How many of us have shower gel in the bathroom right now? Probably the vast majority of people in the UK. We get it at Christmas, it’s in the supermarkets and you will have probably bought the minis to take on holiday. The question is, how many of us have stopped to think if this is the best option for the environment?
Take a good look at it next time you’re in the bathroom. What is the bottle made of? How long does it take you to use it? Is it cruelty free? Chances are we can all make better choices for our beauty products, but here’s why you should.
How much you will save by switching to bars of soap.
We started out with bar soap, introduced shower gel with it’s new range of fragrances but now the trend is to switch back to bar soap. By switching to bar soap you’ll be saving right from the beginning at the manufacturing step. Before the gel has even reached your shopping basket it’s already done a lot of damage. It takes 9 litres of water, 200ml of oil and 110 grams of CO2 to make that product and get it to you. By switching to bar soap you can start to reduce the impact on the environment every time you shower.
Bar soap is, hopefully, wrapped in paper instead of plastic which reduces the need to continually produce more plastic.Another benefit is you can ship more bars of soap at once than bottles because they take up less space and require less protective packaging, plus bars of soap can’t spill or burst during transit. With bars of soap now available in most major supermarkets, it’s easy to make the switch back.
One less thing to try and recycle.
The Guardian recently discovered that bathroom waste was most likely to end up in landfill. This could be due to lack of clear labelling, customers not associating bathroom waste with recycling in the same way as kitchen waste or customers thinking because you can’t clean the bottles, it can’t be recycled. One thing is clear, a lot more needs to be done to improve recycling in the bathroom.
You can make your life so much easier by switching from shower gel to bars of soap. No more bottles to cart down to the recycling, inevitably leaving water throughout the house because you can never get the bottle dry. No more trying to clean out that last bit of soap from the tub. Simply recycle the bar wrapper and you’re done, so much easier!
You’ll save money.
How do you use your shower gel? A tiny amount at a time or do you put plenty on your sponge so there’s lots of bubbles? The second one is way more fun and feels like you really get clean, but that’s the fastest way to waste the gel itself.
Going through the gel that fast means you have to buy more of it, far more often. That’s not the case when using a solid form of soap. The solid bars foam up just as much as their gel counterparts but use up less product to create that result. Not only do they leave you feeling squeaky clean they do it without draining your bank balance.
You can get way more fancy.
Shower gels come in a bottle, feature a few fragrances and boring colours. Why stick with this when there are so many more different bar soaps you can treat yourself to.
You can buy bars of soap with different textures, flowers added in to them or glitter if you choose. Try a bar of soap with a raised pattern on one side to really exfoliate with no extra effort.
The only option used to be lush, which still has some great bar soaps, but now there is a whole internet to explore. If you want to lose some time, we recommend exploring Etsy where there is every type of soap you could ever want. From soap for sensitive skin, vegan, palm oil free and bulk orders you’ll never want to go back to the £1 shower gel again.
The average family wastes £700 of food each year. That is 4.5m tonnes of food that gets thrown away and wasted. With food poverty still very much an issue in the UK it’s important that we don’t waste the food we have available. One of the biggest culprits for being wasted is fresh fruit and vegetables.
How often have you stocked up on the greens with the intention of using them but then never getting around to cooking. Before you know it they’ve gone slimy or furry and you have to part with them. Besides buying only what you need here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t waste your vegetables.
Store them properly
Half the battle of keeping vegetables fresh is storing correctly. Take the time to properly look up each veg you regularly buy and the proper way to store them. A starting point when it comes to storage iis to keep fruits and vegetables separate, fruits can cause veg to turn faster. Remember that no matter how much it seems to make sense not everything needs to be stored in the fridge a lot of veg prefer to be kept in a cool dark place.
Double check which containers you should keep vegetables in as well. While a lot of veg still comes in plastic, and we recommend buying loose veg to avoid this, it doesn’t mean that’s what it should be stored in. For example, mushrooms come in those awful plastic tubs and wrapped in cling film, this will cause them to go slimy. The way to store mushrooms is to take them out and keep them in a paper bag, this prevents them going slimy and if you buy them loose you can cut all the plastic out of buying mushrooms.
