Zero Waste in the Kitchen: Finding a Cling Wrap Alternative That Works

zero-waste-glad-wrap-alternative

If you’re aiming for a zero waste lifestyle, or just want to take the first steps towards reducing your plastic waste, the kitchen is one of the first places you should look. There are loads of easy swaps and changes you can make to reduce your eco footprint and help the planet.

Today, we’re going to dive deep into cling wrap alternatives and find you a convenient solution to this single use plastic. The good news is that the alternatives work just as well, if not better, than wasteful throw away glad wrap. Whether you’re looking for biodegradable cling wrap, beeswax cling wrap, or new glad wrap alternatives that you may not have thought of yet, we’ve got it all covered right here.

Why is Cling Wrap Bad for the Environment?

Cling wrap (or plastic wrap as some people call it) is a single use polyethylene or PVC plastic that’s been around since the 1960s.

Plastic is everywhere in the modern world and, worryingly, just 12% of plastic in Australia is actually recycled. The rest ends up in landfill, where it takes decades to break down, or in our waterways and oceans, where it’s harmful to marine life. Soft plastics including cling wrap are a big contributor to that and many people don’t dispose of them correctly.

The good news is that there are also heaps of environmentally friendly alternatives to cling wrap that can be reused or recycled.

Is Cling Wrap Recyclable?

If you already have cling wrap that you want to use up, check if it’s made from PVC first as this type is not recyclable at all.

In normal recycling centres, cling wrap can clog and damage the machine. You shouldn’t put cling wrap and other soft plastics in your kerbside plastic recycling bin. If you do, you risk contaminating it and the whole thing ending up in landfill.

However, some cling film is recyclable under certain conditions. If it’s not made from PVC it can be placed in a special soft plastic recycling bin like the REDcycle bins at your local Coles or Woolies. If you’re still confused, or not sure whether your cling wrap contains PVC, check this list of accepted cling films on the REDcycle website.

Choosing one of these eco friendly plastic wrap alternatives, takes the guess work out of recycling your cling film. Take a look and we’re sure you’ll find something that lets you ditch the cling wrap for good.

Zero Waste in the Kitchen: Finding a Cling Wrap Alternative That Works
Beeswax food wrap. Image: Pixabay

Fabric Based Alternatives to Cling Wrap

First, there are some great fabric based food covers to choose from. They’re great at keeping food fresh and can be easily cleaned and reused over and over again. Be sure to look for something with a waterproof lining or coating to make cleaning easier.

Look for something made from cotton or hemp and they’ll even be biodegradable when they come to the end of their lifespan.

Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps

Beeswax paper is actually a fabric (usually cotton) that’s coated in melted beeswax to seal it and make it waterproof and most people refer to them as beeswax wraps. Australia has a huge range available on the market today, so they’re readily available and relatively inexpensive. We like the Apiwraps, as you can get them in singles or in multipacks.

These reusable cling wrap alternatives are plastic free, all natural, and biodegradable. Simply wash them in cool water after each use and reuse them for up to 12 months. Then, you can either reseal them yourself with beeswax or compost them in the garden.

They can’t be washed in hot water so aren’t suitable for meat and fish but they’re the perfect reusable food wraps for fruits and vegetables or for covering dishes. Unfortunately, they’re not dishwasher or microwave safe as the wax can melt.

Vegan Food Wraps

Vegan food wraps are cloth food covers made in exactly the same way as beeswax wraps but they’re made with a plant based coating like soy wax, making them 100% vegan friendly. Try The Family Hub Organics for an Australian made vegan version using vegetable wax, tree gum and jojoba.

They have the same great benefits as beeswax sandwich wraps do but without the animal products and are not meant for use in the microwave or dishwasher.

Fabric Food Covers

These types of reusable food covers are made from fabric with a waterproof lining, and usually have elasticated edges so they can fit snugly over containers. Look for something biodegradable such as cotton or hemp to limit its environmental impact, such as these fabric food covers from 4MyEarth.

They aren’t suitable for directly wrapping food but they work great as reusable bowl covers. The great thing about fabric bowl covers is they’re generally plastic free (just be sure to check the waterproof lining), meaning they’re BPA, PVC and phthalate free.

Reusable Sandwich Wraps

Another eco food wrap option, reusable sandwich wraps are a great way to individually wrap sandwiches, rolls, or snacks and take them on the go.

The material these food wraps are made of varies greatly between products. Some are made from plant based fabrics like cotton and others are made from food grade recycled plastic, like these Onya lunch wraps.

There are some great benefits to using these types of wraps. The waterproof lining makes them easy to wipe clean, they usually come with a velcro closure to keep food securely wrapped, and they keep food fresh.

agreena-glad-wrap-alternative
Multipurpose silicone food wrap. Image: Agreena

Silicone Based Wraps

Silicone is a great non toxic alternative to plastic that’s food safe and has no BPA, PVC or phthalates. It’s non porous and impermeable, so you don’t have to deal with leaks and it’s even bacteria resistant.

Unfortunately, silicone is not biodegradable but it is very durable so will last a long time. When it reaches the end of its life it’s also much easier to recycle than cling wrap.

Basic Reusable Silicone Food Wrap

These are made to be used as a glad wrap alternative and are a thin sheet of silicone. They are soft and pliable enough to stretch over different sized containers or wrap food directly. They also “cling” just like glad wrap for a reliable seal.

Reusable silicone food wraps look a little like a piece of cling wrap, only thicker and much more durable. They can easily be cleaned in warm water after each use and are even dishwasher safe.

Multifunctional Silicone Cling Wrap

This Agreena wrap is a multifunctional silicone cling wrap that’s actually a great oven cling film, baking paper alternative, and tin foil substitute.

It looks and feels just like the basic silicone wrap and can withstand oven temperatures up to 220 celsius. It’s a great aluminium foil alternative that’s non stick and easy to clean and reuse. It’s also freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe.

Silicone Bowl Covers and Lids

Silicone lids and bowl covers are actually more versatile than they sound. They can be used to cover containers and smaller ones can also cover cut fruit and vegetable pieces to keep them fresh. The smaller versions are sometimes called silicone food huggers or silicone food savers.

Silicone bowl covers like the Little Mashies reusable bowl cover set are super stretchy so they can securely fit over a range of different sized containers. They provide an airtight seal and are usually more secure and durable than silicone cling wrap.

Most of these types of silicone food covers are dishwasher, freezer, and oven safe so they’re super versatile.

Common Kitchen Items

Many of the reusable glad wrap alternatives that we’ve looked at so far are great at giving an airtight seal and keeping food fresh for long periods of time. We’d definitely recommend going with one of them as a long term substitute.

However, if you’re caught short and need a quick solution, there are some everyday kitchen items that can be used as a temporary solution.

Crockery (Dinner Plates and Bowls)

The easiest and quickest way to cover leftovers, keep contaminants out, and food fresh is with a dinner plate or bowl. They’re cheap, readily available in the kitchen, don’t cost extra money, and easy to clean.

It’s a great way to cover food in the microwave to prevent splattering!

