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The Plastic Challenge Tip Swap

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Plastic Challenger conundrum?

Post your questions or eureka moments here

Can you answer these questions or relate to these stories?

  • Corporate or Public

    14th July 2017 Tom Strudley
    I recently emailed a few large supermarkets pleading for them to remove plastic on fresh produce such as fruit and veg. Their response was 'we've tried this before and customers preferred packaged goods'. There you have it. Us the consumer drive the need for plastic. Buy plastic free produce they'll notice. Email your local shops and ask for plastic free they'll listen!
    Category - On the go
  • Recycling

    14th June 2017 Angela
    I've been trying to convince friends to join the challenge and one friend said, but all the plastics I use I recycle. i didn't know how to answer her! Any tips? as I can see how many people may feel this way, "if I'm recycling all my SUP why does it matter/why is it ending up in the sea".
    Category - Other tips

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    • 17th June 2017 sarah
      Well one thing would be that the more we produce the more CO2 we produce..contributing to climate change.

      The other I guess is the energy to recycle plastics is quite large compared to the cost- as far as I am aware its not economical at the moment unlike aluminium

      Um also plastic can only be recycled a few times..the produces tend to be a degraded form.

      I guess there's the question of where it gets recycled and where the recycled bits end up. Any transportation of plastic bits could lead to it disappearing into the environment..
      :)x
    • 28th June 2017 Sanjay
      It's great that your friend carefully disposes of plastics responsibly. Not all plastic is recyclable though and much will end up in landfill. Open landfills could lead to the plastic being blown/otherwise shifted away from the site and into the environment.
      It's also about reducing the demand for single-use plastics, to demonstrate that they are, in many cases, a needless waste of resources, and much ends up as litter.
    • 10th July 2017 Anna
      Some of the harm to the environment is done when plastic is delivered to be made into packaging. Lightweight plastic nurdles often blow away and get into rivers in Asia and hence into the sea. Miles of the surface of the Pacific is covered in plastic, and plastic has been found in almost all washed up dead animals and increasingly the fish we eat.
  • washing up

    12th June 2017 Christine Spreiter
    We don't use the dishwasher as only a few things to wash up most of the time. I can't find any hand washing up liquid alternative and will be running out soon. Any ideas?
    Category - In the kitchen

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    • 13th June 2017 Kate
      Hi Christine, you could try Splosh.com - they do refillable washing up liquid bottles. There's a code for £5 off on the Plastic Challenge shop!
    • 14th June 2017 Hazie
      You can take the empty bottle to be refilled. Try any local wholefood shops.
    • 14th June 2017 Bizzy Allen-McClure
      My local health food shop has a container that you can use to refill old bottles.
    • 24th June 2017 Natali
      I use the Ecover brand and try whenever possible to refill old bottles.
    • 26th July 2017 Nadia Malone
      Have you tried finding an Ecover re-fill centre? I just keep a couple of empty bottles of washing up liquid and laundry liquid and take them back to be re-filled. Haven't bought any new for about a year now.
  • Make up

    11th June 2017 Rebecca Kinnard
    Apart from not using any (which I do mostly), are there ANY ways to go plastic free with make up?! Like powder, mascara and foundation?
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 13th June 2017 Ceri Davis
      You can get foundation in glass bottles with metal lids (can be more pricy though) and some metal powder compacts that are refillable. Wouldn't have thought there's a way round mascara though. Obviously kohl pencils are ok.
    • 16th June 2017 Teri
      Try Etsy, there are lots of different companies selling make-up in tins rather than plastic (search zero-waste make-up). Also, to do away with plastic mascara tubes, purchase mascara cake in a tin, you can reuse a brush that you already own or invest in one with a stainless steel handle which you wash after applications.
  • More ways of making cream

    6th June 2017 Sarah
    Cream? I know there's a recipe here but it seems a little complicated and how much milk do you need? I tried an internet recipe with terrible results! Am now regularly making yogurt and paneer, a simple cheese made using lemon and milk, but would love an easy cream recipe.
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Toothpaste?

    2nd June 2017 Anouk
    Anyone got any clever toothpaste ideas? It all seems to be in plastic tubes these days!
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 8th June 2017 Sibi
      I have been using toothy tabs from LUSH. They used to come in a cardboard box but they have now decided to change to a plastic bottle as apparently customers complained the box kept getting wet. A real shame!

      At least the bottle is made from recycled plastic and going by the label can again be recycled.
      Not perfect but I think still better than standard toothpaste tubes with the mix of metal and plastic that is impossible to recycle.
    • 8th June 2017 Southsea Mum
      I make my own with bicard, coconut oil and essence. The bicard comes in a small amount of plastic, but the rest you can get in glass.
    • 11th June 2017 Mari
      I remember seeing/using some at a LUSH event.
      Also there are some recipes online.
    • 12th June 2017 Karoline Kuprat
      Hi Anouk
      My thoughts on toothpaste here
      https://plasticfantastic.blog/blog/
      Although this may create more questions than answers...!
    • 13th June 2017 Helen
      There are toothpastes appearing in jars now. I have one called truthpaste
    • 14th June 2017 Bizzy Allen-McClure
      Try searching for euthymol. It comes in an aluminium tube :)
    • 16th June 2017 Sami
      You could make your own... Coconut oil, bicarb, bit if stevia to sweeten, and peppermint essential oil for minty taste. There are loads of DIY recipes available on the Internet.
    • 24th June 2017 Emazing
      I make my own toothpaste and keep it in a glass jar. Mix half and half bicarbonate of soda and coconut oil. Add peppermint oil to taste. The coconut oil will also whiten your teeth!
    • 26th July 2017 Nadia Malone
      I recently tried Georganics coconut oil toothpaste which comes in a glass jar and also the mouth wash they sell for "oil pulling". It's definitely an acquired taste but I've stuck with it and I'm slowly getting used to it. Normal toothpaste seems too harsh and chemically now. Bamboo toothbrush from Humble too.
  • Meat and fish!

    1st June 2017 Zoe
    I was worried for a while about how to buy fish and meat. I usually shop at aldi as it is cheaper but always only go for MSC certified species. However, i have found a solution - taking sandwich boxes/tupperware to sainsburys and tesco and going to their fish and meat counter and asking them to put it in the box for me and explain about the challenge - our local supermarket was pretty interested to see why i was doing it so maybe if more people did the same it would build up more of an awareness!
    Category - In the kitchen

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    • 8th June 2017 Vicki
      Great idea! I've had fish wrapped in so much plastic it's stupid! Next time I'm taking a pot to put it in. Thanks!
    • 14th June 2017 Fiona
      I take my own pot or squares of greaseproof paper for them to wrap cheese and meat in. I collect the paper bags they give out for mushrooms on my way in and get them to wrap the item in greaseproof and put it in the paper bag. They think I'm bonkers but are quite interested when you explain why.
  • Milk

    1st June 2017 jon kelvey-brown
    So plastic milk bottles and caps are recycleable. however the little plastic seal on the milk is not as I understand. So this month I will be drinking coffee and tea with tinned evaporated milk.
    Category - In the kitchen

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    • 3rd June 2017 kelly
      Or do one better & get a milk man again :) Milk in glass bottles that get re -used.
  • Stickers

    1st June 2017 Cat Oliver
    I assume that stickers on fruit and veg are made out of plastic and also stickers with prices on when you weigh out produce on scales. Some are more plasticy than others. I suppose these are single use plastics and very very hard to avoid except if I don't buy anything from a supermarket. What do other people think? Are they including stickers in this challenge?
    Category - In the kitchen

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    • 3rd June 2017 Lesley
      Gosh I hadn't thought about the stickers. I tell the staff at my local supermarket that I don't want a bag when I weigh my loose veg and they are always interested as to why, but I have to get a sticker with the price on. Don't know how to avoid that.
    • 8th June 2017 Jenny Brown
      There is a guy that makes works of art from produce stickers. I think he allows people to post them to him. I'm not sure but this might be the guy
      https://stickermanproduceart.wordpress.com/
  • Paper bags

    31st May 2017 jane reynolds
    Plastic wrap for cheese, any delicate fruit and veg like tomatoes - What's the view on buying a bulk load of paper bags (like the kind you get in bakeries, and taking them to the supermarket to use for corralling things like cheese from the deli counter? I think I might try this. Paper has to be better than plastic.
    Category - In the kitchen

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    • 2nd June 2017 Anouk
      I've ordered a bulk back of paper bags for exactly this reason!
    • 5th June 2017 Paul Brazier
      I went to the market, specifically to eliminate plastic from the shopping trip. Alas, plastic bags to gather your small items in (tomatoes, peas, etc). I am going to buy paper bags ("If You Care" Sandwich Bags) and take them with me next time. Same applies to the supermarket I guess.
    • 8th June 2017 Minkyjen
      that's a great idea! thanks!
    • 8th June 2017 Sibi
      I used to think the same and always kept some paper bags at work to get pastries from the shop across the road in order to avoid having to use a flimsy plastic bag every time. However, having read some stuff online I'm not so sure anymore. One of the pages I came across is this one: http://www.trendingpackaging.com/why-plastic-is-actually-better-than-paper/

      I think if you want to buy things like cheese from a counter you could either take your own container or maybe try beeswax reusable food packaging?

      For things like rolls, pastries or loose fruit and veg, I think jute bags or little cotton drawstring bags might be a better option. The latter can easily be washed as well.
    • 12th June 2017 tilly
      I agree. I carry brown paper bags in boot of my car. One with handles on for reuse where undamaged. Cheap enough and have lasted ages. Got them on eBay. Go for it x
  • Blogging!

    31st May 2017 Karoline Kuprat
    I am blogging some of this through June as I want to get this in a more long term way and the complexities are intricate and varied! https://plasticfantastic.blog Good luck everyone!
    Category - On the go
  • Make-up!

    31st May 2017 Rebecca
    So I know the obvious answer is give up make-up but I'm just not ready to do that yet :( I don't wear much, but is there an alternative to mascara in plastic?? It has to be cruelty free too...hoping someone can help! Maybe some foundation and powder suggestions too, but mascara is the most important! Thanks :)
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 1st June 2017 Nic
      Lush do mascara in glass containers. The lid and wand is plastic but you can take plastic lids back to the store and they recycle them to make more lids for their products. Also, If you want to go plastic free with your hair care, I highly recommend their solid shampoos and conditioners. Basically anything from Lush is a win if you want to minimise plastic waste:) https://uk.lush.com/products/eyes-right
      https://uk.lush.com/products/honey-i-washed-my-hair-0
      https://uk.lush.com/products/jungle-0
    • 1st June 2017 Doris
      Kathryn at going zero waste blog has a recipe for mascara and other cosmetics if you're willing to DIY it: https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/zero-waste-eyeliner-and-mascara?rq=mascara
    • 4th June 2017 Caron
      I don't wear any makeup - once you stop, it's hard to start again because whatever you put on, you look in the mirror and feel as if you look like a doll or a tart! It does help to have a healthy real tan. Moroccan traditional makeup includes khol which you can buy for tuppence in the markets and comes in small eco-friendly bottles with a brush. I'm not sure how they do mascara but I bet they have an answer. You'll also find small round clay discs that, miraculously when wet, turn into red lipstick which you apply with a finger. I bet you look beautiful just smiling and knowing you're not using plastics anyway!
    • 16th June 2017 Teri
      Mascara Cake - it's what women (inc. Marylin Monrow) used before the plastic tubes...

      https://www.sanareva.co.uk/longcils-boncza-by-vitry-cake-mascara-4-g-brown.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjwg47KBRDk7LSu4LTD8eEBEiQAO4O6rzvBxpRgsh3Uuf6_W8VIzhKvqvB7QlVqTEBh8AUE-doaAlBE8P8HAQ
  • Make-up!

    31st May 2017 Cecilia
    I don't wear much make-up but what I do wear is packaged in (mostly) SUP. Although I can mostly go without, I am going to a wedding in June, and considering make-up is fairly ubiquitous, would like to investigate this problem anyway. Has anyone got any tips for where to find plastic free basics: concealer, mascara and eyeshadow? Thanks - and good luck, Challengers!!
    Category - In the bathroom

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    • 2nd June 2017 Sarah
      I made my own for new years eve a few years ago and got lots of compliments! I found the recipe online... It involved coconut oil, but I cant remember where the black/brown came from ... it might have been cocoa powder! I suppose make up isn't tooo bad, as it's not really 'single' use. An eyeshadow can last for years and then you could the pot to keep trinkets in? Loving the effort though!
    • 5th June 2017 Em Brotherton
      Heya Lush are great for this, they only use plastic where they absolutely have to and offer to recycle it upon return. Even better all their products are animal cruelty free and come with all the ingredients listed and natural ingredients. I wasn't too sure about them at first as the smell is a bit overwhelming when you walk into a store but they are fab. However when purchasing online be sure to tell them you don't want any plastic packaging in your order. As despite not using any in store they sometimes do post with plastic?!

