Tag Archives: no plastic july

No Plastic July – Homemade Handwash

One of my 5 goals for No Plastic July was making my own handwash.

Success!

Success!

Whilst I generally prefer bars of soap (cheaper and less packaging) we have two slightly awkward basins in the house which need to have soap by them but a bar won’t fit.  A slim handwash dispenser fits perfectly and so I’ve been grudgingly buying handwash for 2 basins for a long time.  I always try to get Ecover as I figure it is more environmentally friendly but I’m still chucking away plastic bottles no matter how much I pretend I’m paying for it with Ecover.

I was suggested this recipe by the Zero Waste Chef and it looked fairly easy and (important with a baby) something I could breakdown into managable steps to fit around naptimes.

I ordered Dr Bronner’s soap from the Ethical Superstore and was delighted to see that it comes in a paper wrapper and the Ethical Superstore re-use shipping boxes and make their own packing material be recycling cardboard.  There was a thin strip of plastic sellotape on the box but otherwise all packaging is plastic-free so far (that is a sneaky packet of disposable nappies you can see – we normally use cloth but we are temporarily doing disposables at night time to help clear up some bottom-related troubles).

DSC_0650

The link recipe is for making a (US) gallon of handwash.  Seriously, that is nearly 4 litres of handwash!  I don’t need that much. So instead I started with 1 litre and just over half a bar of Dr Bronner (and to this I grated few tiny scraps of bar soap left from around the house – waste not want not!).

Also there are two recipes but I only tried the first.  The second doesn’t have the cost savings and uses plastic since the handwash is already diluted so comes in a bottle.  The first version is cheaper, plastic free and still really really easy!

I'm coming to grate you...

I’m coming to grate you…

Ingredients

1 litre water (I used tap water)

Essential oils (I used 30 drops of Bergamot (10 drops) and Lavender (20 drops))

1/2 bar Dr Bronner Baby Mild Unscented Soap (plus a few old scraps of bar soap from around the house!)

Method

1. Grate the soap.

2. Bring some water to the boil, reduce the heat until it is no longer boiling and add the soap. Stir until the soap is dissolved.  Turn off the heat.

3. Leave for 12-24 hours to get more solid.

4. Stir in essential oils of your choice (a little bit of plastic in the caps of the oils here).

5. Bottle (use a funnel you will not regret it).

So far it has been pretty easy and the results are really good.  The Ecover Handwash bottles are very sturdy and easy to decant with a funnel. They are going to last through a lot of re-uses and I have a litre of handwash from half of one bar.  That is going to last ages!

But importantly it is about £0.16 (I’m over-estimating here) for 100 ml of handwash.  The cheapest handwash I can find at Sainsburys is £0.36 for 100 ml and Ecover (probably comparable in other ethical ways with a bar of Dr Bronner) is £1.35 for 100ml.

A good reminder that when you buy handwash you are paying mostly for packaging and water!

This is a massive win all round and I’ll definitely carry on doing this once Plastic Free July is over.

Now off to Lush to get back into solid shampoo bars!

Edited to add:

I totally forgot to add the other fantastic No Plastic Bloggers to my post so I’m correcting that now!

There are some other amazing bloggers, going even further than me and I’m going to get a lot of inspiration from them over this month.

Check out their links and cheerlead them to the finish line!

Westywrites

EcoThrifty

Plastic is Rubbish

Plastic Free UK

Sustainable Witney

Plastic Free July In Croydon

My Zero Waste

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No Plastic July – starts here!

Well today is the first day of No Plastic July and as you know I am trying to lose plastic in 5 areas of our life.

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July

I’m doing this because plastic doesn’t break down for years and years and years.  When you have single use, disposable plastic we are just putting it somewhere out of sight and out of mind but it still exists.  It sits there in landfill somewhere – but that landfill is filling up and in world with a huge and growing population I can’t think of a more disgusting waste of land. Or worse it is getting dumped into the ocean and damaging the wildlife.

Unlike my compost heap this stuff isn’t being broken down it is just a giant bin which keeps on growing. Recycling just isn’t as good an answer as we think, it isn’t as widespread as it needs to be, it doesn’t cover all types of disposable plastic, it uses more energy (than just not having the disposable plastic in the first place) and reading No Plastic July website it is being recycled in “third world countries with substandard conditions for the world’ poorest people”.

There is a potential impact on our health with BPA chemicals getting out of the plastic and into our bodies and there is a growing impact on the oceans which I had no idea about until recently.

Yikes!

It is interesting to me how issues aren’t just about “the environment’ anymore, there is always a very human impact, often on the poorest and most vulnerable people and BPA affects everyone.  That is why I embrace ‘sustainability’ as a term.  It covers everything and reflects the fact our actions impact in lots of different ways.

So the journey to give up disposable plastic starts today.

One of things we are giving up is crackers and crisps and savoury snacks in plastic wrapping.  So today I’ll be whipping up a batch of these cheese straws to eat instead. I want giving up plastic to mean we eat better and enjoy life more whilst saving the planet. There will be dancing (and eating cheese straws) in my revolution!

Alongside my 5 things, I’m also going to be watching some documentaries and learning more about the issues and writing to a few companies to ask them to change their packaging.

A little example – I like to buy organic butter because organic farming is more sustainable and less oil dependent than other types of farming.  But the foil wrappers on most organic butter – (Yeo Valley, Sainsburys Organic and Rachels – I am looking at you!) contain a thin layer of plastic.  So do I go plastic free or do I by the more sustainable organic option!  My solution is to lobby Yeo Valley and others to change their packaging so I don’t have to work out the lesser of two evils.

There are some other amazing bloggers, going even further than me and I’m going to get a lot of inspiration from them over this month.

Check out their links and cheerlead them to the finish line!

Westywrites

EcoThrifty

Plastic is Rubbish

Plastic Free UK

Sustainable Witney

Plastic Free July In Croydon

My Zero Waste