• Susan

Plastic-free COVID survivors

I haven't written about zero waste/plastic-free living for a while, and there's a slightly embarrassing reason for this. I feel like I'm failing a little at the whole thing. I know I'm not the only one. Covid and lockdown have shifted our priorities - we're saving ourselves over saving the planet, even though we are kidding ourselves if we don't accept these are one and the same. I guess I, like a lot of people, have gone inward, cosying up with my little family and tried to ignore the big wide world, while adding 6,045 plastic yogurt pots to our green bin over the duration. Being quite poorly for a good part of this weird year has also made me very lazy, not that I needed an excuse!

However, all negativity aside, this is a positive post about the plastic-free habits I've picked up over the past 4 years which even a global pandemic couldn't make me give up!

Firstly, bars of soap - my new addiction. Honestly, they clean so much better than liquid soaps which are full of SLS and silicones and a load of other stuff which does nothing to actually get you clean and smell nice, which is ultimately what you want from soap, yes? There are so many local artisan soap-makers making the most wonderful concoctions of often vegan and ethically sourced ingredients. I stock the most divine smelling soaps from Greenfinch Naturals on my market stall. You can also find gorgeous soap, shower steamers, and bath bombs at www.thewrinklyelephant.com.

Handmade by Lisa in Bromsgrove, she has won lots of awards for her all-natural products, and you can catch her and husband Stuart alongside myself at The Fold's monthly markets. I have to say, though, I'm a sucker for French soap - the bars you find stacked high in French markets, of a gazillion different fragrances. I picked up a stack on holiday last year and we are working our way through them.

Orange blossom and cotton flower are my favourites, while the boys in the house like Marine and almond.

Now, a few people have said to me that using bar soap has led to more soap scum, which can be difficult to clean off shower doors, plug holes, etc. Which brings me nicely on to my next Covid-proof, plastic-free must have...

Plastic-free cleaning If anyone tells you there is anything better than soda crystals and white vinegar for cleaning soap scum, limescale, washing machines, dish washers, gunky plugholes, etc THEY ARE LYING! Seriously, add a kettle full of boiling water and you literally have the ultimate cleaning weapon. You can even add a drop or two of essential oils to make it smell nice. I used to have a kitchen cupboard full of cleaning products, but none of them can perform like these natural, and cheap, miracle workers. As an asthmatic, who is very reactive to smells and chemicals, it's really important to me to use natural products with no strong fragrance. Which brings me onto the next cleaning product in my armoury...

Koh is an eco-certified "cleaning system". Now, they're not an entirely plastic-free company and they sell micro-fibre cloths as part of their system, so they may not be for everyone. However, I buy a 4litre box of their cleaning fluid for £14.99 around twice a year, and that cleans everything in the house - floors, surfaces, oven, bathroom, windows - very effectively and totally odour-free. Oh, and of course, I use my own handmade cotton dishcloths and hemp pan scrubs, so no need for any plastic/synthetic dusters, sponges, cloths, etc.

So, yay, I'm not doing too badly, despite taking my eyes off the road a tad. I have lots more plastic-free loves that I'll share with you next time, but in the meantime, I'd love to hear about your absolute essential plastic-free products.

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