      Hope that helps!
    • 9th June 2017 Jo
      Hi!
      Try this: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/82306520/black-creamy-cake-mascara-mineral-makeup
      Good luck! Jo
    • 17th June 2017 sarah marshall
      I saw a mascara in a tin..it might have been somewhere like etsy or pin interest x
  • Yoghurt

    25th May 2017 Chris Lunn
    Plastic free yoghurt; any ideas?
    Category - In the kitchen

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    • 30th May 2017 Emily
      It seems the best solution is to make your own. It looks really easy, all you need is a warm dark space, like an airing cupboard, or possibly on top of a radiator? Not ideal in summer I realise! Other than that River Cottage sell yoghurt in glass containers but its really expensive. http://www.browncoworganics.co.uk/browncow/Organic-Yogurt-River-Cottage.html
    • 31st May 2017 Caz Donovan
      Make you own. They do sell kits with a special container. You get a starter culture and add boiled warm milk and leave to make yogurt. Add your own flavouring. Very easy - I used to do it all the time. I don't eat dairy now.
    • 1st June 2017 Danette
      I had the same thought. Do I just stop eating yogurt?
    • 1st June 2017 Wendy F
      Get a yogurt maker with glass jars and make your own yogurt. Freeze fresh fruit and add it to your yogurt as desired.
    • 1st June 2017 Rachel
      Abel and Cole stock a Biona natural yoghurt in a glass jar. (It may be available in other places too, but that's where I've seen it.)
    • 1st June 2017 Leoni
      You can make your own in a thermos! (Or other vessels of choice e.g. slow cooker, jars in a oven etc.)
      You do have to start with a yogurt culture or live yogurt such as fage, or liberty, but you can use a single pot of live yogurt for A LOT of homemade yogurt. Just freeze in ice cube trays, then defrost for use each time you want to make a new batch. Not 100% plastic free, but a drastically reduced amount of plastic compared to multiple yogurt pots. You can also serial culture - that is, use a few tablespoons of your home made yogurt batch in the next batch, further reducing yogurt pot purchases.
      You do need milk though! Hopefully you have a local option for this.
      Recipes/instructions can be found on various blogs etc:
      thermos yogurt - http://www.notquitenigella.com/2012/02/22/home-made-yogurt-in-a-thermos-oven/
      slow cooker yogurt - http://inhabitat.com/diy-make-your-own-yogurt-in-a-crock-pot/
      I would like to note - I haven't made these specific recipes/followed these particular instructions, they are listed as a guide to help you get started if you are keen!
    • 3rd June 2017 Sarah
      We use organic full fat milk from the milkman in glass bottles to make yoghurt in our yoghurt machine which is essentially a heat pad with six little glass pots. All you need is to boil the milk, cool it and then add a starter, recipes from the internet. It takes 15 mins to make and about 4 hours in the machine then over night in the fridge. Tastes yummy and no plastic yoghurt pots ever again.
    • 4th June 2017 Caron
      I bought glass jars of a French yoghurt until I had enough to make my own. It's incredibly easy to make and very satisfying.
    • 5th June 2017 Elaine
      There are lots of recipes online for making your own yoghurt, you need some live yoghurt as a starter but many health food shops sell these in glass jars. You can also make your own soft cheese from yoghurt.
    • 14th June 2017 Fiona
      The only proper answer seems to be make your own. I contacted the producers of my favourite yoghurt to ask whether they would think about producing it in paper packaging like trendy ice cream brands. I know this is plastic lined but costa coffee will collect and recycle these cartons at a new plant along with coffee cups. The manufacturers I contacted were quite interested but it will take a long time to get things to change. I don't have time to make my own so I am cheating slightly and making sure I buy yoghurt in a carton that has a proper lid so I can reuse it for freezing etc. At least then it is being reused instead of binned straight away.
    • 26th July 2017 Nadia Malone
      Make your own! After slowly eradicating other forms of plastic from the fridge I was stumped when it came to yoghurt and then I discovered it's super easy to make your own.

      https://www.thespruce.com/yiaourti-greek-yogurt-recipe-1706180

  • No more salad?

    19th May 2017 Deborah
    Has anyone found any source of green leaves? I have found no shops that sell salad leaves in paper or loose within a ten mile radius.Even in the health food shops the salad leaves are in plastic Is it going to be 'winter salad' for June? (Please don't say "Grow your own", it's a bit late now!) Also what about milk miles? We live in rural Devon and I have to choose between a delivery of glass bottles with probably at least 30 additional 'milk miles', or going without entirely. Suggestions please
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

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    • 22nd May 2017 Connie
      I live in Devon too (near Totnes) so I'm lucky enough that I can find the odd lettuce or bunch of kale loose in the shops - if you're anywhere nearby I'll happily tell you which shops. You could look at free leaves from nature - some easily identifiable ones include wild garlic, lime leaves, strawberry leaves, three cornered leek. Also I know you didn't want to hear "grow your own" but it's not too late - salads are quick to sprout and if you keep resowing will keep going into autumn and in some cases throughout the winter. Sow winter purslane in Autumn and it will crop till November and again in February, various lettuces can be picked throughout winter if protected reasonably well (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/growfruitandveg_wintersalad1.shtml) and kale is also all-season. Good luck!
    • 22nd May 2017 Jess
      I'm also wondering about milk! I can go without but not the other half- and he will be awful to be around without his morning coffee. I've tried to get him to drink it black but it's not going to happen!
    • 22nd May 2017 Lisa Thorne
      I think you can plant salad for quite a while and cut the baby leaves, even in window boxes..I don't normally bother but I might give it a go for this :) And in the colder months and winter, lambs lettuce grows really well as i remember. Veggie box schemes might be worth looking at too? Mine often uses compostable bags for salad and leaves.. or offers to recycle it for you (abel and cole)
    • 25th May 2017 Lynda Burns
      I remember in the 60's and early 70's our little grocer (Sheila) sold loose salad in ord paper bags and it was fine, although we were buying it to eat for that day.We bought butter from the pat too, by the quarter or whatever, wonderful, miss it to this day. Her window had full butter pats, full cheeses, big dishes of mixed salad she had made herself. Loose mixed salads were just becoming available then. I have asked friends and they have told me they buy bagged saleds to be eaten fresh that day or the day after so they could sell it at the deli counter just as easy. As for the milk, we have free range from our local farmer who has recently set up a couple of years ago. He is only 2 miles from the town and has now started deliveries too. Feel very lucky to have good produce so close. My partner and I are retired now so it is easier to think about these things. It was not so easy when working. I am in Dumfries and Galloway so look out for Roans free range dairy farm produce if you are in this area touring etc. Sorry Deborah this is not an answer to your problem, we just need savvy local deli's to think outside the box a little or something.
    • 25th May 2017 Sammy MITCHELL
      could you pay for it at the till and give them the plastic bag that the lettuce comes in....if we all did that then people power would show supermarkets that we don't want plastic wrapped food
    • 25th May 2017 Southsea Mum
      If there isn't an alternative, how about buying the whole lettuces, rather than leaves, and leaving the packaging in the store for them to dispose of? Not perfect, but if lots of people do it, it can make a difference.
    • 26th May 2017 Kathryn
      Actually it isn't too late to grow your own for your regular use, even if it is too late to have leaves big enough to eat for the first of June. Lettuce, spinach, kale, mustard greens and all sorts of other good stuff will give you baby leaves big enough to pick in about three weeks at this time of year. Even if you don't have a garden a couple of big pots near the kitchen door can provide a surprising amount of green stuff and you know that it hasn't met any pesticides on the way to your plate, as well as being plastic free. But I do feel for you - I live in rural Ireland and no one sells anything plastic free within 20 miles of me
    • 29th May 2017 jess
      If you go to any local markets (usually saturdays) there are usually fruit and veg stalls there. Its great because they are often run by local farmers so you are getting fresh local produce too, you just have to decline any bags they offer!
    • 31st May 2017 Caz Donovan
      You're right. I'm told keeping green leaves (kale and chard also)in plastic helps preserve them. Maybe take your own plastic container and empty into it in the shop!
    • 31st May 2017 Karoline Kuprat
      I'm getting an organic veg box delivery with salad and asking them not to delivery anything in plastic. Also asking people I know if they want to give me some salad excess from their gardens for a swap etc. Don't know if that helps you! Kx PS Also growing rocket in window boxes but I can relate to how you feel about growing it - I think I'll have to share mine with local pigeon...Another equally annoying suggestion may be wild foraging ;)
    • 1st June 2017 karen douglas
      Ok, probably not in time to be able to eat them for a couple of weeks but.....I have grown salad leaves in winter in Scotland by using a planter indoors, just get a pack of salad leaf seeds from a garden centre and they grow very quickly and continue growing for ages. Add a few more seeds after a couple of weeks and you'll have a perpetual crop :-)
    • 1st June 2017 WendyF
      It's never too late to start growing your own!
    • 1st June 2017 Roz Valentine
      Do you have any farm shops near you? These seem to be best as they usually have paper bags to put stuff in.Does your nearest large town have a market or farmers market as these can be quite good as well.
    • 2nd June 2017 Louise
      I've been growing pea shoots. Get a pkt of dried peas, plate, paper kitchen towel. Put towel on plate, add a tablespoon of dried peas and water regularly. You should have edible leaves about 10 days later and if you're organised can have plates of shoots at diff stages of growth. I think the shoots are more nutritious too than eating salad leaves. TRY IT.
    • 2nd June 2017 vic
      HI - if you have a blender, its easy to make nut-milks.
      Just make sure you have cashews or almonds in your storecupboard - can be bought loose from "bulk" or healthfood places. Soak for few hours, then blitz up. you can sieve through muslin or fine mesh, but the larger bits settle to the bottom so not 100% needed.
      Sorry cant help on the salad. BUT rural devon - foraging! Dandelion leaves, chickweed etc must be found in abundance?!!!!
    • 2nd June 2017 barbz
      You might like to try Riverford Organics. They deliver without a shred of plastic in sight . . . and it's all good. I've been getting the small veg box every week for the past 10 years . . . Delicious! riverford.co.uk
    • 4th June 2017 Caron
      You'd be amazed how fast salad leaves grow and some are 'cut and come again'. Meanwhile you could put some bean sprout seeds, cress and mustard seed in a jar - all these sprout in a couple of days!
    • 5th June 2017 Debby
      It is not too late to sow salads! Get a cu-and-come again variety, or a mixture, for leaves ready in a few weeks. Add nasturtiums for edible leaves AND flowers.
  • Poo bags !

    18th May 2017 Sian davies
    Hi lovely folk , Any tips on avoiding dig poo bags fir plastic challenge ? Not about to take s trowel and bury . Any other ideas ? Thanks ! Sian
    Category - On the go

    show/hideComments

    • 24th May 2017 Elfie Gloster
      Try this website - it has great plastic free dog bag solution - http://www.onyabags.co.uk/chili-dump-it-onya-pouch-with-100-biobag-inserts
    • 25th May 2017 Shelley Lawson
      We've just found Armitage "Good Boy" antibacterial degradable poo bags. Better than plastic, or leaving it on the ground!
    • 25th May 2017 Katherine O'Brien
      How about using the biodegradable caddy liners used for food recycling? They may be bit expensive for dog poo, though.
    • 25th May 2017 Kate
      Try a dog poop composter with biodegradable bagshttp://plasticisrubbish.com/2013/08/21/composting-pet-poop-and-waste/
    • 26th May 2017 MrsP
      Amazon sell bio degradable poo bags. Tesco sell 'degrable' nappy bags however I'm not sure the difference with Tescos option. I prefer amazons option I get all my biodegrade rubbish, pet poo & nappy bags from there. I still use them as little as possible tho. Good luck x
    • 27th May 2017 Jodie
      Biodegradable nappy bags or compost bin liners! Works for us 😉
    • 29th May 2017 Beth Noy
      Hey! I have been using eco paw poo bags that are biodegradable! They can break down in 18 months and are the best alternative I can find to plastic poo bags! Hope this helps :)
    • 29th May 2017 anne
      onyabags.co.uk sell cornstarch bags.
    • 31st May 2017 Helen
      Hi, Tesco do biodegradable dog poo bags. Hopefully they count as being 'good'!
    • 1st June 2017 brianw
      some suggestions here http://www.dogster.com/doggie-style/dog-poop-bags-green-review
    • 1st June 2017 Nicky
      How about the bags for kitchen waste that the council supply? They are at least bigradable
    • 2nd June 2017 barbz
      National Trust advises a 'Stick and Flick' policy which, when you are in the right walking environment, is a much more natural way of disposing of dog poo.
    • 3rd June 2017 Judith
      Sainsburys sell biodegradable poo bags.But they come in a plastic wrapper! Still, best I've found so far :-)
    • 5th June 2017 Debby
      If you walk in an area such as a park where you know you will have a bin fairly near then use a double sheet of newspaper - broadsheets are better than tabloids. If you have to walk a little further take an old plastic bag - eg from buying veg in the supermarket - and re-use it if is still clean. Also works in the garden.
    • 7th June 2017 Caroline Petherick
      Stick it & flick it! that is, find a loose stick and practise your golfing skills in the direction of the nearest bush/bramble patch. Or pick it and flick it - use a big leaf like a dock to remove it.
    • 7th June 2017 Gill
      Hi try bio bag they are compostable corn starch you can get them on line including Amazon
    • 8th June 2017 Vicki
      I got some biodegradable bags from Lilys Kitchen. You can put the lot in the compost bin and it breaks down. They look like normal bags too!
  • TOFU !!!!

    11th May 2017 Helen
    Does anybody know anywhere that sells tofu in non-plastic packaging?
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 12th May 2017 Helen
      Replying to my own comment, but in case anybody else was wondering, you can buy tofu in cardboard packaging from Sainsbury's with all the tinned food :)
    • 22nd May 2017 Connie
      Is the one from Sainsbury's in ONLY cardboard packaging? This is an issue for me too - Dragonfly use a cardboard box outer but there is plastic wrap inside - is that different with the Sainsbury's one?
    • 26th May 2017 Kathryn
      Tofu is surprisingly easy and much cheaper to make yourself. Lots of instructions on line
    • 30th May 2017 Geraldine
      Dragonfly tofu seems to be in cardboard and grease proof paper.
  • Plastic milk bottles

    4th May 2017 Pen Godber
    Our milk delivery uses plastic bottles for organic milk and glass for standard milk. Supermarket uses plastic for both. Any suggestions?
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 6th May 2017 Mrs A Flackton
      If you are in the London area you can get old fashioned glass bottle deliveries from milkandmore
    • 8th May 2017 Southsea Mum
      Have you checked if there are any other local milk delivery companies? We use Milk&More which is now Mullers and they deliver organic milk in glass.
    • 12th May 2017 Kate
      We get our milk delivered by Milk & More, and the organic milk comes in glass bottles. Write to your supplier and see if they'll change.
    • 14th May 2017 Mike Oldman
      Plastic Milk Bottles ( & caps) are one of the most often recycled items and one that I have rarely seen on the shoreline (I live by the sea).

      They are here to stay and are not a good target. Glass milk bottle recycling is too labour intensive.
    • 26th May 2017 MrsP
      We get organic milk in bottles from milk&more. Maybe see if they deliver in your area. Good luck x
    • 1st June 2017 jon kelvey-brown
      Tinned evaporated milk?
    • 12th June 2017 Christine Spreiter
      I have found an online milk delivery business. Milk and More. They do organic in glass bottles. Not sure what areas they cover.
  • Poo-bags

    4th May 2017 Pia
    Poo-bags!!! Very important, I order bio-degradable ones, but is there a better solution?
    Category - On the go

    show/hideComments

    • 4th May 2017 Cat Oliver
      I was thinking about this - what about these? www.amazon.co.uk/Dog-Waste-bags-200-Compostable/dp/B0050C6BRE they come in cardboard boxes too!

