At first glance, living a plastic-free lifestyle looks expensive. There are so many plastic-free products out there and it would be fair to say many are marketed towards our desire to do better for the planet. However, living a plastic-free lifestyle is nothing new, people have been doing it for decades. You don’t need to buy anything expensive; you just need to buy the necessary items and remove plastic from your lifestyle where possible. Here are our top tips for going plastic-free on a budget.
Plastic-free toiletries on a budget
It’s important to recognise that purchasing a bottle of water that is a single-use plastic will cost you around £1.50 but a reusable bottle will be around £5. The initial cost is more expensive but used correctly (meaning taking your reusable bottle with you wherever you go) means you save money over time. Never having to pay £1.50 for water again.
Plastic-free toiletries won’t always be initially cheaper, but items that are used correctly will have longevity that financially benefits you. That being said, there are plenty of instant savings you can make.
When it comes to hand soap in your home, always opt for a bar. Liquid soap requires plastic bottles and plastic pumps. They also don’t last as long. Think of soaps like your children’s squash drinks, no matter what squash you choose it will quench your thirst, but the double concentrated bottle version lasts much longer – just like soap in bar form. You can find soap bars in any supermarket for as little as £1, much cheaper and longer-lasting than liquid soap!
You can remove a lot of plastic in your bathroom, especially in the shower. There’s so many butters, creams, gels, and scrubs – the majority have little impact on your skin. Replacing your soap with a body bar is a great way to remove plastic, then if you want a little extra exfoliation you can add a scrubbing mitt – they’re only £3.99 from Peace With The Wild. There are so many types of body soap bars now, you’re almost guaranteed to find one for your skin and the right price. The Clovelly Soap Company produce handmade soaps for less than £5 and they last for months! We know because we use them!
Shampoos and conditioners
There’s no reason to opt for plastic filled bottles anymore, especially since the industry has boomed with high-quality hair products. Whether your hair is oily or your scalp flaky, you can find something to suit whilst on a budget. A bottle of shampoo and conditioner can be anywhere from £3-£10 each, which is why we love Faith In Nature. Their bars are priced reasonably and 100% natural.
If there’s one area that has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, it’s sanitary products for women. Tampon applicators alone are a huge waste of plastic, 25 million end up in landfill every week! Try out a menstrual cup costing as little as £14.95 this one is voted the best for beginners. Now, if you can’t put all your faith into a cup, try reusable pants. Thinx have many styles to choose from, even swimwear, and their prices start as low as £18.
Plastic-free cleaning on a budget
Another area where we often end up with a lot of plastic waste is with our cleaning products. Of course, you can always make your own. For ideas on how, check out our blog How to make your own cleaning products at home. We realise not everyone has the time to make cleaning products, but that doesn’t mean you need to grab a bunch of trigger spray bottles filled with chemicals!
Dissolvable cleaning solutions
If you take a look at your cleaning cupboard, you’ll find plenty of plastic. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You’re only really after the cleaning solution, so grab yourself a reusable glass trigger spray bottle (or thoroughly clean a bottle you already own to reduce waste) and check these out. Ocean Saver can provide you with a kitchen de-greaser, anti-bac, bathroom de-scaler, glass cleaner and multi-purpose cleaners. The best part – one refill drop (the equivalent of a bottle of cleaner) only costs £1.50. A huge saving!
There’s a lot of cleaning subscriptions going around. But Smol is a great option if you’re on a budget because they have free starter packs, just pay the postage! Most of us will know how often we do laundry in a week, whether that’s 5 loads or 1. Subscriptions can be great as they allow us to plan rather than realising at the last minute you’ve already used your last tab – the next box will already be on its way!
Living plastic-free on a budget
Once you have tackled toiletries and cleaning items, you’ll notice the majority of the plastic in your home has gone. However, there’s plenty of plastic items to remove. When you’ve replaced all the plastic items that sit in your cupboards for months on end, it’s time to look at those who pay a fleeting visit. You’ll find these in the kitchen.
This can be where things get tricky. Plastic wrapped food seems to be everywhere. From the plastic bags given to put loose fruit and veg in, to plastic meat trays. Even the inserts on a box of chocolate – plastic. So how do we overcome this?
First of all, don’t be so hard on yourself. Living a plastic-free lifestyle is a process. Changing your toiletries and cleaning solutions can be done overnight, but changing your food is more of a challenge. Especially if you’re on a budget.
Rather than looking at your food shopping as item-for-item, take the total expense. If your average food shop costs £100, take a look at how you can spend it. Zero-waste stores are great for helping you remove plastic, but some may be more expensive, so you might grab some rice or pasta from there, but you’re better off grabbing oils and vinegar in glass bottles from a supermarket. Also, remember in supermarkets to utilise counters. Cheese, meat and fish can be purchased plastic-free from many supermarket counters or butchers, you can even bring in your own containers to take your meat away with you.
Some plastic-free purchases will be more expensive, but by giving yourself a total and balancing along the way you can reduce your plastic consumption and still get everything you need for the week!
That just about covers everything in your home! Plastic-free living is a challenge, but these are great places to start, especially if you’re on a budget. There’s no such thing as ‘affording’ a sustainable lifestyle, just careful planning and popping your pennies in the right pots.
Do you know of any other budget-friendly plastic-free products that we haven’t talked about? Be sure to share them in the comments below so we can all learn and grow towards a plastic-free lifestyle, together.