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Good Reads

Good Reads, Life & Style

How To Go Plastic Free

Something that many of us have been asking ourselves is just how to go plastic free when it seems like plastic is everywhere.

Thankfully Caroline Jones, author of How to Go Plastic Free* (affiliate link) which has recently been published through Carlton Books, is here today with a great guest post on some of the ways that she is going plastic-free, and some great ideas for us.

Take it away Caroline!

how to go plastic free book

My New Year’s resolution this year – and one I hope to keep going long past January – has been to try extra hard to cut down on my plastic waste. Having spent a big chunk of last year researching and writing my book entitled: How to Go Plastic Free, I realised that even though I’m an avid recycler and plastic avoider, there’s still a lot more I could be doing to make a difference.

Over the last 100 years, global plastic usage has grown from zero to the point where humanity now produces its own weight in plastic every single year. That’s a shocking 300 million tons of plastic – with only 10 percent of it recycled.

But from polluting oceans to filling up landfills for decades without decomposing, the devastating impact plastic has on our planet is now well documented. Yet with our daily life so dependent on a vast variety of plastic products, making the shift to living a life without plastic is undoubtedly a real challenge.

It’s easy to think that one person using less plastic isn’t going to save the world, but personal commitment is how all positive change begins. One person inspires another, and then another and before long a ripple becomes a wave of change that can remake our world for the better – for our own future and for many generations to come.

Here are the 5 changes I’ve started making this year to significantly reduce my plastic waste footprint…

plastic free book uk

1. Saying no to single use plastics – for good

This stuff is everywhere! Often in the form of food packaging, it includes any plastic that’s used just once and then thrown away or recycled. Because it’s so convenient, single-use plastic has seeped into every corner of our lives, but the negative impact it has on the environment is so immense we really need to reduce our reliance on it.

It’s so easy to buy a drink in a plastic bottle and a plastic wrapped sandwich every lunchtime – and then carry them out of the shop in a plastic bag. All of which is used for just a couple of minutes before being discarded forever.

Yet the huge amount of plastic needed to supply this takeaway lunch habit is terrifying. Even if only 15 percent of the world did this daily throughout their working life that’s over 2400 billion batches of discarded lunchtime plastic. It’s impossible to escape the consequences of throwing away such vast quantities of a material that takes hundreds of years to break down. And while some single use plastics items, such as plastic bottles, can be recycled, many can’t. Which makes them the worst form of plastic used today – hands down.

So, if there is a significant change to sign up to right away, it’s ditching single use plastic that can’t be recycled. Here are the top ten worst offenders that I’m planning to cut out for good this year.

1. Crisp packets

2. Wet wipes

3. Sandwich boxes

4. Sauce sachets

5. Ready meal trays

6. Pet food pouches

7. Ear buds

8. Plant pots

9. Plastic drinking straws

10. ‘Foilised’ (metallic) wrapping paper

2. Making my own bubbles

If you love sparkling water, as we do in our family, it could be time to invest in a SodaStream. This Eighties favourite has recently been repositioned as an eco-product, as using it to add bubbles to tap water means you can finally do away with plastic bottles of fizzy water – or having to carry heavy glass bottles back from the shop. 

Some models actually come with their own glass bottle to store your newly carbonated water in. Better still, it can save you money! Each gas canister (which can be refilled) makes up to 60 litres of water for around £13. With the leading sparkling water brand costing around £1 for a 1-litre bottle, you can get nearly 5 litres of SodaStream fizzy for a similar price. We’ve not stopped using ours since it arrived!

3. Getting to know my local milkman

Supermarket milk comes in plastic bottles, which you’ll want to avoid when you’re trying to go plastic-free. Shops also sell milk in cardboard containers, which may seem like a good option, but most are actually coated inside and out with a thin plastic layer. This makes them a mixed material item and therefore almost impossible to recycle.