      Some of the places I walk my dog they prefer 'stick and flick' rather than bagging dog poo but that's not always acceptable. www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/woodland-activities/stick-and-flick-a-possible-solution-to-dog-mess-in-woodlands
    • 25th May 2017 Kate
      Try composting pet poop http://plasticisrubbish.com/2013/08/21/composting-pet-poop-and-waste/
    • 1st June 2017 Clare B
      I remember seeing a guide showing how to use newspaper as a substitute (obviously you want to get that right or it could be messy!). I don't have a dog but am a pet sitter and have cats at home. I flush cat poop and compost the litter. I wonder if this would be possible when at home with dog poo?
    • 2nd June 2017 Sarah Wise
      I use Waitrose's bionappy bags (found in the baby section) as I think they are plant based and are fully compostable and biodegradable. They are great for poos and don't smell either! :)
    • 4th June 2017 Caron
      Scoop it into a glass jar and flush it down the loo at home?
    • 7th June 2017 Caroline Petherick
      See my comment above in response to Sian Davies, 18 May. Meanwhile, I've asked a a certain manufacturer of biodegradable bags how biodegradable they really are, but I haven't received a reply yet ...
    • 16th June 2017 Abi
      How about using newspaper? And possibly rubber gloves
  • general food

    4th May 2017 Pia
    Hello, it might be easier in London, but here in Northern Ireland I will surely have some problems and any help appreciated... Any food, such as pasta, rice etc comes in plastic. I am not sure how to change this... in England where I lived before it was possible to buy those products "loose" (as well as washing powder etc) but here I am really struggling. I a fine with eggs, fruit, veg - but not sure about the rest... Thanks for any help! Also the dog food arrives in large plastic bags as it is delivered from online store.
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 5th May 2017 Ash
      I find the same problem living in the Southwest. I take my product bags with me when i do the shopping (I usually buy from Aldi or Lidl) and once I paid, I empty all the stuff in my products bags and leave all the packaging behind for them to see. I haven't tried it with pasta, but I have done it with lose watercress and it worked fine. I know it still creates waste, but at leat is not in my house. Plus, the staff then get to see al the crap left behind. i like to think that maybe if we all start doing that the companies will start to notice that we do not want all the packaging!
    • 14th May 2017 Mike Oldman
      50 years ago, these items came in paper packaging and sugar still does.
    • 3rd June 2017 Judith
      Sainsburys sell dog food in catdboard boxes. But I know the shops in N Ireland are scarce!
  • Recycling

    4th May 2017 Suzanne Coleman
    We have a good recycling scheme for plastic in our area so shouldn't this ensure a safe and sustainable way to use plastic?
    Category - Other tips

    show/hideComments

    • 1st June 2017 Clare B
      Hi, A lot of plastics aren't recyclable for a start. The stuff that is often gets shipped abroad to be processed which is crazy. A lot of energy goes in to making plastic and then recycling it for reuse. Plastic isn't like glass it can't be recycled infinitely as it degrades so it will end up in landfill. If you google "why recycling isn't the answer" or words to that effect lots of articles will come up that explain it better than I can. Hope this helps.
  • Sun cream and medication

    3rd May 2017 Helen
    Has anybody found any plastic-less sun cream? I'm aware LUSH offer a 100g sun cream bar, but it's almost £9 for only three full body uses!! (I'm on a tight budget as it is!) Also does anywhere know where to buy painkillers in the old style glass bottles instead of plastic blister packs? Thanks in advance
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 5th May 2017 Francesca Bevan
      Hi, I have found a company based in Canada that sell a lot of natural products including sun cream (SPF30) and the majority of her packaging is Plastic free. Its https://modernhippieshop.com/The sun cream and body moisturiser is excellent!
    • 25th May 2017 Lynda Burns
      Come back the little round cardboard pill boxes we used to have, not tamper proof for kids but our caps for cap guns were the same and we didn't eat the caps either! Surley a way could be found to have something on these lines with good seals.
    • 3rd June 2017 Sarah
      Check Bristol based Caro's Creams lovely sun cream you can send her back container and she will reuse.
  • Plastic at work

    3rd May 2017 Helen
    Hi folks, I am keen to get involved in the plastic challenge this year but haven't managed to find much information on here on the actual parameters of The challenge.. Obviously you want to use as little plastic as possible, which I do already (take my own shopping bags and water bottles everywhere, refuse straws etc) but if you reuse plastic you already own, say, a shampoo bottle, does that count as using a single use plastic? Also, how do people manage with plastics at work? I work in a place where deliveries come in smothered in plastic, does that count as me using the plastics? Or is it just what you personally use in your own time within your own power? Hope somebody can clarify this for me as I would love to get involved!
    Category - Other tips

    show/hideComments

    • 10th May 2017 Kate
      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for the comment, our Plastc Challengers are free to take on the challenge as much or as little as they like. Some people go all out and buy plastic free shampoos etc, others view their shampoo bottle as a multiple use product as they use it more than once. So you're free to reduce your single-use plastic as much as you feel you can. Good luck!
    • 31st May 2017 Caz Donovan
      Our zero waste shop in Totnes sells metal straws which can be washed and re-used. So someone's making them out there!
  • Medicines

    3rd May 2017 Diana Simpson
    Prescriptions from the doctor?
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Crisps

    3rd May 2017 Diana Simpson
    Crisps? Is the only answer do without?
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 4th May 2017 Cat Oliver
      Make your own?
      www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2016/apr/28/how-to-cook-the-perfect-crisps
    • 8th May 2017 Southsea Mum
      Or make your own...slice veg with a veg peeler, pop on baking trays in oven til crisp, you can also spray lightly with oil if you wish. They taste great, but are time consuming. We rarely eat them ;-)
    • 8th May 2017 sarah marshall
      could try making your own version...I've struggled with the crisp thing for over a year..haven't got round to trying my own!..yet..
  • Fish and Meat

    3rd May 2017 julie challans
    Does anyone know if it is possible to buy loose meat and fish not wrapped in any plastic ?
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 6th May 2017 Mrs A Flackton
      Yes! Take a Tupperware you already own or jar to the deli counter or local butchers - very sympathetic
    • 8th May 2017 sarah marshall
      I just take a clean container to the butcher( for my partner Im veggie)..the fish monger will wrap fish up in plain paper.. so you could ask..I have tried at supermarket but the hold the plastic to pick up the food and then throw it away..
    • 11th May 2017 Emily
      My local butcher lets me bring my own containers and weighs the meat straight into them. Not all places let you but it's worth asking!
    • 15th May 2017 Alanna
      Hi Julie,

      I have takeaway containers which I always reuse for my lunches. I'm planning on going to my local butcher and asking them to put my containers on the scales, zero the scales and then add the produce I require. Hope that helps?
    • 25th May 2017 rachael noxon
      Take a clean reusable container to the butchers or fishmongers?
    • 25th May 2017 Ms E Cuthbertson
      Er...butchers, fishnets.
    • 30th May 2017 Emily
      If you go to butchers and fishmongers I'd think they would happily accommodate you in using your own reusable containers. Even the fish counter in a supermarket probably would if you ask nicely.
    • 31st May 2017 Charlotte Orba
      I've bought it plastic free at the butchers and also the deli counters in supermarkets by taking a tupperware box and getting them to put it in that. Hope that helps
    • 31st May 2017 Karoline Kuprat
      I have negotiated this with my local butcher and fishmongers. They were fine with me bringing in my own tupperware. Feels odd at first but leads to interesting conversations...
    • 1st June 2017 Gillian Richards
      Butchers and fishmongers will have loose items. I went to my local Sainsbury's today and bought fish and meat loose and asked for no plastic bags, just put the items in paper bags. They found it a very odd request but did it, with the caveat that if there was any leakage it was not their fault. I asked if they would allow me to take a lunch box next time and they said that would be OK.
  • Freezing berries and stews

    23rd August 2016 Emma
    I freeze berries from my garden and stews. I have in the past used plastic which you can suck the air out to keep the food better. I've tried parchment wrapped in tin foil, not great. Does anyone know about an alternative that works?
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 18th October 2016 Amanda Keetley
      Have you tried freezing them on a baking tray with parchment first, and then decanting them into glass jars? We now use glass jars for freezing leftovers, soup and stock (being sure to leave a gap for it to expand) and i am sure they would also work for berries? Also gives you the chance to reuse your old jam jars, etc rather than recycle...
    • 24th April 2017 Jennie Lang
      I use jam jars - seems to work OK. I've only ever had one crack. You can also buy freezable glass containers (e.g. pyrex) although they often have plastic lids.
    • 3rd May 2017 Debby Mullier
      I use old ice-cream containers (the oval ones like Carte d'or) - I don't buy this any more but the containers last for years. I still use Benecol spread and those containers can be re-used too. IF you intend to cook your fruit eg blackberries, blackcurrants, there is no need to open freeze first or exclude air - just pack the box tightly. Or cook them first.
    • 3rd May 2017 Diana Simpson
      I save ice cream boxes or margarine tubs and pack full of stewed apple, berries from garden etc. I also re-use frozen peas zip bags to freeze spare tomatoes in the autumn to use in spag bog or with home made macaroni cheese. My friend in France uses litre milk/juice cartons to freeze extra ratatouille for the winter made with produce from her garden. If you do use freezer bags you can wash them and re-use and even if they have a little hole or two you can line a tub with a bag and pull it out of the tub when frozen to store in the freezer - just remember to defrost in a dish!
    • 4th May 2017 liz reynolds
      Have you tried freezing into nice rectangular blocks using reusuasable plastic boxes and then once frozen transferring contents into your parchment/tin foil combination?
    • 11th May 2017 Emily
      I have started using glass jars for freezing, so far with no breakages. I don't fill them to the very top so there is space for the food to expand when it freezes.
    • 26th May 2017 Kathryn
      Lots of good glass containers with heavy duty plastic lids that last for years these days. I find that so long as you fill them really full things keep better in them than in plastic freezer bags. You can get washable vacuum sealer bags too, but I find they don't last long
    • 1st June 2017 WendyF
      Re-use ice cream boxes for freezer containers.
  • Toxins from plastic leeching into food

    23rd June 2016 Linda Molvik
    This isn't really a tip but I really need to share this! Many years ago, I studied nutritional therapy. We were told that toxins leech from plastic into our food and for a long time (before this challenge), I decanted everything I bought in plastic into other non plastic containers immediately on arriving home from the supermarket. There was one experiment quoted at the time-and I should have researched this again before going off half cocked-about breast cancer tissue growing more quickly in experiments using plastic. Petri dishes than glass ones. must do more research and will post again. Others may want to have a look at this too. Meantime, on with the challenge!
    Category - Other tips

    show/hideComments

    • 24th April 2017 Jennie Lang
      Breast Cancer UK campaign on plastics and breast cancer - their website has useful info on the research and science behind this.
    • 11th June 2017 Mari
      I take my own china mug for coffees that come in disposable cups. Saving on plastic waste and plastic chemical s leeching into the hot drinks
  • Toilet roll

    10th June 2016 Shona
    Has anyone found unwrapped toilet roll that you can order online? I live in Bedfordshire and haven't been able to find a shop, also nowhere that sells cereal or pasta in bulk bins so any ideas for them would be great!
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 12th June 2016 Kevin
      Not seen any wrapped in paper for a long time - but we now use our toilet roll wrap plastic as a bin when we go camping which saves using old shopping bags which we get many fewer of these days. If that isn't enough to salve your conscience you could write to some of the supermarkets and toilet roll manufacturers and ask them to go back to paper wrappers.
    • 13th June 2016 Hannah
      I've not found unwrapped loo roll (except at our local organic shop) but I have found Suma/Ecoleaf loo roll which is wrapped in biodegradable potato starch wrapping.
    • 13th June 2016 Sarah
      I can't offer help with the toilet paper conundrum as I too would like to do the same. However, I can buy certain cereals that aren't in plastic: certain brands of oats, Shredded wheat and weetabix come in paper wrappers within the box. Not much help but thought it worth a mention. Otherwise you could try buying bulk from somewhere like Suma and see if anyone nearby/friends/family want to chip in and share the spoils?
    • 29th March 2017 Torie Smith
      I don't know about lose toilet rolls but Suma toilet roll comes in compostable packaging http://www.planetorganic.com/suma-ecol-toilet-tissue-4-pack-4-pack/9402/
    • 29th March 2017 Helene Marks
      I've recently bought toilet rolls wrapped in paper from 'Who gives a Crap'(seriously!) online. On the upside they are made from bamboo, and half the profits go to WaterAid. However, they are expensive, more than the brand leader, and I don't rate the quality much - a bit small and thin.
    • 13th April 2017 Lorraine Norman
      Haven't tried them myself yet but think that Greencane paper sell toilet rolls in paper packaging.
    • 10th May 2017 Kate
      Sainsbury's do cannelloni in cardboard boxes - last year I ate lots of giant pasta tubes instead of pasta in plastic! It was great!
    • 17th May 2017 Libby Darling
      Check out https://uk.whogivesacrap.org
    • 23rd May 2017 Penny Falzoni
      'Who gives a crap' is a company that wraps it's toilet roll in paper. You can order on line and they donate money to a charity providing toilets to third world. The cost is no more than Tesco own brand per roll so seems to be won win. I use it and am very happy with the product. 😊
    • 25th May 2017 Helene Marks
      I use paper-wrapped toilet rolls from "Who Gives a Crap" (really!) which I order on-line. They are more expensive than the supermarket ones, and not premium quality, but there is no plastic.
    • 1st June 2017 Gillian Tichards
      The Natural Grocer sells toilet rolls wrapped in paper. I think you have to buy 12 rolls. Although I think it is Andrew which wrap their loo rolls in,plastic but it says on the packet that it can be recycled at supermarkets which recycle plastic bags. Surely if it can be recycled, it is OK to buy or I am supposed to be avoiding all plastic in whichever form?
    • 1st June 2017 Leoni
      My current favourite place to order toilet roll is
      https://uk.whogivesacrap.org/
      partly because the name makes me chuckle, partly because they donate 50% of profits to charitable aims, partly because their loo roll and the wrap is 100% recycled paper and most of all because they send everything in paper/card only!
    • 2nd June 2017 Julie
      I've just bought toilet roll + kitchen roll online from "Who Gives a Crap"(seriously!). They seem environmentally + ethically sound + no plastic! Good luck!
  • Berries

    4th June 2016 Chloe Davies
    I have realised just how many fresh berries I eat, and to make it worse, the Cornish strawberries have just come into season! And they are delicious. Has anyone found ways of getting around those plastic punnets!
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 9th June 2016 Jean
      Could you go and pick your own berries? You might not be in Cornwall so will have to make do with a local pick your own farm, but they'll taste great because of the effort put in! I have the same problem.
    • 9th June 2016 Chris
      Try using a local PYO centre?
    • 12th June 2016 Kevin
      Save some punnetts, then go PYO with them. Plant your own berry bushes, too. We have been carefully protecting some wild gooseberries - pinkish ones which are particularly delicious.
    • 23rd August 2016 Emma hirst
      Go to a farmers market / green grocer. Take your own punnet and fill that, or give your old clean one to the farmer/green grocer, so they can re-use.
    • 1st June 2017 Brianw
      Grow your own. As well as Strawberries. Black Current Red Current, Raspberry Gooseberry bushes will provide many summer of fruit, get early & late fruiting varieties for a longer season. Cheaper & better than the shops. Just plant & pick.
  • Degradable plastic bags?