The downsides are that food won’t be kept fresh for long because they’re not pliable and don’t create an air tight seal, they’re heavy and are not an easy way to transport food.

Dish Towel

Another readily available kitchen item is tea towels. They’re cheap and easy to use when you don’t have anything else to hand. The good thing is that they’re more flexible than using a dinner plate so you can cover different shaped dishes without hunting through the cupboard for a particular one.

Unfortunately, they don’t provide an airtight seal either so won’t keep food fresh but they are an easy way to keep food covered as you wait for it to cool. You could also use a large elastic band to secure them tighter over the dish. Another downside is that they’re usually quite porous so if they sink into the food, they’ll soak up any liquid and make a mess.

So there you have it – multiple different ways to avoid single use cling film in the kitchen!

Eco Coffee at Home: Your Guide to Organic Coffee, Plus Biodegradable and Reusable Coffee Pods

Eco Coffee At Home

Making your own coffee at home, rather than hitting the local cafe, doesn’t just save you some serious cash. It’s also one of the quickest and easiest ways to make sure your coffee habits are eco friendly and sustainable.

There are loads of ways you can make your home coffee routine more eco friendly. So, whether you want to learn about organic coffee beans, eco friendly coffee machines, or the best reusable coffee pods, this article covers it all and much more.

Why Go Eco Friendly?

Making a few eco friendly changes may seem like it won’t have a huge impact, but think of those small things adding up over the decades of coffee drinking you’ll be doing. In your lifetime you could make a significant difference and maybe even inspire others to do the same.

You don’t have to go full tilt and throw out your espresso machine or buy the most expensive coffee out there. You can make a few small changes and you’ll be on track to reduce your landfill waste, decrease your carbon footprint, sustain biodiversity and help local farmers.

Environmentally Friendly Coffee Labels Explained

Organic coffee, sustainable coffee, locally produced, fair trade… the types of coffee available are endless. There are so many different coffee labels, it’s hard to know exactly what the difference is. Let’s break down what the most common labels mean.

Organic Coffee

So, what does organic coffee mean?

Nowadays, you can find organic instant coffee, ground organic coffee, or organic coffee beans in most supermarkets. This is coffee that’s been grown and produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

It’s not just great for your health either. A study in 2016 showed that organic coffee farming improves soil fertility, compared to conventional methods.

Shade Grown Coffee

If you really want to boost your eco coffee game opt for shade grown organic coffee.

Shade grown coffee is a great sustainable coffee farming option. With this type of eco coffee, farmers plant their trees amongst the jungle canopy, rather than cutting down huge areas of rainforest for planting.

Eco Coffee at Home: Your Guide to Organic Coffee, Plus Biodegradable and Reusable Coffee Pods
Coffee bush by Fadhil Asquar: Pixabay

This technique preserves the jungle canopy, literally saving trees and the habitats of local wildlife. There’s even research to suggest that “the flavor of shade-grown coffee is considered superior to, and less bitter than, that of full-sun coffee.”

Locally Produced Coffee

One of the quickest and most impactful ways to make your coffee habit more eco friendly is to buy locally produced coffee!

Buying from roasters within Australia instantly cuts your carbon footprint and reduces the amount of fossil fuel needed to get that coffee to your door. Even better, try buying coffee as close to your home as possible and you’ll be helping to sustain your local economy.

Fair Trade Coffee

If coffee is fair trade, it’s not automatically more eco friendly. Fair trade coffee is produced and shipped whilst paying fair prices and with humane working conditions.

Don’t get us wrong – buying fair trade is a great idea! If you’re also looking to be more eco friendly though, make sure to look for a fair trade organic coffee to get the environmental benefits as well.

Should you buy coffee in bulk?

Another great way to cut your carbon footprint and reduce fossil fuels is to buy your coffee in bulk whenever possible.

You’ll reduce packaging waste and it can reduce deliveries or trips to the store, which lowers the amount of fossil fuel you use.

Is Instant Coffee Eco Friendly?

Instant might not be your first choice for a quality cup of coffee but could it be the most eco friendly?

This varies wildly on the brand of coffee you buy, where it’s grown and produced and not to mention how you make it. If you boil a full kettle, regardless of how much water you actually need, you’re not being very eco friendly. Simply being diligent about how much water you boil is an easy step to drastically reducing your energy use.

Overall it’s unclear if instant coffee is any more eco friendly than other coffee brewing methods, as it’s still grown and largely produced in the same way.

Eco Friendly Coffee Machine Options

Now you’ve got your locally produced or organic fair trade coffee, how do you brew that coffee in an eco friendly way?

Thanks to the great range of coffee makers out there, you can enjoy a quality cup of coffee without leaving your own home. Not all coffee machines are made equal though and some coffee machines are far more environmentally friendly than others.

Energy Saving, Manual Brewing Methods

If you’re looking to go as eco friendly as possible, a non electric, manual brewing method is the way to go. You won’t use any energy and they’re, usually, low or even zero waste.

  • French Press – also known as a coffee plunger, these coffee brewers use a manual plunger to separate the coffee from the grounds and have no filters or waste products.
  • Aeropress – these are a great way to get espresso style coffee on the go. They usually have the option of a reusable steel filter which is better than the disposable, bleached paper filters.
  • Percolator – these traditional Italian coffee makers are heated on the stove and use pressure to brew the espresso with no disposable filters or waste.
  • Manual pour over – a common brand includes Chemex. These brewers can come with metal reusable coffee filters to limit the waste produced.
eco-coffee-at-home
Image: Andrew Welch, Unsplash

Espresso Machines

If you just can’t let go of that cafe style coffee, an electric coffee machine really is the only way to achieve it.

Espresso machines are still a fairly eco friendly and they don’t use any disposable or single serve parts, like coffee pods or paper filters.

When you’re looking at buying an espresso machine, make sure to choose a high quality model with durable stainless steel parts, rather than plastic. This will increase the lifespan of the machine, saving you money and reducing your landfill waste in the long run.

Drip Coffee Makers

These coffee machines have a chamber at the top for water with a basket below where the coffee sits. The machine automatically pours water over the ground and it drips into the container below.

This type of coffee maker uses a filter, so be sure to opt for a reusable option, or you can find 100% biodegradable filters if you prefer.

Again, make sure you buy a machine that’s durable and has as few plastic parts as possible to increase its lifespan. You can reduce your energy consumption by choosing a drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe. Then you can turn off the machine once brewed, rather than leaving the hotplate running.

Pod/Capsule Coffee Machines

Capsule coffee machines have earned a bad reputation in the past because of the single use, stainless steel or plastic and disposable coffee pods they use.

These coffee machines use a single serve coffee capsule. Simply pop the capsule into the machine, press a button and the coffee is brewed and poured. Some of these machines also come with a milk frother.

However, there is now a much more eco friendly way to use these pod coffee machines! There are a heap of biodegradable coffee pods on the market and even some reusable coffee capsules that are designed to last a lifetime.

We like these ones from Planet Organic.

