Inhalers Homemade

Seems you can buy refillable inhalers. You soak the cotton wick in essential oils of your choice, put in the inhaler and sniff away.

If you live in the States you can buy these rather nice ones in glass and aluminium from  3.5 inches x .75 inches, outer shell is aluminum.

If you live in the U.K. you have to make do with these ugly plastic ones from Ebay. Yes, I know, plastic – but reusable rather than disposable.


To clear stuffed noses try Eucalyptus oil

Find more #plasticfree personal care products here



Eucaplyptus Oil

Replace plastic inhalers with a bottle of eucalyptus oil – but be careful, very careful how you sniff!


Essential oils concentrated and so should be used with some care.

Do not apply neat to the skin.

It is probably good practice to do an allergy test and do some further research.


If you are happy to bumble along with me and are aware of the risks of listening to someone who

a) doesn’t have any training in this field,

b) most of what they know comes from Google,

c) but has used essential oils for a long time with no ill effects…..

Welcome aboard but please, proceed with caution….

So thanks to the beastly cold I was waking every hour of the night unable to breath and feeling like an anvil had been rammed up my nose with a sledge hammer. The day was spent choking on my own thick, green, glue-like secretions and panting heavily through my mouth. Thankfully being in Thailand meant being close to chemists that sold medicines I could work with. By which I mean stuff I knew what to do with and recognized as medical aids not bats in a cage or some kind of incomprehensible mushroom. I love China but it can be hard to find a normal looking medicine.

The Big C supermarket has a chemist shop called Pure. It sells Eucalyptus oil which is made (extracted?) from the leaves and twigs of eucalyptus trees. It comes in a cute little glass bottle with a metal screw top lid. I have never tried it before but I had vague memories of it being used to clear noses. And, whoa, it sure does. It has a powerful strong smell  and after only a few whiffs  I could feel the mucas retreating and my nasal passages drying out. It was wonderful.

In no time at all I had developed a  full blown dependency and was acting like a badly-stressed, over-laced Victorian with her smelling salts. Every few minutes I would rummage desperately in by bag,  pull out the small, decorative bottle and sniff away.

While extremely effective, this method of application is not without its disadvantages. First the hotel staff looked a more than little startled as I snuffled past, pasty-faced and watery-eyed, a bottle jammed firmly up one nostril. Secondly I would occasionally miscalculate and get oil on my sensitive nose red and tender from days of vigorous blowing. It stings. a lot! Do not apply this oil neat to the skin.

So at night rather than rub it one my chest (winces at the thought), I liberally spattered my jim jams with dollops of the stuff. Phwoar!  I slept peacefully enfolded in a nostril-clearing, buzzing haze of fumes. Sure I smelt like an old folks home and woke up with a dry and scratchy throat but it was a small price to pay for an almost undisturbed night.

Google claims Eucalyptus oil is good for pain and swelling (inflammation) of respiratory tract mucous membranes, coughs, bronchitis, sinus pain and inflammation, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory infections. It works as an expectorant to loosen coughs, antiseptic, fever reducer, and in vaporizer fluids. Other uses include treatment of wounds, burns, ulcers, cancer, genital herpes, and nasal stuffiness, as an insect repellent, a fragrance in perfumes and cosmetics, a mouthwash, antiseptic, liniment and ointment, and in toothpaste, cough drops, and lozenges.

Web MD states that “Though eucalyptus is used medicinally for many purposes, there isn’t enough scientific evidence so far to rate it as effective for any of them.” It also states quite firmly that “eucalyptus oil should not be taken by mouth or applied to the skin full-strength. (!)

I don’t advise you use it for treating serious medical conditions. If I had cancer or gential herpes I would be looking  for something with a better proven medical track record. But I can certainly suggest Big C Eucalyptus oil as a plastic free way to alleviate nasal stuffiness.

You can buy refillable inhalers which would be a more discrete and safer way to self medicate.

Inhaler featured

Cold gone and  I still have almost all a full bottle of oil left so  I will be looking for other uses.


Condoms & Lubricants

If all goes well on Valentines day you may well be planning some intimate moments. Time to check out condoms.

Condoms come in the following materials….

