Blog Posts Archives - Page 3 of 5 - Sustainable(ish)

Category Archives for Blog Posts

PLASTIC FREE AND ZERO WASTE SNACKS – THE MOST DELICIOUS SHORTBREAD EVER

That’s a pretty brave claim, but seriously, this shortbread is to die for.
It's also pretty easy to make and makes a perfect plastic free or zero waste gift - yays!
I make mini biscuits to pop into jam jars for teacher thank you gifts, or do mini numbers as birthday presents, so 7's for the kiddy winks, or 4s and 0s etc for friends celebrating special birthdays.

This is what you need:

  • 200g soft butter (I use salted)
  • 100g caster sugar (I use vanilla sugar), plus extra for sprinkling
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 100g rice flour (this adds a delicious crunch!)

This is what you do:

  • Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and verging on fluffy
  • Add in the flour and continue to mix until it clumps together into a dough
  • Remove from the mixer bowl and shape into a disc. Wrap in a freezer bag, and place in the fridge to chill for 10-20 minutes
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C(fan), and line 2 baking sheets (I use re-usable silicon liners)
  • Lightly dust your work surface with flour, and roll out the dough. It can be a bit crumbly-I just keep squidging any holes/cracks back together, or re-rolling if necessary-it does all work out in the end!
  • Use your cutters to cut out your cookies - as I say I have done hearts, circles, stars, and also numbers, anything goes! 
  • Carefully transfer your cut out shapes to the baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your cutters, and how crisp you like your shortbread. I like mine really crisp, so I baked them until they were golden brown. If you prefer yours a bit softer, take them out when they are pale golden
  • Sprinkle the biscuits with sugar whilst still on the baking trays, and after about 10 minutes transfer them to a cooling rack to cool off completely
  • If you're gifting them, pop them into a clean, empty jam jar, add a tag and you're done!
  • NB. You can make batches of these and freeze them, so if you're super organised and all the children in your kid's class will turning 8 for example, make a stack of 8's and freeze them, ready to pull out and whack in a jar on the morning of the party.
    You're welcome.

Plastic free/zero waste tips:

  • Buy butter in foil packs - you can soak the wrapper and the foil usually separates from the greaseproof liner, meaning you can then recycle both
  • Freeze in tupperware or ziplock plastic bags that you wash and re-use again and again! 
  • globe
    Use re-usable silicon baking tray liners rather than greaseproof for lining
  • globe
    You should be able to find rice flour in paper bags - Doves Farm do one, and it's usually in the 'free from' section

Have a go and let me know if they live up to my claim at the top of the blog post...!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY?

Join my Sustainable Living Hub and discover practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

GET MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

HOMEMADE PLASTIC FREE WASHING POWDER

We’ve been using Ecover washing powder for several years now, and I have no complaints about it - it seems to wash pretty well, and we buy it in bulk in paper sacks, so it wins on the zero waste side too. However, when I started making soap, all my experimenting with different recipes and oils, has meant that we have something of a stockpile amassing. So I started to look for other uses for the small mountain of soap that is taking over our kitchen. I found this recipe in Sarah Harper’s The Natural and Handmade Soap Book, which is, by the way, a FABULOUS book for anyone interested in all things soap.

I started using this washing powder a few months ago, and wasn’t really that sure it would work, but as with most of the homemade cleaning recipes I’ve tried, it actually does!
I have two boys, who seem to have an affinity for mud, and tomato sauce, especially on white school shirts. I have to confess to never bothering my whites and coloured-everything gets chucked in together, but the white school shirts are still white, and it seems to deal well with the challenges of mud and tomato sauce.

This batch makes 800g of powder, and it lasts us 4-6 weeks (we do an average of 1-2 washes a day). You can always halve it if you wash less, but it seems to keep pretty well.

This is what you need:

  • 400g soap (look out for palm oil free soap that comes in zero waste packaging!
  • 200g borax substitute (you can use actual borax, although it is quite hard to get hold of in the UK. The use of borax is a little controversial-I have used it before, and on balance I think it is probably preferable to the hugenumber of unknown chemicals contained in commercial washing powder.)
  • 200g washing soda (soda crystals)
  • 30-40 drops of essential oil of your choice: I tend to use whatever is closest to hand. Lavender and lemon both work well for a ‘fresh’ washing smell. Or you can of course leave it unscented.

