It’s 2019, there’s no one left who hasn’t heard the cries from the scientists that we only have 10 years left to save the planet. The ice caps are melting and the oceans are over-run with plastic, and we only have until 2030 to save the world before the apocalypse commences.

Not everyone can turn their life around in 24 hours and stop bad habits to become a zero waste, zero plastic living vegan with no carbon footprint. But we all have to start somewhere making small changes.

Swap to bamboo toothbrushes

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The main difference between bamboo toothbrushes and regular brushes is the material they’re made with. Regular toothbrushes are made with plastic which takes over 400 years to decompose whilst still releasing toxic chemicals into the environment. A bamboo toothbrush takes around 5-10 years to decompose if you were to just throw it out into your garden. Plastic toothbrushes are cheap and convenient and although that can be alluring, we can’t keep buying things just for our convenience. I recently purchased a set of six bamboo toothbrushes on Amazon for £8, if you’re looking to make a small change – this is something to invest in.

Swap to a moon cup or eco-friendly period products

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Something about getting a moon cup does seem ridiculously daunting. I totally get that and have to expose myself here that I don’t even own one so feel free to call me out on some hypocritical bullshit. I’ve been shook however since realising how much plastic just is in period products. Tampons and sanitary pads are estimated to produce over 100 billion waste products every year as well as 80% of single use period products containing synthetic materials and plastics. 

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Period poverty is a HUGE issue and I’m not here to write and tell people they must spend their already limited amount of disposable income on cotton tampons or a silicone cup to put in their vagina. BUT, if you are interested in making an eco-friendly change in the period product department, here are some products to look out for – TOTM Organic Cotton Switch Kit, Athena Menstrual Cup, DAME Reusable Tampon Applicator,

If you’re still wondering why it might be important to look into more sustainable products in this department then here we are. It’s because the average women uses around 14,000 tampons in her lifetime resulting in 27, 938 used tampons and applicators are found on world beaches every day. 

Buy biodegradable face wipes

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Face wipes are another easy and convenient way for us all to take our make-up off. Although they have come under scrutiny in recent years as not being the best for our skin, we also need to acknowledge they aren’t the best for the environment either. At one point we were limited to wasteful wipes that take years to decompose in landfills, but today we are left with more options than ever. Keeping in line with the cheap, easy and convenient appeal of face wipes, Simple has solved our problem by creating their range of biodegradable face wipes. For less than £3, shop Simple’s biodegradable wipes at Boots. OR, better yet – invest in some re-useable cotton pads. This is way more sustainable and less wasteful than single use face wipes. Shop re-useable cotton pads here. 

Invest in an eco egg for laundry

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I also don’t know if it was just me who was perhaps either very behind on this knowledge or just painfully ignorant to the fact detergents are bad for the environment. According to a How Stuff Works article, since the average family does 300 loads of washing per year using Tesco brand detergent which has a carbon footprint of 1.3-1.9 pounds per load – the carbon footprint of laundry detergents for one year is 480 pounds per year.  This might seem like nothing, but that doesn’t even take into consideration the carbon footprint of even using washing machines or dryers.

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However, when I saw one of the local shops at home was stocking the eco egg product, I had my mum go out and buy one because I was so excited. The Eco Egg provides a replacement to harsh chemically filled laundry detergent whilst being good for the environment and cutting down on plastic by using recyclable materials. The natural cleaning pellets inside the egg work together to lift dirt, stains and smells from clothing.

For £24.99, this product gives you over 700 washes for your machine and can last over 3 years. This just seems mental because imagine spending £25, then not having to buy any washing detergent or anything for three years which actually results in spending less than 4p per wash. You can also buy refills for the egg as well which cuts down on plastic waste too.

Pay attention to which shops offer recycling schemes

Recycling is something we should all be doing but it goes far beyond putting our tins and plastic bottles into the blue bin once a week.

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Lush have had a recycling scheme for as long as I can remember, and probably long before that. In the wake of the sustainable beauty and fashion revolution this is something consumers are more interested in now. Lush operates a 5 pot program where it encourages customers to save up their empty pots, bring 5 of them back in and you get a free face mask. This is a great way to 1) help the planet, 2) save some dolla on face masks.

The Body Shop have recently brought back their recycling scheme by popular demand, ‘Return, Recycle, Repeat’ is an initiative in partnership with Plastics For Change. Once you bring in 5 items for recycling, you get a £5 voucher for your next purchase.

H&M have had a clothing recycling scheme across all of their stores globally since 2013. This programme prevents all clothing donated from going into landfills around the world. Clothing that is suitable to be worn again gets used second hand, if there’s clothing donated that can’t be worn it is recycled into textile fibres and used for new materials.

I’ve tried to think of some small lifestyle changes that could make quite a potentially big difference in the long run. Most people are aware of the situation our planet is in right now, but perhaps don’t know how to make changes to help.

I think people are a bit sick of hearing about plastic straws and coffee cups too so I’ve picked some different products to raise awareness of.

If you’re looking on more tips on how to cut down specifically on plastic, check out my other blog post dedicated to that. A website that has recently come to my attention is Plastic Freedom, this site has literally every product you could ever need in adapting to a plastic free life. It’s a super difficult thing to transition into but this website certainly helps along the way.

Is there any ways you’re making changes for sustainability that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

Hope you enjoyed the read,

Siobhan x