Eco Friendly and Reusable Coffee Pods and Filter Options

If you already have a perfectly good coffee machine, there are still a few simple eco friendly changes you can make. Eco coffee pods and filters are a small change you can make that uses the machines you already have.

Compostable and Biodegradable Coffee pods

Gone are the days of single use stainless steel or plastic capsules. Today, there are loads of great biodegradable and compostable coffee pods on the market.

Biodegradable coffee capsules can be thrown out in the regular bin and will break down in landfill. Time taken to break down will vary with conditions but it takes a lot less time than stainless steel or plastic pods.

Planet Organic’s biodegradable Nespresso pods are 100% certified biodegradable and compostable pods that even contain 100% organic coffee grounds.

Reusable and Refillable Coffee Pods

The best reusable coffee pods Australia has on the market are usually made of 100% stainless steel that’s durable and designed to stand the test of time.

These stainless steel reusable coffee pods can be used with any type of ground coffee so you can easily pair them with an organic coffee brand. Simply load the refillable coffee pods with your favourite coffee, apply the lid, and use as you would any other coffee capsule.

Sealpod are a great company who make refillable coffee capsules for a range of different pod coffee machine brands. Their reusable Nespresso pods are made from high quality stainless steel and everything is 100% food grade.

Biodegradable and Reusable Coffee Filters

When looking for biodegradable coffee filters, choose unbleached to avoid chlorine leaking into the soil and preferably made from FSC certified paper. Also remember to check that the filters are home compostable approved.

Even better than biodegradable or compostable coffee filters would be reusable coffee filters. These are specific to the model of coffee machine you buy and many will include a reusable filter when you purchase.

Eco Friendly Sugar, Milk and Creamer

It’s not just how you make your coffee that affects your carbon footprint. What you put in your coffee is important too!

Sugar cane farming has a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef’s water quality and switching to a more eco friendly sweetener, like honey, is an easy way to help the environment.

Swapping cows milk for a plant based milk can also lower your carbon footprint. I know what you might be thinking…curdled mess? But, it is possible to use vegan milk in your coffee without it curdling, if you do it right.

What to do With Used Coffee Grounds

When you’ve finished enjoying your delicious sustainable cup of coffee, don’t just put those used coffee grounds in the bin. They’re perfect for throwing on the compost pile to add nitrogen.

Don’t have a compost pile? Simply, work them straight into the soil as a fertiliser and they’ll attract earthworms and improve water drainage.

There are plenty of options out of the garden too. Used coffee grounds can be made into homemade furniture stains, natural body scrubs and even hair masks.

What Are Hormone Disruptors (And How Do You Avoid Them)?

hormone disruptors

Hormone disrupting chemicals are all around us. They can be in the air we breathe. You’ll find them in the skincare you use. They’re even in the food that we eat.

So what exactly are hormone disruptors, and what are they doing to our bodies?

What are hormone disruptors and how do they work?

Hormone disruptors (also called endocrine disruptors or EDs in the scientific literature), are chemicals that act on your hormonal system. They usually work in one of three ways:

  • Fool the body into thinking that they’re naturally occurring hormones. Some examples are:
    • Oestrogens (the female sex hormone)
    • Androgens (the male sex hormone)
    • Thyroid hormones, which control your energy levels and affect many other systems in the body
  • Block the natural flow of hormones
  • Interfere with the way your body makes its own hormones. They might affect the liver or other organs that regulate your system.

Endocrine disruptors can have long term, even permanent effects. A foetus is especially vulnerable, because this is a time of such rapid development. Research has shown that early environmental exposures in utero can cause chronic diseases and disorders during adulthood. It’s also possible for these genetic changes to be passed on to subsequent generations.

Hormone disruptors can cause cancer and infertility in men and women. They may be linked to early puberty in children, as well as other problems.

However, researching the effects of hormone disruptors is difficult. Different dosages, different environmental factors, how old you are when you’re exposed, how long it takes for effects to appear after exposure. All of these factors make research extremely complicated.

hormone disruptors

Common hormone disruptors

Many commercial household products contain endocrine disruptors. Food and drink packaging can contain endocrine disruptors. And of course, there are hormone disruptors in polluted air and can affect you through skin contact.

So what are the some of the common chemicals linked to hormone disruption?

Phthalates

Phthalates make plastics more flexible. They’re in many products, not just plastics and vinyl. Personal care products with solvents can have them too (especially fragrances). They’re known to cause fertility problems in males. They’re also toxic to the liver, kidneys, thyroid and immune system.

BPA (Bisphenol A)

Polycarbonate plastic (recycle numbers 3 and 7) have BPA. A 2004 study done in the USA found BPA in the urine of 93% of the 2,517 people studied. Some were as young as six years old. BPA usually makes its way into the body when you heat up your food or drink in a container that uses BPA in the plastic. Acidic food (like tomato sauce) can cause the BPA to leach into your food. Some dental sealers and composites contain it as well.

And it’s not just BPA. As consumers have become aware that BPA is an issues, manufacturers have been switching to alternative Bisphenols, like BPS. They then proclaim that their product is “BPA free” but neglect to mention the BPS!

Get to know your plastics, and choose safer plastics, or avoid plastic altogether where you can.

Heavy metals

We all know that lead and mercury are highly toxic, partly because of their effects on the hormonal system. Other heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead and nickel can also cause major problems. You might think that this problem has been solved, but a 2017 study found unacceptably high levels of lead and nickel in coffee pods. Some even contain low levels of phthalates for a double whammy.

Parabens

Some skin and body care products use parabens as preservatives. They’re easily absorbed through the skin and can mimic oestrogen in the body. When you’re reading labels, avoid ingredients ending in ‘paraben’, such as methylparaben, proplyparaben, and isopropylparaben.

Flame retardants

Flame retardants are full of toxic chemicals. Brominated flame retardants affect the thyroid and may also interfere with the oestrogen system.

Pesticides and insecticides

There are around 105 pesticides that are also endocrine disruptors. Even old ones that aren’t in use anymore, such as DDT, still hang around the environment affecting wildlife. In humans they can cause male infertility and breast and prostate cancers, among other problems.

What you can do

It’s easy to read scaremongering articles and decide that everything is toxic and there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself and your family. However, there are some simple steps you can take that will greatly reduce your exposure.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat. Teach your children to wash their hands properly (rub soap over them for at least 20 seconds and then rinse thoroughly). If you live in a big city, wash your hands as soon as you come home. This simple step will wash many contaminants down the drain. Just avoid anti bacterial soaps, which don’t really help and can be toxic.

Avoid fragrances

When you’re choosing soap, go for the unscented version or choose products scented with essential oils. Most synthetic fragrances contain phthalates. And you never know which ones, because fragrance ingredients are trade secrets. Companies don’t have to disclose them.

You can keep your house fresh by opening windows for extra ventilation and emptying the rubbish often. (Keep an eye out for scented garbage bags and the like too.) When you go to get your car cleaned, ask them not to give it that ‘new car smell’. Or better still, clean it yourself using natural products and essential oils if you want a scent.

