is one of my favs (as seen in the photo below).

I also came across this BBC video of how the Italians drink their coffee and I thought it was definitely worth a share on here. When we went to Lake Como in northern Italy, both Tom and myself were struck by the wonderful coffee out there and started drinking from our espresso pot every morning afterwards. It was only for lack of routine and time that we ended up falling out of this habit, but it’s certainly something we may try starting up again. There’s something blissful about a having a morning routine (that involves coffee).

3. All the jars: storage

Rather than buying the food in plastic bags and storing them in it we’ve acquired some glass jars and now store our food in these. I’m happy about this because it looks lovely and you can see what you’ve got but there’s just one thing… we are yet to find somewhere that sells all of this lovely food in bulk to restock. It is going to mean changing up what we eat slightly but I don’t think that will be too bad. I don’t mind getting inventive with my cooking – it’s a bit of a challenge – and will hopefully mean we eat nice and healthy, too.

Nuts and pasta now in glass jars

Initially though it was a good exercise to do because it made me get out everything that has been hiding in the back of my cupboards and now I can focus on actually using up that couscous that’s been sitting there since last summer and the quinoa and lentils that have been tucked away out of sight. While we focus on using them up another solution to restocking them might appear.

4. Ditch the sponge

This was one of the most simple swaps and one that we did straight away. Rather than using a disposable sponge that we would come to the end of its life within a week, we bought a weeks worth of cotton cloths. We use one for a couple of days and then bung it in the same hot wash as our hankies at the end of the week. I really thought I’d hate this one as it means food waste gets caught up in the cloth but if you make sure that you properly rinse it at the end of your washing up session then it’s absolutely fine. I tend to rinse my plates before I stick them on the side anyway as we don’t usually do the washing up straight away after we eat.

We also bought a couple of pot/veg brushes that are made out of food and plant fibre bristles, which have actually been really great for getting the bulk of the food remains off the pan or plate first.

Re-usable dish cloths

5. Washing up

We have a bottle of Ecover washing up liquid, which does come in a plastic bottle. The plan here is to by a large 5l container to keep under the sink. We’ll keep our small bottle on the countertop and refill it as we go. Then find a shop who does refills (such as the Hay Deli in Hay-on-Wye) and get our big container topped up. So, yes, it is plastic but as we know plastic doesn’t degrade (every piece of plastic ever made is still in existence somewhere) and so we’re going to reuse these bottles constantly and therefore negating the need to buy more and bring more plastic into our home.

Ecover re-fillable bottle

6. Wrap me up: wax wraps

I use sandwich bags a lot – they make portable food so easy and they’re perfect for wrapping things up in the freezer with. Needless to say that this was a little bit of a problem and I needed an alternative. Having poked about the internet a little I’ve come across wax wraps. You can get beeswax or soy wax wraps. When these arrived I was very unsure about them and whether they really would be a nice alternative.

Their first outing was as sandwich wrapping for our hike up Catbells and Maiden Moor in the Lake District and they were perfect. They mould themselves around an object so we didn’t need to try too hard to keep the food contained. All in all, they protected the food very well, and kept leaking sauces contained – and there was no danger of them splitting or ripping in our bags. I was very impressed. I used two wraps to keep everything together and it worked wonders. A nice little detail to note (especially if you end up using them to wrap sandwiches for work) is that once unfolded they act as a little place mat, catching any crumbs that escape. They were super easy to clean, too. Just wipe them over with a cool – warm cloth and you’re sorted.

They were a little bit on the pricey side but they’re apparently reusable for up to 6 months with continuous use – and compostable after you’re finished with them. If that holds true then that’s fabulous.

OR I’ve discovered wraps like this one below, which is made out of cloth but with a plastic lining. While it is plastic it’s in a form that’s easier to clean than the wax wraps above and you use again and again.

Sandwich wrap Found on Etsy

7. The veg box

8. Buy loose

If you’re not sold on the veg box suggestion that I’ve listed above just buy as much fruit and veg as you can from the supermarket loose and plastic free. There is usually a handful of supermarkets that have a selection of things like broccoli loose. If where you shop doesn’t do plastic free veg then make a bit of a noise about it – as soon as one supermarket declares it’s going plastic free (at least on veg) the others will follow and then we’re all winning.

9. Find a milk man

I discussed how well ours was going in my last plastic free blog post (veg box link above) but I think it’s worth mentioning again here. He delivers in glass bottles that we can send back to be washed out and re-used. Our delivery arrives before we wake up in the morning and so we have fresh milk, orange juice, eggs (the ones go back to him for re-use, too) and butter every week, with a top up on the weekends. This means that we don’t have to go to the shop ourselves to buy it, we’re supporting a local business and we don’t have any waste/recycling to sort.