Latex: made of latex rubber from rubber trees a natural and therefore biodegradable. Which has led to claims that that latex condoms are biodegradable. Which is hotly debated! Latex condoms contain addatives to make them (amongst other things) stronger. Many people say that even if they do eventually decompose, (not proven),  it takes such a long time as to make any claims of biodegradability  misleading. Certainly the anti-balloon camp do not consider latex balloons to be biodegradable despite what the balloon industry say. So, for the time being, lets leave latex on the shelf for further study.

Synthetic materials: polyisoprene, polyurethane and silicone. All of these are non- biodegradable materials.

Lambskin: sheeps intestines – no good for you vegans out there but definitely biodegradable.

Lets find out more

Here is some blurb from the British Condom shop about Trojan NaturaLambs, the make of lambskin condoms they sell

“These condoms are made from a natural membrane and while that may sound strange at first, they are one of the most comfortable, intimate, and largest condoms on the market. Most notable is their ability to transfer heat.

NaturaLamb condoms also have the exclusive Kling-Tite draw string at the base for added safety.

NOTE: These condoms do NOT protect against STDs, only unwanted pregnancy!”

Some more….

I am sure the packaging will contain plastic elements but then so will all the others. This appears to be the best option for condoms you can compost. The next question is would you want to?


Lambskin condoms can be used with both water-based and oil-based lubricants. However most commercially produced lubricants come in plastic bottles and many contain paragons, a preservative that causes some people concern. If you want something completely natural, go for for coconut oil. If you like this blog you know we love coconut oil – but don’t take our word for it, read this is a great write up about coconut oil in the bedroom.

NB If you find the smell overwhelming you might like to buy an odourless coconut oil. In Yorkshire? – you can buy coconut oil here

If you want to go for a traditional product here’s a good write up on what is available in the world of lubricants.

Buy From Amazon

Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms (10 Pack) Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms …
Made from sheeps intestines
Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1


Amazon Products

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue.

Yes we do get an affiliation fee for this, and no we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.




Far be it from me to promote smoking but the purpose of this blog is to find plastic free alternatives to all legal pastimes and last time I looked smoking still was.

So if you fancy a plastic-free fag, by which, our American friends, I mean a ciggarette, then what are your options? Well you can go to Aberystwith and buy plastic free loose rolling tobaccos

But if that is too far how about growing (and curing) your own. I haven’t tried this – if you do please let me know how you get on! Please note they say “yes totally minimal packaging possible , reuse and recycle all the way only at ” so contact them before you order and say you are plastic free!



Vinegar is great. You can use it for all kinds of things and is almost plastic free to buy.

Vinegar is made by converting ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid – the main ingredient in vinegar.

Vinegar is typically a 4-8% solution of acetic acid; the rest is water.This makes it a moderately strong acid.

Read about pH of acids and alkaline here.

It can be made from any any alcohol – wine vinegar is made from wine (!), apple vinegar from cider, malt vinegar from beer and white vinegar from moonshine as far as I can tell!

Vinegars can be made at home.

Live Vinegar 

Most vinegars are sold processed and filtered but you can buy live vinegar.

  • This still contains the mother Mother of vinegar a cloudy monstrous swamp  of acetic acid bacteria and cellulose. This is created during the fermentation process of alcohol into vinegar
  • The ‘mother’ is alive and is made up from bacteria, enzymes and living nutrients.
  • The presence of the mother shows that the vinegar has not been processed or filtered.
  • It is the mother that gives vinegar all its claimed health benefits.
  • You can also use it to make more vinegar

Apple Vinegar

  • is good as a  hair conditioner and skin toner
  • It can also be used for cleaning
  • And almost everything else.
  • It can be  made at home!
  • Tescos do an apple vinegar in a glass bottle with a metal screwtop lid. Apart from the little plasticised disc in the lid they are as plastic free as you can get.

Find out more about apple vinegar here including where to buy the good stuff

White vinegar

White vinegar is made 

  • can be used for cleaning and pickling
  • It is  made from either acetic acid produced in a laboratory or from grain-based ethanol (alcohol)
  • It is clear
  • It can be bought cheaply in large glass bottles at most supermarkets. However they will have  either a plastic lid or a metal lid lined with plastic.  It is a plastic price worth paying for this versatile product.