    26th May 2016 Hannah
    Whilst on the hunt for recycled plastic black bin liners, all I could find were "degradable plastic" ones. I bought them thinking they were like the plant-based corn starch bags, but in hind sight I'm wondering if they are simply plastic which degrades faster and so will still mean micro-plastic getting into the ecosystem? Any thoughts?
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 30th May 2016 Emilie
      Hello! I recently just read about this, as far as I know 'biodegradable' is just as bad/if not a bit worse than regular plastic bags, as they just break down into micro plastics quicker but don't 'disappear' as natural/corn starch bags would :/
    • 31st May 2016 Claire
      I put 'biodegradable' compost bags in my compost bin over 18 months ago. Whilst the bag's contents are now lovely rich compost, the bags themselves are almost completely intact. Now using recycled ones instead. Far easier than picking bits of plastic bag out of your compost.
    • 31st May 2016 Karen Allan
      Yes, you need to get Biodegradeable. Biobags are good.
    • 2nd June 2016 kate
      Plastics can be described as compostable, degradable and or biodegradable. Which may seem clear but can be misleading. Many biodegradable plastics do not actually biodegrade.

      Dgradable bags are normal plastic bags with a biological degradtion iniator added that makes them degrade or fall apart more quickly. They only degrade into plastic but because the initiator is bio based they have in the past been labelled bio degradable. They were told off for doing so as this is not biodegrading as it os normally understood.

      Read up on it here. http://plasticisrubbish.com/2015/06/11/degradable-biodegradable-or-compostable/
    • 12th June 2016 Kevin
      A couple of years ago a lot of plastic bags for apples etc said they were compostable and i tried a few in the compost. They passed through the wormery unchanged in year one and in year two the printing suffered but the bags were still plastic bags after which i pulled them out and binned them. I notice they have gone from the shops I use now so perhaps they realised they didn't work. I'm currently experimenting with compostable cup tops which i occasionally get at work in the canteen but for this month i'm just going to avoid buying soup to take out!
    • 13th June 2016 Hannah
      Okay - so I found more info on this: These d2W plastics are the bin bags I have been buying recently (and the reason I posed the question) and basically have a self destruct element and after x months (decided by the manufacturer) they start to degrade, and at the final stage become a biodegradable substance. Sounds too good to be true, but Chris Packham endorses it so maybe it is?! Check it out: http://www.symphonyenvironmental.com/d2w/
  • Supermarket bags

    5th May 2016 Irene Jones
    I think that all supermarkets plastic bags should either be banned or they should charge a lot more for them 5p is not enough.
    Category - On the go

    show/hideComments

    • 20th May 2016 Margaret Nelmes
      The supermarkets shouldn't be selling plastic bags at all. As an alternative to the 5p bags, they are selling plastic shopping bags rather than cloth ones. The thicker plastic lasts a bit longer than the ordinary plastic bags, but cloth bags can last for years. I find folding cloth bags particularly useful. You can keep them in your handbag or another shopping bag and take them with you whenever you go near shops, just in case.
    • 26th May 2017 Helen Heyes
      I totally agree Irene! I also wish they'd address the flimsy plastic fruit and veg bags - it's not just the carrier bags that are a problem. It drives me crazy when I see people putting a hand of bananas or a head of broccoli or a single red pepper in a useless plastic bag that is destined to go straight in the bin without having offered any kind of function - it's so unnecessary. I think it's about time one of the big stores at least started selling re-useable fruit and veg bags.
  • Loose tea bulk buy tips

    13th August 2015 Clare B.
    I'm switching from tea bags to loose tea as I've just found out that almost all tea bags aren't just paper but contain plastic!!! So not only are they wrapped in plastic, in a box that is also wrapped in plastic there is plastic in the bags too! I'm disgusted so have bought a little metal tea egg for loose tea but have yet to source the bulk loose tea. Any recommendations for online stores that sell bulk loose tea, preferably not in plastic.
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 10th November 2015 Dave O
      I made the switch, too. I was puzzled by the disks of plastic gauze in my compost until I realised they were the plastic layer inside my tea bags. All of the big supermarkets stock one or two brands of loose tea, in small packets, but it's hard to find among the rows of tea bags. I drink a lot of tea, and loose tea seems to last for ages, so I haven't had to look for a bulk supplier.
    • 2nd January 2016 Louise
      I buy bulk tea bags online from Traidcraft (called 'Everyday One Cup' bags although I find one bag plenty strong enough for a teapot serving 2-3). See http://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/c-39-fair-trade-tea.aspx
      I put all used teabags in my compost heap (and I drink a lot of tea!) and have never been left with plastic or anything that doesn't rot down successfully, so I guess these bags are completely made from paper/cotton. And their Fairtrade too. What's not to like? They come in a large plastic bag of 440 but the bag is quite strong and I re-use many times it for storing all sorts of foodstuffs. Alternatively you can buy cardboard boxes of these teabags in multiples of 6x100. Traidcraft also sell loose tea (single boxes or multiples of 6) which I use occasionally. Sometimes I also buy Clipper teas (organic/fairtrade) and have never found any problem with their teabags not rotting down fully in the compost, so again presumably paper/cotton.
    • 28th April 2016 Louisa Trunks
      Wholefoods in cheltenham have a great range on loose leaf tea that you buy in paper bags
    • 6th May 2016 andrea
      I compost my tea bags (Clipper Fair Trade) and they seem to disappear so am presuming they are paper based. I do know that the expensive brands like Teapigs don't breakdown in the compost
    • 31st May 2016 Karen Allan
      Organic tea bags such as Clipper should be OK - paper and unbleached.
    • 1st June 2016 WiseOceans
      Not online but you can buy loose tea from the bulk bins in Whittards. Just take your container and they will fill it up. Sometimes you have to explain it a bit but they've always been happy to weight the container and then put the tea in.
    • 8th June 2016 Helen
      I believe L oose tea bulk buy available from "my cup of tea" and used to be available from "whittards" in solid pressed blocks
    • 3rd September 2016 Jacqui
      Betty's in york will sell loose tea and coffee in brown paper packages. Try little Betty's, Stonegate, YORK
    • 3rd May 2017 Diana Simpson
      Some ethnic shops sell loose tea. I didn't know about plastic in teabags so will check if the ones I use have plastic. Thanks for that.
    • 3rd May 2017 Susie A
      Clipper brand sell loose leaf tea. You can buy it in supermarkets, wholefood shops etc or order in bulk from Suma.
      If you're near Newcastle there is a shop in the Grainger market that sells specialist loose leaf tea (and coffee) by weight.
    • 17th May 2017 Libby Darling
      I buy loose tea from whittards in Brighton- I make a journey every month or two with my reuseable boxes! You can also reuse loose tea ⬆️ 3 times so it's win win and the flavours are so much better than any tea bag...good luck x
  • Dish brush replacement

    24th June 2015 louise
    Anyone know of a non plastic dish brush replacement?
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 13th August 2015 Clare B.
      Hi Louise, there are a few options at savesomegreen.co.uk - I recently bought a bamboo toothbrush from them, coconut scouring pads and a metal loose tea egg. The packaging was all paper or card (or none at all) including the postage packaging. Postage was free too. They have a wooden handle coconut fibre dish brush and a palm frond brush. There is also an option in the shop of the MSC website.
    • 4th January 2016 rach
      i had seen wooden brushes on amazon but i think that was for veg, they might also work for plates etc not sure :]
    • 28th April 2016 Louisa Trunks
      Yes you can get wooden dishbrushes on anazon. Its about £10 for one brush with 3 replacable heads
    • 29th April 2016 dahlia
      they sell some that are made out of bamboo. toothbrushes too!
    • 6th May 2016 Sarah
      I know this is an old post but I use natural loofahs - cut them up so they last longer, and when they are no longer good for cleaning and scrubbing they go in the compost bin :)
    • 6th May 2016 andrea
      Utility in Brighton sell wooden dish brushes
    • 7th May 2016 Ann
      Stacks on wooden dishwash brushes with bristle heads at Amazon.
    • 12th May 2016 Adele Drummond
      http://www.myriadonline.co.uk/products.php?id=6295&name=Everyday Dish Brush
    • 28th May 2016 Claire
      I have a wooden one (not sure about the bristles) from Robert Dyas for 99p. Bought it on its own, not wrapped in packaging!
    • 30th May 2016 Emilie
      Hi Louise,

      There are some biodegradable brushes and similar items here; http://savesomegreen.co.uk/shop/
    • 31st May 2016 Gill
      Hi have you tried doing an Internet search for wooden dish mop unbleached - there's lots of alternatives.
    • 2nd June 2016 kate armstrong
      Fanatstic range of brushes here http://plasticisrubbish.com/2008/08/12/home-grown-scrubbers/
    • 12th June 2016 Kevin
      We use an unbleached cotton dishcloth and no brush.
    • 14th August 2016 Sarah
      Hi Louise,

      I guess by now you have resolved this question, but just in case... I have a loofah at home which works (apparently you can buy them on amazon too)
    • 15th August 2016 Fabian
      Here in Germany you can buy wooden dish brushes equipped with hair from horses instead of plastic bristles. Not sure if they are available elsewhere (I buy them in organic stores) but I think they should.
    • 27th January 2017 Jo
      Michael's loofah brushes are great. I get ours from a local eco cooperative shop, 'True Food' in Reading. There is a website http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/products/micheal-s-originals/
    • 13th April 2017 Lorraine Norman
      Save Some Green do a coconut hair washing up brush
    • 3rd May 2017 Lina
      any good ironmongers or big healthfood shop will sell dish brushes made with wooden handles and bristle brushes - they are round at the end and have metal attaching them together. don't leave them soaking in your dish water though - like wooden spoons they will perish faster.
    • 3rd May 2017 Diana Simpson
      https://www.greatenglish.co.uk/natural-wood-washing-up-brush.htm £4.25
    • 1st June 2017 Gillian Richards
      The Natural Grocer online shop sells brushes made from bamboo.
  • Rice! Noodles! Rice Noodles!

    9th June 2015 Russell
    We didn't realise quite how much Asian food we ate - we're having much difficulty dealing without rice and / or noodles; they all come in plastic. Anyone got any useful tips?
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 15th June 2015 Em Weston
      Lidl sell rice and cous cous in boxes, so do some supermarkets in the bulk aisle. I'm unsure about noodles though.
    • 16th June 2015 Joan
      Noodles are so easy to cook, and in their dry form very light. Buy from Chinese Asian stores. Bring water to bubbling (boiling) in a small pan and add a cake of noodles from the pack, pressing it down into the water with a wooden spoon. Depending on the type of noodle bring back to the boil, then put on your pan lid and turn down the heat to low (or with some noodles, take off the heat) and allow to soften in the water for the stated time on the pack - rarely longer than 5 minutes. Drain in a strainer and you're ready to serve, perhaps with a little soya sauce or roasted sesame oil. YUM!
      Rice is easy to cook too! In its dry state it isn't heavy to carry home several servings, which can be cooked together, then the extra can be kept in the fridge in a covered container for 5 days. So much cheaper too! Allow 2 to 4oz per serving or 4 fl.oz. = 125ml = 1/2 Cup. I prefer to wash the rice in the pan swishing it around in the water, and straining the water away through your fingers - or you may just prefer a sieve. Then add the same volume of fresh water to the rice in the pan, put on the lid and bring to the boil. As soon as it bubbles strongly (boils, you will hear it bubbling), turn down the heat to very low or it will boil over and make a mess of the cooker. For white long grain rice cook on low for 20 minutes, (brown long grain rice takes a bit longer at 25 minutes), then turn off the heat for another 5 minutes. This is important as it allows the rice to fluff up and like this it will not stick to the bottom of the pan - a big help when it comes to washing up! Enjoy!
    • 13th July 2015 sarah marshall
      I took a container to pay and weigh and I filled up with rice there not sure re noodles though
    • 20th May 2016 Margaret Nelmes
      I know of two shops in my area that sell loose rice, cereals,fruit, nuts, etc. I asked the owner of one shop if I could bring my own container and he said yes because he could put it on the scales and turn the knob to zero, then add the contents. These shops are often known as 'scoop' shops.They provide plastic bags, but you could take reusable plastic containers with you. They may also sell loose tea.
    • 31st May 2016 Ali
      If you have the space, What about buying larger bags of rice from Asian supermarkets rather than the smaller sizes you get in uk supermarkets?
    • 9th June 2016 Jean
      The rice is easy (not sure about noodles as don't eat them)! You will probably have to buy a bag of it but big supermarkets sell it in massive bags which in the long term would probably be better. Maybe could source a whole food store that will transfer to a non-plastic container. Rice is the easiest and quickest thing to make. I make it myself even if I do (rarely) buy a carryout. Maybe you could learn to make your own Asian food; some of it is quick and easier to make than you might think.
    • 23rd August 2016 Emma hirst
      Suma. We buy direct from suma, in bulk. Some things come in plastic but when you phone in your orderly you can ask for only paper bags.
  • Milk

    7th June 2015 Debbie
    Milk... What's better a 4 pint recyclable plastic container for the week, which then gets used to water the flowers and top up the cars before being recycled or should I hunt down glass pint bottles? Seems to me that although the bottles would be plastic free they're not actually a better Eco option. Or are they!? Any other ideas? TIA
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 8th June 2015 Andy
      We switched to glass bottles from our milkman. 3 days in and he started delivering plastic bottles instead.
      Like you I'm not sure. if the plastic ones are made from recycled plastic anyway does this count as an eco-option ? I'm concerned the chemicals used to clean the glass ones might do more harm than good.
    • 9th June 2015 sarah marshall
      we did sign up to a milk man for the challenge but I agree its hard to know whether overall glass bottles and delivery is better environmentally or not..I do prefer the glass but interested if anyone has any facts/figures
    • 6th May 2016 andrea
      Milk and More deliver in glass bottles which are reused, slightly more expensive than the plastic bottles but reduces the usage of plastic
    • 2nd June 2016 kate armstrong
      If refilled and it doesnt have to travel too far glass is better than plastic. There are some facts here http://goo.gl/XfkxF2. If you want a milkman check out this list http://plasticisrubbish.com/2012/06/18/pams-new-year-message/.
    • 23rd August 2016 Emma hirst
      Most places in Britain have a milk delivery person. You can look up on the Internet for delivery local to you.
  • Laundry

    7th June 2015 Debbie hillyer
    Washing liquids and conditioners!? Is this even possible to be plastic free?
    Category - In the cleaning cupboard

    show/hideComments

    • 8th June 2015 Kate
      I'm only starting out in this myself, but I've seen that Ecover detergent bottles can be refilled. We're in quite a rural area & it's not worth the extra fuel to drive 40+ miles to do it, but online direct from them you can order 5 litre boxes to refill at home. I have only bought my first bottles of Ecover today so I can't vouch for it, but that's what I found out. This is REALLy hard isn't it! I need all the help, advice and support I can get.
    • 22nd June 2015 Jane Pryor
      Splosh.com do refills through the post so you don't even have to use fuel to save plastic.
    • 13th August 2015 Clare B.
      Have you tried eco balls? Mine are by Ecozone but I believe there are other brands. They come in a box (think the lid may have been plastic but this was many years ago) and the balls are in a plastic container but this is what thee balls go in the machine in so are reusable and refillable once the little balls inside are used up. You aren't supposed to need conditioner/softener with these, although I do still use a little (Ecover refills from a local shop) for towels and some clothes. Another option is to try making your own detergent and buying the ingredients in bulk thereby greatly reducing your plastic. There are lots of recipes if you search online.
    • 2nd January 2016 Louise
      Ecover do plastic bottles made of recycled ocean plastic.
      http://uk.ecover.com/en/why-ecover/ecover-ocean-plastic-bottle/
      Offers an alternative if you're too far from somewhere where you can get existing bottles refilled.
    • 24th May 2016 Iva
      You can buy shampoo and conditioner in bars in places like Lush. You can also buy metal tins to keep them in. They last for months (I have had the same shampoo bar for nearly a year because I have short hair).