Our delivery from the milk man

10. Bread

Again, I’ve mentioned it in my veg box post (link above) but it’s something worth noting here again. If you have access to a bakery then buying bread from there means that you can ask for it to be put in a paper bag or provide your own bag for them to use. It means you’re not ditching the useless piece of plastic that bread comes wrapped in. Another option if you don’t have access to a bakery is to buy a few loaves at once and freeze all you don’t think you’ll use straight away to preserve freshness.

Buy bread fresh from a bakery to go plastic free

11. Soap me up

We guess at each household going through a bottle of liquid soap a month in a year. 30 million UK households at roughly a bottle a month equals 360 million bottles of liquid soap going into the bin every year. That is a crazy amount of plastic going in the (recycling) bin.

So, we’ve made a simple switch up to using a bar of soap. This lasts longer and, if you feel fancy, there are many independent shops on places like Etsy that make beautiful bars. We treated ourselves to some from CoconutBlush: lemon grass and ginger and then basil, mandarin and lime. There were too many scents to choose from.

I bought a little soap dish with drainage holes in to stop the sink going slimy and the soap slipping and sliding over the sink and bathroom. Again this was from Etsy from Megan Louise Ceramics. Both vendors were happy to not use plastic in their packaging.

We’re also trialling a ‘naked’ body wash from LUSH. We’re kind of intrigued… but to be honest, unless it’s the absolute bomb, we will probably just use a normal bar of soap. This LUSH thing didn’t come cheap. I had a mascara that I needed to swap out though and I was feeling a bit of pressure to exchange, rather than get duped with the return postage fees etc. So we thought what the hell.

12. Lustful scents: perfume

This was a bit of a last minute addition to this list as while in the Harrogate LUSH store I spotted their solid perfume. It’s such a cute little glass jar and I was all over the Lust scent that I came out of the store clutching this, too. I know the lid is plastic but we were assured that if I bring it back they would be able to reuse/recycle it.

Not that it’s overly relevant here but I loved the fact that it’s so small – I can take it anywhere with me and will come through airport security when we go to Australia.

13. Beautiful darling: make up

This one has slightly stumped me but I’ve heard glowing reviews of Fat and the Moon. Sadly, it’s an American brand but there are a few stores that sell it in the UK so am planning on picking a couple of things up. I shall let you know my opinion in due course.


These aren’t 100% plastic free but they’re a much better alternative than normal makeup if you just can’t let it go… Check out online retailer Acala (if you’re UK based). If you guys are in the USA there are loads of options for you – just google plastic free makeup!

14. Stop the smell: deodorant

After doing a bit of reading around I picked up the Greeench deodorant powder but I wasn’t so much of a fan of it. It had a little bit of a sour smell to me and the dust went everywhere, which wasn’t very easy to get out of the clothes or carpet it fell on. It kind of worked; if I wasn’t doing anything active it seemed to keep me relatively dry but there was the odd occasion where I did start to notice I was smelling a little –and no girl wants that! Plus, even if LUSH do recycle the bottle if I get it back to them, I think I’d rather have no packaging at all if possible.

After mentioning to the girls in the Harrogate LUSH store that I wasn’t keen on it, they offered me a sample of the Aromaco solid bar deodorant to try out instead. I am certainly liking it so far – it doesn’t stop any moisture coming through (so be careful with what you’re wearing) but it definitely stops any smells.

There are multiple recipes on the internet for making your own deodorant but if I can buy a good one then I’d rather utilise my time differently, cooking, writing or chilling with Tom.

UPDATE: After months and months of using them these bad boys are now my favourite – KUTIS

UPDATE TWO: Add Pit Putty to the list of great natural deodorants!

Kutis plastic free deodorant www.hannahoutside.com

15. Shampoo

I’m started this challenge using up the shampoo that I already had, before moving on to use the LUSH Jason and the Argon Oil shampoo bar ready to go.

UPDATE: Beauty Kubes – things are like gold-dust they work so well! They also do a moisturiser in tins, which is lovely on the skin – especially if you’re not sold on oil based concoctions…

UPDATE TWO: I adore the beauty cubes but they are insanely expensive, which isn’t realistic for everybody. Instead, like with the washing up liquid, we’ve moved to refillable bottles. Same bottle, refilled many times from a local store.

Going plastic free Beauty Kubes www.hannahoutside.com

16. Stifle the sniffles

Switch tissues for hankies. I was kind of grossed out by this to start with but over two years down the line now and I adore it. We bought enough cotton hankies to last a week between the two of us and then we pop them in a hot wash with our towels and bedding. I find it a much nicer experience using a large hankie than cheap nasty tissues that dry my nose out.

Use a hankie instead of tissues

17. Loo Roll

Two years in a we are on our third or fourth large box from fun brand ‘Who Gives a Crap’. The toilet paper itself is either 100% recycled paper or made with ‘100% forest friendly bamboo’. They wrap their toilet roll in fun paper, which can be reused for other things. If you buy in bulk, it actually works out cheaper than normal loo roll anyway.

