If you know me well then you'll know I love a good list, so here's the second in what may turn into a bit of a series on my top zero waste swaps!
After tackling my bathroom, I turned my attention to the kitchen. I found the process of using up and clearing out loads of half empty bottles in the bathroom pretty satisfying and the cupboard under my kitchen sink was the next area ripe for decluttering.
Out came all the half used products and long forgotten gadgets with unfulfilled promises of making my life easier. I like to sort into three piles when I declutter (1) keep (2) rehome (3) bin, perhaps I'll write more on this another day (in the meantime if you want to check out someone with serious decluttering & organisational skills head on over to @rellie101 on insta). Then I looked at what consumables I was getting through the most of and how I could make sure I didn't run out of them and make them more sustainable in the process. This is how that went...
1. Tabitha Eve Non-sponges (set of 2)
Plastic scrubby sponges were forever running out in our house. I never had a clean one when I wanted one, so I started bulk buying them in supermarkets. Most of those sponges you get from a supermarket are made of plastic and can take thousands of years to break down, even then they're just breaking down into tiny pieces of micro-plastic that can eventually find it's way into our water/food system (the average human ingest approximately a credit cards worth of plastic a week!).
So to stem the flow of plastic from my kitchen to the ocean I swapped to reusable non-sponges. These are effectively washable sponges, made entirely of cotton material which can be composted at the end of its life. I've had mine for 2 years (manufacturers recommend you change them more often than that but I'm using those bad boys until they fall apart). They come in a pack of two and I have two packs on the go, every few days or if I've done a particularly mucky wash, I chuck the used one in wash. I usually stick it in with the laundry but you can put it through the dishwasher if you prefer.
This is genuinely one of the best swaps I've made. I'm never without a sponge and I haven't created any washing up waste for over two years - amazing!
2. Safix coconut scrub pad
The perfect partner in crime to the non-sponge, this Safix coconut scrub pad is another one of my all-time top zero waste swaps. Made from a by-product of the coconut industry, the Safix scrub pads are fully compostable at the end of their life. These gentle but tough pads are suitable for use on most non-stick surfaces and, like the non-sponge, can be popped in the dishwasher for a quick freshen up. Mine tend to last 3 - 6 months before they start to fall apart then we just chuck them in the compost pile.
3. SESI All-purpose surface cleaner refills
£3.00 per kilo (approx. 1 litre)
This super affordable all purpose surface cleaner from SESI is just the job! It smells amazing, gives great results and lasts for ages! SESI recommend a 1 to 10 dilution ratio, meaning a standard 500ml spray bottle will cost you just 15p to fill (50ml of all purpose cleaner topped up with water once you get home)!
4. Sodium percarbonate (aka "oxygen bleach")
75p per 100g
Sodium percarbonate is the main active ingredient in "Vanish" and other non-chlorine based cleaning products. You can use it for a variety of things, from removing tea stains, to whitening laundry, cleaning grout, freshening your fridge and much more! I recently used it to remove all the tea scum from my tea strainer and was amazed at the difference in taste of my tea afterwards!
5. Wax wraps
£15.99 for pack of 3
One of the first things we wanted to eliminate from our bin was cling film. Single use, made of plastic and often infuriatingly annoying, there's no place for cling film in our kitchen. We were gifted some home made wax wrapped by my parents, they cut up old cotton shirts and melted wax onto them, I've had them for over a year and they're still going strong. If they start to loose their stick you just sprinkle a bit more wax on them and put in the oven on a low heat. We stock both beeswax pellets and soy wax flakes in the shop.
If you don't fancy making your own then don't panic, we've got two designs in shop: Avocados and Watermelons, both made with responsibly source soy wax so are suitable for vegans too. These wraps are great to covering plates, cut ends of fruit and veg or wrapping up your sandwiches. Just rinse in cool soapy water after use and they'll last an age! Once you're done with them they can be cut up and composted.
So there you have my top five kitchen zero waste swaps. I'd love to hear yours, tell me about them in the comments...