Friday 15 May 2020

How I Reduced Plastics

It's been almost a year ago that I set myself a task to reduce or replace 50 single use plastic items for my 50th year on this planet. I haven't yet reached the full year yet (few months to go) but I wanted to reflect on how I've done so far.


Tried deoderant in card tubes
Back to body spray in metal tins
Started using shampoo bars (packaged in card boxes)
Back to using soap bars again
Made my own hand wash / utilised an old plastic pump action bottle
Switched to bamboo toothbrushes
Used toothpaste & toothpowder in glass jars
Used toothtabs in metal container
Tried bamboo interdental brushes
Tried reduced plastic tooth floss harps (review to follow)
Used bamboo loo roll in plastic free packaging
Used recycled loo roll in plastic free packaging
Used tissues in boxes with no plastic insert
Used products in 100% recycled bottles
Bought pouches of hand wash to top up bottles
Stopped using plastic pouffe for washing
Switched to a plastic free razor
Made my own bath fizz bombs + toilet fizzers
Bought bath salts in compostable paper pouches
Switched to reduced plastic or plastic free sanitary items
Bought some bamboo cotton buds
Made my own makeup face wipes out of fabric


Bought washing up products in recycled plastic bottles
Try & use larger bottles, also made from recycled plastics
Made my own orange cleaning spray, store in glass bottles
Used wax wraps instead of cling film
Used tin foil instead of cling film
Used silicone lids to cover various dish/can sizes
Used silicone containers for fridge, freezer & microwave
Utilised paper sandwich bags rather than plastic ones
Bought compostable jiffy bags that are fridge friendly
Have a machine that reseals items so packets can be heat sealed instead of overwrapping
Used bamboo cloths which can be washed & used again
Bought cordials in glass bottles instead of plastic
Bought re-usable flask for storing hot/cold drinks on journeys
Tried charcoal water filters to reduce use of Brita cartridges
Recycled coffee capsules rather than dispose of them (trying to wean myself off these!)
Also switched to plastic free tea
Tetra paks are not processed in our local kerbside collection - have now ensured they are being dropped off at the local drop off points for recycling
Made own almond milk & placed in glass milk bottle
Bought compostable scrubbies
Made my own compostable washing up cloths
Gone back to using sugar in paper bags instead of sweetener in plastic jars
Bought mesh bags to buy fresh produce without the plastics
Bought silicone washable re-usable drinking straws
Bought eco dishwasher capsules with dissolvable wrappers
Bought bin bags made from recycled plastic


Used organic soap nuts for laundry
Made my own fabric conditioner from homemade orange/vinegar solution
Made sure bottles I do buy are larger &/or made from recycled plastics


Used pegs made from recycled plastic
Planters bought manufactured from recycled plastic
Made own seed balls that can be scattered in garden (save buying plants in plastic pots)


Bought compostable poopy bags (review to follow)
Switched from pouches to individual tins of cat food

Office (reviews to follow)

Used corrugated jiffy bags instead of the plastic bubble wrap ones
Bought windowless envelopes made from 100% recycled wood pulp
Used packing tape made from 100% recycled plastic
Bought paper tape for packing also
Bought highlighter pens made from recycled plastics
Bought a large letter postal mailing gauge in wood not plastic


Bought books on how to reduce plastics

= 62

Things yet to try

Laundry Eco egg - can't decide whether buying a product made from plastic is the right choice so have been umming & ahhing about this one! 
Sign up for a beach clean

Permanent Changes

I no longer place laundry fluff in the compost in case of micro fibres!
I no longer use cling film & reduced use of ziplock bags by as much as 99%
I will never go back to plastic toothbrushes (unless finances say otherwise)
I make sure as much as I can that items are either plastic free or recycled plastics, or try and re-use plastics as much as possible with making my own items at times
Tin foil that I use to help cover items may be washed & re-used again multiple times before recycling so there's less waste there too!
I buy supplements that arrive in plastic free or recycled plastic packaging where possible
I try to buy products from stores that reduce plastics use, such as Floral Fox/Ethical Superstore/Wessex Trading/Cheeky Panda etc.

What have I found most challenging?

Costs can be on the high side so I keep my eyes peeled for special offers or loyalty discounts. 

Under arm deodorant was the biggest challenge as I didn't like the card tube product and din't fancy using the putties you apply with fingers. I have found Love, Beauty and Planet do a deodorant in a bottle made from recycled plastics in my favourite scent of Rose & Muru Muru Butter, so have switched to that as a compromise.

When it comes to toothpaste, toothpowder and toothtabs there have been some adjustments (I didn't like the clay based one for instance) but overall found the transition pretty easy. Normal toothpaste froths up way too much for me anyway, so I've acclimatised well to the non frothing plastic free products.

Using bamboo toothbrushes has been a pleasure and it's great being able to rip out the nylon bristles when done and compost the handles, or you can use them for your plant pots and write on them. I now hate the squeaky feeling of plastic when using an old toothbrush.

I found it a challenge dealing with the cat loo. Before I used old ziplock bags but having stopped using these (apart from very small occasions) I had to buy poop bags instead for the daily loo clean. I could have used newspapers or magazines but we don't buy these often enough - maybe once a year. I looked for a compostable plastic product however with pet poops (especially cats) it's not advisable to place them in the compost. So that has been a dilemma for me at the moment. In other words, the bag goes in the normal bin!

All in all I found the transition very easy and reached my goal of 50 probably after 6 months and exceeded the goal to more than 60 in less than 9 months. I surprised even myself on that. Mission well and truly accomplished and ahead of time. 👏

So what's the future for lovelierplanet?

I love writing articles and will of course pop in with good news stories from time to time (check out my positive news reports). There are some reviews still to follow and articles to come, including how to run a plastic reduced office.

Contained within this site are lots of useful tips including what the different recycling symbols mean; what schools and supermarkets are doing to reduce single use plastics; an insight into terms like BPA free and how to be a green detective.

The menus to the right, search fields and tags at the bottom of this page can help you hop you to any points of interest in a jiffy!

For those starting out on their own journey take a look too at my list of eco friendly books suited to adults and plastic reduction books for children. Hopefully they can provide some inspiration.

I hope to start a reference section of useful websites and online stores (links to follow) and I'm making plastic free items to help keep this site going too. 🌷

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this poignant message. Keep your arms wrapped around planet Earth, as she needs our love, care and nurturing just as much as we need hers!

If the Climate was a Bank, You Would have Saved it Already - Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels