Wednesday 29 January 2020

Eco Friendly Books for Children

Books on Plastic Waste and Reductions Suitable for Children
In a previous blog post I looked at ten books suitable for both adults and children on the problems with plastic waste. 

There are so many new books coming out onto the market, so I have decided to split this into two posts, one suited to adults (see link above) and one suited to children below.

These books are listed in size order (with the biggest at the top). Age ranges are listed also. 

10 Eco Friendly Books for Kids

Child with Colourful Painted Hands Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

1) This Book is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World! by Isabel Thomas. 208 pages by Wren & Rook.

Covering issues like plastics, pollution, global warming and endangered animals, this book is full of top tips for kids and families. Discover how to ditch the plastic, reduce your rubbish and start making everyday steps that will make all the difference.

It's time to take control of your future and help clear the world of all this rubbish!

Published September 2018 and suitable for 9 to 11 year old.

This Book is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World! by Isabel Thomas

2) Guardians of the Planet: How to be an Eco-Hero (in support of Client Earth) by Clive Gifford / Jonathan Woodward. 128 pages by Buster Books.

This environmentally positive book contains everything children need to become guardians of the planet. Kids can learn how to become keepers of the coasts, friends of the forests, home heroes and much more through a mix of compelling facts, creative activities and proactive tips.

Published Sep 2019 for ages 8 to 11. Printed using waterless ink on FSC paper.

Guardians of the Planet Book by Clive Gifford

3) What A Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet by Jess French. 72 pages by DK Children.

Everything you need to know about what we're doing to our environment, good and bad, from pollution and litter to renewable energy and plastic recycling.

As well as explaining where we're going wrong, What a Waste shows what we're doing right! Discover plans already in motion to save our seas, how countries are implementing schemes that are having a positive impact, and how your waste can be turned into something useful. Every small change helps our planet!

Published April 2019. Packed with illustrations. Suitable for ages 7-9.

What a Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, Protecting Our Planet Book by Jess French

4) Little Book for Big Changes: Activities and tips to make the world a better place by Kirsten Liepmann / Karen Ng. 64 pages by Studio Press.

Little Book for Big Changes helps young people understand complex global challenges such as inequality and climate change, and is designed to inform, empower and motivate tomorrow's leaders to help make the world a better place.

Packed with over 100 puzzles, games, craft activities, experiments and tips for children aged 7+, Little Book for Big Changes offers fun, educational and creative ways to bring people together to help change the world.

Published Nov 2018 for ages 7 and up.

Little Book Big Changes : Activities and tips to make the world a better place by Kirsten Leipmann

5) Plastic Planet: How Plastic Came to Rule the World by Georgia Amson-Bradshaw. 48 Pages by Franklin Watts Publishing.

Plastic Planet offers readers a look at plastic through the ages, exploring what it is, how it's made and how we have become so dependent on it in a single-use, disposable world.

Published June 2019 and in colourful pages to appeal to the younger audience (age 9-11).

Plastic Planet: How Plastic Came to Rule the World by Georgia Amson-Bradshaw

6) Saving Tally: An Adventure into the Great Pacific Plastic Patch (Save the Planet Books) by Serena Lane Ferrari. 37 pages
, Self Published by Author.

Tally is a curious little turtle with a talent for getting into trouble.

Her best friend Ara is a wise and strong lobster. The most dangerous part of the ocean is about to shock Tally and Ara and make them realise that their underwater world isn’t always charming. Will they be able to escape the danger?

An engaging [picture] book that addresses the issue of plastic pollution and how it impacts our oceans and sea life.

"When we protect our Planet we’re protecting our future! Saving Tally makes children understand that they can do something - even if it’s very small - to help take care of our oceans.” Editor.

Published October 2019 and suitable for younger children.

Saving Tally : An Adventure into the Great Pacific Plastic Patch Children's Book by Serena Lane Ferrani

7) Duffy's Lucky Escape: A True Story About Plastic In Our Oceans (Wild Tribe Heroes) by Ellie Jackson. 36 Pages, Self Published by Author.

Duffy's Lucky Escape is a true and gentle story about the global problem of ocean plastic. It highlights to children the relationship between humans and wildlife and the dangers animals face in their own natural habitats.

Published August 2017 with lots of beautiful illustrations. Suitable for ages 2 and up.

Duffy's Lucky Escape: A True Story About Plastic In Our Oceans (Wild Tribe Heroes) by Ellie Jackson

8) Not for Me, Please! I Choose to Act Green by Maria Godsey. 34 pages by Create Space Publishing.

Join Luke on his journey to protect what he loves with this engaging children's picture book about sustainability and acting green. After noticing the damage caused to the environment and animals due to trash and waste, Luke decides to take action. He believes he can have a big impact on the world around him and invites his readers to join him!