Malt Vinegar

  • is for pickles, chutneys and chips.
  • Malt vinegar is made from beer which is allowed to ferment until bacteria turn it into vinegar.
  • It has has a deep brown colour.
  • It can be bought cheaply in large glass bottles at most supermarkets. However they will have  either a plastic lid or a metal lid lined with plastic.  It is a plastic price worth paying for this versatile product.



Vinegar is a mild disinfectant. It will kill some microbes but not all. You can read more here.


Vinegar is an acid so good at cleaning inorganic soils and alkaline stains and grime but NOT grease and fats.

 Examples of alkaline grime is hard water, mineral buildup, soaps scum (acid attacking an alkaline).

Vinegar can be used to clean all manner of things – you can find a big list here

Clear dirt off PCs and peripherals with equal parts white vinegar and water on a cloth damp not dripping

Other Stuff

  • Erase ballpoint-pen marks
  • Burnish your scissors
  • Clean your window blinds
  • Clean your piano keys
  • Get rid of water rings on furniture
  • Restore your rugs
  • Remove carpet stains
  • Brighten up brickwork
  • Revitalize wood paneling
  • Wipe off wax or polish buildup
  • Revitalize leather furniture
  • Conceal scratches in wood furniture
  • Remove candle wax

Antiseptics & Disinfectants

This post talks about

This is an area where you want to do your own research and decide what level of protection you need. I do not use antiseptic or disinfectants because I don’t do surgery on my kitchen table or have a low immune system. I keep stuff clean and it seems to work. BUT this is a subject about which I know little. This is my understanding of it. I strongly advise you to do your own research.
Here goes…..


The world is full of microbes – micro-organisms – or germs.
“Microbes are single-cell organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle. They are the oldest form of life on earth. Microbe fossils date back more than 3.5 billion years to a time when the Earth was covered with oceans that regularly reached the boiling point, hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Without microbes, we couldn’t eat or breathe.Without us, they’d probably be just fine.”
Which is maybe why we seem determined to wipe them out.  Microbes are everywhere. Inside you outside you swarming all over that keyboard you just touched to type in that fantastically appreciative comment.

They can be divided into four main groups – bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Some are good such as the composting microbes, some are bad such as the pneumonia germs, some  just bumble about doing what ever it is they do in their teeny tiny world.
“By and large, the vast majority of the microbes on this planet are not those that make us sick. We have only scratched the surface to what microbes are out there, and more of them are harmless or even beneficial to us,” Says a scientist.

Kill THEM!!!!!!

But still we want them dead. And here’s how.

Antiseptics & Disinfectants

What are they and now are they different

  • Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that slow or stop the growth of micro-organisms (germs)
  • They are used on living tissues and cells on external surfaces of the body and help prevent infections. Though they are antiseptics they are often called skin disinfectants,
  • Antibiotics  destroy micro-organisms inside the body, NHS website says…Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from reproducing and spreading. Antibiotics aren’t effective against viral infections, such as the common cold, flu, most coughs and sore throats.
  • Disinfectants  destroy microorganisms which infect nonliving objects.

You would use an antiseptic to clean your hands, a disinfectant to clean your breadboard and an antibiotic to kill pneumonia
Wikkipedia tells us  that Some antiseptics are true germicides, capable of destroying microbes (bacteriocidal), while others are bacteriostatic and only prevent or inhibit their growth.
Antibacterials are antiseptics that have the proven ability to act against bacteria.
Antiseptics are not antibiotics.

Using Antiseptics and Disinfectants

This is not meant as advice I am just relating my personal choices. I never use disinfectants or antiseptics. I clean with  soap and bicarbonate ( which is mildly antiseptic but not as good as vinegar).

