As the majority of people are aware....there is a lot of plastic in the world and if like me you enjoy listening to David Attenborough's voice then you will already know the extent of the 'plastic issue' our world is facing.
All sounds very serious without intending to be.
I know a lot of you may have made the switch to re-usable straws which is great if you have (please recycle if you haven't).
I don't know what made the switch in my brain suddenly focus on how to have a plastic free kitchen/household but it was almost like I fixated on it. Hours spent searching the internet for each area of my kitchen.
How can I do laundry with out the product in a plastic bottle?
Is there an alternative to washing up liquid?
Can I get my partner to switch his bubble bath products?
Is this going to cost a fortune?
Well I will try and answer all the above questions and potentially create more and find myself going round in circles but hey ho!
I finally settled on the idea of Soap Nuts in replacement of my usual laundry detergent and fabric conditioner. Now I had never heard of Soap Nuts before and instantly wondered why everybody wasn't using them. Well, as amazing as they are for less dirty clothes when it comes to stains and whites you need a little bit of help. They also don't foam up as much as chemically enhanced, plastic bottled detergents.
The problem, I have found, is generally solved with good ol' soda crystals. A good scoop in the washing machine drum along with a glug of distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener draw seem to be doing the trick. I even add some essential oils if I fancy. Now, I have found most of the products on Amazon and I do like that they deliver in cardboard but it is possible to find the products cheaper online and probably somewhere that your order means more.
My next step was washing up liquid. Now I had never thought of using a soap bar but apparently you can....I didn't like the idea so swiftly moved on to something more specific. I found out that you can get specific bars of soap that are meant for washing dishes. A revelation to me.
The revelation didn't last long though. My partner and I stubbornly tried for over week with the dish bar but it wasn't for us. I found every pot, pan, dish, fork was left covered in a soapy residue (even though the bar doesn't lather) and rinsing and rinsing just didn't help; and seemed counter productive in the amount of water to use to just wash the dishes. Now I will be honest here. I haven't found a good substitute yet and I am still using the regular washing up liquid. But just a few scrolls and it is possible to find recipes for liquid dish cleaner but the price of the ingredients is far beyond my regular monthly budgets reach I am afraid.
If anyone has created their own though please let me know and share your experience with me.
I can claim that my partner has switched his bath products. I found a great company that sells tin bottles rather cheaply as I didn't want glass in the bathroom, especially with clumsy adults and children about.
So, I make my own bubble bath. Actually it is more of a bath soak or a bath milk as it doesn't foam up but it still creates a lovely bath. I do advise getting your hands on your favourite essential oils. I checked the old bath product my partner used and saw it was a mix of black pepper and eucalyptus oils, plus I like lavender so the are my main essential oil purchases. The recipe is very simple and it makes enough to last my household a good few weeks, depending on how you like your bath.
1/2 cup- boiled water
1/2 cup- castille soap base
1/4 cup- vegetable glycerin
10 drops of each essential oil
If I want to make a proper bath milk I use oats. 50 grams of oats soaked in 200ml water for a few hours and then drained through a cheese cloth. The liquid is added to the bubble bath mix and the left over oats can be used to make cookies or biscuits.
Now all this, I will admit, does seem quite expensive to set up and get going. The key is to buy in bulk and large quantities which is where I also struggle due to budget and lack of storage space. Even clearing out and sorting cupboards didn't leave much space for the bottles of ingredients. But in the long run it doesn't work out much cheaper. For example, I roughly spent around £3-£5 per month on bath products. The ingredients for the bath soak/bubble bath have roughly cost me £25 or so, but the ingredients will last me several months. Plus now I know what to do I will probably create a hamper for friends at Christmas.
Overall if the commitment is there it is enjoyable, rewarding, and cost effective with just a little bit of effort and playing the long game.