Dust and vacuum often

Flame retardants can be found in a lot of furniture and electronics, and even baby products. It’s often shed as dust that accumulates in your house.

Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and dust regularly with a damp cloth, to minimise your family’s contact with this stuff.

For further reading, check out our ‘detox your home’ series of articles.

Steer clear of plastics

Store your food and drink in glass and stainless steel containers. If you can’t swap all your plastic containers right now, that’s okay. Just don’t use them to store fatty or acid food, don’t put hot food in them, and never ever microwave them.

Protect your food with reusable beeswax coated cloth wraps or the wonderful Agreena silicone wraps. If you’re taking your lunch, put your sandwich in a reusable lunch bag instead of plastic.

Be cautious about cans

Many cans are lined with BPA to stop them from corroding. Sometimes new chemicals are used instead, which might not be any safer. Look for glass jars instead, or cans that are BPA free. Or if possible, avoid cans altogether and go with fresh or dried.

Watch what you eat

Some foods, like soy, contain phytoestrogens, which are natural plant compounds that are weak estrogen mimics. More research needs to be done to determine whether this is a problem. In the meantime, eat a good diet. Eat whole foods, not processed foods.

Buy organic vegetables as much as you can to avoid pesticide residues. If you don’t have access to organic vegetables, then try to get vegetables with least pesticides. (It’ll be better for the environment too.) Go for the ‘Clean 15’ – avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbages, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflower, and broccoli. And choose ‘spray free’ wherever you can.

Use green cleaners

Look for safe laundry detergents and household cleaners. Baking soda and vinegar do a great job cleaning up stains and messes. Many commercial products don’t list the ingredients, so you never know what’s in them. In addition to exposure through skin contact, these products can pollute the air inside your home as well.

Want to avoid toxic chemicals from your family and home? Read more of our articles on Natural Home.

Main image credit: Deposit Photos

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What Are Hormone Disruptors (And How Do You Avoid Them)?

Best Baby Laundry Detergents: Everything You Need To Know

baby laundry detergents

Babies are insanely cute, but they can get super dirty. And they sure do come with a ton of dirty laundry! Should you just use any laundry detergents when it comes to your baby’s clothes? Well, no.

We’ll tell you why, and let you know which are the best baby laundry detergents to use on your baby’s clothes.

baby laundry detergents

With baby clothes and nappies, you don’t want to use just any old laundry detergent. Babies are vulnerable to the toxic chemicals around them — and mainstream laundry detergents are particularly noxious. Many of the ones you find on store shelves are complex blends of harsh chemical ingredients that can cause problems for our health and on the environment.

When you use these products, you could be exposing your family to allergens, hormone disruptors, and possible carcinogens. Naturally, we don’t want that. So when it comes to baby laundry detergents, you might want to switch to a greener option.

Let’s take a quick look at why mainstream washing powders can be harmful to babies — and why you need to switch to natural laundry detergent. We’ll also give you tips on choosing the best baby laundry detergents out there.

But first things first…

Do you need a separate baby laundry detergent?

Not really.

Some families use two different detergents and do two separate washes — one for bub and one for the rest of the family. But even if you use a different detergent for his clothes, your baby will inevitably be exposed to the one you use for your own.

Laundry detergents can leave a film on clothing. Your baby will come into contact with this every time you snuggle or someone in the family picks him up. So instead of getting him his own baby laundry detergent, you might consider just getting a family friendly laundry product that’s hypoallergenic and has fewer synthetic ingredients.

What to avoid when looking for baby laundry detergents?

Optical brighteners

These are chemicals that make colours appear brighter and whites whiter. They don’t actually get clothes any cleaner; they just create an optical illusion to mask yellowing and stains. Optical brighteners are designed to stick to fabrics, where they come in close contact with skin and could cause a reaction. These chemicals are slow to biodegrade and tend to build up in the environment, posing a potential hazard to aquatic life.

Synthetic fragrance

Added fragrances are one of the leading causes of sensitivity to laundry detergents. Manufacturers add these chemicals to laundry products because we’ve come to associate certain scents with clean laundry.

Unfortunately, ‘fragrance’ is a catch all term for thousands of potentially harmful chemicals, some of which are allergens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and possible carcinogens. As consumers, we have no way of knowing what’s actually in ‘fragrance’ because that info is considered a trade secret. So steer clear of ‘fragrance’ and ‘parfum.’

But remember: ‘unscented’ and ‘fragrance free’ are two different things. ‘Unscented’ means chemicals may have been used to mask or neutralise the smell of other ingredients. ‘Fragrance free’ means the product contains no fragrance or masking scents whatsoever. Sneaky!

Synthetic preservatives like methylisothiazolinone

Methylisothiazolinone is a powerful biocide (it kills microorganisms) that prevents laundry detergent from going bad. This chemical is a rising cause of allergic contact dermatitis in children and is linked with nerve cell damage.

Chlorine bleach

Bleach gets rid of stains and kills bacteria, but it’s highly irritating to the eyes, nose, and skin. When mixed with ammonia, it emits poisonous fumes. And when it combines with wastewater, it creates toxic organic compounds. You definitely don’t want this in a baby laundry detergent because even just passive exposure to it can increase your baby’s risk of respiratory and other infections.

Phosphates and EDTA

Phosphates help soften water and remove dirt and grease from clothes. The problem with these chemicals is that they upset the balance in aquatic environments. Phosphates enhance algal growth, which robs fish and other aquatic species of oxygen. Because of this, phosphates have been banned for use in laundry detergents in the United States and the European Union. They’re still found in laundry products manufactured elsewhere, so you still want to watch out for them.

Some manufacturers have replaced phosphates with EDTA. This is another sneaky chemical that is toxic to animals and biodegrades poorly.

Dyes

Dyes serve no real purpose in laundry detergent but they do wear down the skin’s natural protective barrier and can make your skin dry and itchy.

We don’t have to subject our babies to these potentially harmful chemicals for the sake of having clean clothes. Look for baby washing powder or liquid with essential oils instead of synthetic fragrance, washing soda instead of phosphates and optical brighteners, and bicarb soda instead of bleach.

What to look for in baby laundry detergents?

The best baby laundry detergents have to be both good for baby and good for the environment. Of course, it also has to get the stickiest messes and nastiest odours out. Here’s what we’re looking for:

Safe ingredients

Go through the label and look out for the big ingredient no nos we’ve already discussed.

Tough on stains

Ultimately, if your washing powder can’t get stains and odours off your clothes, it’s useless. Natural laundry detergents have to be powerful enough to lift off common baby stains like milk spills, dribble, and mushy peas, as well as tougher messes (and unpleasant odours) from poop explosions.

Safe for cloth nappies

Baby laundry soap has to really get the gunk out without creating buildup on your cloth nappies, if you use them.

Kind to the planet

Go with laundry products that are biodegradable and grey water safe. Concentrated formulas are great because they save on packaging. Similarly, baby washing powder is better than liquid because you’re not wasting resources moving around what’s mostly just water.