Most Common Uses

Disinfecting The Home

Food preparation, kitchens and bathrooms are the obvious places for disinfectants. You don’t want bad germs in your food.
I do the obvious things like wash my hands before eating and after I have touched anything dirty. I keep cooked and uncooked food separate. I don’t eat raw meat. I store food in clean conditions. I wash the chopping board if I have used it for meat before I use it for anything else. I have two boards that I use when preparing food. I clean fruit and veg before eating.
For all of this I use soap and hot water. soap and a good scrub.  I don’t think think that anything else is necessary. ,
Also disinfectants kill all microbes, the good the bad the stuff we don’t know what it does yet. Which is unessecary and possibly harmful. There are arguments that living in a sterile atmosphere lowers resistance to infection as the body has not built up any resistance.
Clean not sterile is my mantra.

We need to talk about vinegar…..

Commercial disinfectants are extremely effective. Green alternatives are billed as kinder less harmful. They are certainly less harmful to the microbes because they don’t work as well.

Vinegar & Essentail Oils
Vinegar is the much touted disinfectant of choice for the plastic free.
It is about 5% acetic acid. It’s the acid that kills bacteria and viruses, most probably by denaturing (chemically changing) the proteins and fats that make-up these nasties. It is  good but not as effective as common commercial disinfectants.
Vinegar will not kill  salmonella, “which can transfer from raw meat to chopping boards and onto other foods to give us food poisoning.”
Ammonia, baking soda, vinegar, Borax, “are not registered with EPA and should not be used for disinfecting because they are ineffective against S. aureus.

Undiluted vinegar and ammonia are effective against S.Typhi and E.coli 53, 332, 333.
Neat vinegar also kills flue virus.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be used
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer. It can kill salmonella.
Research published by the Journal of Food and Science in 2003 showed effective results of using hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate apples and melons that were infected with strains of E.coli.
Essentail Oils – there is even less evidence for  efface of essential oils and they take a lot of resources to produce.

Cleaning A Wound

For a long time hydrogen peroxide was used as an antiseptic on open wounds and grazes. Now many recommend against it saying it also kills off healthy tissue and beneficial bacteria. In short using any antiseptics on an open wound is an area of medical controversy.

“In clinical practice, antiseptics are broadly used for both intact skin and wounds, although concerns are raised based upon their effect on human cells and wound healing. Opinions are conflicting. Some authors strongly disapprove the use of antiseptics in open wounds.[6-8] On the other hand, others believe antiseptics have a role in wound care, and their use may favor wound healing clinically.[9,10]

Web MD claim that  cool running water “is the best treatments for common wounds, and that you should rinse the wound for at least five minutes to remove it of debris, dirt, or anything else that may be in there. The water will clean the wound out well enough for your body to take over without harming the still living tissue around the wound.

I don’t get many wounds and when I do, I don’t use antiseptics. Most cuts and scrapes seems to clear up with out infection – even when travelling in some of the dirtier places. Again, not a recommendation just an observation.

Skin Disinfectants ( Antiseptics)

Removing bacteria from the skin is done to prevent the spread of disease. The area of skin you need to keep cleanest is your hand which carry microbes from place to place  by touch.


The easiest way to disinfect the skin is to wash with soap and water. But don’t bother with anti bacterial soaps. “Washing your hands is extremely important for preventing the spread of infectious illness, especially at critical points like after using the toilet, changing the baby, or handling raw foods. But consumers can’t assume that antibacterial soaps are better for this than other soaps.”

Soap doesn’t kill bacteria but removes it .

“harmless and harmful microbes stick to the oil your hands naturally produce, and, absent removal, willingly hitch a ride until they reach their ultimate destination (inside of you or somebody else) where they can in some cases wreak havoc…. [washing hands]… for at least 20 or more seconds at a time, is a highly effective way of removing bacteria despite the fact that the bacteria doesn’t die, but is simply flushed away when you rinse (or wiped off on a towel).”


If you have no soap and water or that is not appropriate you can try alcohol. Both ethanol or ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol, or isopropanol can be used as antisceptics and have similar effects. However ethanol or ethyl alcohol is the stuff that makes you drunk isopropyl alcohol, or isopropanol (also known as rubbing alchohol or surgical spirit) is made from propene derived from fossil fuels and water. You can read more about it here

If you want a petroleum free product use ethyl alcohol.

ethyl alcohol.

Can be used as a skin disinfectant. It effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi, and kills most bacteria, fungi, and many viruses on the hands and skin.

