Recycle Less: Recent Plastic Free Finds

Welcome to another Recycle Less! For the past few years I’ve been cutting down my plastic waste, trying to buy less, reuse, repurpose and find plastic free alternatives. 

Food and cosmetics remain my number one plastic waste. Thankfully more brands are using bio degradable plastics and glass bottles. Sometimes however the price tag is still too high. Sometimes there isn’t a plastic free alternative. Sometimes you look at the label on glass bottle, realise the sticky label’s plastic. Sometimes you know the ingredients in the skin care or hair care bottle is better for you and the environment when washed or flushed down the drain, however the bottle’s plastic. One thing I am noticing is European supermarkets like Carrefour and Alcampo own brands are finding plastic free alternatives. For example going back to foil and cardboard for chocolate bars, while other main name brands are still wrapping chocolate in plastic. It’s a small step in the right direction.

Anyways, recent Recycle Less Finds

Bambaw Bamboo Bottle Brush Set

Plastic free bottle cleaners have been on my to buy list of ages however the prices were never right or they didn’t ship to Spain. Cleaning bottles I was relying on shaking soapy water in the bottle after the last bottle cleaner plastic bristles disintegrated and letting water run into the bottle until no more suds were left. I’d completely forgot about replacing them until checking Amazon basket total they were in the save for later basket. The bristles are sisal bristles are made from the agave plant with a soft cotton mop like end. They work great. I still have to let the water run rinsing out suds, however the bottles are so much cleaner. I like that they come in different sizes and lengths. Rather than use the spilt ring, I use an old keyring carabiner, hanging them on a hook next to the sieves and colanders.

BamBaw Reusable Paper Towels

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Nat Alters A Waistband

Seamstresses, seamsters, alterations people, sewing people and tailors look away. 

My Mum’s mum was seamstress and dressmaker. My Mum can turn her hand to anything hand or machine sewn, hand or machine knitted, she can make it. Dresses, jumpers, trousers, you name it she can make it, nothing fazes her. My sisters an amazing craft sewer, cross stitcher and knitter. Then there’s me. I can fix buttons, fix/repair rips and tears messily, alter strappy tops, t-shirt arm lengths, do basic alterations. Very basic alterations and never look at the underside. Although you can’t tell the underside to the outside as to how messy it is. My patience isn’t up there for things sewn or knitted. 

Shorts before. Compared to the photo above you can see a size difference in the waistband. The left leg hem look aligned however it fits okay on. While air drying I refold the hems to align better. I didn’t notice at time of purchase as I liked this particular pair of shorts colour. What do you expect from €20 shorts?

This year like last year high waisted shorts and jeans were in for the summer. In Pull and Bear I found pair of Mom style high waisted denim shorts whose colour and style I liked. More high waisted than Mom and at the right price. Around €20 give or take 10 cents or 1 cent. The only problem was the waistband had unnecessary elastic in. 

The unnecessary elastic waistband

The next size up was too big on the hips. I knew my size was the right size. I didn’t get why they added elastic to the waistband. There was no need. They were the only denim shorts I’d found that were the right length and that I liked. In the changing room a light bulb went off. 

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Nat Dyes Linen Shorts

My favourite pair of shorts from summer 2019 still had some life in them for this summer. The only problem, they had faded so much in the wash I felt embarrassed to wear them. 

Out of nowhere I got the idea to dye them. They’d take dye being linen. Next step was buying the dye. I was convinced buying clothes dye in Spain would be hard. It wasn’t. My local supermarket had the colour I wanted, sky blue. 

Laundry colour faded before. These were once light blue

I put off for dying them for a few months thinking it’ll take a long time and finding the right moment. Sometimes there is no right moment. One day in July I decided to dye them, rather than keep looking at the box. 

Instructions. While I understood most of them, Google Translate helped with new words. The camera translate still needs work with some words. Blue Texas if you’re curious is denim. Green Oscuro, dark green.
What to expect from the dye

Dying them was so easy! Straight forward steps. I’m not sure I put enough salt in as I got distracted counting how many spoonfuls I was putting in (tip: if you’re dying items in the bathroom and have 2 toilets and others around, tell them to use the other bathroom. There was big eye roll moment of ‘Dude! Can’t you see what I’m doing?! Use the other bathroom!’). I thought the bathroom would be the best place to dye them. Easy clean up and the dye wouldn’t stain the bath. The box came with 2 packs of dye and one pack of fixer. Salt not included. The brand also does its own dying salt however as I was already feeling guilty over the toxins in the dye I used regular sea salt. Which is also cheaper. I used 1 pack of dye based on the weight of the shorts.