      For washing up liquid Ecover washing up liquid bottles can be refilled. Check the health food shops in your area, there is always one that is an authorised Ecover refill station. It is really good washing up liquid that contains no chemicals. I used the same bottle for three years until recently when I moved to a developing country. Ecover also does lots of good household cleaners.

      Good luck with reducing plastic waste.
    • 1st June 2016 Charlotte Alanine
      I get the Ariel Bio powder in cardboard box for washing machine, if you mean dish liquids, then maybe there are alternatives online, can't help with the conditioner as I don't use any..
    • 5th May 2017 Francesca
      Have a look at this recipe http://modernhippiehw.com/2014/01/10/homemade-eco-friendly-laundry-soap/
    • 11th May 2017 Emily
      There is a UK company called Splosh where you can buy your washing liquids and fabric conditioner (and other household products). You keep the original bottle and they send refills when you need them. Some of the refills come in dissolvable materials so you just add water and others come in plastic pouches which you can them send back to them to reuse.
    • 15th May 2017 Karoline Kuprat
      Ecover re-fills??
    • 25th May 2017 rachael noxon
      Washing powder does sometimes come in a cardboard box
    • 29th May 2017 Annette
      I get refills for my Ecover from the Farmers' market.
      Have been using the same set of ecoballs in the washing machine for years.
    • 1st June 2017 Gillian Richards
      If you are talking about personal items rather than house cleaning, Lush has everything you need. Shampoo plus shampoo and conditioner comes in a bar form, all bottled products are in recycled plastic and you can return the bottles.
    • 7th June 2017 Eleanor
      You can use white vinegar (the clear stuff, not white wine vinegar) from the supermarket instead of fabric softener in your washing machine. Available in glass bottles. Soft clothes, less chemicals and cheaper too!
  • Tea & tea bags

    4th June 2015 Kate
    So if all the 'big brand' teabags contain plastic micromesh, do you know which brands of looseleaf tea have neither a plastic film outer, or a plastic film inner to the cardboard box?
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 6th June 2015 Jane
      I have just got my loose leaf green tea from Wholefoods where I scooped it into a brown paper bag provided and weighed it. : )
    • 12th June 2015 Sarah
      Shop around your local teashops if you have any, lots of them sell looseleaf tea in paper bags. Anteaques in Edinburgh sells their tea that way. Happy hunting!
    • 22nd June 2015 Jane Pryor
      I have bought my tea from Wholefoods where I measure it into a paper bag...They have many different loose products people can do this with.
    • 1st June 2016 WiseOceans
      You can buy loose tea using your own container in Whittards.
  • Storing veg without plastic

    31st May 2015 Jane
    Just found this page that lists ways to store veg without using plastic. Will come in useful for my next shopping trip. http://myplasticfreelife.com/2010/05/how-to-store-produce-without-plastic/
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Roast Chicken

    31st May 2015 Jane
    If I want to purchase a whole chicken from the butcher how can I wrap it, carry it home and store it in a safe and non-plastic way?
    Category - Shopping solutions

    show/hideComments

    • 1st June 2015 amy doore
      How about newspaper. If its ok for chips I am sure it will be ok for meat that you are going to cook anyway. Other choice could be take your roasting tray and foil with you to put it in and then its ready to chuck in the oven. Good luck
    • 1st June 2015 kate armstrong
      I use biobag for meat then compost them http://plasticisrubbish.com/2009/02/26/plastic-free-meat-and-fish/
    • 1st June 2015 ClaireH280
      Lidded glass pyrex dish? Wrapped in butchers paper then inside a cloth bag?
    • 1st June 2015 julia Slade
      could ask butcher to wrap it in greaseproof paper and tie it firmly... or take a large plastic container ie cake box type
    • 5th June 2015 W. Swan
      A lightweight stainless steel dish with a lid?
    • 7th June 2015 Debbie
      Morrisons kindly wrapped my steak in the black paper they use on their counter. Could you take a card box and ask your butcher to line it with the counter paper? You'd have to go straight home and cook it though I'd have thought. Or if you don't mind plastics that are very reusable just take your own plastic tub with sealed lid. You could keep it in the fridge then too. Can't think of another way??
    • 5th April 2016 Steve
      Buy it live to take home and prepare it yourself? ;)

      or maybe greaseproof paper?
    • 5th May 2016 Tina
      Unbleached paper, wax paper or a simple large cotton cloth.
    • 12th May 2016 Adele Drummond
      Butcher paper?
    • 7th June 2016 Libby Darling
      I bought some chicken pieces on Monday from my butcher. I took a large reusable plastic box and even he was slightly bemused he was happy to pop the meat in there! Once I have used the meat I will wash the box and use it again next time. Its more about reducing single use plastics...a reusable box is allowed! good luck xLibby D
    • 13th May 2017 Deborah
      Do what they did in the '50s, wrap it in newspaper in a cotton bag. Compost the newspaper, wash the bag and use it ONLY for raw meat.
  • Toothpaste

    31st May 2015 Jane
    I understand Lush do toothpaste tabs, but they contain no fluoride. I am concerned about the long term effects on our teeth if we don't have fluoride, particularly on my 4 children. Any advice, suggestions ?????
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 1st June 2015 Atlanta Cook
      You may wish to read up on fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water before making a decision. In the USA communities have decided to ban fluoride from being added to their drinking water. I use a bamboo toothbrush and Mild Minty toothpaste by The Green People for my daughter.
    • 4th June 2015 Jane
      Thank you, I'll check out the Green People.
    • 7th June 2015 Angela
      I spoke to my dentist about these the other day and he said he had no concerns
    • 9th June 2015 sarah marshall
      I suppose you can compromise and do a.m tablets and eve or every other day toothpaste..or are there any mouth washes in glass?
    • 1st June 2017 Gillian Richards
      Check with your water supplier because I think most areas add fluoride to the water. Alternatively buy toothpaste which have metal tubes. I think Euthymol toothpaste is still in metal tubes. It is an acquired taste but cleans well.
    • 1st June 2017 Vera
      Most parts of the country you don't need extra fluoride, for which there is evidence that it is actually harmful in large quantities to teeth!
      I'm annoyed that Boots have stopped doing non-fluoride toothpaste - the only one I can find is Euthymol. My hayfever stops me going into Lush!!
  • Washing up liquid

    31st May 2015 Becky
    I've found plastic free dish washing brushes, and there's a plastic free scourer on the Plastic Challenge shop - however I'm struggling to find an alternative to washing up liquid. Any ideas anyone?
    Category - In the cleaning cupboard

    show/hideComments

    • 31st May 2015 Jane
      Splosh online do all cleaning products. You buy the bottles once and they send you concentrated refills in the post so you can reuse all your bottles. I have been using them for 2 years and they are all good cleaning products. The refills dissolve in hot water so no waste. They do come in small plastic containers which is the only downside.approx 90% reduction in waste, not 100 %.
    • 31st May 2015 Fiwart
      I have a collection of about 8 plastic washing up liquid bottles (Ecover) and get them refilled at our local organic food shop. I have also bought Ecover laundry liquid in bulk ( 15l in a box, plastic liner though!) and I use this to refill my bottles myself. I have used the same plastic bottles for several years now. I bought the bulk purchase through Sum.Still some plastic involved but much less which I think is going to be the conclusion that many people reach by the end of this month..
    • 1st June 2015 kate armstrong
      ecover do refills. Ive been using the same bottle for years now http://plasticisrubbish.com/2012/06/17/plastic-free-washing-up/
    • 1st June 2015 Atlanta Cook
      In Brighton we are lucky enough to have a couple of independent supermarkets that offer a refill service. Before this I used to buy 5 ltr bottles online from www.naturalcollection.com amongst other and refill your own at home.
    • 2nd June 2015 Anna Wyse
      Why not purchase in bulk from Ecover? You can refill your existing containers numerous times. Although it is from a large cardboard box with a collapsible thin plastic liner, it nevertheless reduces plastic on buying 12 bottles of Ecover separately!
    • 6th June 2015 Kitty Corrigan
      Splosh.com is an online retailer selling household detergents, including washing up liquid. You buy a starter box with containers and sachets of concentrated detergent, pop it in the bottle andsimply add hot water. Refills come through the post, so you save time going to a supermarket, and you don't have to carry home heavy bottles containing mainly water.
    • 9th June 2015 sarah marshall
      you can buy a bulk plastic container full and refill your bottle..saves bit plastic or some health places do ecover refills..prob need to look online??
    • 21st April 2016 Rebecca
      I've just found www.splosh.com - they sell their cleaning products as little concentrated dissolvable sachets which you drop into a bottle with hot water so you can reuse old cleaning bottles!
  • Our Office Food Shop!

    29th May 2015 Chloe
    Hello folks. Does anyone have any brilliant ideas to replace our plastic-riddled Sainsbury's shop? They wont even deliver without plastic bags :( Help desperately required! Thank you :)
    Category - In the office

    show/hideComments

    • 31st May 2015 Lucy
      Can you try a farm delivery like Abel & Cole or Riverford?
      http://www.abelandcole.co.uk
      http://www.riverford.co.uk
    • 5th June 2015 w.swan
      Tesco home delivery give the option of having your groceries delivery without bags, or paying an extra 35p per delivery for having it in bags.
  • Where to buy cheese?

    29th May 2015 Pippa
    I'm a big cheese fan and having trouble trying to work out where to buy it plastic free - any tips much appreciated
    Category - Shopping solutions

    show/hideComments

    • 29th May 2015 Jo
      Hi Pippa, I take containers with me when I go shopping, and ask the people at deli counters to put cheese and cold meats in there rather than in plastic bags.
    • 29th May 2015 Lucy
      Try a cheese shop or cheese counter in the supermarket. They will often use waxed paper to wrap the cheese. Or take your own Tupperware if they use plastic.
    • 1st June 2015 amy doore
      In my local Waitrose they have cheese paper at the deli counter. You have to ask for it but that's an option. Other wise you can take Tupperware boxes with you to the deli counter and ask them to put it in there. Good luck
    • 1st June 2015 Michaela
      If you buy cheese from the deli at a supermarket you can use your own paper to wrap it or bring a tupperware box.
    • 1st June 2015 Claireh280
      Some cheese comes waxed - Godminister is amazing! It is not cheap but it is so flavoursome that you don't need to use very much. They sell online or through Riverford. You could also buy cheese from the deli counter loose and ask them to wrap it in a piece of parchment paper for you (you'd have to take your own). Or take your own glass storage box for them to put it in?
    • 5th June 2015 w.swan
      You could take your own wrapping e.g greaseproof paper or foil to a deli counter and ask them to use that; also an opportunity to tell them why...
    • 9th June 2015 sarah marshall
      I took a container to a deli counter and they just put the cheese block in there..it prob arrived at the shop wrapped ..cheese rounds could be the answer if u can find enough friends to share with !1
    • 5th May 2016 Tina
      If you get it from a supermarket you can take your own container.
    • 31st May 2016 Gill
      Hi I take cut squares of grease proof paper to the supermarket deli counter and ask them to use this instead of the plastic wrapping. Only issue is they then have to use the sticky labels with the bar code on but I guess this is paper based. Haven't yet been refused !
    • 19th June 2016 Graeme Hodges
      Is there a farmer's market near you? They should give it to you in a paper bag, but take a reusable container just in case.
    • 25th May 2017 rachael noxon
      Take a reusable container to your deli counter
  • Plastic free Yoghurt

    28th May 2015 Michaela
    I love yoghurt but it always comes in plastic! Although the tub is often recyclable the lid usually isn't. Does anyone know a UK brand that uses card or glass instead? All the recipes I've found to make yoghurt online involve using live yoghurt in the first place and yoghurt makers are also made of plastic!
    Category - Plastic-free Products

    show/hideComments

    • 29th May 2015 Pippa
      They're quite expensive but a few shops are now stocking the River Cottage range http://www.browncoworganics.co.uk/browncow/River_Cottage_Yogurt_Panna-Cotta-p1.html
    • 29th May 2015 Lucy
      You can make your own in glass jars in your oven - you just need a pilot light or low temperature setting.
      Here are some online tutorials:
      http://tasty-yummies.com/2014/06/03/how-to-make-coconut-milk-yogurt/
      http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-yogurt-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-125070
    • 30th May 2015 Rachel
      I guess a Kilner type jar wrapped in hay box would work; if you can cook a casserole in a hay box, I'm sure you can keep a milk culture warm for 8 hours. I think I'll give it a go!
    • 1st June 2015 ClaireH280
      I think you can make yoghurt in a thermos flask. You'd have to google to find out. Would you consider a second hand yoghurt maker from ebay? At least it is recycling plastic that is already out there. This recipe doesn't need a yoghurt maker but does need a starter - however one small natural yoghurt and then you can use your home made yoghurt as the starter thereafter. That would be a huge reduction in plastic consumption compared to buying pots every time http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2009/08/do-a-dance-for-yogurt-that-isnt-in-plastic-tubs.html I am wondering also about taking your own glass jars straight to a farm?
    • 6th June 2015 Debbie
      I'm going to contact Yeo Valley and see if they can help. I miss yogurt too!
    • 9th June 2015 David Sandbrook
      There are German and Austrian brands available in glass jars rom a limited number of specialist retailers, likely to be expensive.
    • 12th June 2015 Gill
      Personally, I'd bite the bullet and buy a small pot of live yoghurt and use it as your starter. Yoghurt can be made in a Thermos flask or even a slow cooker - no need for plastic pots. Once made decant it into a container for keeping (remembering to save a few large spoonfuls for your next batch), rinse the flask/cooker out and start again!
    • 27th January 2016 Pat
      Have you tried Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's recipe, made in a flask using yougurt from your last batch.
    • 5th May 2016 Tina
      It's extremely easy to make yogurt you just need a bowl and a warm place. Your starter culture is existing yogurt it's true, but once you've made a batch you just keep back some of the made yogurt and mix it into your fresh warmed milk for the next batch.
    • 12th May 2016 Adele Drummond
      You can make yoghurt in a stainless steel flask. no need for an actual yoghurt maker.
    • 3rd May 2017 Elaine Temblett
      Aldi sells a glass one but puts a plastic top on. But the jar is totally reusable and quite nice
  • Celotape

