#plasticdetox | what I learnt in January

plastic soup

I thought I'd round-up on January's plastic detox and what I've found easiest to do and what I am planning to keep doing.

Plastic in tea bags was a major shock, always thinking they were biodegradable and finding out we had been drinking tea infused with PVC was shocking.  I have been trying various loose teas including herbal and will keep on with this, Brew Tea is delicious.  At home the charcoal filter is working well and I'm going to continue using these.  Finding plastic free fruit and vegetables at a good price was trickier in a supermarket,  OddBox has been brilliant and also seen our meals change as we use the different vegetables that arrive.  Switching to a milkman was the quickest and easiest swap of all, we now have milk and juice delivered in glass bottles. Milk & More is online and so easy to use.  I've also been baking our own bread on Sunday's and find it relaxing kneading/bashing the dough, also have no plastic waste - so win all round.  In the kitchen I've also started using a compost bin (luckily our council has a curbside collection) and this has cut down the amount I place in the general rubbish, also noticed our recycling bin is a lot less - so gradually making headway there.  I have to use bin bags and have switched to a biodegradable version from Baldwins.

Flora, Poppy & Lurpak have all had their food changed and they don't seem to mind, Lurpak took the change from pouches to tin's trickier.  And I guess like most pet owners we are nothing but slaves to their total happiness.  The dogs love the Lily's Kitchen and even though I thought the cost was high, have worked out that buying direct with a huge bag, makes the cost the same if not a little less than their original food - just this is plastic free and compostable.  As a result of the changes with pet food I have been shopping in Asda, the tinned cat food is so much cheaper there.  Noticed they have quite a few loose vegetables and herbs, more than Waitrose & Sainsbury's. If I buy something that does have plastic wrapping I fold it up and send it back to the chief executive with a polite letter asking them to consider using biodegradable packaging.  Not had a reply as yet.  Find this method easier than dumping the plastic bags at the till and may have more of an impact with the decision makers rather than the poor cashier who doesn't have any say on how things are run.

Plastic free cleaning has been a curve, not keen on the vinegar & water smell.  I have switched to Bio D and plan to use refills of the washing up liquid and the laundry powder works really well, as with all the Bio D, they contain no harmful ingredients and are Cruelty Free.  In terms of bathroom cleaning I haven't swapped anything as my regular cleaner lasts a long time (bathroom Method), have stopped buying bleach for the loo and planning on experimenting with loo bombs.  Think the box of Who gives a crap loo roll will keep us going for months and definitely recommend it.

Bathroom cupboard wise things have been changing slowly, after my cleanser ran out last week switched from a plastic pump to a glass pot with metal lid and its lovely.  Different as it's a balm not a wash, I use home-made muslin cloths to remove and definitely recommend this.  Also switched my moisturizer  close to the beginning of January from plastic pot to glass pot, although it does have a plastic lid.  If only Waitrose would consider putting the baby bottom butter in a glass pot!  Using an amazing bamboo toothbrush with compostable bristles and it is doing really well, I found this at Hetu.  Finally switched from a plastic razor to Edwin Jagger British made metal razor that uses old-fashioned razor blades, looking into the recycling of the blades.  Switching from liquid soap has not happened as yet, I use large bottles and the solid soap I've tried from lush hasn't been all that great.  Will start switching and experimenting, Dr Bronner liquid soap was recommended to me, although this again comes in plastic bottles.  Shampoo & conditioner has been an ongoing challenge, one suggestion from Kate Arnell from Eco-Boost was to buy a bottle of shampoo from her hairdresser and they then refill there on - great idea if your hairdresser will do that.  Will keep on the search, so far all none plastic options from Lush have failed on my hair.

 If you have any tips at all, or products you've found that work for you, do get in touch!  Anyone found an eco pair of tights?

If you'd like to try Who gives a crap plastic free loo roll - here's a code to get £5 off https://www.talkable.com/x/jeecau

This post was not sponsered and all views my own.

plastic detox week 4


Great news announced on 16th January, that Iceland will be going plastic free on their own brand frozen foods by 2023.  With my plastic challenge this month, I realised frozen peas and other frozen vegetables will be a no-no, Nigella's pea & pesto soup is a winter soup staple as its so quick and warming.  This prompted me to email the major supermarkets a few weeks ago about their single use plastic packaging in their freezer department and what their plans were, a few responded.