This is what you do:

  • Grate the bars of soap using the big holes on an upright cheese grater. This is not as much hard work as it sounds.​
  • Dump the grated soap into a bowl, and add the borax substitute and the washing soda. Give it all a good mix.
  • At this point, I like to bung the whole lot in my food processor and give it a good blitz to break the soap up and make it more of a powdery type mix. If you don’t have a mixer, it’s not a biggy.
  • Stir in your essential oils, and stir well again.
  • Decant into a suitable storage container-I use a large kilner jar. Any glass jar would do, or even tupperware, but it does need to be something airtight, otherwise the soda crystals can clump.

To use:

  • Allow about a tablespoon per wash, and add it to the powder part of the drawer in your machine.
  • Use a good squeeze of white vinegar in place of fabric conditioner, which helps to soften the clothes, and also helps to limit any build up of soap scum in the machine.



What do you use for eco-friendly washing powder
Do share below in the comments!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
TAKE ACTION ON PLASTIC?

Get the Esse​​​​ntial Guide to a Plastic-​Free (ish) Home.
Easy swaps, ideas and tips to help you get started on your plastic-free (ish) journey in achievable bite sized steps.

PLASTIC FREE TOOTHPASTE ALTERNATIVES

If you're looking around your house for ways to reduce your plastic footprint, sooner or later your attention is going to turn to your bathroom and the whole host of single use plastic lurking in there.
Toothpaste tubes might not be the first thing you want to tackle but they're not especially recyclable, so are a great thing to swap out if you can. The great news for us here in the UK that there is now a ban in place on products containing microbeads, so you won't inadvertently find yourself swilling micro plastics down the drain, but you're still left with that pesky plastic tube to deal with.
Until recently there weren't a huge number of alternatives, but plastic free toothpaste seems to be coming more and more commonplace - yay!
Here are a few options:

  • Glass jar
  • Made in the UK by a start up social enterprise
  • Mineral based
  • Flouride free
  • Non foaming
  • Flavours - fennel; peppermint and wintergreen

I've been trying this out, and I have to say I really like it!
It's quite a different tooth brushing experience, and it makes a mess of your sink (!) but it leaves my teeth feeling super clean.

  • Cardboard box
  • Made in Germany 
  • Contain flouride
  • Foam (but not as much as toothpaste)
  • Taste like toothpaste

I've got some of these on order, and I'm excited to try them - I'm going to get the kids to try them too. I'll update this post with my experiences!

  • 'Cardboard tube
  • Made in the UK
  • Peppermint flavour
  • Foaming
  • Flouride free
  • Glass jar
  • Made in the UK
  • Variety of flavours
  • Non foaming
  • Flouride free

MIY (MAKE IT YOURSELF)

I've never tried this but I've heard lots of zero-wasters talk about it.
As with anything there are oodles of 'recipes' out there on the interweb, so do have a look to find one that suits you if you want to have a go.
This post here has loads of different recipes and is from an actual dentist, so I'm hoping that means it's ok, and you won't all hold me responsible if your teeth fall out... 

What are your thoughts on toothpaste?
Are you tempted to try out any of these?
Do you make your own?
Do tell me your plastic free plans for your pearly whites in the comments!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY?

Join my Sustainable Living Hub and discover practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

GET MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

PLASTIC FREE AND ZERO WASTE SNACKS – EASY BISCUITS!

Biscuits. 
I love them. Anytime of day, a cup of tea (plastic free, obvs) and a biscuit is pretty much guaranteed to put a smile back on my face.
But the wrappers from packets of biscuits are generally easily recycled, which can mean that our daily sugar fix can be adding lbs to our landfill waste, as well as possibly our hips 😉

My solution to this is a spot of light baking, and this is such a great recipe.
It's adapted from Nigella's Christmas Chocolate Shortbread Cookies in her Christmas book and I love it because a) it is super easy - bung it all the mixer and done, no rolling, no chilling, just scoop and bake; b) I can normally be guaranteed to have all the ingredients in the house; c) they taste delicious; d) they freeze really well; and e) as I am about to show you, they are infinitely adaptable.
What’s not to love?!