It also kinda looks nice in the bathroom…

Who Gives a Crap loo roll

18. Razors

This is one that I am struggling with – I’m still battling through the don’t cut yourself stage/why won’t the damn thing work. I’m unsure whether I’m just being an idiot or there’s something wrong with my razor… Anyway, I’ve read many good reports so it’s worth trying for yourself.

19. Toothbrushes

I’ve been using a bamboo toothbrush for the past 6 months and do rather love it… Plus we have these cool toothbrush carry cases for keeping them clean as we travel.

20. Pen and ink

How many disposable pens do you think you have in your house? Do you need them all? I highly doubt it….

We have so many – it’s a little ridiculous. We haven’t bought any in a long time but they just seem to keep appearing and so challenge one is to stop somehow bringing them into the house, whether it’s from the shop or a freebie from the bank. It’s Bea Johnson’s first step of zero waste in her Zero Waste Home book: refuse. Say no to things that you don’t want in your life, especially those things that you have to send to landfill in the end.

Fountains pen and refillable ink to go plastic free

What will we have to write with though? After a little bit of research Tom came across refillable ‘converter’ cartridges for fountain pens. Remembering that he had a couple from school, he dug those out and purchased a converter for each along with a bottle of ink. We can now simply refill our cartridge from the bottle of ink (which comes in glass, albeit a plastic lid). It’s certainly a better option that throwing out whole biros/ ballpoint pens or multiple disposable plastic cartridges.

21. Firelighters

If you have a wood burner or an open fire these are worth checking out – no nasties in them at all.

plastic free firelighters www.hannahoutside.com

Click on the picture below to

check out our experience one month in



It’s a journey. Every single little thing you do will help. Take it gradually because you can soon find yourself falling down a hole with no hope of return – so for the sake of your sanity, take it a little at a time knowing you’re already helping with one cut back. Once that’s comfortable, take the next one. It’s a lifestyle change and it will take time so don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t go to plan.

I’m sure there are many other things you can do. I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts or tips, so drop me a line!

Please help me spread the word – Pin me!


Just here living life with an outdoor-loving-whiskey-flavoured twist.

Come along with me as I explore, learn, grow and see what life has to offer through my twenties. Includes mountain highs and rocky life lows. Just keeping it real – but if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout it all it’s “live life, don’t just exist”.

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  1. Mark Smith
    January 27, 2018 / 6:30 pm

    Great blog but even better make air own bread – dead easy and delicious. (We are trying to cut plastic here too)

    • hannahoutside
      February 2, 2018 / 8:51 am

      Hi Mark, thanks 🙂 I know it would be even better to do that but I spend enough of my time cooking as it is and at the moment five minutes to the bakery is suiting us better! One day I’d love to try making my own – my mum used to when I was growing up and it was delicious.

      • Amber
        February 21, 2018 / 11:15 am

        Bread machines are great for making the dough and rising it when you are doing other things! I love my machine! All you do is take it out before it cooks and throw it in a loaf pan or on a cookie sheet and bake it if you don’t want the dough hook hole

        • February 21, 2018 / 12:23 pm

          Hi Amber, that’s very true and something I’ve definitely considered. It will probably be something for the future though as I just don’t have room in my kitchen for another gadget. We have a bakery super close and so it’s easy enough to pop up there first thing in the morning 🙂

  2. Caitlin
    February 12, 2018 / 11:48 am

    Love this! I’m slowly eliminating plastics from our house and so am grateful for any tips.
    Where did you get your dishcloths and pan scrubber?
    I’m going to Hay-on-Wye in a few weeks and so will definitely check out the deli.

    • February 12, 2018 / 12:02 pm

      Hi Caitlin, thanks so much! It’s certainly been an experience but one we’re loving. I hope your journey goes well, too. Definitely check out the deli (and if you see Derek who owns the shop, do say hi!). He has a good range of herbs and spices in there and I’m sure will fill your containers up if you take some in. We actually also bought our scrubbing brushes from a little shop in Hay, too. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s on the high street, over the road from Jones’ hardware/cookware shop and also opposite Castle green grocers. If you come across the outdoor shop (P.S.M) it will be a couple of doors down to the left (if you’re facing the shop). It’s full of beautiful enamel pots, brushes, clothes, bowls etc. Anyway, I hope you find it all okay 🙂

  3. Jenny McCurry
    February 17, 2018 / 11:04 am

    Agree with above comments. Hay-on-Wye caught my eye as I grew up about 9 miles away. I’m trying to cut back on plastic too, but have a long way to go. I’ve just horrified myself by counting the number of plastic bottles in the bathroom 25+ 😞 a lot were Christmas and birthday presents not used yet on display.