Tesco response was " Regarding your enquiry, I have had a response from our Business Support Team.  They have informed me of that what we have been doing at Tesco is moving more and more of our frozen bags to pure polyethylene, which we will recycle at front of our larger stores with carrier bags. This is a service that local authorities do not offer, but shows our commitment to recyclable materials.  We have more being converted during 2018 and the next thing we need to get right is the use of the correct on pack logo. Hopefully our customers will see this change soon  I hope this helps."  I have followed up with another email asking if they would consider paper in the light of Iceland's announcement and have as yet to receive a response.

Sainsburys response to my initial email was  "I've spoken with our communications team who have advised of the following in regards to the following regarding our packages.  A trial using home compostable packaging was launched on our So Organics range. This was successful however any of our customers which didn’t have the ability to compost at home were still in the same situation they had previously been and were having to bin their plastic bags and trays. Also during the trial we saw feedback that in some cases it was taking a long time for the plastics to break down in the compost heaps where they were during drier or colder months.  At this time a lot of other brands and retailers we using bio plastics for some of their packaging.  Bio plastics look the same as oil based plastics it was leading to high levels of confusion and contamination from customers where there was plastic bottle recycling streams in place.    Due to this, currently there are no products in our range which come in biodegradable plastics, however I have passed your feedback on to our Resource Management team so they can look further into developing new packaging for our products."  Then after the Iceland's announcement, I asked if they would consider following Iceland and this email arrived "Thanks for getting back in touch with us recently regarding your query on our plastic packaging. I'm sorry you have some concerns on this.  In regards to your question about whether our frozen products will be plastic free, we would be unable to answer this at the minute."

Watrose,  had no answer and yesterday I received this email "Whilst I can see that my colleague Martin is currently waiting to hear back from one of our colleagues regarding your query relating to our frozen vegetables packaging, I felt it important to share with you our plastic packaging response in the meantime.   Reducing our impact on the environment is really important to us and we know it is to our customers too.  We share your concern about the use of plastics, so we've committed to making all our own-label packaging widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable, or home compostable by 2025.  Much of our fruit and vegetable flexible plastic packaging (including the small bags to put items in) can be recycled along with carrier bags at a recycling point at the front of our shops, and we label these packs to encourage this. The contents of the recycling point are then baled and recycled. The fruit and vegetable offer includes pre-packed goods and a selection of loose products.  Earlier this year we launched our support for the Marine Conservation Society’s beach and river cleans across England - these focus on cleaning up plastic and other litter from our environment, which directly benefits marine wildlife.  Waitrose is fully committed to using packaging materials which least impact the environment. For several years we have worked with our suppliers to develop and trial alternative packaging materials.  We still have concerns about a complete conversion to these alternatives until we can fully assess the impact of these materials on product quality and can be assured that the right facilities are available to enable our customers to safely compost them.  The availability of fit for purpose home compostable material is technically limited and the composting waste stream is still very much in its infancy.  Our current policy is that only home compostable packaging that meets the requirements of the OK Compost Home standard should be used where there is no established recycling stream. We will continue to review our policy and we will extend compostable materials to other ranges once we are satisfied that suitable treatment facilities are available to our customers. We believe that there are challenges associated with home composting i.e. volumes that can be dealt with this way and the optimum conditions needed to ensure effective composting. For this reason, we believe it is important to ensure that industrial composting facilities are also made more widely available to consumers.  We are working with our suppliers and packaging manufacturers to develop and source alternative materials to plastic and our dedication to this is ongoing."

Thought it best to copy & paste the responses in full, I didn't know about Waitrose's recycling point at the front of store and will look out for this at my local store.  I've hears people removing all the plastic packaging at the till and that others collect the packaging and then post it back to the head office of the stores with a note.  This is my prefered route, far less confrontational and more lightly to have a response.

Bamboo Charcoal Water Filters

I have filtered my water with a brita filter for years and in our old home had a built-in Brita filter on the kitchen tap.  The jug filters are plastic and we used 12 a year, while the jugs are recyclable and last a long time, the filter cartridge is not recyclable in my area.  After looking into water filter methods, I found bamboo charcoal pictured above. They improve the taste of the water and the bamboo comes packed in a natural compostable pouch.  Boobalou is an interesting website, with some great plastic alternatives and when ordering you can opt for recycled packaging and also plastic free packaging.

Plastic free breakfasts have been more of a challenge, my daughter's regular cereals are mostly in a plastic bag, inside a cardboard box.  So we have switched to Flanhavan's oats as they come wrapped in paper, not plastic as the stores own (much cheaper) plastic wrapped versions (found Lidl have own brand porridge oats in paper).  I've been trying out different over night oats flavors, below is an Ella's kitchen version (click on the photo).overnight oats

If anyone has more plastic free cereal idea's would be great to hear.  Still haven't found a good alternative to my almond milk, I use Alpro unroasted & unsweetened almond milk and sometimes Rude Healths.  Both these brands use Italian almonds, after reading about the US almond production and bee health.  I have discovered London Nut Mylk when I visited Hetu, although they sell out so quickly have never managed to try.


