We are working with more and more sustainable and ethical businesses. This blog may seem somewhat out of the ordinary for a marketing company but we think it aligns with what a lot of our clients are working on. And we just like to be useful! By the way, we haven’t been paid for any of these links. We did the research ourselves!
The damage that plastic is causing to our planet is pretty well-known. But if you stop and look around you – wherever you are right now – you’ll see that plastic forms all or part of so many items that you use day to day. Your phone, your pen, your carpet, your car interior, some of your clothes and possibly your furniture are all at least partly made of plastic. Depressing, isn’t it?
There is good news, however. Companies are designing new plastic-free products all the time and helping us to reduce our dependence on plastic. While your car interior will probably be plastic for a while longer, there are lots of alternatives for everyday items. As it’s Plastic Free July, we’ve taken the opportunity to look at some of these items and share them with you. We’ve really focused here on products that you use every day in the home.
Did you know that your tea bags are made of plastic? The general public wasn’t aware of this until relatively recently and many of us were naively throwing our used tea bags into our food waste and compost bins. As the plastic tea bag issue became more widely known, a few tea companies switched to plant-based tea bags. However, like with so many environmentally friendly products, these alternatives were vastly more expensive.
Enter PG Tips and Sainsbury’s Red Label. That’s right – some of the UK’s best-loved tea bags are now made from plant-based material and are biodegradable so you can dispose of them in your food waste bin. Without a doubt, more tea companies will follow suit and more of your favourite tea bags will be biodegradable.
This is an easy one. In case you didn’t know, your laundry capsules are probably made of plastic. But powder is usually cheaper anyway. So use powder or detergent if you want to reduce your plastic usage.
You know when you see those awful pictures of Pacific island beaches covered in thick layers of toxic plastic waste? One of the items that always seems to be most prolific is razors. You might have seen this – thousands of brightly-coloured plastic handles lying forlornly on the sand in amongst the bottles, lighters and bits of clothes.
We think that electric razors are a good alternative and much, much more cost-effective in the long run. However, a lot of people find that the shave isn’t close enough. For those people, we’d recommend old-fashioned safety razors. They do take a little getting used to and they can look a bit scary. But seriously, once you get the hang of them, you’ll never go back. They give a really great shave. We found some at Peace with the Wild.
Sadly, toothbrushes are another culprit washing up on beaches worldwide. But we all need to brush our teeth, right? Well, there is an alternative to plastic toothbrushes. It turns out that bamboo isn’t just for pandas and many, many household items can now be made of bamboo. We’re happy to say that toothbrushes are no exception. But wait, I hear you cry, my dentist told me to use an electric toothbrush. We are delighted to be of service because we have found an electric toothbrush made from bamboo. Wake Cup stock these and they are quite expensive at £79.95, but we think they are worth it if you can fit them into your budget.
You can also buy bamboo interdental brushes. At first, we were quite horrified that they seem to cost around £4 in most shops but then we discovered that the ones we tried lasted at least twice as long as the plastic ones, usually even a bit more. So, actually, they can be cheaper.
Yes, those green things you use to scrub your pans are plastic. They also don’t last very long before they’re shedding bits of green into your sink and around your kitchen. We’re a big fan of coconut scourers. They are tough and sort your pans out in no time.
Pens were quite tough to research and we almost didn’t include them because unless you’re willing to pay a lot of money for a metal fountain pen, 100% eco alternatives seem very difficult to find. However, pens form a large part of the plastic problem. How many cheap biros have you got in your office? They work for a short while (if they work at all!) and then you throw them out. It seems that every car garage and accountant will give you a free biro and if you’ve ever been to any kind of trade show then you will be familiar with the bag full of flyers, stress balls and disposable biros that you return home with.
For this reason, we’re willing to compromise with the pens and make suggestions that aren’t 100% plastic-free but contain less plastic than the traditional biro.
Firstly, we think that this amazing gothic hand-turned wood, copper and silver pen is the only pen you’ll ever need and actually only costs around £25 (as opposed to £100 plus for a lot of fountain pens). If you like the idea of a pen for life (or quite a long time), Etsy has lots of really fabulous wooden pens. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more ‘everyday’, there are plenty of pens that are made from our old friend, bamboo. Of course, the refill is still plastic so as I mentioned, this is not a perfect solution but these pens still use a lot less plastic than most biros.
We are amazed to see that grass pens – yes, pens made from grass – are quite popular. These ones from The Plastic Free Shop have replaceable refills made from recycled BPA-free plastic. At £5, they are more expensive than your disposable Bic biro but you’ll have no need to dispose of this pen, just replace the refill.
Most of us want to help save the planet and it’s easy to feel helpless or overwhelmed. It’s hard when eco alternatives can be expensive and less convenient when we all have busy lives. But hopefully, you’ve found a few easy alternatives in this list and every change you make will make a difference. You can make small and gradual adjustments to your shopping habits and you will have every reason to feel good about yourself.