    • February 17, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Hi Jenny, thanks 😊 I grew up in the area too and used to work in the deli a few years ago. It’s worth a visit and letting Derek know you’re wanting to reduce your plastic – he’s very helpful. I think its such a great shop and love going back in when I’m visiting my parents. It’s not completely zero waste in there but a selection of coffee or herbs etc out of one bag as opposed to lots of smaller bags is a better option (unless you have a zero waste shop near you). I wouldn’t worry about having lots already – just don’t buy any more and let people know not to buy you any more. Good luck with your journey 😊

  4. Amber
    February 21, 2018 / 11:21 am

    Deodorant isn’t supposed to stop moisture, it combats the odor due to bacteria mixing with your sweat, only antiperspirant blocks sweat and most antiperspirants have aluminum in them in some form and that’s what prevents the body from sweating.

  5. Natasha
    February 23, 2018 / 9:34 am

    Hi! I loved this article and your passion for reducing your plastic consumption – this has been one of my big goals since going vegan! Thanks so much for the tips

    • February 23, 2018 / 10:12 am

      Thanks so much Natasha. Really glad you found it useful 🙂

  6. February 27, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    Pilot and pental make great refillable office products! They have pens, highlighters, dry erase and perment markers that are all refillable! Pilo also has a type called frixion which are eraseable pens that work with the Rocketbook a reuseable notebook! Check them out! I produce so much less waste than before! The refills are plastic and if your in the states a program called TerraCycle will recycle and reuse the empty plastic parts

  7. K
    February 28, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    Silly question, but what about reusable sanitary towels. They are awesome, easy to use and considerably less plastic (1 towel = 4 carrier bags of plastic)

    • March 1, 2018 / 10:47 am

      That’s certainly a great suggestion!

      • Tori
        August 3, 2019 / 3:48 pm

        Diva cup is awesome alternative to tampons and sanitary napkins!

  8. carla@ouramanahsourfutures
    February 28, 2018 / 10:16 pm

    Deodorant is super easy and takes less than 5 minutes. Coconut oil mixed with bicarb and your done. And it really works! This is a really good post. I rooted out my fountain pen and hope it still works, great idea! Now I just need a good razor .

    • March 1, 2018 / 10:50 am

      At the moment, I’m really liking the LUSH bar I bought but we have a nice big plastic free tub of Bicarb on the way so will have to give it a go. My partner dug his old pen out for me (over 10 years old!) and it still worked after a little bit of coaxing!

  9. Mary Valerio
    March 3, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    Great blog. I have been advocating this to my husband for a while but he just ignores me. Nice to have a back up. Disposable nappies are a big issue. I washed all mine but those days are gone.

    I never thought lush was a good shop but will look again at their products.

    • April 4, 2018 / 8:44 am

      Me too. Husband thinks I am mad. Washed all my terry nappies for 3 children using a small boiler as disposables were too expensive as I didn’t work till they started school. Landfill must be horrendous. Also recently discovered Lush as I thought it was cheap. Wrong image. Try making your own soap with Dr Bonners – dead easy and lovely to use. Tons of recipes online. I have stopped buying plastic bottles of anything for the bathroom, other than bleach – I am working on that.

      • Eleanor
        April 11, 2018 / 1:59 pm

        We have just finished 4 years of cloth nappies, saved a fortune and the environment. If you are in the Hay on Wye area Crickhowell is opening a zero waste grocery store.

    • Ashley
      February 12, 2019 / 6:08 am

      I would honestly avoid lush. I love there packaging and less waste n plastic however they aren’t the cleanest ingredients and still use sulfates!! Sulfates are terrible for the environment and they also are so bad for you, they cause hairloss, so I would avoid using them at all costs!! Most natural companies and ever common companies have made the switch to sulfate free.

      • Ashley
        February 12, 2019 / 6:11 am

        I’m sorry I just wanted to add that I think your post is great and I love seeing people opting for zero waste. The lush company just makes me sad. They get a lot of bad wrap for this so I am hoping that they are in the works of making the switch to greener ways!

        • February 12, 2019 / 7:25 am

          Thanks Ashley. The good news is that there are more and more new companies cropping up every day to compete with LUSH 🙂

  10. Sona
    March 6, 2018 / 2:59 am

    Hi Hannah,
    Thank you so much for sharing your well thought out ideas. I have already changed many of my habits -I just bought a bamboo toothbrush! Also I make my own home-made deodorant -I’m a chemistry teacher! All natural products and it comes in a glass jar 🙂 if you are interested I’m looking for some people to sample it! My sister loves it -but then again she loves me so who knows if she is just being supportive! Let me know!

  11. Deborah
    March 17, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    This is really interesting, a great read. I like the idea of being able to buy loose frozen fruit! I’ve been trying to reduce my plastic use too, and discovered biodegradable dental floss. It’s made from bamboo fibre and the packaging is also biodegradable.

  12. Catherine Barber
    March 24, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    Noticed you said you went to the Lush in Harrogate, if this means you’re local to Harrogate, which milkman do you use!?! I’ve identified milk cartons as one of my biggest plastic uses and would love to have glass bottles like I grew up with back home, but so far have come up empty, if you’re milkman is reliable I’d love to get on their round 🙂

    • April 11, 2018 / 7:14 am

      Hi Catherine, sorry for the late reply. I use D. Streets in Ripon 🙂

  13. Hayley
    April 4, 2018 / 1:15 am

    For anyone in Vancouver BC, Nada Grocery should hopefully open soon. I haven’t checked out their pop up events, but they are completely package free shopping!