    26th May 2015 Lou
    Any alternatives to celotape...? I like to recycle (and make some pennies) through ebay which means posting and tape because I recycle envelopes. I thought of masking tape and I remember brown paper tape - but not that easy to get hold of now, any suggestions? I guess I could use string..and even staples. It is a good project and such a challenge - how much plastic has crept into our lives.?
    Category - In the office

    show/hideComments

    • 27th May 2015 kate
      The only tape that claims to be fully biodegradable is picture framers Kraft paper tape with biodegradable adhesive. It works really well and sticks to just about everything – so much so I also use it for labelling stuff. Sticks to glass for a surprisingly long time – even in damp conditions.

      fine out more here http://plasticisrubbish.com/2014/11/25/sticky-tape/
    • 27th May 2015 Tom
      You can get paper packaging tape from Nigel's Eco Store. http://www.nigelsecostore.com/cgi-bin/sh000001.pl?WD=tape&PN=Eco%2dPacking%2dTape%2ehtml#aNES_2dTape
    • 12th May 2016 Adele Drummond
      Clear cellulose tape or paper packing tape.
    • 26th April 2017 Jess
      You can buy eco packing tape online which is fully biodegradable and my local stationers sells 'gummed tape' which you wet with a sponge to activate the adhesive. It sticks really well for packages and can be composted after use. :)
  • Dog Poo Bags!!

    26th May 2015 Kate
    Has anyone else thought of an alternative to plastic dog poo bags?!
    Category - Miscellaneous

    show/hideComments

    • 26th May 2015 Emma
      Hi Kate,

      I found biodegradable dog poo bags at Nigel's Eco Store:

      http://www.nigelsecostore.com/cgi-bin/ss000001.pl?SS=dog+poo&ACTION.x=0&ACTION.y=0&PR=-1&TB=A&SHOP=

      I don't think they are truly biodegradable, but certainly better that the usual plastic bags.
    • 26th May 2015 Sarah Han-de-beaux
      Hi there, whilst it's not totally elegant you could revert to what I remember doing in the 90s...get yourself a pooper scooper device and pick it up using the scooper and then empty it directly to the poo bins. Like I say, not elegant but it's what I used to do when I was a kid with my dogs before plastic bags were the norm.
    • 27th May 2015 kate
      compostable cornstarch bags and a dog poo composter http://plasticisrubbish.com/2013/08/21/composting-pet-poop-and-waste/
    • 27th May 2015 Ed C
      Tesco sell small compost bags - could be an option!
    • 1st June 2015 ClaireH280
      I agree - cornstarch sandwich bags
    • 2nd June 2015 Judy
      I have made cat poo and wee bags by folding and stapling newspaper. you need 2 or three pages layered. It works well for the cat litter tray. I have made extra large newspaper bags to hold the smaller ones. Don't know what the bin men will think as they are used to the ubiquitous plastic bag!
    • 12th June 2015 Verena
      hi. i buy recyclable ones but I don t know up to what point is worthwhile as they all go to landfill. It is something that I have also thought about.
    • 15th June 2015 Em Weston
      Hi Kate, you can buy biodegradable ones for not that much more from Asda and other such places. However remember that putting these in the regular dog bins then completely eliminates the point of even using them as all public bins use heavy duty plastic bags in them. So remember to take it home to dispose of it.
    • 24th June 2015 Gill
      Hi

      I use Biobags - they are compostable. http://www.biobags.co.uk/

    • 31st May 2016 Gill
      Hi I get bio bags compostable dog waste bags but was recently given some naty by nature baby care disposal bags for nappies which were from boots so should be easily gotten hold of.
    • 10th May 2017 Caroline Hobbs
      Not an alternative, but I use bags that the bread comes in, it just means buying less plastic.
    • 25th May 2017 Barb
      Can you get biodegradable ones? I don't have a dog any more but I'm sure that is what I used to use
  • Milk?

    23rd May 2015 Paul Stratford
    So what is the best/greenest/eco way to buy milk?\r\nI am lucky enough to be able to get it direct from a local organic dairy who are happy to fill any vessel that I provide but if not, what is best, glass, recycleable plastic, cartons or bags?
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 27th May 2015 Mike Wallis
      There are probably more local dairies around than you think. Following the MCS "plastics purge", I found a local dairy that uses glass bottles and gives local farmers a fair deal.
      We are thoroughly enjoying the "proper milk" experience and our plastics consumption has plummeted. I'm now determined to try and stop using disposable plastics completely.
    • 27th May 2015 kate
      find a milkman here. interactive postcode search http://plasticisrubbish.com/2012/06/18/pams-new-year-message/
    • 3rd June 2015 Annie
      I just bought some powdered milk that was almost plastic free - it just had a plastic lid!
    • 4th June 2015 Jane
      Am struggling with milk. My dairy don't put organic milk in glass bottles, only cartons. Problem is, price goes from £18 a month to £52 if I choose the cartons. !!!!
    • 5th June 2015 w.swan
      Glass. Sterilised cow's milk from Delamere in glass bottles is available from some shops and supermarkets.
    • 8th June 2016 Graeme Hodges
      I'm really struggling with milk - any ideas would be really welcomed! Thanks
  • Shampoo and conditioner

    23rd April 2015 Tom
    Shampoo and conditioner - as I use these more than once, does it count as single use?
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 5th May 2015 Kate
      Hi Tom,

      Plastic Challengers can decide for themselves how far they want to go single use plastic free. Technically, shampoo and conditioner bottles are used more than once, so it is up to you if you want to try and replace your bathroom products with plastic free alternatives. Good luck!
    • 16th May 2015 Annie
      Places like Lush do shampoo and conditioner bars so no packaging at all, they usually come wrapped in tissue paper!!
    • 26th May 2015 Sarah Han-de-Beaux
      Try out the lush products that are plastic free and really nice. I know the shop smells overpowering but just brave it and buy yourself all their goodies. For example: https://www.lush.co.uk/products/jungle
    • 26th May 2015 Julie
      Good question! I would say, as far as this challenge is concerned, yes it counts as single use. The bottle is packaging for that product - once the shampoo is gone the bottle is not designed to be used again (unless it's refillable) and it's thrown away, or recycled of course! What do other people think?
    • 28th May 2015 Claire Caffrey
      Yes, and unfortunately a lot of personal care products have microplastics in them. Check out this page http://storyofstuff.org/
    • 29th May 2015 Laura
      I would say yes as the bottle has only been filled once.
    • 3rd June 2015 Sam
      Just signed up to this but been trying to reduce plastic for awhile now. There are many coconut oil recipes for the bathroom like toothpaste and body scrub (which I use) Google it if you have time to make stuff x
  • Unwrapped toilet paper

    15th April 2015 Daves
    I can't find unwrapped toilet paper anywhere. Has anyone found any?
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 15th May 2015 Sanjay Mitra
      Hi Daves
      That is a really tough one. It depends on how lucky you are with where you live! Fortunately, I visit Bristol from time to time and know one of those wholefoods/organic shops that sells individual rolls of toilet paper. Maybe you'll find one not too far from where you are. Gone are the days when Andrex was wrapped in paper! Good luck.
    • 15th May 2015 Jo
      I live in Exeter and didn't manage to find any unwrapped toilet paper but I did find paper wrapped in compostable packaging - I phoned up local, organic small business (like farm shops etc.) until I found it so I would say try the same in your local area. Hope that helps!
    • 18th May 2015 Jules Agate
      Sea Champion Charlotte Gee says on the 'Meet the Plastic Challengers" page that "You can get unpackaged loo roll from ScoopAway and The Better Food Company"
    • 24th May 2015 Woolbothy
      Folks over 50 will remember Andrex packed in paper. I'm sure I saw it in our P.Office shop the other day. I'll have a look on Monday and take a photo if it's still there.
    • 26th May 2015 Amy
      I was thinking of using SUMA loo roll as its wrapped in plastic free compostable film, is that allowed?
    • 26th May 2015 Fiwart
      You can get unpackaged loo roll from ScoopAway and The Better Food Company!That's according to Charlotte Gee, Bristol on the "plastic challengers " page of the mcs plastic challenge website
    • 29th May 2015 Laura
      If you buy in bulk there will be less plastic per roll.
    • 2nd June 2015 Sam
      If you are brave and don't mind washing you can buy reusable toilet wipes in the same way you can buy reusable nappies. Just Google it!
    • 3rd June 2015 Lucy
      plasticisrubbish.com have a list of plastic free products - it seems that plastic free loo roll is difficult to find but they did find one that is packaged in biodegradable wrapping: Eco Leaf Toilet Tissue - it comes in a 100% cornstarch compostable wrap called Bioplast
      http://plasticisrubbish.com/2009/04/14/you-know-what-s-coming/
    • 4th June 2015 kate
      Buy a box of cheap tissues in cardboard. Why cheap? Buy what you think is a cardboard box of paper tissues and you may well find, once you rip open the dispenser bit, the hole is reinforced with a plastic collar….grrrrr

      The cheapo Tesco range, lidless and Aldi come without plastic reinforcements.

      Otherwise you have to go for Eco Leaf Toilet Tissue. Supplied by the good folks at Suma ( a workers cooperative), it comes in a 100% cornstarch compostable wrap called Bioplast. Just so you know, Bioplast is certified to EN 13432 and confirms to the European OK Compost Standard.
      http://plasticisrubbish.com/2009/04/14/you-know-what-s-coming/

Plastic Challenge Tips

Got a tip? Share it here

Tips from the community:
 

  • Veg Bags

    27th June 2017 Jo
    Hi, this might have been put up already but Olio sell some really great mesh bags that can be used for buying loose fruit and veg at the supermarket,100% washable and reusable.
    Category - Other tips
  • DIY sandwich wraps

    22nd June 2017 Mel Little
    Instead of using sandwich bags or cling wrap. I have made re-useable food wraps by melting bees wax, dipping cotton fabric in the wax to soak it and then letting it dry. It is wipe cleanable, the flavour doesn't transfer to the wax or vice versa, is flexible so will fold around your sandwiches and if the bees wax ever needs topping up, you can do it again. I used pretty ditsy floral print fabric and I have fun, unique sandwich wraps.
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 23rd June 2017 Lois Kay
      Is it that simple? Any more tips for how to make it. Iv used beeswax before and got it stuck on bowls cutlery and the kitchen surface. Any tips to avoid this?
      Thank you and looking forward to giving it a try!
    • 24th June 2017 Natalie
      I have been using glass containers for my food for the last 7 years. You can find glass containers of various size and they are reusable forever.
  • Wax paper in shops

    18th June 2017 Doris
    I had a bad feeling about buying butter wrapped in wax paper. It turns out not all that looks like paper actually is paper. I found a tip online to test it by setting a tiny bit on fire (safety first!) and, after a few tests, managed to find a company using real paper.
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Tips on all sorts

    13th June 2017 Rebecca Gill
    Hi everyone, I found this blog with some great tips for plastic free and an inspiring story : http://www.pfree.co.uk
    Category - Other tips
  • Toilet roll

    8th June 2017 Caroline Smith
    No plastic wrapping on this toilet roll. https://uk.whogivesacrap.org/collections/all/products/100-recycled-toilet-paper-48-double-length-rolls?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=uk_test_rec_unboxing
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 13th June 2017 Lucy Ascham
      Eco Leaf paper comes in compostable packaging. Available in my local wholesale food shop and Cooperative. Lembas, Sheffield.
    • 17th June 2017 sarah marshall
      Yes I like this but for everday use it depends on the money side of things..
  • Oven cleaner

    7th June 2017 April
    Baking soda's the answer for cleaning your oven! Great video here, t's really quick and easy: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/oven-cleaning-trick-video
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Pasta

    7th June 2017 George
    The Barilla brand of pasta sometimes does cannelloni in plastic-free cardboard boxes - http://www.nifeislife.com/barilla-cannelloni-pasta-250g-p-96.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjwyN7JBRCZn7LKgb3ki8kBEiQAaLEsqvjzj8u0uLNIOSZXNYxUrdTryaWkUYmyOL_bBQXyunYaAo-p8P8HAQ\\r\\n
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Sunscreen

    7th June 2017 Tom
    Lush have started doing plastic-free sunscreen - it comes in bar form and is literally a "sun block"! :) :)
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Bread

    6th June 2017 Julie
    I asked for an unwrapped loaf from the bakery in Sainsbury's. They obliged with a frozen loaf (to bake at home) wrapped in tissue paper as their paper bags have a cellophane window. Fantastic!
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 24th June 2017 Natalie
      I go to a market stall and buy bread which is just wrapped in paper and then use the wrapping to dispose of vegetable peelings.
  • Herbs and Spices

    6th June 2017 Lois Kay
    Marks and Spencers Simply Food sell a full selection of herbs and spices in glass jars with metal lids. They seem reasonably priced and the jars can be used after for storage.
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 8th June 2017 Em Brotherton
      Sainsbury's range now are glass jars with tin lids!
  • Recycled surf boards

    5th June 2017 Bev
    These guys make their surfboards out of recycled plastic: http://www.hemlocksurf.co.uk/
    Category - Other tips
  • Refill shops

    5th June 2017 Bev
    This website shows all the refillable food shops in UK: https://thezerowaster.com/zero-waste-near-you/
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals
  • biscuits!butter and 15% off

    5th June 2017 sarah marshall
    We have been taking turns to make our own biscuits. The butter is a pain so any advice on this welcomed. I also sell stainless steel bottles/reusable coffee cups etc on line. I know the MCS have some bits so check these out but happy to provide 15% discount on items (www.message-in-a-bottle.co.uk) and I will add extra to MCS on my sponsor sheet for each one I sell. CODE at checkout : PS001
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Sanitary pads and loo roll

    4th June 2017 Angela M
    Ecoleaf has compostable corn starch wrap on their loo rolls and naturecare has the same plastic free guarantee on their sanitaryware - stocked at my local wholefood shop. Tip for those who can't do a mooncup (which are also a good choice)...
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 5th June 2017 Caroline
      I order "Who gives a crap" loo roll online. It comes in an enormous cardboard box and each roll is wrapped in paper. Brilliant.
  • 'Reusable clingfilm

    2nd June 2017 Jennie
    Instead of using cling film at home or plastic wrappings for deli counter items from supermarkets etc. I have made my own washable and reusable \'cling film\' sheets from scraps of material and bees wax. They\'re really easy to make and work brilliantly at keeping most foods fresh (not recommended for meat as you can\'t wash at very high temperatures). You can find diy tutorials on pinterest!
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 12th June 2017 Tilly
      Aren't they easy to make. Quite a talking point too. My mum in 70's did a full weeks shopping at Watford market and small Tesco back then with zero plastic in sight. How can we come so far in such a damaging direction in just 4 decades? Terrifying.
  • Milton Keynes

    2nd June 2017 Bev
    Based at Milton Keynes Arts Centre, Forest and Folk is the city's first and only bulk, refill shop for wholefoods and unpackaged natural goods. www.forestandfolk.co.uk Great for Plastic Challengers!
    Category - Other tips
  • Lush Reuses Plastic

    1st June 2017 Sarah
    Just went into my local Lush store. They sell a lot of products as naked soap bars but they also sell the more liquid products in thick black plastic tubs. The saleswoman explained that if you return the tubs Lush melt them down themselves and turn them into more tubs! Brilliant!
    Category - In the bathroom
  • who needs cotton buds ?

