We all want to make sustainable changes, but what are the best small household swaps that will have a big impact?
For zero waste week, we measure up some of our bestsellers against their plastic polluting alternatives.
Plastic vs Stainless Steel water bottles
The carbon footprint of producing a reusable stainless steel bottle is much larger than its disposable counterpart, however once your reusable bottle has been used more than 20 times, it becomes the greener alternative. Stainless steel is made of strong stuff, so your water bottle should last you many years and at the end of its long life an estimated 80% of stainless steels are recycled, whilst only 30% of plastic bottles escape landfill.
Plastic sponge vs compostable sponges
The sponges that can be commonly found by most kitchen sinks are made from plastic. They contain polyurethane made from petroleum which is responsible for a third of global carbon emissions. Our Eco Living Compostable Sponge Cleaning Cloths are made from natural renewable cellulose and cotton ingredients.
Kitchen sponges are bacteria breeding and to keep your plastic sponge clean it is recommended that you clean it in a harsh bleach solution and replace it weekly, whereas our cleaning cloths can be washed regularly with your normal laundry to keep them safe and hygienic.
Plastic based sponges cannot be recycled so are destined for landfill, but our cleaning cloths can be composted at the end of their life.
Plastic vs bamboo toothbrushes
Manufacturers recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 months, meaning the average person uses 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime and if they are plastic, those 300 brushes will be heading straight to landfill. It is estimated that a billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away annually in the US alone, which when laid out, would wrap around the Earth four times. Plastic toothbrushes can take hundreds of years to break down in landfill, but a bamboo alternative can compost in six months.
Creating a truly sustainable toothbrush is complicated. There are three options for bristles; petroleum based Nylon 6, bio based Nylon 4 and animal hair, usually boar bristles. The toothbrushes that we stock are vegan and have bristles made from bio based (usually castor oil) Nylon 4, which the manufacturers claim to be biodegradable and break down in the environment within 3 to 4 months. To ensure that your bamboo toothbrush can be composted at home, remove the bristles with pliers before composting, the bristles can then be placed in your normal bin.
Plastic vs bamboo cotton buds
The plastic cotton bud has along with single use water bottles become emblematic of our fight against plastic pollution. An estimated 1.8 billion of them are used annually in England and around 10% of those are flushed down the toilet. These flushaways are destined to end up in our rivers and oceans as their size often allows them to slip through the filters in water treatment works.
Our plastic free cotton buds are made from sustainable bamboo and organic cotton and can be happily composted after use.
Shampoo bars vs bottles
We are a nation of shampoo obsessives with the average person using 10 bottles a year and the number of shampoo bottles heading for landfill filling the equivalent of more than a 1000 football fields.
Bottled shampoos are made up of 80% water, but the humble bar contains only the cleaning and moisturising ingredients needed, meaning that shampoo bars will last as long as 2-3 standard bottles with no waste packaging left behind.
If you need more reasons to make the change, read our 5 good reasons to switch to shampoo bars here.
Cling film vs beeswax wraps
There’s no doubt about it, cling film is bad for the environment. Made from PVC or polyethelene, it is difficult to recycle and if left in landfills it can release a toxic chemcial called dioxin. There is also the legitimate concern about harmful chemicals in cling film leaching into the food it is protecting.
Reusable food wraps on the other hand are fully recyclable and biodegradable. We stock both beeswax and vegan food wraps that use jojoba oil and pine resin to create a sealable wrap suitable for most food types (although they should not be used with raw meats or fish). After use, they can be washed in warm soapy water and reused for up to a year.
Soap vs liquid soap
Liquid soaps, shower gels and handwashes have been sold to us as the convenient option, but convenience comes at a high environmental cost. The carbon footprint of liquid soaps is around 25% higher than bar soaps as they are heavier and less economical to transport, they have considerably more packaging and derive from synthetic, petroleum based detergents.
We have another 5 great reasons to love your soap bar here and we are offering £1 off all our soap bars this September.