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We’re trying to stay at home more than ‘normal’, to do our best to keep away from Covid. I’m not pretending it’s fun, and it’s a worrying and stressful time for everyone. With our current situation it can be hard to think of anything but keeping safe. But I try to remain positive, and am very thankful that both me and my husband can work from home. And as usual, I’m looking for ways to encourage you to try new eco-friendly swaps. It’s also giving me something else to concentrate on.
I know many people aren’t able to work from home. But what if those of us that are at home, and have the time and money to do so, made some easy eco-friendly swaps? Read on for some easy ideas to try while you’re at home – they may be out of your comfort zone. But absolutely no pressure! If you can’t face it now, you could always Pin my ideas for later, or attempt just one.
Why Make an Eco-Friendly Swap Now?
During the first Lockdown, my Twitter feed was full of people saying we should be using the time to up-skill. Well good for you if you have the time or enthusiasm. But I think for most of us, doing anything much above the bare minimum might be a bit too overwhelming. Especially as it’s the third time around, and winter. But there are a few easy eco-friendly swaps we can try at home, that maybe we were worried about trying in ‘the real world’. Things that have the potential to cause embarrassment if we get it wrong. But if we’re at home anyway, what’s the worst that can happen?
I’m talking about zero waste sanitary protection and natural deodorants. Both have the potential to cause if we don’t find the right one. Or what about things we haven’t had time to do, that are better for our homes, the environment, and even our health? I’ve come up with five eco-friendly swaps to try in the safety of your home, with no danger of embarrassment. Why not have a go at one or two and let me know how you get on?
Eco-Friendly Swap 1: Have a Zero Waste Period
So many people ask me about reusable period products, as they are worried about whether they work, and if they leak. Well I’m pleased to report this is a great eco-friendly swap that I would 100% recommend!
I’m so happy to see more people talking about swapping from disposables to reusable period pants, cups and towels on Facebook. In my circles at least, it seems to be really taking off and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s the way forward. But initially it’s an eco-friendly swap that feels like a big investment. It’s also something that has the potential to cause worry if you’ve only used disposable products before.
My advice is to start small and buy a pair of reusable period pants or single towel to start with, to see how you get on, and find the ones you like best.
Give Period Pants A Try
I have been a period pants convert for a few years now. Modi Body sent me a couple of pairs to try out last year. At first, it does seem incredible that a pair of pants can replace a day’s worth of tampons or towels. But they really do! And no, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a nappy.
When I first used period pants, I only used them when I was staying at home (as a freelance copywriter, I spend most of my days at home anyway, so I’m used to it). I was concerned about leaks, but I needn’t have worried. They work so well. If you have a very heavy flow you may need to change period pants for a fresh pair during the day, but mine last a whole day easily, and I change into a fresh pair at night. Period Pants come in different levels of absorbency too.
Buying reusable period pants does feel like a big investment initially, but they do last really well. I think that over the lifetime of the pants, they are a not only a great eco-friendly swap, but a good investment. They work out cheaper than disposables, not to mention how much landfill you’re saving!
I have recently bought some WUKA period pants as they are a bit cheaper. And I’m happy to report they are great too, in fact I would say they are even better! I have got some of WUKA’s regular range and also some of their new more affordable Basics range that are £12 a pair: also fab. I’ve even bought some for my daughter in a ‘My First Period Pack’ which comes with a great book. It feels good to know I’m prepared for when she needs them.
You either need to rinse the pants out after use and then wash as usual, or soak them in a small bucket.
Try Reusable Pads
If period pants are a bit too much to start with, you can also buy zero waste reusable pads. Mine are from Cheeky Wipes and work well although I do find them more bulky than disposables or period pants.
Or What About a Cup?
A menstrual cup is your best bet if you’re looking to transition from tampons. Again they can seem like an investment, but can last up to ten years. So will save a great deal of money (and waste) in the long term.