    1st June 2017 caroline mcmanus
    As cotton buds cause so much pollution for marine life, can I ask who really needs them at all? Having a job where I irrigate ears regularly, the very first thing I say to people is to stop using cotton buds in ears. they act to compress wax into the back of ears, and the ears natural self cleaning ability cannot cope, causing deafness through compacted wax. we also fish out bits of cotton bud regularly, and some perforated ear drums can be caused by cotton buds too It would save the NHS millions in treatment costs alone if people just stopped using cotton buds
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 24th June 2017 Emazing
      Before cotton buds my mum used to clean our ears when we were small with kirby grips, after a bath when the ear wax had gone soft. She is a nurse and I have never had any problems resulting from this.
  • less plastic

    31st May 2017 lesley wise
    Started to use 'Friendly' brand soap (palm free too) and their shampoo bars. Hence no more shampoo bottles or liquid soap bottles!
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Earth Food Love

    31st May 2017 Caz Donovan
    We have a shop in Totnes Devon which is Zero Waste. You take in your own containers to fill with loose goods - anything from dried herbs to rice, dried fruit to lentils. Also fill up your own container with washing up liquid, shampoo etc. They sell other goods like cloth sandwhich wrappers and sanitary products. More shops like this should be started around the country.
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 31st May 2017 Karoline Kuprat
      I agree. It really helps. We have a shop in Edinburgh called the New Leaf on Argyle Place and it does a similar thing.
  • shopping bags

    29th May 2017 anne
    Check charity shops for re-usable shopping bags.
    Category - On the go
  • Plastic Free,environmentally friendly Loo Roll!

    29th May 2017 Bizzy Allen-McClure
    I searched high and low for toilet roll that wasn't wrapped in plastic! I found the company 'Who Gives a Crap' They produce all of their products in environmentally friendly ways and 50% of their profits gies to help build toilets for those in need. Here is a link for £5 iff your first order: https://www.talkable.com/x/ZJoAHO
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 30th May 2017 Paul
      can you check the link, I couldn't find anything meaningful there? P
    • 1st June 2017 MC
      Thank you for this great tip, this was one of my concern for this Plastic Challenge! I have ordered from them :)
    • 2nd June 2017 barbz
      Brilliant suggestion! I've just ordered from them and so 'Thank You' for the recommendation
  • Abel & Cole

    27th May 2017 Ruth Thompson
    Get you veg delivered in returnable cardboard boxes! Very little that can't be recycled and great tasting!
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Libby D

    17th May 2017 Libby Darling
    An on the go mum... I'm giving up plastic bit by bit...over the years I have given up all veg in single use and all meats. I buy from farm shop, local grocers and butchers...it wasn't easy at first, I had to reorganise my already busy life as a working mum with 2 boys etc. But now I feel like I'm getting somewhere. Every week I try to give up something else. The most difficult single use plastic to give up is pasta and rice...I'm still looking for an alternative. Plastics spiralling out of control...Good luck peeps x
    Category - On the go

    show/hideComments

    • 25th May 2017 Southsea Mum
      One thing at a time is definitely the way to go for most busy folks...I've not managed to get plastic free pasta, although I realise making your own is an option, but too time consuming currently for 4 mouths to feed...but I do manage to get rice in 10kg paper sacks and share with other local households from Suma, and I think Infinity do them as well. If you contact them for local stockists, you can normally ask them to add it to their order for you. We've now set up a food buying group direct with Suma as we have about 14 households involved now, but historically our local stockist was happy to get the odd item for us.
    • 26th May 2017 Pauline Kean
      We go to the Indian shops. They have bins we are able to refill any jars ets we take in. They also sell rice in sacks, not big sacks but household small sacks. Good luck.
  • Need a Fidget Spinner?

    10th May 2017 Southsea Mum
    The craze hitting UK schools is yet more plastic, so how about making one out of lego (yes, I know it's made of plastic), but then it can be broken up and used for millions more years after: http://frugalfun4boys.com/2017/05/04/build-lego-fidget-spinner/
    Category - Other tips
  • Pre-owned

    6th May 2017 Mrs A Flackton
    eBay et al. We needed a table. New furniture comes in reams of polystyrene and plastic. You can find beautiful old pieces for less which come wrapped in an old blanket. Also amazing what ppl will buy. Need something - anything - check out the preloved on eBay/ gumtree etc.
    Category - Other tips
  • Cleaning, food and cosmetics

    5th May 2017 Francesca
    This blog http://modernhippiehw.com/ and her shop https://modernhippieshop.com/ are excellent for food recipes and cleaning products, all with the aim of being plastic free! Her shop sells a lot of body products but she also has the recipes on the blog.
    Category - Other tips

    show/hideComments

    • 12th May 2017 H. Pogge
      Use product Frosch for wide range of cleaning/washing, very eco friendly, packaging made out of recycled products (first in world and won prizes for it), very good cleaning. cf www.froschstore.co.uk. Also very price competitive.
  • Mattress toppers

    4th May 2017 Jbelly
    Don't go for the memory foam craze, or other foam. Buy natural padding mattress instead.
    Category - Other tips
  • Shampoo

    4th May 2017 Margaret
    I wash my hair with a bar of glycerine soap and it is so good I don\'t need conditioner.
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Dish washing

    3rd May 2017 Frank
    Regarding the plastic dishwasher brush query an alternative particularly good for washing pots is the bamboo wok scrubber sold in chinese super markets
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 13th May 2017 Naomi Willows Rough
      Surfers Against Sewage now sell coconut scourers online and in store - I bought one close to a month ago and it's going great (but does seem to require a little extra washing liquid!).
    • 3rd July 2017 Jay
      There are many washing scrubbers out there including the Michael's brand loofah which can be cut to size too if you get a large one
  • Biodegradable cloths and toothbrushes

    3rd May 2017 jo clarke
    Have just discovered a shop at Southsea Palmerston Rd that sales 100% natural and certified compostable sponge cloths. The cloths are called if you care. Machine washable up to 300 times. Also a jack n jill biodegradable corn starch toothbrush.
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 8th May 2017 Southsea Mum
      You can also get bamboo toothbrushes, and we use them in the garden afterwards.
    • 3rd July 2017 Jay
      Check out the posts further down about bamboo toothbrushes:
      also available from
      www.brushbamboo.co.uk/
      www.savesomegreen.co.uk
      www.humblebrush.com

      Just bought a humblebrush and love it!
  • Shopping tips

    24th April 2017 Jennie Lang
    We self scan (Tesco/Waitrose) which means we can put lose fruit & veg straight into our reusable bags. Also if you live in the London area Wholefoods have loose nuts, fruit, muesli, couscous etc
    Category - Other tips
  • It gets much easier!

    25th June 2016 J
    I have been trying to avoid consuming any plastic for a few months now. So far it's been impossible to do 100% but a 90% reduction now feels very easy! My main piece of advice is that it gets much, much easier. Lots of people taking on the plastic challenge will only experience a couple of weeks going plastic free which is definitely the hardest time, so please don't be disheartened, I hope you will carry on! Things like bringing your own bags, remembering to carry water, asking for 'no straw', throwing together a packed lunch from leftovers and stocking up on certain unpackaged foods from certain shops or markets when you are passing (rather than doing it all at once on a Saturday morning) - all these things just become second nature. You can also keep making those plastic substitutions for the more tricky items bit by bit, because it is definitely hard to do it all at once. In my household we are now happier, healthier and we spend less but we eat better. Lots of things I would have bought in the last few months, I didn't buy, and looking back I've realised I just didn't need. The best moment was when we got rid of all our bins, we now just have a little compartment for landfill waste in our recycling box. Maybe one day we won't need it at all, I hope so, because when you think about it there is no ultimate bin in the world...
    Category - Other tips
  • Keep your legs smooth!

    14th June 2016 Sanjay Mitra
    I don't normally remove leg hair, just thought I'd get that out the way first, but I did put a YouTube video together on making your own sugar paste. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSDdnZPbbfc No more wasteful plastic packaging when buying waxing stuff from the shop. Remember, apply against the hair direction then down (opposite to waxing - so I've read!). Ouch!
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Unblocking the sink

    11th June 2016 Gill
    Great tip from Google - works a treat and plastic free! In a dry sink, pour at least 1 cup of baking soda down the blocked drain, and ensure that the powder makes its way down the drain. Next, pour approximately 2 cups of boiling water in and wait several minutes. Add one more cup of baking soda in and immediately follow it with one cup of plain white vinegar.
    Category - In the cleaning cupboard

    show/hideComments

    • 18th June 2016 Graeme Hodges
      Can you buy baking soda with no plastic wrapping?
  • Growing seeds

    7th June 2016 Libby D
    For a few years now I have ditched buying plastic seed trays and swapped them for toilet roll seed pots - I save all of my toilet roll inners ,cut them in half, fill with compost and pop in a seed and hey presto a plant grows...no need to buy plastic pots. You can also plant these straight into the ground when they are ready to plant out doors!
    Category - Other tips

    show/hideComments

    • 23rd August 2016 EmmaHirst
      I use paper potter. You an get them from garden centres. They are made from wood and turn old newspapers into seed pots. They degrade beautifully in the ground when the plant is big enough.
    • 3rd May 2017 Debby Mullier
      Paper pots are less successful as your plants get larger and are no good if you want to sell them at a charity stall. Lots of garden centres have places where you can leave your old pots and seed trays. They won't be recycled but they are free for others to take and use - all you need to do is wash them. As you should do with all the pots you get with plants you buy - even the thin plastic module trays last for years if treated carefully. Just ask at your garden centre.
  • Grow your own

    25th May 2016 Libby Darling
    I've been reducing plastics in my life for years now. For the past years I've been trying to grow as much veg in my garden, on window sills and basically anywhere I can fit a pot of compost. We make our own compost and leaf mould to grow in so reducing the need to buy compost in plastic bags and every year I discover and grow & harvest more...it's quite an trick to get it right but with practice it gets easier and its so much fun...hoping to be even more plastic packaging free this year...
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 3rd September 2016 Jacqui
      Great ideas, any tips on how to keep slugs at bay in a wildlife friendly way?
  • Window cleaner

    12th May 2016 Sam
    Find an old window cleaner bottle and fill it with homemade window cleaner. I'll be giving this recipe a go in June! Scroll all the way down... http://wholenewmom.com/whole-new-budget/homemade-glass-cleaner-glass-cleaner-recipe/
    Category - In the cleaning cupboard
  • Hand soap

    12th May 2016 Irene
    A simple switch is replacing your liquid hand soap with good old fashioned bars of soap!
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 20th May 2016 Margaret Nelmes
      Old-fashioned soap is generally made of animal fat from an abbattoir. You can buy vegetable oil alternatives. How about The Body Shop soaps? Bars of soap often come wrapped so look for unwrapped ones and ask for a paper bag to put it in or take your own.
    • 27th May 2017 Doris
      I'm all for vegan bars of soap but The Body Shop is not really vegan, despite their claims on their labels and website. It belongs to L'Oreal, which exports cosmetics to China and thus tests them on animals as the Chinese law requires. Even if the versions sold in Europe are not tested on animals, the company is far from vegan.
  • Oven cleaner

    12th May 2016 Rachel
    Hate cleaning? Simply use baking soda, water and vinegar - it's amazing how well this works! http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/oven-cleaning-trick-video/ And no plastic bottles in sight!
    Category - In the cleaning cupboard
  • Mouthwash

    12th May 2016 Katy
    To save using tonnes of plastic mouthwash bottles, buy a nice fancy glass bottle and make your own mouthwash - here's how: http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-mouthwash/
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Plant pots plastic free

    11th May 2016 Rowan
    Stop buying plastic plant pots and use coir plant pots instead! http://www.hairypotplants.co.uk/just-the-pot---grow-it-hairy-at-home-9-c.asp
    Category - Other tips
  • Restaurant (Brighton)

    6th May 2016 andrea
    Silo in North Laine Brighton are a ZERO waste restaurant/cafe. I have no relationship with them except as a customer so this is a genuine recommendation. Their coffee is very good and so are their evening meals. (Some of their chairs are reclaimed pallets and wooden packaging, take a cushion if you go for the evening. Check them out on Trip Advisor if you're not sure.
    Category - On the go

    show/hideComments

    • 31st May 2017 Caz Donovan
      We have a Zero Waste shop in Totnes Devon selling loose food products etc. As far as I know this is the first to open. Lets hope there are soon more around the country.
    • 3rd July 2017 Jay
      I used to work in 'the barrel grocer' for my first Saturday job almost 30 years ago - what happened to these shops? Weigh and Save was another one? Yes, produce was put into plastic bags but these days alternatives could be used or incentives for customers to bring their own tubs etc...

