A guest post of Laura from Seven Shades‘ favourite easy eco swaps.
Hi I’m Laura – I am what you call “eco-curious”. If I was still at school, I’d still be requiring extra tuition. Ironically, I run an eco-business, Seven Shades (@seven_shades_shop), selling sustainable garments. Our slogan is “Unbreakable”, however this week I have felt anything but, as the world breaks around us slowly.
Following the publication of the latest IPCC report, there has been a whole sense of eco-anxiety being shared on socials. It has, for many of us, felt overwhelming. What I’ve learnt from this is to:
a) take action to prevent green-shaming yourself into despair;
b) share what you already do with others – have the conversations, you may inspire your mates.
Starting with manageable changes in the home has helped my eco-anxiety. Now it’s not going to have a huge impact, but by sharing and making more small changes, it can’t be a bad thing, right?
My family and life
It’s also worth pointing out at this point that I also have 2 kids, 2 cats, a husband and a full-time job as well as the business, so all my changes have had to be “easy”; not too much disruption.
I’m basically admitting to being a lazy “eco-curious” human. My only target is to try and make one change a month. Sometimes I do more, but having an achievable goal means there is more chance of achieving it.
Oh, and I also don’t like to spend too much, many of the products I have swapped for aren’t going to be found in the supermarket BOGOF deals and are from small businesses, so they have to be affordable.
When I began, I decided to look at what I was throwing away. Some products we use are designed for one use, and because it is so ingrained in us, you feel this is how it’s meant to be.
Once you get your head around the “not everything has to be chucked” mentality, the rest comes quite easily. All the brands mentioned below reduced our one-use plastics and waste, these work for me and my family.
Bathroom easy eco swaps
As a menstruator, I have been using one-use products for years. One of my first swaps was for reusable pads. Now, this was a bit more than the “easy” swaps I mentioned above, but I went for Wearemout (@wearemoutpads) as they are British made and a small business. And I haven’t looked back.
We go through a fair amount of loo roll in our house, so making a switch to a bamboo product is an easy one. I alternate between 2 small businesses here Potty about my planet (@pottyaboutmyplanet) and Something Organic (@somethingcheeky.co). Both deliver to your door, and you can also subscribe.
I am a sweaty betty, so it took a while to find something for me here. I tried the jars, the ones in cardboard tubes, but they didn’t suit me. I am currently using Wild (@we_are_wild) – a multi-use case to which you add refills as you need. What’s even better is that the refills are biodegradable. There are loads of scents too. Another of my favourites is Fussy (@getfussy).
Reusable makeup pads
I wear makeup – I use reusable makeup pads which I chuck in the wash. £8.00 and they are still going strong 2 years later.
Kitchen easy eco swaps
I bought my first Eco-Egg (@ecoegg_uk) a few years ago, little hard beads of soap in a lovely multi-use plastic casing. I now use Smol (@smolproducts) laundry softener with it. Aces. For really hard stains I am learning about how to address these in a more eco way by joining eco-cleaning courses. Good ones are provided by Contented Company (@contentedcompany) and It Won’t Cost The Earth (@itwontcosttheearth).
Since covid and kids need something with gumption, I have loved using Iron and Velvet’s Coconut and Lime Antibacterial Spray (@ironandvelvet). It smells so nice, but to use it, dissolve the concentrate in water and off you go. You get to use an old plastic spray bottle, or invest in glass ones to reuse- just attach the sticker you get with it so you know what’s in there. Iron and Velvet do lots of these soluble sachets – I really love them – the scents are divine!
Ok, so I did say I wasn’t “eco-perfect”, right? I do use a dishwasher – and the Smol dishwasher tabs work for us. When I am not using that, I have enjoyed Seep’s (@theseepcompany) range of eco washing up products. My favourite is the sponge/scrubber – totally plastic-free and once it has served us (one lasts around a month and a half for us) you can put it in the compost as it is biodegradable.
What do you think?
So, there you have it. Just a few of my eco swaps. I know you’ll be reading this with loads more too, so please share what you know. Some products don’t work – sorry shampoo bars, hello refill shops!
Some need more of a mindset change (it’s totally ok to wash through your used sanitary towel, promise. I am as squeamish as they come, but I can do this) and remember that we all do what we can.
What works for others may not for you. Don’t be eco-shamed if it doesn’t work straight away.