This is not a sponsored post and all views are my own genuine opinions.
I have been frustrated for some time by the sheer volume of plastic products that enter Shoestring Cottage in the form of containers and packaging and have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste we produce.
It is very inspiring to read about people who produce little or no waste of any description. They buy their groceries and household products from markets and bulk buy stores, use second-hand and grow some of their own food. They reduce, reuse and recycle everything, but mostly they focus on reducing; that is they refuse to buy products in any form of packaging.
This is fine if you happen to live near a bulk buy supermarket. I found very few examples in the UK, and none at all near to where I live. We do have a market so I could get much of my fruit and veg from them. I could get my meat from the butcher in town and ask them to place it straight into my own containers. I have heard there is a food coop developing locally but the bulk buy potential there seems to be limited to whole foods. For a full time working mum this is incredibly time consuming. It appears I would need to spend a whole precious day of my weekend shopping in town and then still wouldn’t solve the problem of all the toiletries and household cleaning products that come in plastic packaging. As a great frog once said, it ain’t easy being green!
The latter problem could be resolved by a cunningly clever concept from a company called Splosh. They sell products such as washing up liquid, toilet cleaner, hand wash, laundry detergent and fabric conditioner in dissolvable refill pouches that come in a recyclable cardboard container through your letterbox. If you like you can buy various starter kits of their products, which are in plastic bottles admittedly but you only need to purchase them once and then reuse them again and again by refilling them. You can even just buy the refills and use your own bottles.
This is such an obvious idea you wonder why all companies aren’t doing it! They could save masses of money on packaging and transportation if they sold their wares as refills. Supermarkets would reduce the amount of space required on their shelves and local authorities wouldn’t have to spend time and money collecting and either recycling this packaging or sending it to landfill.
So…I heartily approve of the concept, but what about the products? I decided to start by trying washing up liquid and fabric softener. I have already gone back to buying washing powder in cardboard boxes and replaced hand wash with good old fashioned soap so I thought I would go for the products that would be harder to replace with more environmentally sound alternatives ( and yes, before you say it, I have tried a cup of vinegar instead of fabric softener and the results weren’t impressive).
I purchased lime washing up liquid and cotton flower fabric softener. They both smelt lovely and look great in their smart Splosh containers sitting on my kitchen windowsill. But do they work? The answer is yes! They are very effective products. The washing up liquid coped very well cleaning up two big bowls of curry, a rice pan and lots of plates and cutlery. My washing smelt lovely and even the line dried towels came out nice and soft.
The only fly in the ointment if you are on a restricted budget will be the price. You can buy a four bottle starter pack with products of your choice for £14.95.
A refill for 1 litre of fabric softener is £5.95 and a bottle of washing up liquid will set you back £4.95. The products are good and I heartily recommend them if you can afford to pay that. However, I can buy washing up liquid in Aldi for 69p and 2 litres of softener for a couple of pounds. So if you are looking to save money and not just the planet it probably won’t work for you.
My next step may be to look at making my own cleaning products. I already use bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar for some tasks but I need to expand this idea. Watch this space!