With all the different options we have, trying to figure out which laundry detergents are safe for our families can take up a lot of time. We know you’re busy, so we’ve done the hard work. For our Best Laundry Detergents Cheat Sheet, we’ve researched and reviewed 50 different laundry products for you to choose from. Get it here.

Best baby laundry detergents

The good news is that it’s easier than ever to find a natural laundry detergent that hits all of the baby friendly requirements. Here are the ones we’ve found that really get the job done but don’t have harsh ingredients that can irritate sensitive baby skin.

Abode Laundry Liquid Baby

This hypoallergenic baby washing liquid uses soda ash to strip off dirt, grease, and other messes from bub’s clothes without harming your family or the environment. The stain busting liquid detergent is grey water safe, 100% biodegradable, and highly concentrated — a win for both the planet and your wallet.

Ecostore Laundry Soaker and Stain Remover

Ecostore Laundry Soaker and Stain Remover
Ecostore Laundry Soaker and Stain Remover

This super powerful detergent eliminates the toughest stains and destroys the foulest odours. Around here, we love how it brightens our clothes and has our whites positively gleaming! The ultra concentrated formula is very economical — up to 25 washes from the 1 kg bottle. It’s fragrance free and suitable for sensitive baby skin, which means you can feel good about using this on bub’s clothes.

Resparkle Baby Laundry Powder & Soaker 

Resparkle Baby Laundry Powder & Soaker
Resparkle Baby Laundry Powder & Soaker

A soaker and a washing powder in one, this laundry detergent is perfect for highly soiled items and is formulated for hypersensitive skin. The formula uses 100% plant and mineral based ingredients and naturally kills bacteria and odour producing germs. The highly concentrated powder won’t leave residue on baby clothes and has a light gorgeous scent from green tea and grapefruit extracts.

Ready for clean, stain free onesies? Check out our best baby laundry detergents, soakers, and stain removers over at Hello Charlie.

Main image credit: Deposit Photos

Other image credit: Ecostore and Resparkle

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Best Baby Laundry Detergents: Everything You Need To Know

How to Get Rid of Mould at Your Place, The Natural Way

how to get rid of mould naturally

You may have heard about the health risks associated with mould – asthma, coughing, wheezing and nose and throat irritation at the very least. There have even been reports that certain types of mould cause cancer, lung disease, and respiratory infections, but these have not been proven. So should you be concerned? And how to get rid of mould at your place?

how to get rid of mould naturally

 

Who’s at risk?

Mould’s dangers tend to strike at the weakest amongst us – children and the elderly. The good news is that most healthy adults don’t have much to worry about. However, those with asthma, allergies, compromised immune systems or chronic lung disease may get very sick indeed.

Even if you don’t have much to worry about health wise, mould is smelly, unsightly and destructive to your home.

What should you do about mould?

Your first impulse might be to reach for the bleach bottle, but cleaning mould naturally is actually more effective, as well as better for the environment. Bleach can kill mould on hard surfaces such as glass and tile, but it doesn’t work on wood and plaster. And forget about carpet and upholstery. Furthermore, bleach is corrosive and can be damaging to your skin, eyes and lungs.

How to get rid of mould naturally?

Cleaning mould naturally consists of a two pronged approach – preventing mould from forming and getting rid of the mould spores that are already there.

Here’s how to get rid of mould.

Use a HEPA filter vacuum

A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can work wonders when it comes up cleaning up your home, including getting rid of mould. I like my Dyson. It has a variety of tools that make it easy to clean under and behind furniture – all the dark corners where mould spores like to congregate. Best of all, the filtration system makes sure the dirt it sucks up stays in the vacuum and doesn’t get blown back out into your house.

Wash the mould away

The best way of cleaning mould naturally is to eliminate the dirt and grime that provide the nutrients for it to grow on. A simple wash will do just fine. You can use Dr Bronner’s liquid soap or dishwashing soap. Either will work. Make a solution of hot soapy water and wash the mouldy area down.

It’s a good idea to use a microfibre cloth that will trap the mould particles instead of just smearing them around. Rinse the cloth regularly in another bucket of water and you’ll soon get rid of all the gunk.

Use a pre-made mould solution

You can use a pre-made spray like the Abode Mould Control Spray or the Vrindavan Natural Mould Solution Surface Spray, both of which are natural anti-fungal and antiseptics that removes mould and kills the spores as well. They’re safe to use on hard surfaces, wood, carpet and clothing. Just spray, leave on for up to 24 hours in tough cases and wipe clean with a cloth.

 

 

Clean mould with essential oils

Essential oils have natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that make them an excellent choice for cleaning mould naturally. Making your own anti-mould spray is easy. Just pour a few ounces of vodka (the cheaper the better) into a spray bottle, add your essential oils and then top up with water. You need the vodka to help disperse the oils – it won’t work properly otherwise. Shake vigorously before each use. Spray on, let sit and wipe off.

I like these essential oils for their antifungal action:

Prevent mould from occurring in the first place

Mould thrives in warm, humid environments. Keep it dry and mould won’t be able to get a foothold.

  • Use an extractor fan in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Open up your windows at least once a day. (I’ve written about the benefits of ventilation in this blog post.)
  • Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air.

These strategies will work for everyday mould problems, but if your house gets flooded, or you have a plumbing leak or other damp issues, you need to get specialists involved. The professionals will know what to do to protect your family’s health.

What are your biggest mould challenges and what do you do to address them? Share below!

 

Main image credit: Deposit photos

Synthetic Microfibers: Why You Should Avoid Them

synthetic microfibers

If you care about the environment you’ve probably been trying to live a plastic free life as much as possible. You might take a reusable shopping bag everywhere, always carry a reusable coffee cup, and lug your stainless steel water bottle with you. But there’s one source of plastic pollution that you may not have heard of: synthetic microfibers.

synthetic microfibers

There’s a growing awareness about how our lifestyle choices are damaging our planet. In the news lately, it’s hard to avoid images of the plastic in our oceans. So what’s the deal with synthetic microfibers?

The hidden danger

Even those of us who keep up with the environmental news might never have heard of one of the worst pollution sources of all: synthetic microfibers. They’ve been found in both fresh and saltwater life to an alarming extent. A study by researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara discovered that one fleece jacket releases an average of about 1.7 grams of microfibers per wash. The older and cheaper the garment, the worse it is.

The researchers went on to state, “These microfibers then travel to your local wastewater treatment plant, where up to 40% of them enter rivers, lakes and oceans.”

via GIPHY

Mark Browne, a senior research associate at the University of New South Wales, Australia, stated in a 2011 research paper that microfibers make up around 85% of human made debris on shorelines around the world.

What’s the problem with synthetic microfibers?

These tiny little fibres are just the right size for small fish to eat. Then bigger fish eat the small fish, and on up the food chain they go, bioaccumulating and concentrating toxins. Professor Sherri Mason, of the State University of New York Fredonia, described microfibres as “weaving themselves into the gastrointestinal tract” of one of the Great Lakes fish she studied.

 

via GIPHY

Many environmentally conscious companies recycle plastic bottles into fibres to make cloth, but the evidence suggest that this increases pollution (in a particularly insidious way), instead of helping decrease it. Synthetic microfibers are bad enough in themselves, but the worst part is that they absorb toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which become concentrated in the animal’s tissues.