This is what you need:

For the basic chocolate version (ala Nigella)

  • 250g butter at room temperature (try to ignore the fact that this is a whole packet of butter…)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 300g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp baking powder

This is what you do:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C
  • Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or re-usable liners
  • Put all the ingredients into a Magimix type food processor and whiz until it forms a dough
  • Place tablespoons of the dough onto the trays, and roll them into balls. I get 20-30 from this mix. I flatten them down a bit with a fork as I like the ridges that it leaves
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a cooling rack

Plastic free/zero waste tips:

  • Buy butter in foil packs - you can soak the wrapper and the foil usually separates from the greaseproof liner, meaning you can then recycle both
  • Freeze in tupperware or ziplock plastic bags that you wash and re-use again and again! 
  • globe
    Use re-usable silicon baking tray liners rather than greaseproof for lining
  • globe
    If you don't have a zero waste shop near you, you can order plastic free cocoa online from The Plastic Free Pantry (UK only)
  • globe
    If you're adding chunks of chocolate, look out for bars wrapped in paper and foil, rather than plastic

Variations:

  • Add white chocolate chips or chunks to the recipe above
  • Add fruit and nut chocolate chunks to the recipe above
  • Use a little less cocoa powder, and add in some espresso coffee powder, for mochachino biscuits
  • Omit the cocoa and add:
    - milk or dark chocolate chunks/chips
    - raisins
    - raisins and chocolate!
    - white chocolate and cranberry
    - white chocolate and apricot
    - orange zest or lemon zest
    - chunks of crystallised ginger
    - chunks of ginger with dark chocolate chunks
    - a tsp of mixed spice for a festive version-with or without cranberries etc
    - a tsp of almond essence
    - a tsp of coconut essence and a 25g of desiccated coconut

Have you​ tried this recipe?
What's your favourite flavour...?!
Do share below in the comments!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY?

Join my Sustainable Living Hub and discover practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

GET MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

PLASTIC FREE SNACKS – CHEESY FEET!

Finding plastic free snacks for grown-ups and kids alike is a challenge, I'm not going to lie.
There are those times in the day when you're feeling peckish, and fruit just isn't going to cut it. I'm a bit of a sugar fiend, so my go-to is usually homemade biscuits, or maybe flapjack, but I do try (I really try!) to steer the kids away from too much sugar.
This recipe ticks lots of my boxes - it's savoury, easy to make, freeze-able (I make a big batch and then freeze them once cooked), the kids actually like them, and it's plastic-free (ish)!

The recipe is from the marvellous Nigella's “Feast” book.
You don't have to make them feet shaped - use whatever cookie cutters you have, (or turn a glass upside down and use that!) but the feet make me giggle (I'm quite easily amused..

This is what you need:

I usually double this recipe and then freeze some.

  • 100g cheddar cheese, coarsely grated-I use mature cheddar, but we do like strong cheese in our house!
  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g soft butter
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Cookie cutter-preferably in the shape of a foot...
  • Baking sheet

This is what you do:

  • Put all the ingredients in a magi-mix type processor and whiz
  • Keep whizzing. Don’t lose the faith, it WILL come together
  • When it all starts to whiz around in a big ball, stop, take it out, and roll it into a ball. Then flatten it into more of a disc shape, and wrap it in cling film, or put into a sandwich bag (which you can then re-use!) and place in the fridge for at least an hour (I have been known to leave it overnight or even longer if I run out of time to roll them out-if you do this, then it is worth getting them out half an hour before you want to roll, otherwise it will be hard work!)
  • When you are ‘ready to roll’, pre-heat your oven to 170C and line 2 baking trays-I use reusable silicon type liners, or you could of course use greaseproof (which I think can be composted?)
  • Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it’s about 0.5 thick
  • Use your cookie cutter to cut out your biscuits-I get about 10 from this amount of mix, but obviously it depends on the size of your cutter
  • Bake for 8-10mins. I do mine for about 8mins-keep an eye on them, they can go from ‘golden’ to ‘brown’ in an instant!

Plastic free tips:

  • Take your tupperware to the deli counter of your supermarket or to your local deli, and ask them to pop your cheese straight into there
  • Buy butter in foil packs - you can soak the wrapper and the foil usually separates from the greaseproof liner, meaning you can then recycle both
  • Freeze in tupperware
  • globe
    Wrap in beeswax wraps or pop into a small tupperware pot when you're out and about

Have you got any favourite savoury plastic free snacks?
Do share below in the comments!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY?