  14. Joey
    April 6, 2018 / 8:53 pm

    Love this article, thanks hannah! Im in Australia and have recently found a deoderent caked no pong – it comes in a tin and its fantastic. I live in the tropics and work outside, and have been super impressed! Im keen to try the lush bar too though if it is completely free of packaging. Thanks again for all your tips 😁

  15. April 19, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    This was a good read! Those beeswax/soy wraps are cool! I hadn’t seen those before!

    • April 23, 2018 / 6:45 am

      Thanks so much Vanessa. I need to update it now as have discovered more. They are – I think you can make your own quite easily – someone has posted a link in the comments here somewhere on how to do it (or google!) 🙂

  16. Sharon
    April 20, 2018 / 1:29 am

    Thank you for these ideas. Unfortunately, I don’t know how many I can use in my area (US) but I am trying. It’s appalling to me how much we throw away. This year I decided to stop the loo (tp) paper and use flannel pieces that can be washed. I like it much better. Back in the day, I also made my own femine hygiene products with quilted material and found them to be much kinder to my body. Both of these perhaps not practical all the time but small differences add up.

    • April 23, 2018 / 6:44 am

      Hi Sharon, there’s loads you can do in the US! Things like using reusable drinks cups, water bottles, taking your own bags and being careful where you shop. Have a look at Be a Johnsons book Zero Waste home (or find her online) – lots of useful tips and her story is quite cool.

  17. Ashley
    April 20, 2018 / 3:48 am

    I am not sure the reason why all people are switching to plastic free, but my assumption was for environmental reasons. Plastic seems to be overtaking are world and breaking down into estrogen mimickers and is having a huge impact on our planet and biology. However all the sulfates have the same effect leveling our world exposed to extreme estrogen levels. This is why I don’t understand the lush movement as they use sulfates in so many of there products. I wish there was a way to educate more people about this problem and Lush would change there formulas to support there sustainability claims.

    • April 23, 2018 / 6:49 am

      Hi Ashley, it’s very definitely environmental reasons. There are many many videos and articles floating around – a quick google search will show you how bad the situation is. Or step outside your front door and the chances are you’ll find litter pretty fast. The thing is that, although LUSH may not be the perfect solution long term, for the time being it’s helping by not using the packaging. There are few things that are perfect and so it’s about making the best of a bad lot. They will get there I’m sure with eliminating sulphates. In the time being there are other brands that have come to light for you to use if you prefer.

  18. Sue Holden
    April 26, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    I use rhassoul clay to wash my hair. You buy it on eBay, it comes in a paper bag, it’s all natural clay and leaves your hair feeling wonderful and no need to use conditioner. Just soak the clay in water about 50/50 then rub some in and rinse out. It rinses off the shower so don’t worry about the mess. It’s also cheap. Just remember not to let any get in your eyes or it will feel a bit like getting dust in them. I also use it instead of soap or body wash it’s great for exfoliation. What’s not to like, it’s all natural and works a treat.

  19. Tee
    June 21, 2018 / 6:04 am

    How do you buy fruit and veg from the store? You can’t just take a handful of loose berries, for example, and put them in your shopping cart. Do you take your glass jar to the store with you?

    • August 1, 2018 / 4:50 pm

      Hi Tee, there’s a few things we’ve had to opt against buying but for the most part, yes, we just take our jars, existing tuppaware or cloth bags into the store to pack our food into 🙂

  20. ANON
    July 1, 2018 / 9:38 pm

    This is a great post, thanks for all the tips! As an alternative to your dish washing soap, for those who cannot get refills locally, there’s Splosh. They deliver zero waste refills to your door, not just for dish washing soap but other cleaning products too. https://www.splosh.com/zerowaste/

    • August 1, 2018 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂 Shall have to have a closer look at Splosh. I think it’s quite local to my parents!

  21. July 5, 2018 / 9:53 am

    Due to a family member having Cancer and I have always loved home-made, home-grown but thought it would be too expensive to be eco..and as many plastics have estrogen induce elements in them and cause cancer….so I am on the journey of changing my routine and home cleaning and loving it!

    I changed over to Salt Mineral Crystal Deodorant that last a year for around £5 (Amazon) and it works better than your chemical ‘off the shelf’ which have pesticides, paraben and Aluminum and other nasties in them as we are placing them under our arms near our lymph nodes! and I have ordered Dish cloth Craft Wool to make my own ‘Kitchen wipes’ squares and a napkin holder to hold them which will look great in the Kitchen and creating a family craft time and in the bathroom I using Bamboo toothbrushes, and going to change over to safety razors once my stock has finish. I use Soap Nuts for washing my clothes, and other uses in which I haven’t tested yet but they can be used over and over again and can be used for shampoo, washing up, household cleaners etc; and I have changed over to organic shampoo bars from Funky Soap Shop and wooden hair brushes and for the home I use essential oil burner for the house, one last thing….no more Chemical aerosol spray in the Loo, I use diluted Zaflora Anti-bacterial with witch hazel in a spray gun and the aroma is long-lasting and it looks expensive in it’s metal container. It’s an upward and onward journey but I am trying and also making my own beauty creams and toners from recipes for Pinterest. Saving the world and lives can only be a the best and eliminating unnecessary waste.