These toxins not only destroy the animals’ lives and habitats, they eventually move up the food chain to us.

What can you do?

First of all, shop for good-quality clothing and try to make it last. Look for natural fabrics, such as cotton, wool, and bamboo. Go plastic free.

You don’t usually need to wash outerwear, such as jackets, after each use. Manufacturers like Patagonia are searching for ways to produce high performance textiles from natural biodegradable materials.

In the meantime, you can wash your synthetic clothing (especially those made from polyester, such as fleece) in a superfine mesh laundry bag like the Guppy Friend, which catches the microfibres. A microfibre catching laundry ball is also in development.

Use natural microfibres

It’s not just clothes, it’s cleaning cloths as well. Bamboo microfibre is 100% biodegradable. You don’t have to worry about it accumulating in the environment, since it breaks down after a few years. We stock bamboo microfibre cloths from Resparkle. They do an excellent cleaning job and have natural antimicrobial properties that help keep them germ free and smelling fresh. They’re a great microfibre cleaning cloth choice for your plastic free lifestyle.

Want to lessen your plastic usage? You can check out more tips on our previous articles like Rethink the Plastic in Your Bathroom and How to Work Towards a Plastic Free Kitchen

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Synthetic Microfibers: Why You Should Avoid Them

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Australian Natural Soap Company

australian natural soap company

We’ve been hearing lots of good things about The Australian Natural Soap Company for some time now. And we finally have them in stock!

The Australian Natural Soap Company (ANSC) are makers of a wide range of natural soap and skincare products that are natural, ethical, detergent free, paraben free, vegan, cruelty free, and proudly Australian sourced. Their natural soap and shampoo bars really tick all the right boxes for us, which is why we’re so proud to be able to make them available to you.

the australian natural soap company

About Australian Natural Soap Company

The first ANSC soaps were made right in the kitchen of Emma and her husband Anthony. The couple had grown tired of looking for soaps without harsh detergents, sulphates, parabens, and synthetic fragrances, and so began making some of their own. It wasn’t long before people began to fall in love with their luxurious and all natural soaps and shampoo bars.

Why we love ANSC

There are so many things we love about this company, not least of which is their commitment to ditching plastic and reducing their environmental footprint.

We’ve already said no to things like disposable coffee cups and plastic toothbrushes, so it’s a relief to finally be able to stop buying toiletries in plastic bottles as well. Australian Natural Soap Company products are fully biodegradable, as is their gorgeous packaging.

Handmade in Melbourne with ingredients sourced from all over Australia, ANSC soaps and shampoo bars are super nourishing and leave your skin and hair feeling so good long after you’ve stepped out of the shower.

ANSC uses only the highest quality plant oils, which makes their soaps so much more gentle on skin than store bought soaps. They have natural soaps that cater to all skin types, even really sensitive and easily irritated skin.

All ANSC soaps are palm oil free, sulphate free, paraben free, and detergent free. They’re easy to use, non drying, and last much longer than regular soaps. They don’t foam as much as conventional soaps, but that’s actually quite reassuring as we now know how bad foaming agents like sulphates are for skin.

Natural soap and shampoo bars are perfect if you’re striving for a waste free lifestyle. The products are concentrated, which means you’re not transporting heavy products that are mostly made of water. It’s also easier to avoid using too much. Instead of pouring shampoo into your hand, you’re just lathering it straight onto your hair.

They’re also perfect for travel! The soap and shampoo bars are solid so you can bring them in your carry on without problem. And if you’ll only be away for a few days, just slice a little bit off so you don’t have to bring the whole bar.

Our favourite products from ANSC

We love the Original Solid Shampoo Bar, which is great for itchy scalps but doesn’t leave your hair greasy. I’ve been testing this one at home, and I’m super impressed with it. No more dry and itchy scalp, but my hair is also not as oily. Not sure how that works, but it really does work!

The Solid Facial Soap comes in several varieties that address specific skin concerns. The Salt Cleanser has magnesium salts for acne, the Australian Pink Clay reduces skin irritations, and Activated Charcoal draws impurities from your pores.

One of ANSC’s bestsellers is the Calamine Soap (Zinc). It’s a real godsend for people with psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and other skin issues.

And we can’t fail to mention the Solid Soaps in Peppermint & Lavender (lovely relaxing scent), Avocado & Macadamia (super moisturising), and All Australian Tea Tree (antibacterial).

Have you made the switch to natural soaps and shampoo bars yet? If you haven’t, do yourself (and the planet) a favour now. Check out Australian Natural Soap Company on Hello Charlie.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About The Australian Natural Soap Company

How to Use The Swag to Keep Your Fruit & Veg Fresher for Longer

The Swag Produce Storage Bag

Do you wish you knew how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher longer? We all should! It’s estimated that Australians throw away about 2.67 billion dollars’ worth of fresh food every year. How often have you bought some lovely salad greens, only to have them turn to slime before you were able to get around to using them?

So what’s the best way to store fruit and veg? It has to be plastic free, and it really has to work as advertised…

Introducing The Swag!

The Swag Produce Storage Bag

The Swag

The Swag was invented by Australian Peita Pini, who was tired of throwing away food and concerned about what all the plastic packaging waste is doing to our environment.

She got the idea for the name from the Australian bushmen’s bedroll that they carried on their backs as they walked around the bush looking for work.

In July of 2018 she received a $150,000 investment from the TV show Shark Tank to expand into the American market. The Swag produce bags are still manufactured in Australia, though, from fair trade materials certified by Sedex, which performs an audit once a year.

How The Swag is made

Peita learned how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher longer from her mum, who would wrap them in damp or dry towels to keep them moist while letting them breathe.

She improved upon this idea with her patented three-layered storage bag, which is made out of 100% unbleached and unseeded cotton.

The Swag fruit and veg bags are completely plastic free and does a much better job than her mum’s improvised method.

The outside layer keeps everything from drying out, but the real secret is in the middle layer. It’s thick and absorbent, holding water but also drawing water away from the bag’s contents.

The innermost layer stays dry, but also lets your fruit and vegetables breathe and dissipate ethylene (the ripening – and rotting – gas that fruits and veggies produce).

The result is that your precious produce is kept in a perfect environment: humid but not wet, with a perfect amount of airflow.

The Swag Starter Pack - Keeps Fruit & Vegetables Fresh for Longer
The Swag Starter Pack – Keeps Fruit & Vegetables Fresh for Longer

How to use The Swag

When you first get your Swag bag, machine wash it and then dry it inside out in the sunshine. This will fluff up the middle layer and make it absorb water more easily.

After that using it is simple. When it comes time to store your fresh produce, wet your Swag from the outside and squeeze out the excess water.

The outside and middle layers should be damp, but the inside should be practically dry.

Place your fruit and veg inside, close the flap and store in the refrigerator. Don’t wrap anything in plastic – that will cancel out the benefits. You want to let the air flow.