I found a zero waste community shop, reccomended to me by a lady in Baldwin's called Fareshare, its has bulk options and organic produce.  Lots of pulses, peanut butter and vegan options.  Last monday evening I attended a talk on sustainability at Daylesford Organic Pimlico shop, the panel included Kate Arnell from ECO BOOST and Hermione Taylor from DO NATION, nutritionist Rhaya Jordan and Environmental Scientist Tim Field.  It brought up many interesting topics including zero waste, plastic soup pollution, organic v industrial farming and ways to cut down and make our lives more sustainable. Here is a link to the notes from the talk.  The main points I got were, reduce, reuse, recycle and eat seasonally if possible.  Eat organic and reduce the amount of meat we eat and when we do, buy grass-fed, naturally reared and maybe becoming a weekday vegitarian.  When I craft or look for fabrics to make clothes I do look at the fabric composition, but it has become more and more of an issue for me - not to buy fabrics that contain plastics.  Use what I have at home, but when replacing items only to have natural fibres.  I know it becomes a mindfield and working full time myself sometimes finding time to find everything can be tricky, having the dog foodBrew teaveg boxand milk delivery helps.  Some companies also deliver meat & dairy items, such as Riverford.

If you've been cutting down on plastic this month, how have you found it?  What have been the best alternative things you've found?  Any tips you can pass on?


Plastic Detox week 3


This week has been a little easier, getting in to the swing of things.  A lovely friend gave me a stainless steel straw she found at Lakeland, planning on making a little pouch for it so I can take it around in my handbag.  I managed to find a bamboo toothbrush at Hetu, has nylon4 bristles that do biodegrade.  It's proved to be a better toothbrush than the bamboo version I had from Waitrose last year.


I am lucky not to live very far from Borough Market, the butcher and fish monger there both wrapped my purchases in paper - happy not to use plastic.  I also found Borough Wines, they have a great selection of wines, including sulphate free natural wines and have a refillable bottle.  I'm no wine connoisseur and enjoyed the rose, another great place for sulphate free wines is The Organic Wine Club and they have a brilliant selection, including some excerlent prosecco and one amazing sparkling red.   My local farmer's market was another good source of plastic free foods, the olive seller was happy for me to take my own pots.  The Old Post Office bakery also have a stall there and their sourdough bread is great, again wrapped in paper, although I have been making bread every week now for quite some time.  Started off ok ish with the odd heavy disaster and now the bread works out well, so no need to buy bread wrapped in plastic.


I discovered an interesting shop called Baldwins in Elephant & Castle, I managed to find Bio-D laundry powder (plastic free) and Laundry Bleech (plastic free).  A friend also discovered a place in East Dulwich that sells BioD refills, if your interested in trying it and not in SE London their website has a map of places to buy and also refill.  Speaking of refills, if you carry a bottle of water and want to stop and top up, there is now an app to help you find a place.

clifford James handkerchiefs

Last week I ordered a dozen mens white handkerchiefs, so I could always have 1 or 2 in my bag and no need for plastic wrapped 'pocket tissues'.  Mens handkerchiefs are larger and much more useful than the dainty ladies versions, although do search ebay for super cute vintage children handkies!


Finally, hair care.  Lush have a solid shampoo, it works although can be rather harsh as it does contain sodium lauryl sulfate,  still searching for a good hydrating conditioned.  The lush solid I tried was terrible in terms or ease of use and it just didn't work for my hair or on my dog (she is a cavalier king charles with long ears that need conditioning).  Next I tried a conditioning treatment and that also failed, if anyone has any good recommendations for conditioner do please let me know.  As a disclaimer, my hair is highlighted and does need a good conditioner to stop it looking and feeling like straw.

plastic detox week 2

milk bottles

This week things have been interesting and challenging.  Our milk delivery has started and the milkman also delivers fruit juice in glass bottles, brilliant service and can recommend Milk and more.  I am collecting the foil tops and will be sending them off for recycling when I have a jar full.


One of the trickiest switches made this week was weaning our 7 year old cat from his favorite Sheba pouches (not recyclable).  I have switched him to tins and trying dry food from Lilly's Kitchen.  Lilly's Kitchen dry food packaging are all completely compostable and recyclable.  The dogs have also switched to dry food in compostable bags from their  super healthy plastic tray food.  The poop bags I have been using for many years are biodegradable, I usually buy them in TK Maxx of all places.