Join my Sustainable Living Hub and discover practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

GET MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

7 EASY WAYS TO REDUCE MICROFIBRE POLLUTION

Plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans, and in our local environment is all too easy to see. 
Sadly it's everywhere we look - simply going for a 20 minute dog walk around my house can result in a bag full of plastic waste picked up.

But there's another problem caused by plastics, and one that's pretty much invisible.
Microplastics.
As the name suggests, these are small bits of plastic (I think technically less than 5mm in diameter) and lots of them are actually microscopic. 
They are so small they pass through the filters at water processing plants, heading out into our waterways and ending up in the ocean.

There are now more microplastics particles in our oceans than their are stars in our galaxy - terrifying stuff.

What happens to the micro plastics in the ocean is that they enter the food chain, starting off with tiny zooplankton, until eventually they reach us, and other top chain predators, and we start to accumulate teeny tiny plastic particles in our own bodies.

So it's pretty clear to see that micro plastics are an issue, and they come from a variety of sources, including our clothes.
Up to 700,000 microplastic fibres are released from a single clothes wash.
That's a staggering number.

There needs to be a LOT more research done into this, and manufacturers are already working on producing filters for washing machines to capture microfibres, but whilst we're waiting for policy and technology to catch up, what can we do about the problem in our own homes?

As with most things we start to look into around sustainable living, there isn't an easy answer, but here are some ideas to help reduce the amount of microfibres reaching your home:

1. WASH LESS

  • Only wash clothes when they are dirty!
    I had fallen into the habit of simply scooping up the kids clothes and chucking it all in the machine rather than sort through out the clean stuff, and now they are older there is actually sometimes some clean stuff at the end of the day!
  • Wash jeans only when they are visibly dirty
  • Sponge off little messes
    Like mud on school trousers, or flour from a baking session on a top
  • Do a sniff test on tops
    And don't worry about wearing the same thing two days in a row - how often can you remember what your friends were wearing from one day to the next!
  • Hang things out to air rather than wash them
  • Embrace the pinny!
    I'm not a careful cooker, so an apron is a great way to keep clothes clean and reduce the amount of washing I have to do!

2. FILL YOUR MACHINE 

Make sure your machine is full - the more room clothes have to move around, the more likely it is that microfibres will break off.

3. WASH AT 30C

Choose a gentle cycle and lower temperatures to keep your clothes in good condition.

4. DITCH THE TUMBLEDRYER

Tumbledrying increases the fragility of our clothes, and increases microfibre shedding in the next wash.

5. INVESTIGATE MICROFIBRE CAPTURE

There are some microfibre capturing bags (GUPPYFRIEND) and devices (Coraball) that you can put into your machine that might be worth investigating. These sound like the perfect solution, but at present they don't capture 100% of the microfibres, and there is still the problem of disposing of them once you clean out your bag - the advice is to put them in your landfill bin, but I have to confess that I am concerned they may them simply be washed out of the landfill sites and into the waterways when it rains.
I'm going to do some digging and let you know what I find out!

6. CHOOSE NATURAL FIBRES

Synthetic fibres like polyester are made from petroleum, and the fibres they shed are plastic.
Choosing natural fibres like cotton, linen and hemp when you are buying new clothes can help to reduce the amount of microplastics shed with each wash.

7. AVOID MICROFIBRE CLEANING CLOTHS

These were once hailed as the eco-friendly fix all for cleaning as they reduced the need for harsh cleaning chemicals, however little did we know then each time we washed our microfibre cloths and tea towels, teeny tiny bits of plastic were breaking off and ending up in the oceans.
Know we do know, it's time to ditch them.
Look for natural alternatives - I've ordered a couple of these heavy duty none sponges, I'll let you know how I get on!

Did you know about microfibres?
What shocks you most about them?
And what will you commit to doing in your home to help?
Do comment below to let me know!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
TAKE ACTION ON PLASTIC?

Get the Esse​​​​ntial Guide to a Plastic-​Free (ish) Home.
Easy swaps, ideas and tips to help you get started on your plastic-free (ish) journey in achievable bite sized steps.

