Everyday tips to embrace a plastic-free cleaning routine
Our kitchen and bathroom cupboards are home to a surprising amount of single-use plastic. Whilst some of us won’t be getting through cleaning products at a super–fast rate. Almost all of them come in single-use plastic bottles. Many of which aren’t recycled. The good news is, it’s so easy to make the switch to reusables and embrace a plastic-free cleaning routine.
Discover how the smallest changes to your kitchen and bathroom cupboards can help tackle some of the biggest plastic pollution problems!
Don’t bottle it
An estimated 13 billion plastic bottles are being used in the UK every year. Most of these are found in our bathrooms or kitchens and used to keep our houses clean. Not only are these single-use bottles contributing to plastic pollution found in our oceans. But they contain lots of nasty chemicals too. And once the empty bottles make it to the ocean. They hang around a long time – like this Fairy Liquid bottle from the 70’s found a few years ago.
Luckily, it’s now much easier to #ChooseToReuse and avoid buying cleaning products in single-use plastic packaging. Here are some plastic-free cleaning tip that are better for you, and better for the planet:
1. Join the Refill Revolution
Instead of buying new bottles of cleaning products. Simply keep your empties and take them down to your nearest zero–waste store to refill. For an easy plastic-free cleaning alternative. Many zero-waste and plastic-free shops offer refills of washing–up liquid, detergent, floor and all-purpose cleaners alongside other beauty and bathroom products too.
2. Sign up for a refill delivery service
Don’t have a zero-waste store nearby? You can still #ChooseToReuse when it comes to cleaning products by using a refill delivery service. Check out some of the solutions we’ve found to help you get started with plastic-free cleaning…
Clean Living runs a ‘Refill, Reuse Recycle’ programme where they deliver 100% recyclable aluminium spray dispensers and concentrate refill sachets. Which you then send back to them to be recycled. Choose from a range of stylish starter packs or go all out on the complete cleaning kit. For every refill sachet sold they donate 1% of their sale to us.
Cool kids on the block Fill provide a range of eco laundry and household cleaning products. In stylish reusable screen-printed glass bottles and bags-in-boxes, that they then pick up and refill for a zero-waste closed-loop solution. Everything is made by them at their family-run factory in Northamptonshire. They are free from dyes and harsh chemicals. Most importantly, no plastic bottles.
3. Drop it like it’s hot
Another option to refilling is…dropping! In other words, adding drops of concentrate to water. Check out these innovative plastic-free cleaning dr–options:
Oceansaver is revolutionising the way we clean. Through their innovative concentrated cleaning drops that are completely plant-based – so they’re kind to you, your home, and the planet. Just add them to water in an existing cleaning bottle and give it a shake!
Another ‘just add water’ option are Iron and Velvet’s plastic-free sachets which dissolves in warm water in a couple of minutes. Offering anti-bacterial, multi-surface, oven, floor, glass and mirror cleaner, they have all your plastic-free cleaning needs covered.
4. Make your own!
An obvious solution to making your cleaning routine more environmentally friendly is to make your own cleaning products. This way you can avoid toxic ingredients and avoid single-use plastic. Double win!
Try white vinegar, peel of lemons or oranges mixed with water for all-purpose cleaning. Or mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle with a few drops of essential oil.
To get rid of mould try mixing baking soda with water and scrubbing with an old toothbrush. For serious gunk and grime, you can mix equal parts baking soda with olive oil, leave it to sit for a few mins then attack!
Clean it up…
While plastic pollution from single-use bottles is an obvious concern, the tools we use to clean our houses are also adding to the problem. Most common kitchen sponges are made from plastic and can’t be recycled or composted. And with every wash, they release microplastics into the sea.
Many cleaning tools like brushes are made from plastic and seen as ‘disposable’, made to be thrown away rather than to last. And if a plastic toothbrush takes hundreds of years to break down, then plastic cleaning brushes will be around just as long.
Here are some tips to avoid plastic when it comes to your cleaning tools:
Instead of buying jay cloths, dusters and other disposable clothes, why not make rags from clothes you no longer wear?
You can even grow your own sponge to clean the dishes with. As easily as growing courgettes! Here’s how.
Buy brushes made from biodegradable/compostable material such as wood. And for serious scrubbing action, choose easily recyclable material like copper.
Repurpose any old toothbrushes for cleaning purposes.
Buy reusable cloths made from natural materials that can be washed rather than jay cloths that are thrown away after a few uses.
Washing your clothes
When it comes to laundry, many of us prefer our detergent in capsule form over liquid or powder. However, they often come in plastic tubs. Globally, 90.5% of plastic waste has never been recycled and only 14% of plastic packaging is even collected for recycling. So even if these plastic bottles and containers say they can be recycled, guess where they’ll more than likely end up? Yep in landfill or in our oceans.
Luckily, these planet-friendly companies have come up with some plastic-free solutions for our washing machines and dishwashers…
Smol deliver laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets to your door in ‘revolutionary, plastic-free packaging is designed to keep our capsules safe in their journey to your home and to take minimum space in your cupboard.’ They offer a free trial and box is ‘smol’ enough to fit through your letterbox.
It’s more than a MICRO problem
Did you know that microfibres – tiny fragments of the type of plastic used to make synthetic fabrics from our clothes are being released into the rivers and oceans with every wash cycle? These harm the marine life, get ingested by animals in the aquatic food chain and even end up on our plates in our fish suppers! Plastics are certainly not what we ordered.
The Chief Scientist for Ocean Conservation (George Leonard) estimates there are 1.4 million trillion microfibers in the ocean.
So, what can we do about it? Well, we can start with our own laundry and buying one of these clever devices which trap microfibres being released in the wash:
Guppyfriend is an innovative laundry bag that is scientifically proven to protect your clothes and filter microfibres, stopping them from entering our oceans!
SHARE YOUR TIPS
With these easy tips and switches, we can all make small changes and be part of the #RefillRevolution. Real change begins at home, so where better place to start to #ChooseToReuse than our kitchen and bathroom cupboards? Plus trying out all these plastic-free products has the added bonus of leaving your house sparkling clean! Win, win.
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