    I am also a Designer Maker and use sustainable wood and faux suede materials and use Eco inks for printing on my products and I create home ware, lampshades, chairs, footstools and more ….check out my website to have a look if you wish.

    Thanks for the blog…absolutely loving it and following!

    • August 1, 2018 / 4:47 pm

      Hi Elaine, thanks for the comment! Sorry to hear about your family member. Glad to hear that you’re starting to veer into the eco friendly stuff though!

  22. Caroline Shipp
    July 21, 2018 / 8:36 am

    There are a few good examples here on Pinterest of how to make your own food wraps – I am going to do this as I was a bit put out by the cost of them but already have loads of cotton fabric I can use and some beeswax. I’m just waiting on some jojoba oil to arrive. They look really easy to make.

    • August 1, 2018 / 4:45 pm

      Have you tried this yet? (sorry for late reply!) I’ve veered away from beeswax wraps now. The more I’ve used them the less keen I’ve become on them. I’ve opted for storage jars instead as the beeswax wraps are actually quite hard to keep clean and expensive to keep waxing. Keen to hear how you get on though!

  23. Rita
    July 26, 2018 / 3:20 am

    I’d like to go a bit greener (I always use a refillable glass bottle, have a menstral cup, all the regular stuff) but my husband said “No way!” to the cloth bathroom wipes. What a baby. Anyway, here in Canada the Bulk Barn has changed its rules and is now allowing you to bring in refillable jars. This is going to change things for us significantly. Im looking forward to seeing how far I can take this.

    • August 1, 2018 / 4:42 pm

      That’s a big step forward taking your own jars. My sister has the same problem! Just keep making it easy for him to use the eco friendly options. Good luck with the rest of your journey!

  24. Jo
    July 31, 2018 / 6:57 pm

    Great article! I use a deodorant from Holland and Barret (although I expect you could get it anywhere) it’s called Native Unearthed deodorant, the coconut and vanilla is the best (as yes unfortunately does have a plastic lid, but it’s better than an aerosol)

    • August 1, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      Thanks for commenting Jo! There are a few deodorants out there now. My favourite is a deodorant stick by Kutis – it doesn’t cope so well in heat (struggled in Aus as it melted!) but here in the UK it’s perfect. I really need to do an update! Beauty haul coming soon 🙂

  25. Jules
    August 21, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    Do you check the items to see if they are cruelty free? Not a criticism just a question. I try to use as many items as I can that do no do animal testing.

  26. Julie
    November 25, 2018 / 10:52 am

    Hi Hannah, great blog. We are trying to be more plastic free . It is apparently easy to make the beeswax wraps. Next time you are home with advanced warning we can give you some beeswax – and our honey!
    I am experimenting with making bath bombs. Christmas this year we bought a massive roll of brown paper and making wrapping paper with potato stamps! Delightfully rubbish but recyclable paper unlike normal wrapping paper

    • December 18, 2018 / 10:53 am

      Hi Julie, sorry for such a late reply! That sounds amazing 🙂 Did you manage to get the brown paper without plastic on? Struggling to find it!

  27. December 5, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    Thanks so much for your great post! We have been trying to do our part at our house to cut down on plastic by doing some of the more obvious ones (reusable shopping bags and keep cups for coffee) – but definitely would like to implement some of these ideas too!
    Thanks to your post, I’ve just placed my first order of plastic free toilet paper!

    Thanks again! x

  28. December 8, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing! That pen and ink solution is amazing! It looks fun to use too!

  29. January 27, 2019 / 2:40 pm

    We have a wonderful online store in Bangalore, India, called Towness.com. They deliver Groceries like flour, lentils, rice, dried beans etc in cloth bags that are returnable. In fact you get cash back of you rerun then immediately. I fill my jars and return the bags. Its so fulfilling.

  30. Lynn Hill
    February 4, 2019 / 6:55 pm

    Timely reminders of what EACH of us must be doing to help our environment! Thanks for the great tips!

  31. Ashley
    February 7, 2019 / 1:19 pm

    Hi! I just stumbled across this on Pinterest and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it! There were a few things here that hadn’t caught my attention yet as unnecessary trash, like pens. I appreciate, too, the product recommendations. I find it difficult to take the plunge sometimes on these products because they’re so much more costly than their wasteful counterparts, so it’s helpful to have someone whose pioneered them and gives straightforward opinions. Anyways, I’ll be sharing. Thanks again!