Cook them before they rot
It sounds simple, but use up the veg before it goes bad and don’t throw them away immediately. Yes some of your celery might not be perfect for a salad anymore but you can still add it to a sauce or a soup. This is even a good way to sneak extra veg into your portions as well as cutting down on waste.
If you’re noticing that a lot of your vegetables have nearly turned you can bulk cook a rustic vegetable soup, then you have cheap and healthy lunches for the week with no waste. Our tip is to pick or make a good quality vegetable stock as a base and experiment with seasons depending on what veg you’re adding. You don’t need a recipe to make a good soup, just get creative!
Compost is the last resort
If your vegetables have truly gone past the point of cooking, it’s time to get the compost out. Making your own compost is simple and with houseplants being the latest interior trend your new green family members will thank you.
Depending on your space there are a range of compost kits available to buy and countless guides on the internet. We like this guide from The Independent that includes troubleshooting what’s wrong with your compost and the best ways to set up your composting space.
Ultimately we need to tackle food waste in order to live sustainably, and the place to make a big difference with this is the kitchen. By starting to follow these small eco habits now they’ll become second nature and these small changes will add up to make a big difference over the years.
Getting coffee is part of our culture. People get coffee to go on dates, interview for a job and a lot of the time to just start the day. That experience of meeting somewhere for a drink with friends and family has become ingrained into how we socialise. Besides the price when you sit in to enjoy a coffee it’s not all bad, the problem comes when getting coffee to go.
Those paper coffee cups are not as innocent as they seem. How long does it take a coffee cup to break down?
The plastic lining on the inside of these cups often means that they can’t be effectively recycled. This means that your “paper” cup ends up in landfill and massively contributes to our waste problem.
The EU is working to ban single-use coffee cups by 2030, but right now that’s still 10 years away. With up to 7 million cups being used per day in the UK, that’s an additional 25 billion single-use cups being used in that time. This ban will not get here soon enough to make a real difference.
At the start of the year, I made the decision to no longer buy coffee in single-use cups, a bit of a new year’s resolution. It’s now May 2020 and, helped slightly by quarantine shutting the coffee shops, I still haven’t used a paper coffee cup.
I would have one coffee a morning typically, 3 days a week. If we hadn’t been quarantined and my habits hadn’t changed that would be 48 coffee cups used and approximately £124.80 spent. If you’re ever looking for a reason to break a habit, look up how much it costs you per month. This cost per use trick works really well for giving up coffee, cigarettes and buying lunch out every week.
The best way I found to switch from paper cups is to invest in a good travel mug and a nice coffee to make at home. I found a Thermos travel flask for under £10 and Aldi’s coffee for under £2 is on par, if not better, than what you get from Costa or another chain. Once you’ve found the right replacements for your coffee, it’s easy to give up paper cups.
If you really want your Starbucks coffee and do not want to make it at home. The majority of the coffee chains on the highstreet will happily make coffee in the cup you bring and some will even add a discount as a thank you for making the switch. Check out our resources for which ones will do this.
This is the best way to condition yourself to not just randomly go in for coffee and ultimately you’ll break the paper cup habit.
We were taught these three words in primary school. The way to reduce our impact on the environment is to reuse what we have and recycle. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions of this phrase, it’s simply not enough.
It’s time to add Refuse to this saying. Even though we can recycle a large portion of what we use, the problem is that companies are still producing plastic and single-use products, they will only switch to sustainable alternatives when the demand for single-use has gone. The best way to get this message across is to refuse their products.
It’s a simple switch but it will make a difference. Refuse paper cups, refuse straws and refuse as many single-use plastic products as possible.
You’d be surprised how many businesses are getting on board with this way of thinking. Most bars will now ask if you want a straw instead of just adding it and larger delivery companies like UberEats give you the option to add on utensils instead of just automatically sending them.
Once you’ve added Refuse to limit the number of single-use objects being brought to the market the next step is to add Repair.
For example, around 350,000 tonnes of clothing goes to landfill per year in the UK. For comparison, a Boeing 747 weighs approximately 487.5 tonnes at takeoff. That is far too many clothes going to waste each year.
By learning basic repair skills like hemming, patching and replacing buttons you can extend the life of your clothes and bring down the number of clothes going to landfill.
Learning how to fix things around the home will save you money, make you feel like a wizard and hopefully reduce the number of things sent to landfill.