PLASTIC-FREE TEA

We all know that plastic pollution is a problem, and things like the "Big 4" single use plastics are there for us all to see and to take action on.
But not all plastic is as visible... Take your humble cuppa for instance, do you know that the majority of teabags actually contain plastic in the glue that they use to seal the teabags. Anyone who has composted teabags in the past might well have seen the 'teabag ghosts' they leave behind.
And you might well be thinking "does it really matter if it's such a teeny tiny amount?" but YES!
As a nation of tea-drinkers, here in the UK we brew up 6 BILLION cups of tea each year, which equates to about 150,000kg of polypropylene plastic 'glue' - the weight of 100 cars!

When I first heard about this, I decided to take action, and made the switch to loose leaf tea. Only to really struggle to find a loose leaf tea that didn't come wrapped in plastic!
Just in case you're having the same struggle (and when it comes to tea, I can't go without, and the struggle is very much real...) here's some suggestions for 100% plastic-free tea...

TEA BAGS

  • Co-op
    "Builders tea" in a plastic free bag, in a box. Simples!
  • PG tips
    Plastic free PG tips pyramid bags were phased in in February 2018, and their aim is for all of their teabags to be plastic free by the end of 2018. All of their teas are also rainforest-alliance certified, ticking another box.
    The boxes do come wrapped in plastic, but I am told this is cellophane, and therefore compostable and bio-degradable.
  • Abel and Cole
    Abel and Cole's pyramid bags are now plastic free, and the pouches they come in are made of paper and an 'oxo-degradable' liner.
  • Tea Pigs
    Tea Pigs proudly state on their website that they are the first tea brand to be awarded the Plastic Free Trust mark.
    Not only are their bags plastic free, but the 'plastic' windows in the cardboard pouches are made from nature flex which is a plant based, home-compostable material.

LOOSE LEAF TEA

  • Plastic Free Pantry
    As well as plastic free staples like pasta, rice and nuts, the Plastic Free Pantry does plastic free tea too! You can get English Breakfast, and a decaf version, both supplied by Jenier Teas who are a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, so you know your tea comes from a transparent supply chain with good conditions for the workers.
  • The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company
    If you e-mail them to request 'plastic free' packaging after placing your order, these guys will send it in paper bags, but you will need to transfer to it an airtight container as soon as you get it!
  • Shibui Tea
    I stumbled across these guys on Twitter and they offered to send me a sample of their new plastic free packaging. I have to say I was impressed both by the tea (delicious Earl Grey!) and the packaging - cardboard tube, with 'nature flex' home compostable film for the tea itself.
    At the time of writing (July '18) they aren't quite into full swing with this for all their orders but I'm told they will be in the next month or so 🙂
  • Zero Waste Shops
    If you have a zero waste shop near you (there are more and more popping up all the time!) they will undoubtedly have tea and you can take your own container and fill up to your heart's content.
  • Local deli's and coffee/tea shops
    Some delis etc will have loose leaf tea to buy by weight - check if they're happy for you to bring in your own container.

DIY TEA

If you're a herbal tea drinker then DIY tea may be the way to go.

  • Mint tea is SUPER easy, especially if you can grow your own mint - grabs handful of mint leaves, and simply add hot water!
  • Chammomile is another popular one that is easy to DIY if you grow your own
  • Ground up liquorice root, fennel seeds, and star anise all make refreshing teas - pop them into a diffuser (see below)

DRINKING LOOSE LEAF TEA

Making a cuppa with loose leaf tea is a slightly different proposition to simply slinging a bag in a mug, but I have to admit that I do quite like something of the ceremony about it!
There are lots of options - try out some of these:

  • Diffuser balls - pop a teaspoon of tea inside and then dangle into your cup of hot water until the desired strength is reached!
  • Mana-Tea infuser
    I bought hubby one of these for Christmas and we both love it!
    He makes his own tea and just pops a teaspoon in here and the mana-tea lolls on the edge of his cup ensuring all is right with the world, and hubby's cuppa
  • Tea pot and strainer
    You know, like you Nan used to have...!
  • Diffuser teapot
    I've got a glass one of these (which kind of terrifies me but has survived so far) that does about 1.5 BIG mugs of tea - enough to set me up for the school run of a morning...
  • DIY teabags
    You can make your own tea bags if you're super keen - I once made hubby some for Christmas using coffee filters (donated via Freegle!), my sewing machine and some little paper tags. Or if you've got some cotton muslin and a spare half hour you could whip up a load in one go.
  • Fill your own teabags
    If the thought of making your own tea bags makes you want to poke your own eyes out, then these plastic free empty bags with drawstrings might be the answer..!