It is commonly used as skin antiseptics, often in the form of wipes Wise geek

It is

  • effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi,
  • kills most bacteria, fungi, and many viruses on the hands and skin
  • is commonly used as skin antiseptics, often in the form of wipes or gels, and for disinfecting surfaces
  • Its main  main effect on microorganisms seems to be to coagulate essential proteins, rendering them ineffective, and causing cell death or inhibiting reproduction.
  • It may also have a dehydrating effect and may interfere with the functioning of cell membranes. Wise geek

Mouth  & Mouthwashes

Now this I do use. I have a troublesome wisdom tooth that occasionally flares up. I can keep it at bay with a rigorous tooth cleaning regime. When it is bad I use a salt mouthwash. And I have used hydrogen peroxide which seems to work.

Sodium chloride (salt) solution can be used  as a mildly antiseptic mouthwash.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a mouth gargle The Merck Manuals recommended diluting the 3% hydrogen peroxide 50 percent with water, but suggest it as a rinse and part of a treatment for trench mouth, for example.  The FDA has approved 3% solutions of hydrogen peroxide for use as a mouthwash.  Most sources said to use it only for a short time, however, such as part of a treatment of a mouth infection.  A report from Well-Connected (written or edited by physicians at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital) recommended against extended use, saying that overuse may actually damage cells and soften tooth surfaces. We were not able to find any authoritative information about hydrogen peroxide and canker sores.

Hydrogen peroxide may be amongst the better options.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer. It can kill salmonella.

Research published by the Journal of Food and Science in 2003 showed effective results of using hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate apples and melons that were infected with strains of E.coli.

You can use of hydrogen peroxide is to bleach hair. The concentrations are between 3% and 6%.

It can be used to clean blood stains out of clothes and brighten colours but do be careful it doesnt actually leave bleach marks.






Bicarbonate Of Soda

This one product can replace hundreds of plastic bottles on your shelves. It does biodegrade. However there are issues about how it is obtained. I say it is a good product but use in moderation. Locally made soap  is a greener cleaning option to my mind.


Bicarb is available from
Wing Yip Chinese Super Store in Manchester in bulk in paper bags
Wilco’s in a cardboard box
Dri Pac in cardboard boxes with plastic liners.
You can also get some great deals on ebay but it does come plastic wrapped. However when you think how much you can do with it, and how many plastic bottles it, replaces you might consider it a worthwhile trade off!

What Is Bicarbonate Of Soda (Baking Soda)

Chemical formula NaHCO3.
Each molecule of sodium bicarbonate contains one sodium atom (Na), one hydrogen atom (H), and a carbonate ion (one carbon atom bonded to three oxygen atoms).
It is biodegradable
Bicarb is formed naturally as nahcolite  but most of the stuff sold is man made.
In 1846, John Dwight and his brother-in-law, Dr Austin Church, invented bicarbonate of soda. It was made from carbon dioxide and treated soda ash. 
There is more on soda ash here.
Most Bicarbonate of Soda is imported.
It is alkaline which is why it is so good at cleaning up grease and fats.


It can  mined directly from the ground  as Nahcolite.  This is a soft, colourless or white carbonate mineral with the composition of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). It may  also be called thermokalite.


Most Bicarbonate of soda is produced  by either of these heavily industrialized processes

The Solvay Process  Uses limestone, salt and ammonia to transform salt (sodium chloride). 

Mining –  Trona ore  is mined, then heated until it turns into soda ash also known as washing soda. Bicarbonate of soda is obtained along the way. Read more.

Baking Soda V Washing Soda

Baking Soda’s PH is not as alkaline as washing soda, so it doesn’t cause skin irritation and you don’t need gloves to handle them. It is not as harsh as washing soda but neither is it as effective a cleaner. It is also half as effective at softening water.

You can turn bicarb back into washing soda by baking it so that breaks back down into water steam, carbon dioxide and washing soda. I have never done this but by all acounts need to cook your bicarb in the oven for half an hour at 400 F (or 200 C). You can compare and contrast them here.