IMG_2161 (1)

I went back to Hetu to try their refill washing up liquid and multi surface cleaner, price wise it was a little shock.  £1.80 for 300 ml, Ecover is £2.50 for 1L. So not sure I'll go back for more refill.


Finally this week, tea has been a pressing issue, we normally drink Yorkshire tea.  I have discovered almost all teabags contain polypropylene to heat seal the bags and come wrapped in cellophane, again not recyclable or compostable.  I've been emailing and tweeting different tea companies and supermarkets to find out more and so far have found Brew loose leaf Tea is plastic free including the packaging, their teabags are made from SOILON, a 100% biodegradable material, so you can pop them straight on the compost.  Taylors of Harrogate contain plastic - though they are developing a fully biodegradable, plant-based alternative to their Yorkshire Tea bags at the moment.  Marks & Spencer tea bags contain plastic to seal the bags.  Clipper said 'the filter paper in our pillow tea bags does contain polypropylene to provide the heat-seal function.'  Dorset Tea bags comprises of approximately 75% cellulose fibres, 25% synthetic fibres for the heat-sealing properties and 1% wet-strength resin.  Tetley tea, also contain plastic to heat seal.  Tesco teabags are all heat sealed with plastic with one exception, Tesco finest green tea Jasmine 15 tea bags 30g.  Co-Op also contain plastic as a sealant and said they are working with suppliers to find an alternative.  Sainsburys told me 'At present all of our tea / infusions bags are not biodegradable. They contain a small amount of PVC in order for the tea bag paper to seal sufficiently. The tea bags used in the TTD new range are biodegradable.'  PG Tips tea bags are made with 80% paper fibre, again with plastic to seal the bags.  Twinings said "Environmentally sustainable products and packaging are important to us and we are constantly working with our suppliers to find the best solutions and innovations that can help us become even more sustainable. We have several types of tea bag design across our ranges and ensure that they are predominantly produced from a natural plant based cellulose material and are biodegradable and compostable. Our pyramid teabag range contains no plastic and is fully biodegradable, or if you prefer no bag we also have an extensive loose leaf range".  Teapigs tea bags are made from soilon,  derived from cornstarch.   Lidl wanted me to give them bar codes for all the products for them to give me an anser, so I'll be working on that this week and  Typhoo and Asda have not responded at all.  There are a few companies in London who sell loose leaf tea, Mariage Freres in Selfridges sell tea in tins and are happy to sell it to customers with there own containers.  Bluebird Tea sell in tins and again happy to sell to customers who take in their own packaging.  HR Higgins sell tea and coffee in a caddy and I am sure would allow you to take in your own pot, they have not responded to my email.


If you have any tips do please share and if you know of any good teas, do please comment.

plastic detox week 1


This week has been a steep learning curve and I have failed in terms of plastic wrapped salad and meat at the supermarket, although have found a milkman via Milk and more - so no more plastic bottled milk and fruit juices.  My expiriment with oat milk was ok, but not great in tea, the search goes on for an eco non dairy/plastic free milk for me. The plastic waste that came home with me, will be posted to Waitrose Customer Services with a letter asking for a plastic free isle (except the contaminated meat packaging that is). I've now signed up to a veg box with Odd Box.  I really like their philosophy, fresh vegetables and fruit delivered to the door and no plastic.

odd box

I also needed shampoo and conditioner, I headed to Lush and bought solid shampoo and conditioner bars.


The solid shampoo was great, easy to use, lather and rinse.  The conditioner was another story, not easy to apply, smelt great but very hit and miss.  My hair is dry, highlighted and needs conditioner, this just didn't work for me.  One thing I did learn in Lush, was they have dental care, all packaged in plastic sadly - although if you take a pot in with you they can decant the toothy tabs and return the plastic bottles to the factory. IMG_2106

Finally, I visited Hetu in Battersea today.  Wonderful concept and very busy, so busy they had sold out of so much!  I will be heading back next week for laundry liquid, fabric conditioned & washing up liquid re-fills.  They also have multi surface cleaner, shampoo and conditioned refills, many dry goods including baking powder, bicarb, pulses etc.  Take your own bottles, pots and bags or use their paper bags or purchase cloth bags in store.  I came home with freshly ground hazelnut butter (utterly delcious) amongst other items - so worth a visit.  You can see from my photo the empty containers - do hope the early success continues.

Big learning curve this week and hope that with the veg box and milk delivery things will be easier.  Here is a link to the zero waster website and gives lots of links to places all over Great Britan where you can zero waste shops.