Clean your home, the plastic free way

It’s the last day of Plastic Free July and we’ve got five quick and easy plastic swaps you can make when cleaning your house.

After our bathrooms, we reckon that cupboard under the sink where we keep all our cleaning products is the next biggest plastic party, so here are a few of our favourite alternatives.…..

  1. Plastic Free and compostable cloths

Most washing up cloths and sponges contain plastic and have to just be chucked in the bin. But if you do a bit of looking around you will find some great alternatives that come plastic free. There are ones that simply contain no plastic or there are ones that can even be composted. All of them can also be washed so can be used over and over again.

If you can’t find these around town – check out online shops like Boubalou, Plastic Freedom or Turtle Friendly

  • Wooden brushes and metal scour pads

For tougher spots wooden brushes with replaceable heads are a great way to go as there’s no plastic and much less waste. These are available from All Good, The Eco Shop, Harrison and Dunn and Great Casterton Garden Centre. And you can find scour pads that are not cased in two lots of plastic, like many of them are in the supermarket, in the online shops mentioned above.

  • Refill cleaning products

When it comes to the cleaning products themselves, some of the more eco-friendly companies do use recycled plastic bottles (Ecover, Bio-D and Method to name a few), but you can go for refill again. Fill and Miniml both do a brilliant selection of products and they’re available at All Good, Refill Revolution and The Eco Shop. What we particularly love about these two brands is that they reuse the larger plastic containers the refill shops have in store, so there really is a huge reduction in plastic waste.

  • Dissolvable cleaning sachets

If you haven’t tried the small sachets filled with a cleaning detergent concentrate (eg window cleaner or all purpose), they are definitely worth a try. You simply put the sachet in a spray bottle of water, shake it until the whole thing dissolves and you then have a full bottle of whichever cleaning product you chose. No plastic bottle, no plastic packaging. Ocean Saver has a great selection.

  • And finally…..laundry. If you’re looking for some decent alternatives to that big plastic bottle of liquid washing detergent. Again Fill and Miniml have some great options. You could also look at using an Eco Egg – which you just stick in the washing machine and the pellets inside create the detergent. You just have to top up the pellets every so often.

That’s it. Our top 5 cleaning swaps. We hope you give a few a try…..

Don’t think refill shops are for you? Think again….

For many, the weekly shop is full of seemingly unavoidable single use plastic packaging. But with refill shops now well established in Stamford, there is a real alternative. Here, we look at five of the most common barriers to using a refill shop, in the hope it’ll encourage more folk to give them a go.  

  1. I don’t know how it all works

If you’ve not been into a refill shop, you may feel uncomfortable about not knowing what to do. So, here’s our quick and easy guide:

  • Grab some containers or bags from home to take with you (see below for what to take)
  • Hand them over to be weighed at the counter
  • Fill them up with whatever you need – or shop staff will do this for you
  • If you’re unsure of weights or only need a specific amount, just ask for some help
  • Hand your now filled containers over to be weighed
  • Pay

If you check out their social media, Stamford’s local refill shops have little videos of their store and how to refill with them.

2. I don’t know what to bring…..and kilner jars are so heavy!

Whenever you see photos of people’s refill shop purchases they’re displayed in beautiful glass kilner jars….but you  don’t have to take these to the store. Take much lighter items and decant everything when you get home. You can use small glass jam jars, but lighter things like old bread bags, cloth bags (or old pillow cases even!), yoghurt pots, ice cream tubs, take away containers all work brilliantly and are much easier to carry. And if you’ve not got anything with you, the shops all have reusable containers and paper bags for you to use for free.

3. Aren’t they just for vegetarians and vegans?!?

Whether you eat meat and dairy or not, you will find something you love at a refill shop – think of it as your go to place for your every day essentials…from dried goods like pasta and rice, baking ingredients like flour and sugar, herbs and spices and all your cleaning and bathroom products – shower gel, shampoo, conditioner – the lot. It’s not just lentils…..we promise!

4. I don’t have the time

There’s no doubt that a quick online supermarket shop is often the default when it comes to the weekly shop. The great thing with Stamford’s refill stores is that you can order online and either collect in store (they’ll weigh and package everything up for you) or have your order delivered.  But going to a refill shop is actually a really lovely experience in itself – it’s like how shopping should be and makes getting your daily essentials a real joy rather than a chore.

5. It’s more expensive

This is a common misconception. On the whole, refill shops will pitch their prices against local supermarkets – again check out their social media for some really interesting price comparisons.  And because you can buy only the amount you need – this is especially useful with herbs and spices – you reduce your waste and can actually save money.

Can we really go plastic free in the bathroom?

The bathroom is one of the easiest places to find plastic free swaps – here are our top 5 to get you started…..

Shower Gel

The quickest way to cut back on single use plastic in the bathroom is to kick your shower gel habit. There are so many amazing soaps now available without plastic wrapping too – Faith in Nature is one that is readily available in supermarkets and in Silver Lane Health Food shop (and Annabel at All Good Market reminded me about Alter/Native soaps too, available locally). But there are tonnes of independent shops online selling all natural soaps too. Conchus is a favourite.

If you really can’t ditch the shower gel – why not try refill instead. All the refill shops in Stamford (All Good, The Eco Shop and Refill Revolution) all offer shower gel which smells amazing from brands such as Faith in Nature again or try Miniml.

Shampoo & Conditioner

There are now some really good shampoo bars which are super easy to use – just like a bar of soap and they are readily available in supermarkets or even Holland and Barratt on the high street. Eco Warrior shampoo bar is great as are the ones from Ethique. Again you can look online to find independents producing beautiful shampoo (and conditioner) bars.

But if a shampoo bar is a step too far, definitely give refill a go as a very handy alternative to buying new bottles every time. Just take your empty shampoo bottle to a local refill shop and fill it up. Fill do lovely options and they’re made in Northamptonshire. Job done.

Toothpaste & Toothbrushes

Toothpaste tubes – we get through so many of these each year! Instead of buying the plastic ones, you could look at pastes that come in a jar or toothpaste tablets. There are plenty of online stores that stock these (and lots of other plastic free items). Or if you’re just heading to the supermarket you could try euthymol which comes in a recyclable aluminium tube.

Bamboo and recycled plastic toothbrushes are now available all over the place. If you prefer an electric toothbrush there are now options here versus having to chuck out the plastic head. There are ones made of bamboo from LiveCoco that are worth a try.


If you haven’t already, why not give a metal safety razor a go. They’re an expensive outlay but they last a lifetime and perform really well. Plastic Freedom have a good range….

And finally….loo roll

And finally, there’s toilet roll. Why all brands feel the need to wrap the loo roll in plastic bags is beyond me, but they do….however, again there are options. You can buy in bulk and have toilet roll delivered to you in a box without any plastic. If this is not an option (storage may be an issue or the cost), there are companies like Green Cane that use wrappers that can be recycled for the 4 packs of toilet roll. The Eco Shop sells them or you could go in with friend and order a big box of them.