Use It For

Cleaning the house
Washing your hair

Baking soda, is also used to make cookies, cakes, biscuits, and similar pastries “rise” during baking. In the presence of an acid, it easily decomposes into carbon dioxide and a sodium salt of that acid, and the trapped bubbles provide the textures we enjoy in those foods. Note that “baking powder” is a simple mixture of baking soda and a dry acid such as cream of tartar, often with a starch added to provide bulk.

Other resources

washing soda 

Information on PH balances and other cleaning products can be found here.


Baking soda, is used to make cookies, cakes, biscuits, and similar pastries “rise” during baking. In the presence of an acid, it easily decomposes into carbon dioxide and a sodium salt of that acid, and the trapped bubbles provide the textures we enjoy in those foods. Note that “baking powder” is a simple mixture of baking soda and a dry acid such as cream of tartar, often with a starch added to provide bulk.


Antisceptic, tooth whitener and mouthwash …

Bought a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from Big C Supermarket in Thailand. The bottle is glass the cap is metal. Plastic free you might think?  well, apart from the plastic lid liner and plasticised paper label. However it is  massively plastic reduced. You can also buy it Boots in a plastic bottle.

It is my choice of  antiseptic for my travel medical kit. I use it to clean cuts and grazes.

But, as I hardly ever cut myself I also use it as

A mouth wash and  to help whiten the teeth. But only occasionally because there are lots of conflicting reports on the healthiness of such activities. This is a useful read 

Mouthwash Mix: 1 part hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 part water. Rinse mouth, then spit out. Discard and left over solution or use it as extra solution.

For another great mouthwash recipe try this blog

or this one for lots more

And don’t stop at the mouthwash, there are lots of wonderful sounding things in there.

Bleach Hair

Use a 3% solution to bleach your hair

Ear Wax

Soften and loosen the earwax with warm mineral oil or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide mixed with an equal amount of room-temperature water. Place 2 drops of the fluid, warmed to body temperature, in the ear twice a day for up to 5 days. Be sure to warm the fluid because cold fluid can cause pain and dizziness. Web MD

And there are lots more things you can with hydrogen peroxide here.


Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide 3% - 500ml Care 200ml Hydrogen Peroxide 6 Percent Solution
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide 3% – 500ml
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide 3% – 500ml

You can buy Hydrogen Peroxide on line from Amazon and other places. You can find more online products and read our Amazon policy here,

NB may come in a plastic bottle – you will have to decide if this represents a plastic free saving. I think so  because I get to do so much with it.

Other plastic free beauty products can be found right here.

Want to find more travel related plastic free tips? Check out the travel category



How to clean your teeth plastic free

Cleaning your teeth involves so much plastic what with the tooth brushes and tubes of toothpaste. Lucky for you I have researched a number of plastic free products for you to try.


While I am not a fan of plastic-free toothbrushes I do prefer my home made toothpaste. Plastic free and almost plastic free dentifrices are listed here.

Teeth Whitening & Mouthwash

Someday you can use peroxide to whiten your teeth. I say it is revolting.

You can also use it as a mouthwash.


I have tried natural toothbrushes and I am not that keen. They quickly go kind of pulpy and I didn’t feel  they are up to the job. So have gone back to my electric toothbrush consoling myself with the thought that
a) the heads are half the size of a normal plastic toothbrush
b) I make my own toothpaste and
c) these are my TEETH.

Bamboo Brush

But there are a number of all-natural, bamboo toothbrushes on the market some of which I have reviewed. You can find out more here.

Bamboo Brush With Nylon Bristles

In my opinion, these work better than all bamboo toothbrushes. Some claim the nylon bristles are biodegradable others dispute this claim. Best to treat this a reduced plastic option. Read more here.

Biodegradable Cornstarch Bristles

This is an interesting new project that might lead to better things.

A Biodegradable Cornstarch Toothbrush?
Sounds interesting – check out this Kickstarter campaign

My name is Alan Chen, and I’m the inventor of Smiti, an eco-friendly toothbrush with a stylish, minimalistic design that helps to reduce waste and save the environment.

I invented Smiti after researching how much our daily habits contribute to harming our planet. As the father of a little baby, I really want to contribute to a sustainable future for generations to come. We can all do little changes in order to help.

