I am so excited to share with you some of my absolute favourite sustainable swaps! These are those things, I have switched over to and would never change from, even if I woke up one day suddenly not caring about sustainability. As ever, don’t rush out and buy these if you have other things to use up first and do bare in mind that some of these are a bit of an investment so it might be something for you to consider a little bit down the line.
This can be a real life changing sustainable swap you can make, both for the planet and for your budget. Period products can be made with up to 90% plastic and the average person spends about £5000 on pads and tampons in their lifetime.
I am going to be super honest here so I am sorry if this is a bit TMI! Periods are messy. They just are and they’re not enjoyable. When I used disposable products I always felt super embarrassed going into the school toilets to change my pad or tampon and making that horrible ripping sound that the wrappers make (if you know you know!). About 3 years ago, my sister introduced me to reusable period pads and they were a GAME CHANGER! Not only do they not have the weird smell that disposables have, they can last over 10 years! Initially the ideal of popping blood in the washing machine kind of freaked me out but honestly it is super easy and even the male house mates I have had over the years haven’t batted an eye lid when they have been hung up on the drying rack. The first ones I ever picked up are these budget range Precious Stars pads which I have never had a complaint about. If you are interested in something a little cheaper check out these really pretty ones here at My Little Eco Shop. If you do buy one of those make sure to use my discount code LITTLEBYLOTTIE21 for 15% off and this can be used on the whole site.
These were great but I am more of a tampon kind of girl because I just feel a bit grim when I wear a pad, but that’s just personal preference. This leads me on to my ultimate favourite eco swap I have made… the menstrual cup! These are incredible because not only are they sustainable, save money and the aforementioned icky feeling, they are so hassle free. Unlike tampons they aren’t absorbent so can be left in for 12 hours (or more if you really want). This is ideal because it means you empty it when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. You simply tip the blood down the loo, swill it out in the sink and jobs-a-gooden! And if you are wondering, I haven’t had the issue with leaks which I thought I might but sometimes do use a fabric pad if I’m wearing a white dress or something just to be safe. My personal favourite menstrual cup is this one from OrganiCup.
I realise for some of you this might seem really daunting so if you aren’t quite ready to take that step why not check out these compostable cotton period pads or these tampons that also have reusable applicators if that’s your thing.
My dad actually bought me my first sandwich wrap from a little shop in Mousehole, Cornwall. Unfortunately, I accidentally left it in a lunchbox over the Christmas holidays with a pear and so it is no longer with us. These seem a little pricey to start with but actually have saved me money in the long term. Now, I have one of these from Boc ‘n Roll and have had it for about 18 months now. They are great to just pop in the washing machine and then they are ready to go again. We tend to use them for a week unless they get super messy and just give them a little wipe down in between.
When I was prepping for this post, I asked my boyfriend what his favourite swap we have made is and he said this without hesitation. They are great because not only will they last for a long time, provided there isn’t a pear incident, they also are great for reducing waste from clingfilm. Other options for sandwiches are beeswax wraps, but personally I prefer to use the standard sandwich wraps.
This isn’t a swap I can take credit for. This was bought for us as a housewarming present by my boyfriend’s parents, and I LOVE IT! Not only does it save us money (I would guess about 30p a loaf, if that), the smell of fresh bread when you walk into the kitchen in the morning is like nothing else. It is also great because I no longer have to deal with the horrible plastic bags that bread usually comes in. Like I said yesterday, I just pick up a 1.5kg paper bag of bread flour for just 50p, which is a great plastic free alternative.
People have voiced concerns to me in the past about the energy usage for the bread machines but since we use a renewable energy provider, the cost and environmental impact is far less. It is also much better for us as it doesn’t have the preservatives that shop bought bread has. Additionally, making bread this way is really easy and takes about 3-5 minutes measuring out ingredients and then the machine does the rest. Although, it is a bit of an investment, I can’t recommend bread makers enough so if you can afford to save up for one I would go for it. The one we have in our house is this one and it can also make dough, cakes and even jam!
I realise shaving isn’t for everyone and if you have the confidence to rock unshaved armpits and legs I genuinely applaud you. That isn’t really my style so 2 years ago now I asked for a safety razor for Christmas. I went for this one from Shoreline. There are lots of different types but at the time that one was the cheapest. It was great because it cost around £25, came with a bag for travelling and 5 spare razors. 2 years on and I still have three left and I shave about twice a week! Some people might say that I should have changed it more regularly but it works for me. My absolute favourite thing about this is that the razors come in a tiny little cardboard box and are individually wrapped in paper!
Despite some of the horror stories I heard before I switched, I actually rarely cut myself now which I was notorious for doing when I used disposable heads. It is also the best shave I have ever had and I have tried a few different disposable razors. Finally, it is so so much cheaper! I used to buy three disposable razor heads for about £8-£10 and now I can pick up a 5 pack of replacement blades for £1.20! So, this one is just generally a big win all round. With a lot of sustainable products, there is a bit more of an initial outlay but then it saves so much money down the line.
If you are a bit nervous about the idea of a safety razor, this is a great subscription service with a returns recycling scheme for razor heads, that my friend recommended to me. It comes in plastic free packaging and has a reusable handle. It isn’t quite as waste free but you may feel more comfortable with it. Apparently, you can even add plastic free deodorants to the order too!
Reusable Cotton Pads
The final thing I am going to mention today is reusable cotton pads. If you don’t have these, this is the one thing on this list I would really really urge you to purchase (and it isn’t like me to say that). Actually, you don’t have to buy them. If you have some scrap fabric lying around you can actually make these yourself! If you are interested I can show you how to do this.
I use these every single day to either wash my face or remove make-up (if I have actually been bothered to put it on in the first place) and even use a few of my older grubby ones to take off my nail varnish. I have several different brands and every type I have tried I have loved and are so easy to just throw into the wash. The ones I got most recentlyare these ones from Bambaw (thank you Granny for the present!). The great thing about these is they are becoming a lot more mainstream and can even be bought in places like Boots now. The packaging is completely plastic free and are made from a combination of bamboo and organic cotton. I am yet to try these particular ones but will post a review once I have given them a good go!
I was really looking forward to writing this post so I hope you have enjoyed reading it! Let me know down in the comments what swaps you would never look back from so other people can give them a go. Also, if there are any products you want me to review just let me know down in the comments section and I can do that for you. Check in again tomorrow for the last post of the week.