    • February 12, 2019 / 7:21 am

      Thanks Ashley. It is scary how it’s in just about every part of our life and we don’t always realise!

  32. kJ
    March 4, 2019 / 3:58 pm

    I read your article and I was inspired! Many of the things you are doing I do.
    A warning for you… this won’t stop me using bar soap but, after a while I found my bathroom sink wasn’t clearing well, sort of sounded odd somehow.
    I believe it was a hand soap build up so I poured a kettle of boiling water down and it was instantly sorted. Generally I don’t use the hot tap when I use this basin.
    I’m a little concerned for the shower as I use bar soap there too, but I suppose I would do the same .
    Well done.

    • March 18, 2019 / 6:32 pm

      Yes, I agree! We’re often cleaning with using the sink but I don’t think that’s a bad thing 🙂

  33. March 9, 2019 / 4:07 pm

    Good ideas! Your sponge entry made me wonder if you have you heard of Norwex? Our Microfibers are amazing for cleaning, they have a 2 year warranty and have cut my waste significantly. Companies mission is to improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in the home. Not exactly plastic reduction but the environment is important to them and some of the products fit very well with your focus here. Best wishes!

  34. Sarah
    March 13, 2019 / 11:34 pm

    Great ideas….I have made my own wax wraps there are some great how too videos on YouTube …it works out much cheaper and when they get a bit tired you can hot wash the old wax off and wax them again. Also used ‘who gives a crap’ loo roll for first time this month…. they are brilliant. And no more expensive than most other brands.

  35. Lisa
    March 30, 2019 / 5:00 pm

    I love that you are spreading the word on this important topic. I am in Canada and have a limited access to many plastic free stores, either brick and mortar or online. Many of the US online stores don’t shop to Canada. So I remind myself that zero/low waste products don’t have to be brand new purchases. Instead of buying fancy bamboo sporks for an on the go lunch, get some pretty silverware from a second hand store. Store it in a pencil case or makeup bag that you already have at home. If you have pretty tea towels that have gotten a hole, cut it in half or thirds, hem and you have instant napkins to take with you.
    Less purchases = less waste.

  36. April 7, 2019 / 8:57 pm

    This gave me so many more ideas! I’ve been eyeing up beeswax wraps and dish brushes for ages, it’s just a matter of getting to pay day before I can buy them. I’ve bookmarked this page to refer back to in the future.
    El x

  37. Kathryn Reilly
    April 14, 2019 / 7:26 pm

    Some great ideas here, thank you. I’m a few months in to trying to get rid of plastic. This is combined with trying to be more minimalistic and making more environmentally friendly choices. I’ve recently bought shampoo bars, body wash bars and face wash bars from an independent online husband and wife team that a friend recommended. I chose this company because they don’t use any plastic and there is nothing derived from palm oil in their products. I’m disappointed at Lush for still having 16 ingredients in over 100 of their products that come from palm oil. For a company who claim to care about the environment I find this atrocious. Especially as smaller companies can avoid palm oil in their beauty products. Shame on Lush.

  38. Lesa
    April 18, 2019 / 5:42 pm

    Thank you for the great article. A couple things we have done is by a cloth shower curtain and wash it when it gets moldy. We have had the same one now for 10 years.

    As well, we have started bringing our own containers for doggy bags at restaurants. We also ask for no straws, or seattle has outlawed plastic straws and to go containers. They now use paper for both.

    I think the next thing we will do is start bringing reusable cups, silverware, napkins and bags with us when we go out.

  39. Georgina Howson
    May 8, 2019 / 5:02 pm


    Commendable ideas, but I would be a little cautious about some of the products from Lush. The stores do seem to portray an image that everything has lovely ingredients in and I do find the shops nicely buzzing with excitement and the staff very welcoming and helpful. I made an assumption that the products were all ‘nasties’ free and not all of them are. The shampoo block I was using contained Sodium Lauryl Sulphates.
    So it’s great to go plastic free, but do also check what you’re using to protect your future.

  40. May 22, 2019 / 2:40 am

    22. Rare Earth Sun Cream

    Why use it? Reusable packaging, plus… it’s water-resistant, packed full of vitamins and antioxidants that hydrate deep into skin surface, promoting healthy, vibrant skin while filtering harsh UV rays. Our organic sun cream is made using nutrient rich, food-grade ingredients and contains 17% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide and it performs as well or better than any 20+SPF we have ever tested.

    Shameless plug 😉

    Love your blog Hannah, thank you for helping to raise awareness – our ecosystem hangs in the balance!

    Rare Earth Skincare

  41. Abi
    May 24, 2019 / 7:53 pm

    I use Splosh! for washing up liquid, cleaning products etc. Not entirely plastic free, but they sell all their products as concentrated refills to minimise waste (their dishwasher tablets come in a cute metal tin and refills come through the post in cardboard)
    Definitely going to look into using “who gives a crap” too!