Smiti is a stylish, gentle and efficient toothbrush that does the job while helping to reduce waste. The interchangeable head of Smiti is made of 100% biodegradable PLA from naturals renewable sources such as corn starch, cassava root and sugarcane. The aluminum alloy handle can be used for years, and at the end of its long life, be recycled.

Using Smiti as a part of your daily dental hygiene routine can greatly help reduce the plastic waste caused by traditional toothbrushes.

I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign, where until March 27, 2017, Smiti is available to pre-at a great discount. Smiti comes in Black, White, and the exclusive Kickstarter color Rose Gold.

Learn more by checking out the Smiti campaign page:
Find pictures and more information in the Smiti Press Kit:


Find other plastic free personal care products here…

Making Other Personal Care Products 

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on making your own personal care products



How to…menstruate plastic free


Along with cotton buds, tampons, applicators and panty liners make up 7.3 % of items flushed down the toilet in the UK.
For every kilometre of beach included in the Beachwatch survey weekend in 2010, 22.5 towels/panty liners/backing strips, and 8.9 tampon applicators, were found.
About 90% of the materials used to make sanitary pads and liners are plastic and include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyacrylate super absorbents.
Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are disposed of somewhere.
Read more here


There is no doubt menstruation can be a grubby business. So three cheers for the mooncup using, reusable wearing, all green and lovely ladies of clean. Here’s what they use


Because of the nature of the product, where it has to go and what it has to do the options do contain some plastic. Shop bought reusable pads may be made of synthetic fibres and have a waterproof backing (though some don’t). Silicone is non biodegradable and very plastic like.  But they are reusable and so cut your plastic consumption by massive amounts. You can find out lots more via the product links.

Reusable menstrual pads / sanitary towel. They are as they sound. Reusable pad you wash after use. You can buy them ready made from smaller suppliers on Esty to bigger  mainstream companies. You can even make them yourself. Read more here – buy or make Reusable menstrual pads / sanitary towel

Internal / Menstrual Cup  –  This is  little silicone or rubber cup that you use internally. It collects the flow and is then emptied washed and reused. Before you squeal and scream read this


Not only do towels and tampons come wrapped in plastic, the fibres used to make them are often synthetic plastic. About 90% of the materials used to make sanitary pads and liners are plastic and include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyacrylate super absorbents. Natracare to a great range of  almost plastic free menstrual products. Try these

Tampon with applicator made from organic cotton with a cardboard applicator in a paper wrapper.

Other Interesting Options 

About which I know very little

Sea Sponges 

There’s an interesting read  here with instructions on how to make your own  and  reviews of ready made here.

Buy Local First

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source.

Buy from independent online traders

If you can’t buy local please do check the links above to the suppliers and buy direct from them and support their online businesses.

Finally ….If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

Gladrags Menstrual Color Cotton Pads - 3 - Pack Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size B 1pieces Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size A 1pieces
Gladrags Menstrual Color Cotton Pads – 3 – …
Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size B 1pieces
Comes in 2 sizes – check before you buy you can read a review on
Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size A 1pieces
Natracare Regular Pads Natracare Organic All Cotton Tampons With Applicator - Regular 16 Reusable Hemp Sanitary Towel
Natracare Regular Pads
£1.90 – £18.27
Natracare Organic All Cotton Tampons With A…
see review on our website
Reusable Hemp Sanitary Towel
Reusable Cotton Sanitary Towel - Flowers & Birds The Busy Woman's Guide to Cloth Pads GladRags Color Day Pad
Reusable Cotton Sanitary Towel – Flowers &a… The Busy Woman’s Guide to Cloth Pads
by Tracy Puhl
GladRags Color Day Pad
£6.00 –
Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This  is not why we do it.



Snot rags! Ughhh….. Remember the old days when you had a hanky tucked up your sleeve or even in the hem of your knickers, your home-made knitted knickers that is?  Long gone are the clammy times of snot rags, hurrah for the disposable tissue.

Unless of course you care for trees, don’t like waste and won’t use plastic.

I fall into all of those categories so I don’t buy plastic packed throwaway paper hankies but I must admit the idea of using cloth made me squirm. Still needs must and I bought a whole load of  reusable fabric, washable handkerchiefs from  Huddersfield Market

and then some more from Organic Alley.