Interesting facts, definitions, and statistics can be found in 'info' boxes throughout the book.

Published April 2018. Ideal for children from ages 5 to 9.

Not for Me Please I Choose to Act Green Book by Maria Godsey

9) Harry Saves The Ocean!: Teaching Children about Plastic Pollution and Recycling by NGK / Sylva Fae. 34 Pages by NGK.

From the bestselling children's picture book series, Harry The Happy Mouse, a children's picture book teaches about the problem with plastic pollution, and how to help!

This poetry book follows Harry the Happy Mouse on an amazing adventure and has a strong, positive message for children to follow. A great tool to teach children the importance of taking care of the environment. 

Published August 2019 with poetry and illustrations. Suitable for ages 1-6 years.

Harry Saves The Ocean!: Teaching Children about Plastic Pollution and Recycling by NGK / Sylva Fae

10) A Planet Full of Plastic: and how you can help by Neal Layton. 32 pages by Wren & Rook.

Award-winning author-illustrator Neal Layton is here to explain where plastic comes from, why it doesn't biodegrade, and why that's dangerous for animals and humans alike. But he's also FULL of ideas for how you can help!

From giving up straws in juice cartons to recycling all we can and taking part in a beach clean, A Planet Full of Plastic will get young readers excited about how they can make a difference to keep Planet Earth happy.

Published Sep 2019 for ages 6-8.

Planet Full of Plastic and How you Can Help Book by Neal Layton

Friday 24 January 2020

Review - Plastic Free Shampoo

This is my 14th review on plastic alternatives. I hope these help give some ideas on alternatives you can use in your daily lives.

Scoring system: 

❤ = Will keep, I love it / 👀 = Not sure, will try some more / 😐 = Oh dear, it's not for me

Review Fourteen - Alternative by Suma Shampoo Bar

Recently I looked at shampoo sold in 100% recycled plastic bottles made by a company called Love Beauty and Planet (a Unilever brand). But to switch to non plastics altogether I have been using shampoo bars which is a great way to get your hair washing done plastic free.

My very first try at shampoo bars was via a company called Soaperlicious on Ebay. This helped me try it out as they sell small samples to give it a go first. 

I was quite disappointed that the bars contained sodium laureth sulfate which I believe causes scalp irritation for me, so although the product had natural ingredients I decided to search around for a bar that does not contain this ingredient.

You may find that plastic free items can be very expensive so I was happy to find a brand called Alter/Native that produce natural shampoo bars, conditioning bars for hair and body soaps too, all available in card boxes.

Alternative by Suma Shampoo BarSuma is a worker's co-operative. None of the ingredients are tested on animals but are instead tested on Suma volunteers first! 

The products are said to be proudly make in Yorkshire (UK).

I bought my shampoo bar from ethical superstore at a reasonable price in a rose and geranium scent.

I found that a quick rub around the scalp lathers up the soap bar nicely. The lather is thick and creamy and you don't need to use a lot for a good scrub. Rub into scalp as well as hair and rinse off as normal.

I notice that this shampoo helps bring out the natural highlights in my hair which is an added bonus.

My verdict?

I love that it comes in an attractive card box, has a nice scent, lathers well and has nice natural ingredients in it (no laureth sulfate hurrah!) I will certainly continue to use this product regularly. 

I have also bought some body soaps to reduce my use of body wash in plastic bottles. I will review those body soaps in due course but for now I have scored the shampoo bar as a love  from me!

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Companies Making the Change

Manufacturers Looking for Greener Alternatives


It was announced 5 years ago that Colgate-Palmolive had committed to making 100% of its packaging for three of four product categories completely recyclable by 2020 including a commitment to developing a recyclable toothpaste tube. In the past, toothpaste tubes were made from an aluminium and plastic mix making them harder to recycle. 

In January 2020 Cosmetics Design Europe reported that a new recyclable toothpaste tube is now on the market under the product name 'Smile for Good'. The contents are 99.7% natural ingredients with the toothpaste tubes made from HDPE plastic (similar to plastic milk bottles). The outer packaging is made from recyclable card.

The new product was launched in America last year and is now being released in UK supermarkets at a cost of £5 each (ouch!) For other (& more importantly plastic free) alternatives, check out my reviews section which includes tooth tabs in metal tins and toothpaste and tooth powder in glass jars with metal lids.

Smiling Black Chimp Image by Pixabay from Pexels

Still I find it reassuring that a large manufacturing company is at least looking at ways to become greener as teeth cleaning really is a massive waste. I have spotted Colgate bamboo toothbrushes as well in supermarkets priced at £4. (Again check out my reviews section for a bamboo toothbrush set I reviewed recently).


