Tag Archives: reducing plastic waste

Home made eco friendly cleaning spray

I dumped the Mr Sheen years ago and I have been using a mixture of vinegar and water to clean surfaces and furniture. It is very cheap and effective. I  have also on occasion used bicarbonate of soda to scrub the bathroom. However, until now I haven’t really explored any recipes for  a home made eco friendly cleaner such as this one.

home made eco friendly cleaning spray

Home made eco friendly cleaning spray

A home made eco friendly cleaning spray

I hate the idea of living in a house filled with chemicals and the damage that they do to the environment, but I can’t afford the expensive eco-friendly cleaning products you find in the supermarket or health food shop. Over the years a mixture of being very busy and laziness has meant that my cleaning cupboard has started to fill up with standard cleaners. I have bathroom cleaners, bleach, window cleaners, carpet cleaners, oven cleaners….what happened to my green credentials?! My cupboard is full of chemical cocktails in a sea of plastic bottles. Enough is enough!

As I run out of each cleaner I am going to experiment with a cheaper, greener home made alternative. The first has been a general purpose spray cleaner that I have so far used successfully in the kitchen and bathroom as well as the kitchen work surfaces.

This is extremely cheap and easy to make. I put it in an old spray bottle so less plastic waste too! I reckon it cost about 60p for a litre and I have loads of borax substitute left that should last ages.

Orange general household cleaner

An old spray bottle, washed out
2 heaped tsp borax substitute
4 or 5 drops of orange essential oil
100ml white vinegar
warm water

Use a large jug as this fizzes when you add the vinegar to the borax substitute. Start by mixing them together as much as you can. Add your orange oil and top up to the litre mark with warm water. Keep stirring until the borax substitute is dissolved, pour into your spray bottle and get cleaning!

I got my white vinegar from Asda for about 39p and the oil and borax substitute came from Summer Naturals.

Does anyone have some tried and tested eco friendly cleaning spray recipes they would like to share?

A fabulous birthday in Constable Country

  I booked the day off work today. I thought we could have a day out  and use a voucher my daughters gave us for  Christmas at a very fine restaurant at Dedham in Suffolk called the Boathouse. We wouldn’t normally splash out and spend £60 on a meal out ever! I just couldn’t justify it. However, it was lovely food in a very pretty building with views over the river and an absolute treat since we didn’t have to pay.
  Dedham is a delightful old fashioned little place and the area is famous for several landmarks and views painted by the artist John Constable. We didn’t look round the little shops today but instead had a walk along the river to Flatford Mill and Willy Lott’s House, both the subject of Constable’s artwork. It was a beautiful sunny day and I think it did us good to walk off all the calories from dinner. I hate to think how much weight I will have put on this week!
    The girls bought me some products I was after from Lush for my birthday. Since I am still attempting to cut down on plastic waste I thought I would try solid shampoo and conditioner bars and a natural deodorant. They all came wrapped in recyclable paper and smell divine. Reviews I have read say they last for ages so I am hoping they will be good value for money. Toiletries can be so expensive! I haven’t tried them yet but will let you know if they are any good. 

Back to work and reality tomorrow as it is a really busy time. Back in a couple of days!

It’s not easy being green! A review of Splosh products

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!

Sixty years of wedded bliss – plus moving towards less plastic waste

It’s another weekend!! How on earth did that happen? And a busy one to boot – I have  DD2 back from university with her boyfriend and we are all over to my sister’s for a family party to celebrate my parents’ diamond anniversary. Sixty years! I am so proud of them. 
  Family dos are always noisy affairs as I am one of four children, we each have our own kids and they bring along assorted boyfriends as well. We haven’t managed to give my parents any great grandchildren yet but I expect they will arrive at some point!

  I recently blogged about how I was looking for ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste I produce. It feels difficult to achieve when you shop in a supermarket. Everything is wrapped and double wrapped and it’s hard to purchase liquid items in glass bottles and jars these days. One of my followers, Sue, asked if I had heard of Splosh, a company with the genius idea of reducing plastic waste by selling their products as refills.  

I hadn’t so I decided to investigate and get a few products to try. You can initially buy a bottle of, say washing detergent, but you use this bottle again and again by ordering a refills. These come as small soluble concentrated sachets that you mix with water.

I have started with washing up liquid and fabric conditioner. I have yet to use them so a full review will follow!

Have a great weekend everyone!