It’s Zero Waste Week and, as we make a concerted effort not to buy products with plastic, we’re noticing some pretty wonderful side-effects.
With a more eco approach to shopping comes a need to be prepared: to remember to bring reusable bags and containers, perhaps to walk a little further – there’s a slight loss of convenience and a need to deviate away from familiar products and try something new.
But we must start somewhere! And with this more old-fashioned approach to shopping comes an added layer of human interaction and more exercise; which is surely good for the soul!
We’ve researched a few eco products and were pleasantly surprised.
1. Fluoride Toothpaste Tablets.
They come in a cardboard box and, if you buy in bulk, cost a similar amount to toothpaste in a tube. Pop one in your mouth, add a little water, chew it a little then brush – it takes a little getting used to; the texture is a little chalky but your teeth feel and look nice and clean after.
Illustration by @cindymangomini
2. Shampoo and Conditioning bars.
There’s good reason to ditch high street shampoos and conditioners; they use vast quantities of plastic and many contain palm oil, which is devastating the rainforest. We’d heard that with some shampoo bars your hair can take a little time to adjust. We decided to give the Hairy Jayne shampoo bar a go. I have long hair and am pretty fussy about what I use but honestly, this is as good as the bottled shampoo I used before. With ingredients like wheat protein, mango butter and plant oil to soften and nourish, they also smell great. At £9 each, the price tag might be more than you’re used to, but I’m told a little bit goes a long way and, if you store them in a calico bag or bamboo tray so the water can drain, they last a long time. They're available at Re:Store zero waste shop in Hackney and online. I also bought the ‘Eternal Summer’ conditioner bar from Non Plastic Beach, which I love.
3. We’ve ditched the wet wipes, which are largely made of plastic!
Not only is it an awful lot cheaper, but it feels good to know we’re not constantly using chemicals on the kids or adding to the ocean’s island of plastic. Instead we carry around flannels, which we wet with a reusable water bottle and use for hands and faces.
4. Check out Who Gives a Crap.
These toilet rolls use completely recycled paper and 50% of the company’s profits help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. At £1 a roll, they might seem pricey compared to other brands but actually they work out cheaper than most because they’re double length rolls (18.8p per 100 sheets to be precise!). They’re wrapped in paper, not plastic. Order online or collect at Re:Store in Hackney Downs.
Shopping local and reducing waste go hand in hand – head to the supermarket or shop online and you’ll find meat, fish and vegetables wrapped in plastic. But visit your local fishmonger, butcher, baker or fruit and veg shop and the chances are little, if any plastic! Plus you can have a natter and soak up community life.
We love Re:Store, which recently opened in Hackney Downs and offers a chance to refill store cupboard ingredients like pasta, porridge, tea and coffee, herbs and spices, oil, nuts and seeds. They also offer great products for the bathroom and refillable washing up liquid, detergent and household cleaners. Local Buyers Club members save 10% too (min £10 spend).
This September Hackney Council is running a Zero Waste Challenge. Sign up for a chance to win a £100 voucher to spend at participating zero waste shops.
Happy Zero Waste Week!
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