The Guardian newspaper reported that household brand Unilever, plans to halve its use of virgin plastic, by creating greener versions of its household products. Cardboard deodorant sticks, shampoo bars and toothpaste tablets may become the norm in supermarkets. They are also testing shampoo and laundry detergent refill stations in South East Asia.

HP and Dell

It's great to see other companies making the change for greener too. For example Dell are aiming to use 100% waste free packaging by 2030 using bamboo as a base for their packaging. The company also incorporate ocean waste in molded trays. 

From their website they claim 'The trays are 25% ocean-bound plastic and 75% recycled PET, using no virgin materials. It’s also fully recyclable itself.'

HP uses wheat packaging for shipping their inkjet printers. They hope by recycling left over straw it will reduce deforestation. They have also partnered with WWF to help protect and restore 200,000 acres of forest.

Check out how supermarkets are reducing plastics in our previous blog post too.

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Review - Organic Tooth Powder

This is my 13th review on plastic alternatives. I hope these help give some ideas on plastic reduction, or alternatives you can use in your daily lives.

Scoring system: 

❤ = Will keep, I love it / 👀 = Not sure, will try some more / 😐 = Oh dear, it's not for me

Review Thirteen - Georganics Tooth Powder

In previous reviews I looked at bamboo toothbrushes & some plastic free toothpaste (save some green tooth tabs plus truthpaste products). 

truth paste, tooth tabs, tooth powder + bamboo brush

Here I review a third toothpaste that I have used, called georganics tooth powder.

Georganics is a UK company set up in 2014 & aims to use organic natural products. They say around 300 million empty plastic toothpaste tubes are sent to landfill every year. 

The company tries hard to combat plastic waste with their wide range of products including tooth tabs, mouth wash, tooth powders, plastic free paste, as well as beech wood toothbrushes and various types of floss.

I bought my tooth powder from Ethical Superstore although you can buy direct from the company also.
My verdict?

Out of the three teeth cleaning products I have reviewed so far this is my favourite. I love the little glass jar and metal lid and card box it comes in. The product I tried is described as 'English Peppermint', however I get mostly orange in taste, not very strongly minty for me. But that is why I like it!

It fizzes in the mouth very briefly to start with. I usually dab the brush into the powder first then apply on various parts of teeth before brushing.

The end result makes my teeth feel clean and smooth and it doesn't leave a strong after taste. 
I can see myself using this again so have scored it a love  from me!

Wednesday 8 January 2020

Review - Truthpaste Tooth Tabs

This is my 12th review on plastic alternatives. I hope these help give some ideas on plastic reduction, or alternatives you can use in your daily lives.

Scoring system: 

❤ = Will keep, I love it / 👀 = Not sure, will try some more / 😐 = Oh dear, it's not for me

Review Twelve - Plastic Free Toothpaste

In a previous reviews I have looked at bamboo toothbrushes & plastic free razors. The bathroom is awash with plastics so it was a natural choice to make big changes in those areas. Lately I have been using 3 different types of teeth cleaning products. I will review 2 of them below and follow up with the 3rd one soon. Hope you enjoy!

Save Some Green Tooth Tabs

These are baking soda based tooth tablets that you chew to let them dissolve & then brush the product into teeth before rinsing. The product comes in a small tin, so it's useful for travelling as doesn't take a lot of room. I bought mine from a lovely company called Floral Fox to try them out. You can buy refill pouches (fluoride or fluoride free) that come in little greaseproof paper pouches from the Save Some Green site. 

They also do a dental subscription pack with bamboo toothbrush, tooth tabs & dental floss. This is delivered every 3 months. You can choose different options so you don't have to select all 3 items. There's even a selection of kid's brushes so you can order a pack for the family too. A great idea!

My verdict

No real problems to report - the product is minty and makes my teeth feeling clean & fresh. Adding water to the brush before brushing does make it very slippery. Normally with toothpaste the water holds in your mouth as you brush, with these baking soda tabs the water runs down the handle (so I tend to skip the water & use with a dry brush instead).

Some folks may find it strange not having a foam in the mouth using this product. As long as my mouth feels fresh and clean afterwards then I don't mind.

So for me my verdict is ❤ = Will keep, I love it!

Handmade in Brighton, this product is clay based with calcium carbonate and essential oils. It is a thick teeth cleaning product available in a clear glass jar with metal lid. Similar to the tooth tabs product above, I got mine from the online store Floral Fox. I purchased the smaller size as a trial.

Truthpaste plastic free natural mineral toothpaste

It's great to have a choice of products not in plastic tubes, the supermarkets are awash with those so having online stores that sell alternatives is great. 

My verdict

For me the particular flavour I tried (peppermint and wintergreen) was very, very strong. At first I was worried I wouldn't be able to complete the trial but I did adjust to it slightly. I did find that you get a gritty feeling in your teeth, possibly from the clay. I tried very hard to like it but have to declare, this was a hard one for me to enjoy. 

I absolutely love the idea and the company does produce other flavours. Of course, with products you are going to put in your mouth it's a personal choice and some may find the strong flavour just right for their needs.

 Also they do a sweet orange and mild mint for children in their site which could be an option to try also. I recommend going for smaller sizes first to give them a try. It does last a long time as you only need a small amount for each brushing.

For me I would give top marks for the company but for the product I found it too strong and didn't like the gritty texture (just my own personal thoughts though). 

Unfortunately I rate this as 😐 = Oh dear, it's not for me!

In my next review I will be looking at tooth powder, another possible alternative in reducing plastic waste. Stay tuned for more - & of course there's more bathroom and kitchen reviews to follow as I have been working my way through the 50 items challenge.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Positive Eco News

Optimism for the New Year! 
I’d like to wish you all a Happy & Prosperous 2020. Here’s a great chance to reflect back on some positive news in & around the UK. 

It hopefully will keep us all going – the planet can heal itself, it just needs some TLC! 

Top 20 Feel Good Stories

1. Milkmen are making a comeback. In a bid to save the use of throw away plastic milk bottles, consumers are looking for glass milk bottles instead. 
Red Squirrel photo from Pixabay on Pexels

2. The Woodland Trust with Chris Packham managed to reach their target to help plant 100,000 trees. There are free trees available for schools & local communities at
3. Zero waste shops are popping up across the UK. See here for a map. Some milk refill stations & refills for body care & laundry care liquids are also available. This site has a great list of where to buy zero waste products or where you can refill your own.

4. People are having a Greener Christmas now and are aiming for Less Waste over Christmas.
5. Supermarkets are taking notice. There’s still a huge way to go though - supermarkets MUST try harder, however they have made a start & consumers have too. See my article on supermarket waste for more. 
6. Scientists are looking at plastic alternatives. For example a scientist has been looking at fish scales as a plastic substitute
7. There is a bigger trend of blogs such as this & multiple face book groups are popping up to help bring people together to exchange ideas. It’s great to see this trend continue now & long into the future. 
Dreams & Fairy Lights in a Bottle from Pixabay on Pexels

8. In April 2022 the UK government plan to introduce a plastic packaging tax. As a result manufacturers are already using some recycled content in their packaging (see my post on some products in recycled packaging).

9. Plastic free tea bags are also more widely available (see my article on plastics in tea!)

10. Some great products are coming out including bamboo toilet roll which is now available in paper packaging, plus tissues using recycled sugar cane, wheat germ plates, coconut shell bowls, avocado pit cutlery, bamboo toothbrushes & so much more. 

You can even get packaging made from mushrooms. Green Jiffy envelopes are also available which are stuffed with recycled wood fibre. See my reviews section for some items I’ve been testing – more to come throughout the year. 

11. Instead of being shipped abroad, more plastics are now being handled in the UK. Some un-recyclable waste has even been incinerated & the fuel generated helps to run the plastic recycling plants

12. Terracycle which originated in the US has expanded rapidly in the UK providing recycling points for some products that could not be regularly recycled. Examples included crisp packets & cat food pouches, toothpaste tubes & more. Some air ambulance services are able to raise funds using recycling points across the UK (see my article for more).

13. The WWF are re-planting seagrass meadows around the UK. This will help with carbon absorption & provide a much better environment for sea creatures to hide. 

Snowdrops Close Up with Sunrise Photo by Simon Matzinger from Pexels

14. Meadow flowers are being planted along road sides to help encourage more insects (need some bee pelican crossings though!)

15. Boats like the Poly Roger made from scavenged plastics have been used to collect plastic waste in rivers & waterways.

16. Beach cleanups are becoming more popular with many dates announced throughout the year. 

17. Beavers are being re-introduced back into Britain to help stem the problem of flood water. Water voles are making a comeback too with lottery funding.

18. Etsy has exploded with the amount of sellers some of who make their own plastic free products. Check out this article showcasing some of the home selling entrepreneurs.

19. More & more books are being published to help us learn how to reduce our plastic consumption & deal with waste more effectively. 

20. The song The World is in Danger was released by an 8 year old child Frankie Morland to raise money for the WWF & increase awareness of the problems of waste. You can buy the single in various ways using the following link.

For more lovely news check out our Lovelier News post from 2019!