And there you are. Who knew learning how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher longer would be so easy! With the Swag you should get a minimum of two weeks delicious life out of your fresh produce – maybe longer.

Available sizes

The Swag fruit and vegetable bags come in three sizes:

  • Small: perfect for small fruit like grapes and strawberries; and small veggies and herbs
    • 37 cm wide by 38 cm high (including the flap)
    • 37 cm wide by 24cm high (not including the flap)
  • Long: designed especially for longer veg like celery, silverbeet and leeks
    • 52 cm wide by 38 cm high (including the flap)
    • 52 cm wide by 24 cm high (not including the flap)
  • Large: for anything and everything! Cut veggies keep well, along with whole fruit and veg.
    • 42 cm wide by 52 cm high (including the flap)
    • 42 cm wide x 38 cm high (not including the flap)

Tips and tricks

  • Check your Swag every so often to make sure it’s still damp. If not, just sprinkle some water on the top – no need to take it out of the fridge.
  • Don’t store very ripe fruit in your Swag – the ethylene it produces will accelerate spoilage for everything else in there. Eat it, cook it or store it in a fruit bowl on the counter.
  • Don’t put bananas in The Swag. Store them on the counter or peel and freeze.
  • You can put cut fruit and veg in The Swag with no worries. You don’t have to wrap them in cling film, just toss them in there with everything else.
  • When you first get your produce home give it a good swish or soak in a sinkful of cold water with a splash of vinegar added. Then dry and put in your Swag.
  • When you buy fresh food, take the old food out of the large Swag and put it in a small one – or use the colour coded red bag. You’ll know that you need to eat them soon.

To get your hands on The Swag and save your fruit and veg from going off so quickly, jump on over to Hello Charlie and start shopping!

Main image credit: The Swag

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How to Use The Swag to Keep Your Fruit & Veg Fresher for Longer

Plastic Free July: We Show You How To Choose Plastic Free With A Baby

plastic free baby

Walk into any big box baby store and you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of stuff made from plastic. From baby bottles and sippy cups to high chairs, dummies and baby bath tubs, not to mention all the items packaged in plastic: nappy cream, baby wash, baby lotion, wipes and all that. Is it hard to go plastic free when you have a baby?

plastic free baby

Plastic is practically ubiquitous and—unfortunately—is problematic in so many different ways. It’s one of the worst pollutants man has ever made.

To start with, the production of plastic is a dirty, wasteful process. Next, it off-gasses toxic chemicals throughout its lifetime. And when it finally ends up in landfill, it doesn’t biodegrade, which means that every single plastic toy, toothbrush, and bottle cap you ever used is still somewhere out there, sitting underground or floating in the ocean.

You probably already know about BPA (bisphenol-A) in plastics. But do you also know that “BPA free” may not be any better? Experts say that some of the plasticisers that replaced BPA may actually be more dangerous for our children.

Knowing all this, it seems to me that one of the best ways to protect our families—and our planet—is simply to avoid buying plastic whenever possible.

And, yes, that includes when you’re about to welcome a new baby into the family. Trust us, it’s not as hard as it sounds!

Try swapping out common baby items with these nonplastic alternatives: 

Cloth nappies

Did you know that a baby will use about 3,800 disposable nappies in the first 2.5 years of life? And that each disposable nappy can take as long as 500 years to decompose?

Ditch the disposables and use cloth nappies, even if only part time. Brands like Bambino Mio and Pea Pods make lovely one size cloth nappies your bub can wear from day 1 up until potty training time, further reducing your baby’s carbon footprint.

While you’re at it, pop your eco nappies into biodegradable nappy bags and choose washing detergents that don’t come in plastic jugs.

Reusable swim nappies

Bambino Mio and Pea Pods also make lightweight and leak proof swim nappies in fun prints.

 

bambino mio swim nappies
Bambino Mio

Reusable wipes

Instead of disposable wet wipes that contain plastic fibres (and come in plastic packaging), use reusable cloth wipes or washcloths. You save money and the environment – and avoid harmful chemicals!

Glass baby bottles

One of the best ways to reduce your baby’s exposure to BPA, phthalates, and other nasties is by using glass bottles instead of plastic ones.

Glass is good because it doesn’t leach at all. Get one with a silicone sleeve to prevent breakage. This one from Cherub Baby has a clever temperature warning sleeve that changes colour when your baby’s milk is too hot.

Safe-T-Bottle makes “the ultimate baby bottle” from shatter and heat shock resistant Tuxan borosilicate glass. Because of its smooth surface, this baby bottle attracts fewer bacteria and is easier to sanitise than plastic bottles.

Stainless steel sippy cups

If, like many of us, you have a kitchen drawer filled with cracked, warped, and leaky plastic sippy cups, it’s time to make the switch to glass or stainless steel. Both of these materials are safer, sturdier, and—let’s face it—look much nicer than plastic.

Make My Day has 3 in 1 sippy cups that convert into 3 different styles (sippy, easy to grip cup, and tumbler) so your child can use them for years. They come in adorable colour combos, are made of high grade 304 stainless steel, and are BPA and phthalate free.

Cherub Baby offers an adaptor pack so your little one can continue using their wide neck glass baby bottles as sippy cups.

Bamboo dishes, bowls & cutlery

These won’t be needed right away, but if you’re already stocking up on baby dinnerware, know that you’re not limited to plastic. Nowadays, there’s an absolute wealth of plastic free brands making children’s plates, bowls, and cutlery from bamboo, glass, and stainless steel. Unlike plastic and melamine, these materials are safe and eco friendly.

Brands like Love Mae and Bobo & Boo make bamboo dishware that are sturdy, easy to clean, completely biodegradable, and super stylish.

love mae
Love Mae

 

Stainless steel food storage

For storing baby food and toddler snacks, swap out your plastic containers with stainless steel. These mini ones from Kids Konserve are the perfect size for tiny servings, are great for travel, and become part of your child’s lunch kit when she starts school. For more stainless steel options, check out Onyx and Ever Eco.

Latex dummies and teethers

Plastic dummies and teethers may contain chemical softeners and artificial colours. Choose 100% rubber latex instead. Hevea and Natural Rubber Soothers make wonderful dummies and teethers that are minimally processed, nitrosamine free, and reasonably priced.

Wooden toys

Avoid all plastic toys. From the latest pricey gizmo to the cheap ones you get with fast food kids’ meals, just say no to them all.

Why? First, because plastic toys can contain BPA, phthalates, and even lead. And we all know how much babies and toddlers love to put toys in their mouths! Second, because plastic toys break almost instantly and inevitably wind up in the trash bin. Also, to me, plastic often doesn’t look or feel very nice. And, of course, we know that plastic is very bad for the planet.

Wood, on the other hand, is safe and better for the environment. It’s durable and, with proper care, will last a really long time. If you get a well made piece, your children’s children (and maybe their children) can still enjoy it. And wood is just beautiful to behold and beautiful to the touch.

Plan Toys, Wonderworld, Hape, and EverEarth make gorgeous toys from high quality sustainable wood and nontoxic glues and paints. I also love the ones from Hess Spielzeug, Q Toys, and Im Toy.

 

ever earth
Ever Earth

Soft toys

Aside from good quality wooden toys, stock up on soft toys. These are the perfect comfort toys for babies and toddlers. The best ones are made with organic fabrics and stuffed with natural fibres.

Apple Park and My Natural make supersoft cuddly toys from organic cotton and low impact eco dyes.

Nontoxic bath toys

Your baby can also go plastic free in the bath. These bath toys from Hevea and CaaOcho are 100% natural rubber and completely nontoxic. No need to panic if bub starts chewing on these.

Skincare in glass jars or tins

There are tonnes of natural skincare products available for little ones, but few that come in zero waste packaging. Not only do Badger Balm and Nature’s Child make skincare products that are absolute must haves, they also put them in recyclable glass bottles and tins.

Eco friendly dental care

Check out the bamboo toothbrushes from Go Bamboo and Pearlbar. Jack ‘N Jill Kids also have biodegradable resin toothbrushes for kids. They’re gentle on baby gums and teeth and are light enough for toddlers just learning to brush on their own. Best part? They all have fully biodegradable handles. Put the nylon heads into the bin, and the handles into the compost when you’re done.

pearlbar bamboo toothbrush
Pearlbar

Nonplastic first aid

You can even go plastic free in your first aid kit! ‘Bandaids’? No, thanks. These nonplastic adhesive strips from Patch are made with 100% organic bamboo fibre and are BPA free, hypoallergenic, and suitable for all skin types.

More plastic free baby needs

Here’s some more nonplastic items you might find useful:

What else you can do to avoid plastic

You can also limit your baby’s exposure to plastics by:

  • Buying baby food in glass jars (or making your own at home)
  • Storing baby food in glass containers (jam jars work perfectly!)
  • Saying no to produce and grocery items packaged in plastic
  • Using cloth carriers or slings instead of prams
  • Whenever possible, choosing natural fibres over synthetics for bub’s clothes and beddings
  • Choosing wood, natural fabrics, and other nonplastic materials for your nursery decor and furniture

How do you go plastic free with your baby? What are your favourite nonplastic baby gear? Share your thoughts and tips with us and other new mums and mums to be in the comments below.

Image credits: Bambino Mio, Love Mae, Ever Earth, and Pearlbar

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Plastic Free July: We Show You How To Choose Plastic Free With A Baby

Plastic Free July: Discover How to Go Plastic Free When You’re Out and About

plastic free out and about

Plastic free July is in full swing and in this article we’ll be talking about plastic free options when you’re out and about.

plastic free out and about

Previously we’ve discussed about how to have a plastic free kitchen and a plastic free bathroom. We’ll be discussing a lot of plastic free options this month. If you would like to be notified in our upcoming newsletters, simply subscribe. 👉

Plastic Free Out And About

Plastic bags

Shopping bags & reusable bulk bags

Onya reusable eco bag

Getting rid of single use plastic is the key to starting a plastic free living. About 8 million tons of plastic waste leaks into the ocean every year. The equivalent of 15 plastic shopping bags for every meter of coastline on Earth.

By getting rid of single use plastics, you are making a big impact to the environment. You can start by looking for reusable options like Onya shopping bags available in small, large, and reusable shopping tote bag. Ever Eco also has some awesome tote bag cotton net options.

Produce bags

Onya produce food bags

Produce food bags are a necessity if you’re looking to buy grains, sugar, and other produce. A good alternative to plastic shopping bags are Ever Eco and Onya.

Lunch and snacks

Lunch bags

KeepLeaf Organics Insulated Lunch Bags-min

You need a lunch bag to keep your lunch hot or cold until it’s time to eat. While this is not obvious, most lunch bags actually uses plastic foam to keep your food hot or cold. An eco friendly lunch bag is one of the more difficult things to find. Keepleaf Organic’s insulated lunch bags are 100% made from organic canvas. They have 6 different designs and colours to choose from.

Lunch boxes

Most lunch boxes comes in plastic form. If you’re looking to move away from plastic, one great alternative is stainless steel. Stainless steel lunch boxes are actually more durable and sanitary. Aside from these, it’s plastic free. Green Essentials has a wide variety of stainless steel lunchboxes. Another brands that holds stainless steel lunch boxes is Ever Eco.

Ever Eco Stainless Steel Bento

Cutlery

Looking for cutlery that you can bring with you without it being plastic or disposable? Try Ever Eco Bamboo Cutlery Set With Organic Cotton Pouch.

Food wrap

Ditch that single use plastic wrap for your sandwich and switch to a more plastic free option. KeepLeaf has 3 designs available: Bloom, Mesh, and Planes. My personal favourite is actually Bloom. Onya also has amazing options available in 5 colours: Chilli, Pink, Purple, Indigo, and Apple.

Plastic bottle, cups, and straws

Every second 1,000 plastic water bottles are being added as trash in the US alone. The Great Pacific Garbage patch in the North Pacific Ocean is now twice the size of Hawaii. Most of the garbage there came from single use plastic like water bottles. The sobering truth is we need to drastically cut the usage of plastic.

via GIPHY

Water bottles

While we all need to be hydrated on the go, we also need to consider that a plastic water bottle’s lifespan is 450 years. That trash we used, is going to be there a long time after we’re gone. A tip to avoiding plastic water bottles is planning ahead. Before going out make sure to bring a container of your own. There are lot of options out there. U Konserve has glass water bottles with silicone sleeves.

U Konserve glass water bottle

If you’re looking for something lightweight, try stainless steel water bottles like Onya. Onya’s Stainless Steel Water Bottles ranges from 500 ml to 1 Litre. Cheeki also has a wide variety of insulated water bottles, it’s a little bit heavier but it will keep your drink hot or cold for longer. Going out for a picnic? Instead of using plastic cups, go for Ever Eco Stainless Steel Drinking Cups – 4 Pack.

Coffee Cups

Too busy to have that cup of coffee at home? While it’s tempting to just go out and order a cup coffee, there are ways to avoid single use cups on the go. Get reusable coffee cups like Joco Reusable Glass Cups.

joco glass coffee cups

You can also ask your local barista to just put the coffee in your reusable cup instead. If you’re looking for stainless steel options, Cheeki also has coffee cups.

Not really a coffee person? If you’re looking to make infused water or brew your own tea on the go then Fressko Glass Flask is your answer.

Fressko Glass Flask

Straws

Do you know that about 500 million plastic straws are thrown daily in the US alone. That’s a lot of plastic straws! What’s more devastating is the fact that because plastic straws are so small some animals ended up digesting these and making them sick. A shift to more eco friendly straws will create a big impact to our environment. If you’re looking for alternative options, you can use stainless steel straws or bamboo straws. Ever Eco has both stainless steel and bamboo straws.

Starting your journey to a plastic free living? Share your experience with us in the comment section below. 

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Plastic Free July: Discover How to Go Plastic Free When You're Out and About

Main image credit: Ever Eco

Other images credit: Onya, Keepleaf, U Konserve, Cheeki, and Fressko.