This means your best is going old school and using a local milkman – as most people in the UK did up until the last 30 or so years. Home delivered milk is making a resurgence, and most areas have dairies that deliver locally, providing milk in returnable, reusable glass bottles. I found my local one online and have signed up.

4. Quit my coffee pod habit

The capsules used in nearly all popular single-serve coffee machines contain plastic and are notoriously bad for the environment as they can’t generally be recycled. One option is to source biodegradable options, such as Halo, who make compostable pods compatible with most popular machines. But generally speaking, swapping to a machine that uses loose coffee – either ground or whole beans – is the greenest way to go. Then you can seek out smaller, independent coffee shops and delis in your area and take your own jar or tin to fill up. My local shop offers a 10% discount for customers bringing their own container.

5. Leave my plastic at the supermarket

Finally, if you’re feeling brave and want to make a stand the next time you’re doing your supermarket shop, Greenpeace advise taking some of the plastic packaging you don’t want off the products you do want and leaving it at the checkout. So, I plan to do this from now on!

It might sound scary, but as customers we are well within our rights to do it – and are actually helping the supermarket to understand what shoppers really want. I also plan to write to the senior management team of my local supermarket to lobby for less plastic packaging. Because the more noise we all make, the sooner we will bring about lasting changes in plastic use.

Thanks Caroline! Caroline’s super book – How To Go Plastic Free* is packed full of easy eco tips and actions on how to live with fewer plastics, no matter how busy your life is, and is out now. Even if you can’t eliminate all plastics, Caroline offers great tips on picking better options.

ps: there are lots of plastic free ideas this way too if you are looking for more ideas on how to go plastic free :)

Good Reads, Home and Garden, Life & Style, Natural Cleaning

Exciting News – Introducing Fresh Clean Home!

fresh clean home wendy graham

Hello!  Today I wanted to share some really exciting news!

This year I have been busy beavering away behind the scenes, to produce a book!  It’s called Fresh Clean Home, and it’s packed full of over 35 natural cleaning recipes for every corner of your home.  The photography and styling are just stunning, and as well as looking lovely I hope it will be a really useful green cleaning book that you find yourself referring to time and time again.

Fresh Clean Home is being published by Pavilion in hardback format.  It will retail for £12.99 and is available to pre-order on Amazon right now.  It will also be available in other bookshops (online and in-store) on 1st February, so you can purchase it from your preferred vendor.

Here’s a run down as to what it’s all about!

natural cleaning book

What’s Fresh Clean Home All About?

Fresh Clean Home is all about me sharing my very favourite green cleaning recipes and methods, to allow you to clean your home without the use of harsh or questionable chemicals.  I’ve even troubleshooted why green cleaning recipes you might have tried in the past haven’t worked and suggested methods that will work.

What Kind of Recipes Are In It?

There are over 35 recipes for cleaning every area of your home.  From natural laundry detergent, to kitchen and bathroom cleaners, to eco friendly oven cleaning gel, to how to deal with mould and mildew effectively.  I’ve also shared the holy grail of green cleaning – an actual clinging toilet bowl cleaner that works just like those bleach based alternatives!

What Ingredients Does Fresh Clean Home Use?

There are no unusual or difficult to source ingredients in Fresh Clean Home.  The main ingredients I use are easily sourced and include staples such as borax substitute, soda crystals, bicarbonate of soda, essential oils, and liquid castile soap.  The ingredients can be used again and again in other recipes in the book.

best natural cleaning book

Does Everything Smell of Vinegar?

In short: no.  Whilst I think vinegar is a great natural cleaner I don’t think it’s the best solution in every circumstance, so there are a lot of non vinegar based products in the book.  I’ve even included alternative recipes if vinegar just isn’t your thing.

Are the recipes time consuming to make?

No: I’m mindful that we all live busy lifestyles, so many products can be whipped up in just a few seconds.  There are a few recipes that take a bit longer to make but these are all signposted!

fresh clean home pavilion

It’s been a real labour of love and I can’t wait to share it with you on 1st February!

Wendy.x

fresh clean home wendy graham