She  sells organic, fair trade cotton hankies. She also  has a whole load of info on why you are a  better person for using reusables and how  cotton hankies are not at all nasty….really.

I have been using mine for ages and they are a lot more comfortable than paper – not so scratchy on the nose. lighter on the environment and really useful for all sorts of other things too. Try them you will be amazed.

Get lots of small hankies, use them for a couple of blows then in the laundry. Use like a papper tissue rather than keeping them in your knicker leg for ages. It also depends (and I don’t want to get to specific here) on the quality of the mucas. Thick and green and its back to disposables!

Do be careful when you buy a box of tissues. They often come with a plastic collar. You can find plastic free boxes here. Or you could just use loo roll in compostable packaging.

Failing that you could try these from Amazon. Please do read our disclaimer for more info about buying from Amazon

12 Pack Ladies 100% Cotton Plain White Handkerchiefs With Satin Stripe Border Samuel Windsor Luxury 100% Cotton Handkerchiefs - 12 Pack. Samuel Windsor Luxury 100% Cotton Handkerchiefs Check Stripe - 12 Pack.
12 Pack Ladies 100% Cotton Plain White Hand…
Samuel Windsor Luxury 100% Cotton Handkerch…
Samuel Windsor Luxury 100% Cotton Handkerch…
Samuel Windsor Luxury 100% Cotton Handkerchiefs - 12 Pack. 12 Pack Of Womens/Ladies 100% Cotton Dyed Handkerchiefs With A Satin Border, Assorted Colours
Samuel Windsor Luxury 100% Cotton Handkerch…
12 Pack Of Womens/Ladies 100% Cotton Dyed H…


I use soap to

  • wash my body I don’t like using soap on my face so I cleanse with oil and water.
  • instead of shampoo.
  • washing the bath and other household cleaning chores.

Making Soap

Soap is made from lye, oils or fats (animal or vegetable) and water.


When these three are mixed together a chemical process called saponification takes place. The end result is soap

In the olden days soap makers used lye obtained from wood ashes. Find out how, here.

Modern day soap makers use Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as lye and caustic soda. This is made from salt and is very caustic See how that is made here.


In the olden days making soap was a labour intensive process. There were plenty of animal fats but making lye took forever. And it wasn’t very reliable. Then in 1791 French chemist Le Blanc discovered how to make Soda Ash from salt. Soap got much easier and cheaper to make and the great unwashed could finally afford a bar in every home.

How does it work

Alkaline & Organic Soils

Soap is alkaline which means it will work well  with organic soils ( dirt). Alkaline emulsify grease.  Fatty acids are normally insoluble which is why they cannot be cleaned using water alone. The alkaline breaks down fat making them dispersable in water. Read more here

Soap & Germs

But folk were not just cleaner but safer too. Soap does actually kills germs but it does a good job of physically removing them. 

Whats in YOUR soap

Here are some of the things you might find in your soap.

sodium tallowate  is from animal fat usually from cows

Sodium lauryl sulfate (commonly known as SLS)  and Sodium laureth sulphate and sodium laurel sulphate also attract dirt so work in the same way as soap but they create more lather. This is the main reason they are added – to create lots of lovely lather.  They are a known skin irritant. Internet claims that they cause cancer are unproven.

Synthetic fragrance  – which may contain DEO a phthalate used as a solvent and fixative. Despite the general bad press about phthalates this one is considered safe.

Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) are used in soap making  because they make the soap more bubbly and result in a harder bar.

Palm oil –  comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. They have cut down hundreds of acres of rainforest to make way for huge plantations of palm oil. This has impacted adversely on the habitat of the orangutang  a now endangered species. You can find out more about it and why we minimise our use of palm oil, here .

Buying Soap

Bar Soap

Soap Flakes

I don’t buy soap wrapped in plastic.I don’t even buy soap wrapped in boxes – there’s no need for it. I buy soap loose.

There are a lot of artisan soap makers producing high quality sustainable soaps. You will find them for sale in health food shops and on Etsy.

Or you could make your own. Read this from Jen of Make Do And Mend Life

Here are some recipes for making Castille Soap