What's your solution for plastic-free tea..?
Do share in the comments below and let me know 🙂

FEELING INSPIRED TO
TAKE ACTION ON PLASTIC?

Get the Esse​​​​ntial Guide to a Plastic-​Free (ish) Home.
Easy swaps, ideas and tips to help you get started on your plastic-free (ish) journey in achievable bite sized steps.

NATURAL CLEANING – CITRUS VINEGAR

This is a super simple recipe, that I now use as my all round general cleaning spray, both in the kitchen, and the bathrooms.
I have a fairly lackadaisical approach to cleaning, and am not overly concerned at the thought of a few germs here and there around the house, so I am happy with the somewhat weaker anti-bacterial effects of vinegar compared with conventional chemical cleaning products. I am of the opinion that today’s harsh anti-bacterial cleaners actually mean that we over-clean, and that a completely sterile environment is not good, either for us, or for the environment.

Do be aware that vinegar and marble surfaces do not mix. So for those of you with solid marble worktops (?!) might want to avoid it.
Oh, and the smell.
It is definitely less ‘chip shop’ vinegar using this citrus version than just neat vinegar, but yes, it does still smell of vinegar. I don’t mind the smell, and it does fade pretty quickly, but if you object strongly to the smell of vinegar, this may not be the natural cleaning remedy for you!

This is such an easy ‘recipe’, that I do feel a little fraudulent spinning it out into a whole blog post…

This is what you need:

  • Large Kilner jar or similar
  • 500ml white vinegar
  • Citrus leftovers-orange and satsuma peel, lemon shells, grapefruit skin etc etc.

This is what you do:

  • Half fill your jar with vinegar, and then every time you eat an orange, or use a lemon, instead of chucking the peel on the compost heap, pop it into the jar and poke it down under the vinegar.
  • You might need to add a drop more vinegar as the jar fills.
  • Depending on the speed at which you eat citrus fruit, your jar may be full up within a week.
  • Leave it for another few days once it is full, to allow the citrus oils to diffuse out into the vinegar (the oils help a little with the cleaning effects), it will turn a lovely orange-y colour, and have a faint citrus whiff to it.
  • Strain off the vinegar into a spray bottle, and it’s ready to use.

To use:

In the Kitchen
- Use as an all-purpose spray
- Great for cleaning out the fridge, and wiping out the bin, as it has good anti-odour properties.
- Works very well on stainless steels taps and sinks, and hard water marks
- Use in conjunction with bicarbonate of soda to make a paste to clean the oven

In the Bathroom
- Again, use it as an all-purpose spray
- I use it to clean the loos: spray liberally all around the toilet bowl, and then sprinkle on some bicarb and leave it do it’s thing while you clean the rest of the bathroom. Give it a good scrub with a loo brush and then flush
- Great for hard water marks on taps, and any metal fittings
Works brilliantly on soap scum-I spray it on and then give it a scrub with an old vegetable brush (or a toothbrush for hard to reach areas)

There you go, I told you it was easy!
Are you already a vinegar convert? Do let me know if you give this a try-I love to hear about natural cleaning wins!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY?

Join my Sustainable Living Hub and discover practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

GET MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

HOMEMADE DEODORANT (THAT WORKS!)

Roll on deodorants usually come in plastic containers that don't tend to be recyclable.
I wanted to find a reliable homemade plastic free deodorant recipe to reduce the amount of plastic we were sending to landfill, but I was hugely sceptical that I would find one that worked...

But I did!
It's SUPER simple, SUPER cheap AND plastic-free.
AND it works!

If you want to have a go, here's the 'recipe' for homemade plastic free deodorant:

This is what you need:

  • 6-8 tbsps of coconut oil
    Despite the name, it will be solid at room temperature, unless you live somewhere super hot!
    Try and look for one in a glass jar, and that is fair-trade for top sustainability points.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda
    Try and find one that is quite fine. You can buy it in bulk from somewhere like The Soap Kitchen, but it does come in a plastic bag.
    You can get it in cardboard boxes from hardware stores, but this one can sometimes be a bit 'grittier'
  • 1/4 cup of cornflour (cornstarch)
    I've yet to find this plastic free..!
  • Essential oils of your choice
    I went with lemon and ta-tree oil-about 5 drops of lemon, and 3 of tea-tree

This is what you do:

  • Pop all of the ingredients into a bowl, and simply 'smooth' (technical term) together with a fork. 
    If you're feeling super lazy you could use a kitchen mixer, but it's really not that tricky, just keep going and it will eventually come together into a paste, I promise! 

