15: Smile!

This one is for the serious plastic-free warrior. Why? Because it will either take a bit of effort or cost a little more money. We’re talking about toothpaste.

We all use it (hopefully) but pretty much every squeeze of the white stuff that you’ll find in your local supermarket comes in a plastic tube. And it’s not re-usable and not easy to recycle. There must be millions of empty toothpaste tubes in the world. But there are solutions and ways to replace them in your bathroom.

First, the easy but slightly more expensive alternative is to buy toothpaste products in plastic-free packaging. They do exist, but will cost you a little more than your normal brand. Lush do a range of toothpaste and mouthwash ‘tablets’ that really work and are cruelty free, but sadly they come in little plastic bottles – come on, Lush, find an alternative!

Georganics do nothing else but make smile assisters (do you see what I did there?) that are totally plastic AND cruelty free. They are also vegan friendly, unlike most toothpaste brands you’ll find on the high street. Their natural toothpastes (in glass jars) cost about a pound or two more than Colgate or Sensodyne, so if you’re struggling with the shopping bill, you might have to count the pennies. But if you can, it’s worth it on so many levels! They also sell bamboo toothbrushes, floss, dental supplements and ‘toothsoap’ (I’ve got to try that one!). Their online shop can be found at https://georganics.co.uk

Second, the less easy but very cheap alternative that will save you money and increase your range of skills….make your own toothpaste! Yes, you can. Some ingredients will need to be found at the chemist, but most may be in your cupboard already. The people at Plastic Free July have several recipes for you to try. Why not get the children involved, if you have some to hand? Only be careful with some of the ingredients around little ones. Check out four homemade toothpaste recipes here: https://www.earthcarers.org.au/library/file/Plastic%20Free%20July/Toolbox%20-%20Living%20Plastic%20Free/Recipe-HomemadeToothpaste.pdf

So, grab your bamboo toothbrush and smile!images


13: Cruelty-Free Plastic-Free

As we reach idea number 13 (only 352 to go!) it occurs to me that some of you might now be trying out new products and changing the things you put in your shopping bags – hopefully! I’m doing it too.

While I start to alter my ways and move towards a more plastic-free lifestyle, I remember that this blog was inspired by images I’d seen of wildlife around the world being strangled, starved and killed by the single-use plastic we’ve all thrown in the bin. I just don’t want to do that anymore, which is why I’ve set myself this ridiculous challenge! But that wish to protect our planet’s wildlife as much as possible extends to the products themselves, whether they’re covered in plastic or not. I’m talking about Cruelty-Free.

Some of the sharp-eyed shoppers among you will be used to looking out for the ‘leaping bunny’ logo that appears on products that are made without being tested on animals. And be advised that ‘testing’ on animals usually means ultimately ‘killing’ animals. There’s no getting around that.

So, if you want to make sure that you’re not protecting some animals while others are being killed for your sun cream, lipstick, toilet cleaner, shampoo, etc., there is a simple way to check. Cruelty Free International have a website, updated regularly, where you can check whether or not a product is cruelty free, including household products. You can even check whether it’s vegan or vegetarian. Simply visit:


It’s well worth taking a look and adjusting your shopping list, should you wish to. All of these are ideas and none of it is compulsory. Of course, many cruelty-free brands are still using single-use plastic in their products, particularly cosmetics companies, but I guess you can’t fix everything at once!

Keep a look out for that bunny!

12: It’s getting hot in here!

macro photography of black sunglasses on sand

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

As the UK, and many other parts of the world, bake under an unseasonably hot summer sun, thoughts turn to one thing: No, not barbecues and sun cream…deodorant!

Of course, this is an essential for all but the most naturally angelic-smelling people, and it goes without saying that it’s better to buy a deodorant in an aerosol tin can than a plastic one – at least a tin can be recycled. But I’ve found a better solution.

Lush Cosmetics, among others, now make a solid deodorant that looks like a bar of soap. Completely plastic-free (they wrap it in paper), lasts for ages, and it’s even vegan friendly. I’ve tried it, and it really works! It’s not an anti-perspirant – most of those contain aluminium, which is not only bad for the environment, but not great for your body either – so you will still sweat a little, but when you do, you stay smelling beautifully fresh.

Another bonus with a bar deodorant is that you can slice a piece off, wrap it in paper and take it on holiday with you without having to surrender it at the airport. Because, of course, it’s not a liquid. To use it you simply dampen it and rub it on.

Lush solid deodorants start at about £4.95, which is about twice the price of a ‘regular’ deodorant, but it easily lasts about 4 or 5 times longer (depending on normal use – you might use more if you’re a blacksmith or fire eater!) so it’s actually much cheaper in the long run. I’ve had mine since February, used it every day and still have only got through about 10% of the bar.

You can also buy crystal deodorants, mostly available from places like health food shops, but I’ve yet to find one that isn’t sheathed in plastic. So, while these are healthier for you and the ozone layer, the purpose of this blog is to eliminate single-use plastic so they’ll have to stay on the shelf for now…unless you find one in a glass container.

So, get out there, enjoy the sunshine, and stay smelling sweet without filling the world with more plastic. It can be done!