      Our local independent health food shop sells loose flour, rice, store cupboard items too. Check out similar shops in your area - even if you are not an 'alternative' person, these shops may surprise you with their offerings :0)
  • Why use bin bags?

    6th May 2016 Ralph
    No need for bin bags. Put all bio-degradable matter in the compost. Wash out your plastic bin regularly with water when you empty it.
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Splosh.com

    21st April 2016 Rebecca
    I've just found www.splosh.com - they sell their cleaning products as little concentrated dissolvable sachets which you drop into a bottle with hot water so you can reuse old cleaning bottles!
    Category - In the cleaning cupboard
  • Super market veg bags

    6th April 2016 Y Williams
    Hi, I normally just place veg unbagged into my trolley etc. but if I need a small bag, I'm a little naughty and look for the mushroom bags that are usually made of paper for whatever I want :)
    Category - Shopping solutions

    show/hideComments

    • 6th May 2016 andrea
      I use Riverford Organic Veg delivery scheme. They either use paper based packaging or the little plastic they do use is returned to them and they recycle it. Their veg are fantastic quality too.
    • 21st April 2017 Beth
      Hi,

      I might get some funny looks in the supermarket when I do this but instead of using paper or plastic, I use knotted wraps. A lot of products I buy in Lush come in little material wraps which after a little wash are perfect for carrots, apples ect. Just wash an re-use!
  • Celotape

    8th February 2016 Tom
    You can get paper packaging tape from Nigel's Eco Store. http://www.nigelsecostore.com/cgi-bin/sh000001.pl?WD=tape&PN=Eco%2dPacking%2dTape%2ehtml#aNES_2dTape
    Category - In the office
  • Cereal bags = freezer bags!

    3rd January 2016 Kathryn Dutton
    The bags inside cereal packets also make good freezer bags
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Clotted cream

    26th June 2015 Kevin
    Here at MCS HQ we've just held a cream tea fundraiser - plastic free of course. The hardest part was the cream, but our very own data officer came to the rescue. Here's his recipe for making clotted cream, entirely plastic free: 1. Pour gold top milk into a wide think bottomed saucepan. Cover to keep out the dust and leave to stand in a cool place (NOT the fridge) for several hours until the cream has risen to the top. 2. Lift the pan carefully onto the stove so that the risen layer of cream is not disturbed or broken up. Warm through on the lowest possible heat. 3. Keep at this low heat for 40-50 mins until the top of the cream is crinkled and golden yellow. 4. Remove the pan from the stove, cover and leave to stand for several hours in a cool place...but NOT the fridge! 5. Then, using a slotted spoon, skim off the cream into a dish, allowing the milk to drain back into the pan. The milk can be used for pancakes or scones. Enjoy!
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals
  • Toothy tabs too frothy

    24th June 2015 Gill
    Hi Had some comments from people using Lush toothy tabs saying they froth too much - I just snap them in half and use half a tab. It saves money too.
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Milk & More

    11th June 2015 Emily Smith
    Milk & More deliver fresh milk in a glass bottle to your home (just like the milk-man used to!) Check out their website to see if they can deliver to your address: http://www.milkandmore.co.uk/home
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 14th June 2015 Margaret Dearman
      I have been using Tescos Every Day Value UHT milk because it appears to be in a cardboard carton with no plastic lid. It says it is made from paper and is widely recycled.
    • 9th May 2016 vanessa
      Why not just get your milk delivered by a Milkman - the old fashioned way. In gloucestershire we have Gloucestershire dairies, you may have a local company too?
    • 1st June 2016 Mark
      i use them too; excellent: milk deliveries Mon/Wed/Fri..web site not the best, range of other products limited, but efficient, and glad to remove such big plastic bottle from my life
  • Cleaning products

    10th June 2015 Jo
    Ecover do good refill cleaning products (such as washing-up liquid/washing powder etc.) which, if in powder or solid form, come in cardboard containers and they tend to be in bulk which is even better to reduce packaging of course. Or there's also the alternative of homemade recipes from trashisfortossers.com or myplasticlife.com (both really useful sites in general).
    Category - In the cleaning cupboard
  • Reuse your cereal bags!

    10th June 2015 Tamsin Carter
    When your cereal runs out, use the plastic bag as a sandwich bag!
    Category - In the kitchen

    show/hideComments

    • 28th May 2016 stefanie
      Im so glad you mention this! I forgot,, my mum used to do this in the 80s
    • 3rd May 2017 Lina
      As long as you keep washing and reusing that recycled cereal packet bag each time you have that sandwich!
  • Flapjack breakfast

    7th June 2015 Debbie hillyer
    Flapjacks for breakfast: I had to swap the sugar in the recipe. I found normal caster in paper or Demerara cubes in a card box. The recipe: 200g butter (I bought paper wrapped with a recycle symbol in Morrisons) 200g honey (I bought a locally made glass jar from a friend) 200g golden caster sugar 400g oats (I bought them in a box not a plastic bag) Put all but oats into hot pan melt the butter and sugar as you stir. Once melted stir in oats. Rub 8x12 baking tin with butter and spoon in the mixture. Cook for about 15 mins high oven, til golden. Leave to cool.
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals
  • Toilet Roll

    4th June 2015 kate armstrong
    You can buy loose rolls at corner shops. Otherwise try Eco Leaf Toilet Tissue. Supplied by the good folks at Suma ( a workers cooperative), it comes in a 100% cornstarch compostable wrap called Bioplast. Just so you know, Bioplast is certified to EN 13432 and confirms to the European OK Compost Standard. Or you can use tissues the kind that come in a cardboard box - but you have to buy the cheap ones otherwise the hole is reinforced with plastic. You can find out more here http://plasticisrubbish.com/2015/06/04/how-to-got-to-the-loo-plastic-free/
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Store Cheese in the fridge without plastic

    3rd June 2015 V Smith
    An old fashioned cheese dish is awesome and will keep cheese fresh for a couple of weeks without going hard: they are simmilar to butter dishes but with a small hole in the lid.
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Cotton Buds..Q Tips..Ear Buds

    3rd June 2015 Lucy
    I've switched to bamboo cotton buds: http://www.boobalou.co.uk/product/go-bamboo-bamboo-cotton-buds/#.VW7gz8_BwXA They were listed on the plastic free product list on www.plasticisrubbish.com... - apparently the cotton bud features large on the pollution chart. During Beachwatch 2004, they made up 87% of sewage related debris found on our beaches! In 2006 they were the second most common item of litter washed up on our beaches... time for a change I think!
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 5th June 2015 W.Swan
      Are cotton buds truly essential at all?
    • 6th May 2016 Loz
      I think Sainsbury sell bamboo cotton buds - going to check.
    • 1st June 2016 Clare Cavers
      http://www.cottonbudproject.org.uk lists paper-stemmed brands of cotton buds & some are own brands so you know where to get them. Some come in plastic tubs but a couple are in cardboard boxes.
    • 13th May 2017 Deborah Pratt
      It's not that they are plastic that is the problem, its the idiots who flush them instead of sending them to the incinerator.
  • Pasta

    3rd June 2015 Annie
    I finally found plastic free pasta without having to make it myself! Sainsbury's sell plasic free cannelonni and lasagne sheets.
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals
  • recycle all the way

    2nd June 2015 Sondra
    1 Tshirt=5 bottles. And many more--your clothes can also save bottles from polluting the oceans! Try recycled material garments. Starting with sportswear companies like Patagonia, Nike, The North Face and brands like Waste2Wear that produce anything from homeware, fashionable clothes, bags to medical scrubs.
    Category - Miscellaneous
  • Toothbrush trouble?

    1st June 2015 Atlanta Cook
    The Bamboo Toothbrush company make lovely toothbrushes at a reasonable price. My 10 year old daughter loves hers more than her princess electric one granny bought her :o)
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 1st June 2015 Amy
      Just got a Bamboo Toothbrush and they are amazing! So are the Lush toothy tabs, they taste like refresher sweeties...
    • 8th May 2016 Lizzy
      savesomegreen.co.uk do a range of bamboo toothbrushes at good prices and can be bought in bulk
    • 13th May 2016 Katy
      Brush Bamboo also do bamboo toothbrushes!

      http://brushbamboo.co.uk/
    • 3rd July 2017 Jay
      Also try www.humblebrush.com - panda friendly bamboo toothbrushes developed by dentists in Sweden.

      Beautiful feel to this new brush :0)

      Every toothbrush bought contributes to oral health programmes for children in need of support throughout the world. Retail around £3 and available in bulk.

      Nylon 6, BPA free bristles designed to last the recommended time - dentists recommend that we change our toothbrushes every three months

      Packaging is a compostable wrap to keep the brush sterile until opening inside a narrow cardboard box.
  • Morsbags

    1st June 2015 Rosalyn
    Easy to make pattern and video for fabric shopping bags.
    Category - Shopping solutions
  • The plastic clean-up

    31st May 2015 Jane
    Here is a little reminder why we are all doing this challenge. I hope you find the video inspiring! http://themindunleashed.org/2015/05/huge-ocean-cleaning-system-is-planned-to-be-launched-in-2016.html
    Category - Miscellaneous
  • Freezer food storage ideas

    31st May 2015 Jane
    Here is a good list for freezer storage ideas. http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/food-storage
    Category - In the kitchen
  • Coffee habit

    29th May 2015 Lucy
    I use a Keepcup when I get takeout coffee - http://www.keepcup.com
    Category - On the go
  • More tips

    29th May 2015 Lucy
    Trash is for Tossers is a great place for tips: http://www.trashisfortossers.com I've made a Plastic Challenge pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/LucePrints/plastic-challenge/
    Category - Miscellaneous
  • Alternatives to supermarket plastic bags for fruit & veg

    29th May 2015 Lucy
    I've been using Onya bags when buying loose fruit & veg, nuts, rice etc. They are tulle bags (each can easily carry 2 kilos of produce). They are incredibly lightweight ,so they don't weigh anything on the scales and they are see-through, so shop assistants know exactly what's inside. http://www.onyabags.co.uk/onya-weigh-fruit-and-veg-reusable-bags-lime
    Category - Shopping solutions
  • Shaving soap bar

    29th May 2015 Ryan
    I've been using a bar of shaving soap for the last year or 2. I find it works better than foam out of a can and i get less shaving rash. It hardly takes any more time than a can. Sadly the bar i bought came with a small amount of plastic (couldn't see it when it was boxed) but a google search will show loads of bars without any plastics. I doubt you'll switch back once you try it. Not only saving plastic but also the metal and propellant of a can.
    Category - In the bathroom
  • Tips!

    28th May 2015 Jane Blum
    My friends blog, beautiful photographs and little tips on how to be Plastic a Lot Less :) http://being-pall.com
    Category - Miscellaneous
  • Plastic Free Products

    27th May 2015 kate
    loads of #plasticfree products here to help cut plastic during #plasticchallenge http://plasticisrubbish.com/2014/05/27/this-years-fantastic-plastic-free-finds/ …
    Category - Miscellaneous
  • A great resource for plastic-free alternatives

    26th May 2015 Esther Hughes
    myplasticfreelife.com
    Category - Miscellaneous
  • Eco lunch boxes!

    26th May 2015 Ben Plummer
    ecolunchboxes.com. Really good website for plastic free lunch stuff
    Category - On the go
  • Bathroom products

    26th May 2015 Kate
    I've just bought all sorts of plastic free products from Lush - moisturiser, deoderant, soap, shampoo and conditioner - all in bar form and wrapped in tissue paper. No more plastic bottes in my bathroom! I also found toothpaste tabs in paper packaging and cleanser in a little plastic pot made out of recycled plastic bottle tops. The great thing is they will reuse the pot once I've finished with it. Get yourself down to Lush!
    Category - In the bathroom

    show/hideComments

    • 27th May 2015 Helen
      I used to Love Lush products until I recently used the Beer shampoo and found it had Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate in it!!!
      this is a Milder but still nasty alternative to Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). Larger molecules mean it is less readily absorbed by skin. Negative effects:
      Causes irritation to eyes, skin and respiratory systems. Ingestion may produce gastrointestinal irritation, nausea and diarrhea. Forms carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds if mixed with nitrosating agents.
      Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20061207111343/http://www.chemistrystore.com/ChemicalMSDS/Ammonium+Lauryl+Sulfate.pdf
    • 28th May 2015 claire caffrey
      Remember some cosmetics have microplastics in them...check outhttp://storyofstuff.org/

      I wash my face with water and have a bar of soap in case I fall in any muddy puddles!
  • Alternative to crisp packets

    21st May 2015 Charlotte
    Homemade popcorn! It's tasty and healthier than crisps, but works just as well as a snack. You can keep it fresh in a tupperware.
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals

    show/hideComments

    • 4th June 2015 Jane
      Where do you get your popcorn not wrapped in plastic? Haven't managed to find any yet.
  • Vegetables

    15th May 2015 Andy
    For ages now I've been buying vegetables loose in the supermarket to avoid the plastic bags. If you need to, put them all in a cloth bag and then empty this onto the belt when you get to the checkout.
    Category - Shopping solutions

    show/hideComments

    • 21st May 2015 Julia
      I have a few small mesh bags from Again and Again for fruit and veg.
    • 22nd May 2015 Hannah
      Using the self scan and pack option at big supermarkets is great - you can just pack all the loose fruit and veg as you go along. But I find that organic veg is often the worst offender when it comes to over-packaging in plastic which is frustrating because I want to buy it :-(
    • 26th May 2015 Chrissi
      most supermarkets supply paper bags for buying mushrooms in - why not use those ?
    • 29th May 2015 Lucy
      Or try Onya bags - http://www.onyabags.co.uk/products/onya-weigh
    • 6th June 2015 Debbie
      Loaded mine into a card box today for the first time in my life... Got some very weird looks! Haha Although it's been difficult this is one plastic free tip that is here to stay i think. No more plastic wrapped veg and fruit for me 😊
  • Make your own bags

    14th May 2015 Becky
    Make your own shopping bag out of reused fabric.
    Category - Shopping solutions
  • No ready meals

    19th April 2015 Hannah Furnell
    Make more of your own food rather than buying ready meals.
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals
  • Reusable container

    19th April 2015 Stephen Carter
    Take your own reusable container to meat and fish counters to avoid the single use plastic bags.
    Category - Shopping solutions
  • Fruit juice!

    18th April 2015 Stephanie Barnicoat
    Make home made fruit juice!
    Category - Snacks, drinks and meals
  • Make your own packed lunches

    15th April 2015 Ed Santry
    Make your own packed lunches rather than nipping out to buy pre-packed sandwiches.
    Category - On the go

    show/hideComments

    • 24th May 2015 Woolbothy
      YES! and save lots of money! Try buying a metal Thermos mug for your coffee too and save more cash...

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