I’ve only used my period cup for a couple of cycles and think I need a bit more practice! But I managed to use it successfully after a couple of tries and they do say it takes a few uses to get used to it. I can see this becoming my go-to period solution once I’ve perfected the technique.
Shop a range of menstrual cups here.
Eco-Friendly Swap 2: Try Some Plastic Free Toiletries
The average bathroom has so much single use plastic in it. Solid shower gel or soap, and shampoo and conditioner bars are easy ways to save a few bottles.
Give Shower Gel Tablets a Try
I recently discovered shower gel tablets, which come in a recyclable paper bag and foam up beautifully, without drying skin out. Each of these little tablets lasts for at least 5 showers and they come in two scents.
Lather Up a Shampoo Bar
I’ve tried a lot of solid shampoos over the last few years and some are good. But many have really not worked well. And the conditioner bars are even more of a minefield. But I have found a natural shampoo and conditioner bar set that work really well on my hair and on the girls’ hair.
I tried these zero waste shampoo, body and conditioner bars for my Christmas gift guide and we got on really well with them. They do take a little longer, as you have to work up a lather more than normal shampoo, but worth it now that we don’t have such a strict timetable!
Eco-Friendly Swap 3: Try a Natural Deodorant
I get so many messages wanting to know which natural deodorant actually works. I have tried loads, and may of them just don’t work, or at least not for me! And I totally understand why trying a natural deodorant, with no guarantee it will work, can be off putting.
So now is the perfect time to give it a whirl, without getting half way through a gym class and noticing an unpleasant whiff. Or needing to leave the office early because you notice your colleagues are moving away from you. Awkward!
These natural deodorants from the Natural Deodorant Co are my favourites. A little goes a long way so one glass jar lasts ages – about three months for me. And they actually WORK, even thought it’s made of all natural ingredients.
It has glass bottom and a tin top so both parts are easily recyclable but they are also reusable if you wash them out well after use.
These jars of creamy paste have minimal ingredients and no aluminium so they are so much better for your skin. It comes in a few ranges including Active which is perfect for your busy days and Clean which is ideal the rest of the time. I have both and they both work brilliantly but the Active one smells nicer, of bergamot and orange: gorgeous. So I use that one all the time now.
Eco-Friendly Swap 4: Learn How to Zero-Waste Shave
It may sound funny to talk about learning how to shave. But using a zero-waste safety razor does mean a bit of re-learning. You need to angle the razor in a different way, and apply less pressure. You even shave in the opposite direction!
I am still learning to use my safety razor. Sometimes I manage it pretty well, other times I cut myself. My husband, on the other hand, took to it like a duck to water. He’s also delighted that the new blades are so cheap – just £1.50 for 5, and no plastic at all.
Mother Nature Skin have a great guide about how to use a safety razor, which you can find here.
So taking your time to go slowly is the best way. Some of us may have a bit of extra time to practice at the moment. And if you have to wear a plaster for a few days, no one will see anyway!
Eco-Friendly Swap 5: Treat Yourself to Loose Leaf Tea
This eco-friendly swap might not be out of your comfort zone, but swapping to loose leaf tea is a lovely treat. And it’s worth taking a little bit more effort and time to create the perfect brew. If you normally work in an office, school or building site, you probably won’t have easy access to plastic-free loose leaf tea. But if you’re working from home now, why not treat yourself to some gorgeous ethical and eco-friendly loose leaf tea? In case you haven’t heard, most conventional (and even some luxury) tea bags contain microplastics, which cannot be a good thing.
My absolute favourite is Brew Tea Co, which you can order online. They make the best English Breakfast, and Decaf Earl Grey. It’s been keeping me going all through all of the lockdowns.
Team it with a teapot and strainer, or an infuser for the best brew ever. And no micro-plastics to pollute the earth (or our internal organs!). Lots of zero waste and refill shops around the country also sell loose leaf tea. Why not check out this directory to see if you have a refill store near you?
I hoe you’ve found my ideas for out-of-your-comfort-zone eco-friendly swaps useful. Why not Pin it for later, so you can try it when you’re ready?