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 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: Hair Care Bars Part 2

Welcome to another Beauty Finds: Hair Care Bars Part 2! As some you may know I’m trying to reduce my plastic consumption. I’ve always said beauty products after food are the the hardest plastic area for me to reduce. Thankfully with hair care, it’s getting easier to go plastic free with solid shampoo and conditioner bars! However just like their liquid counterparts it takes many frogs to find the right ones.

I’ve found some bars might contain too much sulphate that make my fine hair go crazy frizzy. Nobody wants that! I also feel sometimes the ingredients are a little more concentrated being in a bar. Just like with all my beauty products I always go for cruelty free products, vegan a bonus. I prefer natural clean products and try to avoid nasty ingredients such as parabens, petrochemical ingredients and its derivatives, SLS etc. I avoid palm oil if I can as I prefer orangutangs. I’m not perfect, some nasty ingredients slip through as I sped read the label, or it’s a derivatives or an alias I’m not familiar with. With make up I opt for cruelty free, clean as possible ingredients however it’s harder with make up than skincare to avoid the crap free ingredients. My skin type is oily, combo, sensitive, acne and needs all the help it can get with anti aging. My hair type is fine, gets greasy quickly and is prone to damage even though I don’t colour it or use any heat treatments on it. I often get OWay rebuilding treatment

One thing I have noticed with solid shampoo and conditioners is the price. It’s a lot kinder to the bank balance. Depending on the size they also last longer. This I find interesting as many natural liquid shampoos and conditioners cost almost 3-5 times or more the price of a bar.

Solito Herbal Solid Shampoo. Neutral For All Hair Types 

This did what it said, neutral for all hair types. I was sad when it had it’s last lather. It kept my hair happy and shiny in 3 countries with 3 different climates. It left it feeing clean, happy, a little shiny. It’s scent didn’t really smell, it lathered nicely, it was a great everyday shampoo. I would repeat buy however:

It contains propylene glycol, petrochemical derived. I’ll admit I over looked it at the time as the previous solid shampoo bars made my hair a little crazy Continue reading “Beauty Finds: Hair Care Bars Part 2”

How I Check Beauty Products Ingredients

A while back I shared how I find out which beauty products are cruelty free, a hugely important aspect for me when it comes to beauty products. Today in continuation I’m sharing how I find out if the ingredients are good or bad.

I prefer natural, clean beauty products and I’m learning what’s clean doesn’t necessarily meaning it’s not derived from petrochemicals. Vegan products are a bonus. As many of you know I’m on a mission to reduce the amount of plastic I consume. This too includes what’s in beauty products. The packaging I try to opt for less plastic however I’ve always said beauty products are one of my biggest plastic areas. 

Many times looking on online an ingredient says it’s synthetic and has a low rating on ewg.com for toxicity meaning they’re clean and safe. However I prefer not to put petrochemicals on my skin anymore. ewg.com is a great place to start looking at the toxicity rating of products. 0 being least hazardous, 10 being the highest. A few natural ingredients might have a rating of 3-5 based on the allergic reaction but I prefer them over synthetic. I’m no angel some nasty ingredients sip through, I’m okay this time or some I know the brand has sourced the best option of it. I also understand that what is natural can also be processed. On the whole I try to avoid the nasty ones. It’s easier with skincare products than makeup. Makeup I try to opt for the lesser badder ingredients.

The main ingredients for concern are: Sulphates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours, T.E.A, D.E.A, silicones, PEGs. ethoxylates, formaldehydes, phthalates, synthetic preservatives, synthetic glycols. These can all individually cause anything from hormone disrupters, skin rashes to I’m sure polluting the environment. In addition I try to avoid palm oil and it’s derivatives as I prefer orangutans. This can be more tricky as like coconut oil (the ‘good’ oil but still has its problems enviromentally) it’s derivatives are used mixed with other ingredients or are the petrochemical Continue reading “How I Check Beauty Products Ingredients”