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What are your best eco swaps?

130 replies

SimpleComforts · 13/09/2020 15:52

I'm particularly worried about single use plastics, as we seem to have completely abandoned all the work that was done over the last few years with the need for single use PPE and disposable cups etc for hygiene purposes. Some schools, for example, seem to have banned reusable water bottles.

I'm happy to pay a bit extra to do my bit, but I'm not made of money so it needs to be cost effective too. I just looked at getting milk from the milkman but it's almost 4 times the price of milk in a plastic carton from the supermarket!

Things I have done:

Canvas shopping bags.

Chillys water bottle

Reusable coffee cup

Weekly organic veg box that comes with only paper or cardboard packaging and the box goes back to be reused.

A delivery from the fishmonger, which comes wrapped in paper in a plastic crate that goes back. I freeze it in Tupperware.

I get a similar delivery from the butcher but he uses polystyrene trays and clingfilm or plastic bags.

I've ordered the trial of Smol DW and laundry tabs. Does anyone have an an opinion on their other products?

Looking at my recycling, it mostly seems to consist of yogurt pots (I buy the big ones and do reuse in the freezer, but there's a limit to how many you need), cleaning products and toiletries, plus plastic packaging from online orders.

What are your most successful and/or cost effective swaps?

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DizzyPigeon · 13/09/2020 15:54

Nuud deodorant. Love it and a tiny tube lasts for months.

Dew disinfect. Fabulous stuff that has multiple uses and can be bought in concentrated refill packs.

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Katinthedoghouse · 13/09/2020 15:59

Bars of soap rather than liquid soap in plastic bottles. My hands are lovely and soft after using olive oil and shea butter based soaps.

I save my plastic bags from deliveries and use them to send things I’ve sold on eBay

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SimpleComforts · 13/09/2020 16:01

I save packaging like that too. In fact I've just wrapped DN's birthday present in a reused post bag but I'm afraid we get much more in than goes out. I guess that's something to look at too, what we buy unnecessarily.

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flibbertigibbety · 13/09/2020 16:03

I've switched most of my cleaning products to Splosh, very concentrated products sent and you add them to bottles and dilute. They all work pretty well.

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wheresmyhairytoe · 13/09/2020 16:03

Mooncup or washable sanitary pads.

Metal straws.

Going vegetarian.

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otterbaby · 13/09/2020 16:04

Using soap and shampoo bars.

Beeswax wraps instead of cling film.

Do you wear makeup? I have washable face pads that take my makeup off. They're called facehalo.

I also use micro fibre cloths instead of sponges to wash dishes. Just pop in the wash with other towels.

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dementedma · 13/09/2020 16:06

Smol is great.
I have switched to bars of soap and shampoo bars, reusable make up remover pads, Who Gives a Crap loo roll, and just bought a yoghurt maker. ( first batch was lovely). Reuse bread bags for sandwiches etc but thinking about baking own bread. Oh, no more platic razors. I use FFS who deliver and recycle.

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EvilPea · 13/09/2020 16:09

I’m not a fan of beeswax wraps. I can’t get them to work very well. But I appreciate I’m a bit on my own with that. Lakeland do some covers that are washable and have elastic round them. Use a lot less cling film now.
www.lakeland.co.uk/72518/Covermate-12-Assorted-Elasticated-Food-Covers-–-S-M-L-and-XL?gclid=Cj0KCQjwhvf6BRCkARIsAGl1GGjp0b28hGXf_ivGHI5zaw7hLfJWbnu34yS84-Eqp1jaJYMn7U1MP7MaAmREEALw_wcB&src=gfeed&s_kwcid=AL!49!3!456457690750!!!g!!&ef_id=Cj0KCQjwhvf6BRCkARIsAGl1GGjp0b28hGXf_ivGHI5zaw7hLfJWbnu34yS84-Eqp1jaJYMn7U1MP7MaAmREEALw_wcB:G:s

I’ve got a foaming hand wash pump as the kids like liquid soap. It uses about 1/3 of the soap.


I also reuse my ikea resealable bags. I just wash them. They last ages.

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Katinthedoghouse · 13/09/2020 16:09

Ah yes I’d forgotten about moon cups - I bought mine nearly 15 years ago. That’s been the best swap I could ever have made !

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EasilyDeleted · 13/09/2020 16:09

Beeswax wraps for sandwiches
Bambbo flannels for make-up removal
Loose tea for teabags
Riverford veg box instead of supermarket, far less plastic
Washing powder instead of tablets.
Milkman glass bottles instead of plastic
Chilly water bottles

I have tried quite a few Splosh products but abandoned them one by one I'm afraid, not very effective amd faffy.

