Updated: Jun 5
It does not matter where we live in the world, or where we are from, it is a given that everyone enjoys a treat at the end of a busy week. Whether we decide to kick-back and relax with a glass of red and a slab of cheese, a weekly facial or a little red can of shame (aka Estrella beer). After turning the wheel all week, a self-indulgent treat is what the week is all about.
The same way we enjoy indulging ourselves, I get a similar sense of euphoria replacing a singular-use, plastic product with something I have made. Whether we are in the habit of baking bread, lemon drizzle cake or healthy cookies every week or mixing a weekly batch of coconut milk? Whatever it is, you will probably agree that there is something rewardingly therapeutic when we control consumption by fuelling with the good stuff, climactically being mindful about the products we buy.
Our lifestyle dictates what time we have to do these things, so when we are juggling a 9-6 job, finding time to do a food shop, run a house, keep fit, remembering what day James has football and what time Aaron starts acting class and trying to find time for friends, it often feels like there is never enough hours in the day. So the idea behind experimenting next time we do our weekly shopping is probably on the, "Sorry I am late, I did not want to come," list!
For the fear of being a young (ish), ex-pat hippie I have selected just five products which we commonly purchase. We know reducing singular-use packaging at home is a work in progress, as is living a zero-waste lifestyle, which is generally not achievable for many busy lifestyles. Thus, economically this approach will not work for singular-use product production, therefore small-big consumer changes we make will progressively have a positive impact within the supply chain. Socially conscious consumer habits drive change.
Okay, so here are five reduced-waste alternatives to singular-use plastic products to consider next time you pop the shop:
1. Plastic hand wash dispenser = switch to soap, it is cheaper and last's three times as long.
I know many people do not like using soap outside of their own home, so offer an alternative in a PET1 container. You can hopefully refill the bottle, providing you have access to a refill shop! Image 3 below clearly identifies a PET1 icon, this means the container is 100% recyclable.
2. Bath gel/salts = switch to soap and or make our own bath salt.
Making your own bath salt is literally child's play. I recall making it at Brownies (Scouting) before they kicked me out for having an opinion.
This is a super easy last-minute gift idea and it takes roughly 3 minutes to make it. Click this link to Make your own bath salts
3. Packet foods = Most supermarkets have a raw ingredient aisle, although sourcing a local raw ingredient pick 'N' mix shop is way more fun. If you buy nut or coconut milk, let me remind you, you only need 2 ingredients to make it and it takes seconds to make in a NutriBullet.
There are loads of raw ingredient shops like this in Spain and my neighbourhood.
4. Milk (nut, soy or coconut milk) = make our own.
I drank cows milk as a child, but for what seems like forever I have bought or made nut and coconut milk. Coconut milk is the most cost-effective to make. If you use half a cup, a day in a smoothie or on cereal the batch will last all week. You only need 2 ingredients. Although I add a vanilla pod or teaspoon of Eco peanut butter, then I reuse the peanut butter jar reducing waste. This is not a recipe it is an alternative suggestion to reduce singular-use waste. If you fancy making it check out this recipe.
5. Plastic water bottles = Replace with a water filter system (built-in or jug) and, or a thermal flask.
This is a difficult one TBH. If you have a couple of children a thermal flask per head is expensive and water tends to run out on a day trip. In any case, some single-use plastic water bottles are made from PET 1 material which means it is 100% recyclable container. The only problem we face here is that at the moment only 50-55% of recycling is recycled. Hence my blog, to encourage manufacturers to take a greener approach to the life-cycle of a product.
This is my husbands new 'Valentines day' thermal flask. Umm....
Have I always been this romantic!
The flask I use is currently in the car. It is one of those old fashioned silver flasks, with a detachable cup. I reckon it is roughly 15 years old when things were made to last. Next time we go shopping remind ourselves of these green alternatives. It saves money, reduces singular-use product pollution at home and it is fun making such things as milk or bath salts.
I will post the mentioned 'Make your own bath salt' blog in a second or feel free to support the path to a greener brighter future by subscribing here subscribe to my blog