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Fast Fashion’s Inditex Join Life label and My September Challenge

Fast fashion is one of the world’s number one environmental polluters from the amount of water used in crops and production, pesticides growing crops, petroleum extraction for man made fibres, water pollution from dyes used, poor working conditions and pay of those in the garment industries and unworn or barely worn clothes going straight to landfill. 

I’m no angel when it comes to clothes. I shop at Zara, H&M, Oysho, Pull and Bear, Fabletics none of which are known to be the most environmentally friendly businesses. I have a budget for clothes and always try to get the best quality I can. Over the past few years I’ve been buying less clothes. Winters are easier than summers. Normally my summer clothes only last a season, two if I’m lucky. I live in Spain so it gets hot, but I cycle everywhere, I swim (more dip in the sea), I wear a rucksack, clothes and fibres get ruined quickly with sweat, sunscreen, salt water, abrasion from cycling and my rucksack. Summer clothes aren’t meant for cycling or rucksacks however cycling’s my transport and I’m not taking a change of clothes with me. I try to choose carefully clothes I think will last more than a few washes and try to get basic colours or a few colour tops. Summer though I like colour and wear those t-shirts or bottoms out. More expensive doesn’t always mean better quality either.

I noticed last year Zara started basics in organic cotton with this year a much bigger change in Indtiex brands, such as Zara, Pull and Bear, Zara Home and Oysho to name a few. They have a Join Life label which explain how much of the item is either made with organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled polyamide, recycled cotton or water used. Garments produced under the Join Life label use better processes and more sustainable raw or recycled materials. 

All items produced under this label have to ensure suppliers achieved A or B in social audits. All wet process factories such as tanneries, laundries, printing, dying suppliers have to score A or B classifications and pass environmental assessments. In addition products manufactured using raw materials or production techniques have to be of environmental excellence. 

The Join Life label is split further into 3 categories according to their website:

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Beauty Finds: DIY Cocoa Butter and Avocado Oil Body Butter

I mentioned a few weeks ago in a Weekend Friday Favourites I was trying out a DIY body butter and would share the recipe and results. I’m trying to reduce my plastic consumption and am also looking for a more hydrating body lotion. 

Please scroll down for the recipe if you want to skip skin history and the why’s I tried DIY

While I have oily skin, my body always feels dry unless it’s moisturised. I’m not sure if this is because it’s eczema prone so is maybe drier or it’s so used to daily lotion it knows when it needs more. 

I’ve always gone for cocoa butter based lotions due to cocoa butter hydration properties. It’s good against stretch marks and cellulite. For years I used Palmers Cocoa Butter with no issues. I stopped using it as it contains palm oil I try to avoid as I prefer happy orangutangs in rainforests and petroleum or paraffin which I also avoid. Some of the brands other products use shark oil. Being vegan, that’s a no. I used Alba Botanica Hand and Body Lotion Cocoa Butter (now discontinued) until iherb.com stopped shipping to Spain. When they resumed I didn’t want to spend as much on shipping. It’s hard to find in Spain good cocoa butter based lotion so I’ve been compromising. The Body Shop is too expensive for what I get through. I found a great band The Organic Shop and currently use their Bourbon Vanilla Body Mousse, a shea based lotion (ingredients are listed incorrect). However they’re not the same as cocoa butter lotions and I messed my skin up last year with mineral sunscreens. I also find that sometimes The Organic Shop just sits on my skin no matter how much massaging in and feels dry later on. If it’s humid after a shower, it doesn’t seem to massage in at all. In the winter after showering I change back in PJ bottoms for 15 minutes for the lotion to absorb, not my leggings absorbing any. 

By now you guessed I care for the environment. I wanted a reef friendly sunscreen and most are mineral based of zinc or titanium dioxide. After going through several brands, my skin can’t deal with lots of zinc. It’s hard to wash off and it dries my skin out to the point it cracks and is painful. I thought I found one last year that worked with my skin, Freshly Cosmetics Healthy Protection Sunscreen Body Lotion however after using it since May, it’s started to dry my skin out. I thought I found a way to remove mineral sunscreen effectively as soap, coffee and sugar scrubs, dry brushing don’t, with a pumice stone. It does but you have to be careful using it. Back story over, I needed something that would help my skin back to happy. 

The Recipe From A Beautiful Mess

1 cup or 225 grams of cocoa butter

1/2 cup or 64 grams of avocado oil 

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