Some things to note:

  • Bicarb can be quite astringent so can can cause some irritation and redness - if this happens, add some extra cornflour and coconut oil to 'dilute' the amount of bicarb, and use less next time you make it.
  • The bicarb is the main active ingredient, so if you find it's not working as well as you like, add a little extra and mix it in well.
  • In hot weather the coconut oil might melt and then solid ingredients then tend to settle at the bottom, so it can be worth keeping it in the fridge during warmer months.
  • You will still sweat (but you won't smell!) which can be a weird experience if you're used to anti-perspirants which effectively block the pores and stop you sweating.

Do leave a comment to let me know if you give this a go, and what you think of it!

FEELING INSPIRED TO
LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY?

Join my Sustainable Living Hub and discover practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

GET MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

FIVE OF THE BEST RE-USABLE WATER BOTTLES

One million plastic bottles are produced every single minute.
Of the bottles bought in 2016, less than half were collected for recycling. And of those only 7% were turned into new bottles. 
Those that weren't collected for recycling end up in landfill, where we know now that they will take hundreds and hundreds of years to break down, and will never truly degrade, or they will end up polluting our landscapes and waterways, contributing the huge issue of plastic pollution that we are only now starting to wake up to.

I’m sure you don’t need to me to tell you that re-usable bottles are the answer!

My default setting after our year buying nothing new is always to look for something secondhand in the first instance - and whilst I acknowledge that a second hand water bottle might not sound especially appealing, I’m willing to bet that there are brand new bottles that end up being donated to charity shops.

Top tips for finding a secondhand water bottle:

  • Add a re-usable bottle to your ‘secondhand shopping list’ and keep your eye out whenever you pop into your local charity shops.
  • Ideally look out for a stainless steel one as these are less likely to ‘taint’ and to absorb smells from it’s previous contents, and they will be easier to clean.
  • Check for scratches, and teeth marks(!) around the lid/nozzle
  • Give it a good clean – if you have a dishwasher, pop it in next time it is on. You can also use a cold steriliser like Milton
  • If it smells a bit foisty, add a teaspoon or two of bicarb to the empty bottle and then fill it with cold water. Leave to sit overnight, then wash and rinse thoroughly
  • Another option is to look on eBay – remember to tick the ‘used’ box on your search conditions! I looked recently I saw some great Lego kids water bottles as well as some unused sports ones

Buying New

If second-hand isn't for you, or if you have no luck then here are five of the best new re-usable bottles to try:


- Klean Kanteen 

Stainless steel, BPA free and in a range of different sizes and types.
They have insulated bottles as well, and you can buy caps and tops separately (always good if you lids have a habit of disappearing!)


- Jerry Bottle 


Stainless steel and BPA free, with the option of steel or bamboo lids.  
All profits from their sale go to making clean water projects in India and Tanzania.



- Qwetch


Qwetch is a French brand of insulated drinks bottles and infuser flasks in stainless steel or glass that will keep drinks warm for up to 12hrs, and cold up to 24hrs.


- Chilly's Bottles


These stylish bottles keep your drink cold for up to 24hrs and as a brand they are on a "mission to accelerate the adoption and everyday use of reusable products". They have a range of insulated tumblers and food pots too.


One Green Bottle


I love the fact that this company was started up by a mum who wanted to find a drinks bottle for her son to take to school every day!
They have plain ones, coloured ones, glass ones, different lids and a variety of sizes - check them out!

BONUS TIP!

If you run out of water while you're out and about, make sure you've downloaded the Refill App to find a cafe, restaurant or shop that will refill your bottle near you. Or just go in and ask!

Have you already got a re-usable bottle?
Have I missed out your favourite brand?
Do come and share a picture of your favourite water bottle, AND your top tips for remembering to take it out with you (!) in the Sustainable Life Facebook group 🙂

FEELING INSPIRED TO
LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY?

Join my Sustainable Living Hub and discover practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

GET MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER