I think it’s safe to say that we have a plastic problem. Plastic is everywhere and virtually impossible to avoid these days! The build up of plastic is harming the environment and ourselves. We’ve all seen the pictures of birds, fish, turtles (list goes on) with bags over their heads or straws up their noses. Plastic particles are making their way into our drinking water and plastic is increasingly being rejected for recycling.
I’ve recently been making a conscious effort on how I can reduce my plastic consumption. I truly believe change starts with yourself. Your dollar speaks. The success of plastic free companies is often a support for a small business and makes a positive environmental impact. Where your money goes, the big companies will eventually go too.
It hasn’t been easy reducing plastic, and there are still times where I do use plastic products out of necessity or lack of other options. However, the companies and products I’m highlighting in this post offer effective reusable, plastic-free, and eco-friendly options if you’re looking to “go green.” This particular post will cover Home Cleaning, Laundry, and Pet Care. I’ll cover Beauty, Kitchen, and “on-the-go” in future posts.
Home Cleaning was where I found the most available and comprehensive options for going plastic-free. Cleaning supplies take up a lot of waste! There are a number of companies out there that offer a suite of refillable cleaning supplies that also contain eco-friendly ingredients.
I was drawn to Cleancult’s earth-friendly formulas and reduced-plastic containers. They will send you a starter kit that gives you containers for dish soap, hand soap, all purpose cleaner, dishwasher tablets and laundry tablets. (Their products have changed a bit since I stopped using them, and it now looks like they offer liquid laundry detergent.) After you have the refillable containers, they will send you refills in paper packaging (for the tablets) or cartons (for the liquids). Cartons are a step in the right direction to reducing plastic use, but some municipalities don’t offer recycling for them. Also, originally their cartons had no plastic top, but it seems now they do.
I used Cleancult for a little over a year, but ultimately stopped my subscription for a few reasons. First, their laundry tablets would often not break down completely in cold water or with a larger load. Part of being environmentally-conscious when doing laundry is washing in cold water, so I thought there was a bit of a disconnect there. Second, my fiance didn’t care for their dish soap. He felt it was hard to wash off things. Third, I think they sent me dish soap labeled in an all purpose cleaner carton once. And lastly, they continuously would ship my subscription without sending me an email about it to make changes. Every other subscription service I’ve had sends an email to allow you to make changes for that month’s subscription. There were a few instances where this email was nowhere to be found (I literally looked everywhere in my email), so I ended up not being able to edit my subscription for that period and ended up with a lot of duplicate products.
It looks like Cleancult has gone through a branding update, but I still wouldn’t recommend their products because there are other options out there that have better packaging.
Blueland is another refillable home cleaning company that I’ve been using since stopping Cleancult. I’ve had a better experience with Blueland so far. One major difference is that their products are in more sustainable packaging. Instead of sending cartons, they send tablets that are wrapped in compostable paper packaging. In your first order you’ll receive refillable containers and a few tablets. You fill the containers with warm water, drop in a tablet and let it dissolve for a few minutes. Then Voila! You’re ready to clean. Their dish soap is a powder in a very well designed dispenser. My fiance liked this powder more than the soap from Cleancult.
They offer: foaming hand soap, glass cleaner, multi-surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner, dish soap, laundry and dishwasher tablets. I haven’t tried their tablets because I use another company, Dropps for those. (I’ll get to them later.) Overall, my experience with Blueland has been great. Their multi-surface cleaner’s scent could use some work, but overall I’m happy with Blueland and would recommend this brand over Cleancult for plastic free cleaning.
Tip: If you’re not able or willing to pay the upfront costs of the containers, you can likely use old containers you have and just buy the refill tablets.
Reusable cloths come in a variety of different options. The two I use the most are Mr. Clean Wipes (bought at our local grocery store) and some microfiber cloths I bought on Amazon. They both work very well when wiping down counters, dusting, or cleaning floors (specifically the microfiber cloths for that last one). You can use the microfiber cloths wet or dry. They are both machine washable in cold water and hang to dry.
Tip: You can also use an old, partner-less sock or rag for dusting or cleaning as well!
The most effective way to be plastic free for laundry is by using laundry tablets and wool laundry balls!
Dropps offers laundry and dishwasher tablets that are shipped in all cardboard, so zero waste packaging. The detergent in the pods are contained in a water-soluble film. Their shipping is carbon neutral and ingredients are clearly outlined on their site. I would highly recommend Dropps! Both their laundry and dishwasher pods are efficient and work great.
Wool Laundry Balls
These are used in lieu of dryer sheets and can be used for a long, long time. I’m going on five years on my first set. Dryer sheets take a very long time to break down and contain a lot of chemicals that can be harmful to you, your dryer, and your clothes. Wool laundry balls are a once or twice time investment and because they’re made of natural materials, they will break down responsibly. If you really like the smell from a dryer sheet, you can add a few drops of an essential oil to your laundry ball, and it will have your clothes smelling wonderfully. Because these are an animal product, please do your research on where they come from. Dropps offers wool laundry balls from sustainable and cruelty free sources.
Our dog’s a happy guy, but he’s not happy when he knows he’s harming the environment. We all love our reusable bags, but have you thought about your dog’s poop bag? There are a decent amount of “compostable” poop bags out there (looking at you, Pogi’s), but compostable can be a confusing word. A lot of times things labeled “compostable” need to be entered into an industrial composting facility, which typically don’t want animal waste. So not everything labeled compostable will break down how you think it will in a natural environment or landfill.
These poop bags from My Alpha Pet are made of cornstarch and biodegradable, and effective for backyard composting (meaning they will break down naturally). Unfortunately the only place I can find these is Amazon, otherwise I’d provide a direct link. I can vouch that these work great. My dog is small, but his poops are mighty and I’ve never had an issue with these bags breaking.
Another item we have purchased for when nature calls are these reusable dog diapers. Our dog’s a little older and when he gets upset, he pees. A solution to this pee-venge problem is having him wear these diapers when he’s in a situation that might call for some pee. Let me tell you, they work great. We’ve had them for over a year and half and, trust, they have seen some pee. With proper care (a good soak before washing in hot water using mild detergent and air drying), they are still good as new. They absorb a lot and have never leaked. If your dog has incontinence issues (or is just an angry pee-er like ours), I would highly recommend these. There’s no need to spend money on disposable ones.
I hope these product and company suggestions have been helpful! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or further suggestions in the comments.
Stay tuned for more information on Kitchen, Beauty, and “on-the-go” in a future post!