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Eloisedublin123 · 13/09/2020 16:11

You can make yogurt easily too!
Making my own almond milk
Making washing power from conkers!

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TeaSoakedDisasterMagnet · 13/09/2020 16:12

Using washable sanitary towels instead of the kind you bin. I’ve had them for nearly 5 years and they’re still going strong and I’ve saved something like 400 Plastic filled sanitary towels from going into landfill in that time.

Bars of soap that come in cardboard instead of soap and shower gel in plastic bottles. I’m on the lookout for a good bar shampoo that works for my hair type and then will switch shampoo too.

Reuse as many pots as possible for leftovers etc and recycle as much as we can.

Not exactly a swap but I’ve planted my garden (in a city) with as much bee and insect friendly stuff as I can fit in. I’ve also purposely seeded my lawn with meadow mix so that it grows clover, self heal, buttercups, cinquefoil, and meadow grasses and we try to only cut it twice a year, once in spring and once at the end of summer so that it stays healthy. We’ve had a garden teeming with bees, crickets and ladybirds this year!

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SimpleComforts · 13/09/2020 16:12

Ah yes, I do more than I realised Grin I use a 20yo flannel and aqueous cream to clean my face but have resisted bars of soap and shampoo because of the mess they leave on the side. Is there a solution or do I just need to deal with it?

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TeaSoakedDisasterMagnet · 13/09/2020 16:13

Oh and washable face pads and face cloths have replaced face wipes and cotton pads.

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picklemewalnuts · 13/09/2020 16:13

Who gives a crap loo roll.

I've cut out most cosmetics and toiletries- I'm still using up my stash of body lotions and lipstick/eyeliner. I use kitchen ingredients to wash my hair. Am happy to talk about it- it's not a straightforward swap though.

Cleaning, bicarb, vinegar (with citrus) and citrus enzyme do most things. I use an occasional loo tablet as the water's very hard here.

I use eco egg in the washing machine. It's fine for adult clothes that aren't heavily soiled. I rub any marks with a bar of soap before putting them in the basket.

Make your own yogurt- it's very easy.

Reusable non stick liners for the oven- I don't use foil or greaseproof much at all.

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SimpleComforts · 13/09/2020 16:13

I keep thinking of a moon cup but I'm 50, it's got to become redundant one day soon, surely Grin

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TeaSoakedDisasterMagnet · 13/09/2020 16:15

@SimpleComforts I have a couple of these soap dishes on the side of the sink/shower. They have a dish underneath for catching scummy soap water and you just tip it and rinse it every few days.

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TeaSoakedDisasterMagnet · 13/09/2020 16:15
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SimpleComforts · 13/09/2020 16:16

I use vinegar for most cleaning jobs actually, but I do use bleach for the loo and dealing with mildew. The only other cleaning stuff I use routinely is washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets and washing liquid, although I've gone back to antibacterial spray for door handles and some surfaces during this pandemic because DH is vulnerable.

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SunnySomer · 13/09/2020 16:19

My son needs to take packed lunches now. I got a Tupperware-equivalent box from IKEA that has three removable dividers so you don’t need to wrap anything. It fits ample food for a teenaged boy.

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SmallestInTheClass · 13/09/2020 16:32

Washable panty liners
Re-using bread bags
Soap bars instead of shower gel (still use liquid soap for hands but keep the pump bottles and refill)
Washing powder (in a cardboard box not plastic)

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SimpleComforts · 13/09/2020 16:35

How do you buy the refill soap Smallest, if not in plastic?

People using soap in the shower, do you have one bar? Not sure I want to share soap with teenage DSs...

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AntiHop · 13/09/2020 16:39

I get soap bars

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AntiHop · 13/09/2020 16:42

I get soap bars and shampoo bars by suma from ethical superstore. They have minimal non plastic packaging. Ocean saver refills for cleaning products, also from ethical superstore. Cheeky panda toilet paper. Reusable sanitary towels from honour your flow.

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rosesbloom · 13/09/2020 16:44
  • Reusable cotton pads. I use 1-2 everyday so this has made such a difference
  • Replaced cleaning wipes with using cleaning sprays with old face clothes
  • Tap water in my area tastes disgusting so a Brita filter jug with reuseable water bottles has replaced bottles of mineral water
  • Buying a decent set of tupperware in different shapes and sizes means I rarely use cling film or kitchen foil now
  • Reusable icing bag for when I bake
  • Being vegetarian


I still have a lot of things I need to change but I have made a lot of baby steps.

My biggest thing I cringe at is my contact lense cases. I wear daily disposables so two little packets are used everyday. However I don't feel comfortable switching to monthlies for hygiene reasons.
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