For some time now, I have been on a mission to cut down on my own carbon emissions and have been looking for more eco-friendly products to help me do that.
I traditionally held the view that eco-friendly products would somehow be more expensive and less effective – but in a mission to cut down my own emissions, I’ve given some a try – and been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve learned.
Here’s just 5 of eco-friendly products I’ve tried recently that I cannot be parted from.
1. ‘If You Care’ Re-Useable Paper Towels
These were an incredible surprise – not least because we can get through paper towels at an incredible rate thanks to my fish keeping hobby, messy pets, and a general inability to prevent spills of tea, coffee, coca cola, you name it, we mop it up.
The manufacturers claim that each of these re-usable paper towels can last up to a week, replace 18 conventional paper towels and when used, they are completely compostable. It sounded like a challenge – and at 12 sheets for £8.50, my answer was, ‘they’ll have to be damn good!’
The good news is, they aren’t just good, they are amazing. Spills that would turn a whole kitchen roll into a soggy mess are picked up with one towel, which can be wrung out, rinsed and re-used for up to a week as needed. These clever little sheets are made in a patented process from a three-dimensional blending of cellulose, non-GMO unbleached cotton and mirabilite – a natural mineral salt. In production, the mirabilite is washed out, leaving the remaining blend (70% cellulose & 30% cotton) extremely porous, which makes the towels extraordinarily absorbent, able in fact, to absorb 16 times their own weight. They also don’t leave any fibres on the surface, unlike bamboo towels.
I was challenged to give them a try, and a few months down the line I have still not used all 12, not bad going considering I would normally get through a roll in just over a day. We’ve used them for cleaning, mopping up, cleaning up pet accidents that would normally kill a towel (and my nerves) and sopping up coca cola from our brand new rug without leaving a mark, these handy little towels are amazing and when they dry out you can just re-use them.
These are one of the most handy things to have in your kitchen and can be bought here:
2. Earth Breeze Fragrance Free Laundry Detergent Eco Sheets
I came across these on a Facebook ad and wasn’t sure whether or not to give them a go. I’ve used Ariel for years and am pretty much devoted to them.
I am really pleased I did, because they are brilliant at stain removal at low temperatures.
A one time purchase is £15.00 but if you subscribe monthly, this reduces to £9.00.
While at full price this looks expensive compared to a pack of 36 Ariel Original pods, (£10 per pack but currently on offer for £7) there is no cost to the planet from using these, because all the ingredients are eco-friendly and even the packaging is compostable. However, it’s important to note that you can’t use half a pod for small loads, but these sheets can be torn in half for smaller loads of less than a basket, giving you up to 80 washes per pack.
First time round I bought unscented and they literally smell of nothing, which sounded cool but in practice wasn’t what I expected, so I’d recommend going for scented. However, the cleaning was excellent, it completely dissolves so there is no mess and no waste and the packaging can be torn up and buried in the garden, or thrown on your compost heap, creating no long term legacy. Also, their lightweight design means there’s a low carbon footprint for their delivery too, overall making it a no-brainer.
It’s another one I’m keeping – and you can buy them here: https://earthbreeze.co.uk/
3. ‘If you Care’ Baking Cups and Pie/Baking Tin Liners
As a rule, baking cups and liners are bleached and dyed and while many are recyclable, some are not.
Concerned at the rate with which I can go through cases when in a baking mood, I bought 3 sets of silicone baking cups – the cheap sets from Wish were thin, flimsy and utter rubbish – don’t bother – but the higher quality ones are excellent.
However since COVID I’ve been concerned about handling unwrapped baked goods to family and friends, everyone is far more hygiene conscious and anyway, it feels nicer in a cake case.
I tried the ‘If You Care’ range which are nice and thick and very reasonably priced against some of the glossier alternatives, and found that not only are they unbleached and uncoated, they are very well made, available in a wide range of sizes and look great, giving a lovely ‘home-made’ presentation to baked goods. And yes, the big ones are big enough for Muffins. I love them and now have several sizes stocked in my cupboard.
Likewise, commercial baking and pie tin liners are often bleached, as are pure white sandwich bags (and don’t even get me started on plastic lunch bags). Helping the environment when baking and preparing snacks is as easy as switching to unbleached, uncoated products, they do the job just as well. There’s no doubt that you can’t beat the taste of homemade cakes, pies and sandwiches – knowing that the materials you use to bake and carry them won’t hurt the environment means there’s no bitter taste for my conscience either.
4. Ecozone Fabric Conditioner, Happiness, 1000ml, Concentrated Formula, Tallow Free, 37 Washes
I wasn’t aware until recently that most fabric conditioner contains animal product tallow, made from beef or mutton fat and a bit of scent. I’m not vegan, but certainly don’t like the idea of sticking my clothes in beef fat to make them soft and pleasant smelling. In fact, I’m sometimes not sure whether if we saw the reality of what we use, rather than pretty packagaing whether we would make the same choices… anyway, I decided as I didn’t need to buy beef fat and alternatives were available, I’d give Ecozone a try.
The first thing I noticed is that Ecozone was a lot thinner than the normal softener I used. However, I didn’t need to use a lot of it and it did the job. If I’m honest the feel on skin is probably better with traditional softener, but the feel on my conscience was a hell of a lot better and it smelled great and felt soft enough. I just ordered another bottle from Amazon.
5. ‘If you Care’ Basket Coffee Filters
If you make your coffee in a traditional filter machine, the coffee may taste great but the bleach used to make those perfect white filters is more harmful than you realise – to humans, wildlife and the environment (click on this link to see just how harmful).
Given that bleach causes so much damage, is there an alternative?
Well, seeing as coffee is not white anyway, filters don’t need to be white at all, unbleached filters work just as well – therefore, this is a really easy way to go green. We love ‘If You Care’’s Coffee basket filters and will be recommending that coffee shops switch to unbleached coffee filters – it’s a great selling point for owners and something they can talk about with customers.
I don’t drink filter coffee that often, but I am going to be championing unbleached filters everywhere I go now. If you don’t care what colour your filter is, demand coffee suppliers make the switch.