Five Plastic Free Swaps that Save you Money
Trying to find the best plastic free products can sometimes mean investing more up front which can be what puts us off buying them in the first place. We as consumers have power to vote with our money but this has to be balanced with what we can realistically afford. During my journey to becoming more zero waste and sustainable there are several hero products I have found that are incredible and actually cost affective. Yes, that’s right, there are products out there which are sustainable and can actually save you money. Here are five plastic free swaps which save you money.
1. The Safety Razor
Cost: between £17.00-£25.00
What is a safety razor? A Safety Razor is a metal razor where you just replace the blades rather than disposing of the whole thing. The benefits of switching to a safety razor is that the shave is much better and closer, this is down to the blades being much sharper than disposable blades and the fact you can easily clean your blade in between uses making each blade last much longer. (a pack of 10 blades which cost about £4.00 last me over a year). I used to spend about £7.00 on 4 disposable razors which were marketed just for women (something I will never understand when a razor is a unisex product) I would get maybe 2-3 uses out of one razor and then it would go in the bin. There are countless times I forgot to buy a new pack and I would have the horrifying moment when in the shower getting ready to go someplace nice that I had no razors left and hairy legs. Investing in a safety razor is one of the best decisions I made, and I often talk about this being my favourite swap. Not only is a safety razor much better quality than a disposable one, but there are many other benefits to owning one; I never have to worry about not having a razor in the bathroom when I need one, I no longer think about the waste I am sending the landfill, and I am saving about £25 a year by using a reusable razor. (saving based on buying my old £7.00 pack of 4 razors, 4 times a year)
2. The Menstrual Cup
It took me a while to finally convince myself to try a menstrual cup. I never liked to use tampons so the thought I using a cup felt alien to me. I had also tried reusable pads which felt uncomfortable because of the thickness and organic cotton disposable pads which although were toxin free, were still causing a waste issue. It was during lockdown when I decided to give it ago and bought my first Mooncup. I have shared my experience so far with my Mooncup on my Instagram page @the_plastic_free_life and I will be honest and say it took a while to get used to it. My first attempt to remove the cup took 30 minutes (yes! Seriously), thankfully I have got this timing down to less than a minute so practice does really make perfect. There were times when I thought this wasn’t going to be the right choice for me, but I am so glad I persisted. Now I can’t imagine using anything else. Menstrual cups are great because they save literally thousands of disposable menstrual products going to landfill. (Did you know you will use about 11,000 disposable menstrual products over your lifetime?) They are comfortable, easy to clean and there is lots of help and advice on how to use them safely. I am saving around £40 a year by using a cup. (This saving is based on buying 1 box of organic cotton pads a month)
3. Reusable Makeup Pads
Since starting my sustainable journey, I have made it a goal to educate myself more about natural products and toxic chemicals that are often found in skincare products, including disposable makeup wipes (even the sensitive ones). I have such sensitive skin and used to have acne which never seemed to go. I would buy sensitive makeup wipes because I was told they were ‘kind to skin’ but when I started researching the ingredients I found they contained some chemicals which had adverse side effects such as panthenol which common side effects can be burning, stinging and redness. They can also include Parabens which are known to disrupt hormone function. I remember my skin stinging after use and the area around my eyes feeling really sensitive when using these disposable wipes. I bought my first set of reusable wipes at a vegan market and haven’t looked back since. When paired with a great natural cleanser, reusable makeup wipes are amazing at removing makeup and dirt from your skin. I wash mine with my clothes and find the makeup comes out really easily. I have been using the same cotton pads now for about 2 and half years and they have so much life left. I am saving around £30 a year by using reusable cotton pads (saving based on buying 15 packs of 25 wipes for £2 over a 1 year period)
4. Water Bottle
Cost: Between £14.99
This is such a simple swap and it goes without saying that using your tap water is the cheaper option than buying a bottle of water every time you are out and about. I hear a lot that water bottle companies don’t sell water, they sell plastic and this is so true. Single use plastic bottles are one of the worlds biggest pollutants so switching to a reusable glass or metal water bottle is a great and cost affective swap to make. The biggest issue I have found is remembering to take the bottle with you and it definitely took me a few attempts to get into the habit of keeping it with me. I decided to treat myself to a Neon Kactus bottle which is the best reusable water bottle I have found personally. I love it because it has a beautiful and practical design and is big enough to carry a good amount of water. Because I loved the bottle so much I started to remember to take it everywhere with me. You don’t need to buy a fancy bottle though, any reusable bottle is better than a single use plastic one. I haven’t bought a bottle of water or drink for months and I have saved at least £10.
5. Marseille soap
Marseille soap is a natural bar of soap that has been around 600 years. It is produced in France (hence the name) and is traditionally made mixing sea water with olive oil and alkaline ash from sea plants, the whole process can take up to a month to complete. I will be honest and say I was quite late to the party in discovering this handy bar of soap, I have only been using mine for around 4 months and I am so impressed with what this bar can do. These bars which usually free of any packaging have a big list of uses which can replace a number of cleaning products in your home which is where the cost saving aspect comes into play. This bar can be used for: Washing the dishes, removing stains from clothes, Detergent, shaving, Pesticide, body Wash and sprinkled in the bath. By ditching all your plastic cleaners and replacing with one bar which goes a long way you are guaranteed to save some cash each month.
I've been using these plastic free alternatives for quite a while now and I've managed to save quite a bit of money. I love the fact I no longer need to think about replacing disposables. By saving money on these great plastic free products, It means I can invest some of the money I've saved into some of the higher price, zero waste products like some foods or skincare. Living a sustainable lifestyle is about balance and can take a while as you find great alternatives. I really recommend these 5 great plastic free swaps to anyone who is wanting to be more sustainable on a budget.
I would love to know if you have any great sustainable swaps!