Kitchen versus bathroom – which can you make plastic-free first?

 Kitchen versus bathroom – which can you make plastic-free first?

It’s time to go plastic free. If you’ve not yet joined the plastic free movement then Plastic Free July is the perfect time. The entire month is dedicated to raising awareness of the impact of plastic on the environment and what people can do to use less of it and support a reduction in plastic creation.

The movement is certainly gathering momentum. According to a recent survey by All Things Hair, 62.7% of respondents will be participating in Plastic Free July this year. If you’re planning to join them, there’s plenty you can do when it comes to reducing the use of plastic in your home. Today, we’re looking at simple changes you can make in your bathroom and kitchen to make the world a better place.

So, which room will you tackle first?

Reducing plastic in your bathroom

Over the past few years, a huge range of plastic free alternatives have become available to make your bathroom routine more planet friendly. Some swaps are simple – ditching your shower gel in favour of soap, for example, or swapping out your liquid shampoo and conditioner for solid versions. The vast range of soaps, shampoo bars and conditioner bars on the market mean that you can have just as much fun discovering the different brands and scents as you can with bottled versions of these products.

There are plenty of other quick wins for the bathroom. Do you use bubble bath? If so, it’s time to order a box of eco-friendly bath-bombs. Opt for ones with all-natural ingredients to fill your bath with colour and your bathroom with scent.

Moisturisers, hand creams and body butters also come in solid form these days, so if you like to keep your skin well nourished, you can enjoy shopping around to find your favourite products and brands.

Likewise, there are some effective eco-friendly deodorants on the market, with packaging made from metal rather than plastic, and toothpastes that are available in tins and glass jars.

For your toothbrush, you can swap out plastic for bamboo, while your disposable plastic razor can be exchanged for a reusable metal one.

Other plastic free bathroom items include cotton buds made with card or with bamboo and reusable bamboo pads that can replace the single use cotton wool pads that come wrapped in plastic.

Speaking of plastic wrapping, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic-wrapped packages of toilet paper are available these days, meaning you can fill your bathroom with bright paper-wrapped rolls instead.

Some bathroom items are still tricky to find alternatives for. Nail polish and nail polish remover, for example, both contain plastic in their packaging and there aren’t yet viable alternatives available. Why not simply give your nails a break from being covered in chemicals during Plastic Free July this year instead? 

Aiming for a plastic free kitchen

Whether you love to cook or do so as infrequently as possible, your kitchen is likely full of plastic. Cutting it out entirely is quite a commitment, particularly when it comes to food packaging. Thankfully, food producers and retailers are finally getting the message when it comes to plastic reduction, though lofty promises and eco-friendly visions still need to be replaced with actual action, for the most part.

That said, you do have much more choice now when it comes to buying food that’s plastic free. Take your own bags for fruit, vegetables, bread and carrying your shopping, and head to your local market, greengrocers and bakery in pursuit of fresh, unpackaged food items. There are a growing number of retailers – both tiny, independent stores and some supermarket branches – that let you take your own containers and measure out items by weight. From cereal to flour to rice, there are ways to buy without plastic if you shop around. 

Once you’ve got your food home, there are some great swaps you can do within the kitchen to reduce your use of plastic there. First, throw out your clingfilm. Well, actually, use it up until the roll is finished, as otherwise it would be a waste, but don’t buy another roll! Instead, invest in some wax wraps and fabric dish covers. They’ll serve the same purpose as cling film, but your kitchen will look prettier and the plant will thank you.

In terms of household products, there are some superb plastic free alternatives available that will serve to keep your kitchen looking beautiful. Opt for a wooden washing up brush and washable dishcloths rather than plastic sponges. For those tough to remove stains, biodegradable scourers made of coconut should do the trick.

Next, swap out your plastic bottled cleaning products for glass ones. Or, better still, why not make your cleaning products yourself? Armed with vinegar, baking soda and essential oils, you can replace the vast majority of your chemical-laced kitchen products, refilling your (glass) bottles with them whenever you run out.

For storage, glass jars and containers with bamboo lids are not only practical but also look lovely. And when it comes to drinks, there are a whole host of eco-friendly reusable coffee cups and water bottles out there for you to discover.

Reuse and recycle

If you can’t cut a plastic item out, at least recycle it. The All Things Hair survey that we mentioned earlier also asked readers if they actively recycle their plastic waste. While 76.4% of respondents said they did, 23.6% said they did not. Do better, people!

Finally, if you can’t but out all plastic then at least focus on cutting out single-use items. If you’re buying bags of ice cubes, for example, invest in some silicone ice cube trays that will last for years instead. (Yes, silicone is a plastic polymer, but as it’s made from sand it breaks down without leaving microplastics that end up in our waterways.)

If everyone makes these little changes, we can collectively make a huge difference. Plastic waste is one of the biggest challenges our planet is facing right now. Let’s work together to solve it. 

Daniel Donny