  42. June 12, 2019 / 2:38 pm

    I have absolutely loved reading this, so glad I found it on Pinterest.
    I started reducing my plastic usage about 8 months ago when I started making my own plastic free alternatives and love finding new products to try!
    I now make my own produce bags, cotton rounds, wash cloths, soap bags, market bags and hemp dish scrubbies! They are becoming more popular every day!
    If you are interested in trying some out, please do get in touch!

    • July 1, 2019 / 7:46 am

      Wow you have been productive! I always think that I should get the sewing machine out too to try making more!

  43. Tori
    August 3, 2019 / 3:59 pm

    Check out blueland. Instead of shipping millions of plastic bottles of cleaning product (which is a high percentage of water) around the globe, they send small foil packets of tablets that can be dissolved in water once they arrive at your house. I love this concept!

  44. jacquey
    August 4, 2019 / 2:23 pm

    great site. thanks for all of the ‘leg work’ finding products that really work well.

  45. Rachel
    August 25, 2019 / 9:08 am

    I would suggest looking for a different washing up liquid as ecover are now owned by sc Johnson’s who do unfortunately still test on animals! I find a lot of zero waste shops have local washing up liquid (I get mine from packaging not included in Marlborough). We also have been using the washing up bars, they work differently to liquid as there are no bubbles, but they clean as well as any liquid I have tried.

  46. Diane taber
    September 7, 2019 / 8:27 am

    Hi we are trying to cut down on the amount of plastic that comes in our house as everyone has to do there bit to try and help or try to save the environment.

  47. Holly Whiteside
    November 6, 2019 / 12:13 pm

    “Once you see it you can’t un-see it.” Oh my gosh, you called that one! I laughed out loud!

    For those of you who are having trouble getting your guys on board with the zero waste thing… have heart! It will probably just take time and they will complain all the way until they fall on board. I’ve been working on my husband who is anything but neo! …and yet, one day we are at the dinner table with an older male guest and I got up to get something, came back, and they were having a serious conversation about the need to lower plastic! I was smart for once and said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Women are sometimes more comfortable with making changes like this, but guys, they first will mock, then when you’re not in earshot they might start bragging about you, then they start helping with the selections in little ways “to please you,” but by that time they are in on the game. They just have to get used to the idea.

    so my tips:
    About ten years ago, I invested in some Charcoal Bamboo Mama Cloth by Hibaby for my feminine napkins. I was hesistant at the time, but I absolutely love them! It took me a little while to get used to them, but I thought I lost four of them earlier this month and you should have seen the panic! They are not biodegradable because they contain microfiber and are waterproof, but it is amazing how much money and plastic they have saved me and they are still going almost as if they were new. They have paid for themselves at least ten times over by now. I found them on Amazon. You will want about 12 to last between washes.

    I also decided to get rid of the dish soap bottle, and found a company called Meliora. They make a block soap for dishes (who knew this is how everyone used to wash their dishes?). There are a couple of other companies that also make block soap for dishes, but I also like that Meliora has a powdered all-purpose house cleaner that comes plastic free and that you reconstitute into a glass spray bottle. Awesome!

    For shampoo I’m currently trying out shampoo bars that are all sulphate-free, as I have discovered that suphates (whether liquid or solid) terribly strip my hair. If you’ve tried a shampoo bar and didn’t like it, find a sulphate free one and try again. My hair is shiny again and I don’t need conditioner.

    I have a moratorium on buying pens or any writing implements until we use up what we have, but I have been able to recondition several antique fountain pens with refillable reservoirs, too. Just unscrew the pen nib and soak it in a good de-greaser like Simple Green or a citrus degreaser for about a day. Then gently scrub with a toothbrush toward the point. Fill and empty the reservoir several times to make sure its unclogged and clear of ink flakes, then fill with your ink. If you have trouble getting it flowing, try dipping it for a second or two in water until you see ink come into the water… then write. Once you have it going, store the pen point down, and try to use it every day. That will keep it healthy. Not all papers suit a fountain pen and you may particularly have trouble with cheap recycled notebook paper, but it is a luxurious feel to write with.

    I love everyone’s comments as well as the article! It is so nice to know we are building a community for positive change. 🙂

  48. September 26, 2020 / 7:02 pm

    This list is so helpful! Once you make one change, it feels so good to keep going and changing even more!

  49. Kitty
    February 13, 2021 / 10:43 pm

    I love this list. One suggestion I’d like to make as an alternative to the steel safety razor (which I had major razor burn problems with), is an electric razor. I know they’re mostly plastic, but I’ve had my same drug store quality electric razor for about 4 years now. Defiantly better than plastic razors with their disposable heads.

    I’ve also been on a low waste journey, which was slightly paused when we moved to a tiny pacific island where everything had to be shipped in…everything was in plastic packaging and no bulk stores available. Shipping costs were also outrageous!

    We’re back in the US now and I’m discovering so many more low waste options than before I left. Reading articles like this is helping me get back into that low waste mindset that I was beginning to lose while living in the island.