Low Waste Alternatives Update

I wanted to take the time to let you know where I’m at in terms of altering my behaviour to make it more ethical and sustainable, and of course I’d love find out how you’re getting on too, please do let me know.

Personal Care

Recently I stumbled across a local Zero Waste shop, as many of you may know, it’s quite hard to come across these when you live in a small town. I was absolutely thrilled to find it, and while I wanted to spend my pennies on all the things I’d heard great things about I decided to settle on the things that I was in need of. I picked up a new deodorant and dry shampoo, I’ve already tried low waste options of these however they’d run low and I thought I’d try a different brand to see how I got on with them. I’m pretty well equipped with shower bars at this point, I’ve managed to switch shampoo, conditioner, body wash and face wash to plastic free options, which I get on well with, they’re a combination of Ethique bars (found in Holland & Barrett) and Lush bars. Like many people out there, my switches started with a bamboo toothbrush, which I’ve now been using for about 16 months. I’ll be booking a dentist appointment soon so I guess I’ll let you know then what the professionals think when the time comes.
Of course, there’s still a lot of switches to make but as I’ve spoken about previously, it’s worth taking your time to form good habits before you push onto the next otherwise it can become too much to keep on top of. I’ve recently found out about a plastic free mouthwash available in Sainburys, and would like to move on to finding more low waste make up alternatives, suggestions are very much welcome.


To be quite honest with you, my clothes shopping has taken a bit of a dip in sustainability recently. I don’t want this to be a place where I only tell you what I’m doing well, because the truth of the matter is there’s only so much we can do based on our own personal circumstances. Truthfully, I cannot always afford to shop sustainably, sometimes I need a new pair of shoes for work and do not have the time to rummage through vintage shops and charity shops to find a quality pair of black trainers also, I cannot always afford the cost of highly sustainable and ethically produced footwear as soon as my previous pair have run their course (excuse the pun). While immediately after I did feel a sense of climate grief after buying said work trainers and still do, I’ve come to accept the fact that this isn’t necessarily a fault on my part, but rather with our current system. Generally speaking, I’m quite good at not buying clothing that I don’t need, I’m not a fan of shopping so don’t really use it to pass the time when I have days off. I’d like to strive a little further into a waste-not want-not wardrobe, learn to fix things that are broken and ultimately be content with what I’ve got.

Food & drink

I think most of us will know that this section is going to have the most ups and downs. We’re encouraged to carry reusable water bottles/travel mugs wherever we go, which I generally do as much as possible. However, food and drink packaging is something that is largely out of our control. I often bring leftovers into work for my break however, this isn’t always the case. I get discounted food at work, which is often pre-packaged sandwiches and the likes, and sometimes when I’m sick of the options available at work, I’ll pop over to the local supermarket and find something there. I can definitely do more to ensure that I’m prepared for lunches and aim to do so after all, the variety of food that I can make and store at home is wider than what is available at work.

Let’s wind this all up shall we? I think personal care and hygiene is an area that has progressed the fastest in terms of low waste, these items are starting to become more accessible in chain shops, which makes it a lot more suitable for those who are secluded from urban areas. Yes, they can be more expensive but from what I’ve experienced so far, they do last longer and are of course reducing our impact on this planet. In terms of fashion, we’ve been brought up in a society where we can find a pair of trainers for as little as £10 and while they may not be high quality, they will do us until the next pay day. When it comes to paying a higher price for higher quality footwear, sometimes we have to put our pennies aside for a few months, again, this isn’t something we can all do; there are things that we are saving for that are more important, like paying for transport, our rent or our weekly food shops. We have to try our best but also cannot punish ourselves for things that are out of our control. I think this is similar across all boards, but especially in terms of food and drink. We can meal prep, carry resuables, freeze leftovers and buy less bottles of water and fizzy drinks; but what may be out of our control is that there may be a certain ingredient in a shop that has no low waste option.
I think we all know that we need system change in terms of shopping habits, we can do our part to make it clear what needs changing: we can vote with our money by purchasing the best option available in terms of low waste and we can write to supermarkets to find out what changes are being made and put the pressure on to make these changes as soon as possible. Ultimately, do your best when the options available to you, but if not, recognise that this isn’t a failure on your part.