My plastic free survival guide

My plastic free survival guide

Hi Happy campers!

So you may (or may not) be aware that I’m taking part in the Marine Conservation Society ‘plastic challenge’. I’m going to be giving up single-use plastics for ONE WHOLE MONTH! Yes, from the 1st – 30th of June (inclusive) I am going to be ditching the plastic (figuratively speaking) and raise money for the Marine Conservation Society at the same time. You can sponsor me here.

Why am I doing this? 

I was brought up in a household where we were really hot on recycling and would always pick up litter in the street and bin it; I’ve taken part in local beach cleans before and seen just how much waste there is and now I want to see if I can reduce my own personal plastic footprint. You can read further into my reasoning behind this in my most recent publishing on The Ecologist website.

What will I be replacing?

So, I thought it might be helpful for me to write a little list of things I have purchased to hep me through my plastic free month and tell you what I’ve swapped. Towards the end of the journey I’ll report back and show you how much plastic I’ve saved.

Tooth brush: Say goodbye to my ever faithful electric toothbrush (*sobs*) and say hello to this 100% biodegradable & vegan bamboo toothbrush: bamboo dent (£4.90 – Amazon). there has been some mixed press around bamboo toothbrushes at present, but I wanted to try one for myself to form my own opinion.

Tooth Paste: Mmmm, there’s nothing quite like the fresh, minty taste of sensodyne (in my opinion). However, Plastic, plastic, plastic. I went into my local LUSH store recently and was assisted by one of their wonderful staff members who gave me some toothy tabs samples to take away and I was shocked at how good they are. I’d highly recommend ‘Miles of Smiles‘ (£5.95 – LUSH) which I’ve purchased for my month of plastic freeness. It foams like a regular toothpaste and you just need to crush in your mouth, add a bit of water and brush away!

Mouthwash: I don’t really use much mouthwash, though I have purchased some ‘Creme de menthe‘ mouthwash tabs from LUSH as although the toothy tabs are good for cleaning, these leave you with that fresh tasting feeling you would get from your usual toothpaste brand. I’m aware both this and the toothy tabs come in plastic bottles, however these can be recycled at your local LUSH store.

Photo credit LUSH Portsmouth (Instagram)

Shampoo/ conditioner: I have quite dry hair from all the bleaching and colour processing, so I’ve exchanged my usual brands for a few different LUSH  products:

Godiva shampoo bar (vegan): With jasmine, fair-trade cocoa butter, macadamia nut oil and hibiscus this shampoo bar makes your hair super nourished and glossy. I’ve started taking mine in my LUSH tin to the gym (Godiva – £7.25 – LUSH).

Jason and the argan oil shampoo bar (vegan): Not going to lie, I totally purchased this for the name (it does smell great too!). It’s fab for those with dry hair as contains argan oil which (as we know) is great for troubled tresses. It also contains organic rose absolute, Sicilian lemon oil and geranium oil. I’ve been mixing between the two (this and Godiva), but tend to use this one when my hair is feeling particularly dry (Jason and the argan oil – £.6.25 – LUSH)

Sugar Daddy-O conditioner bar (vegan): Oh my, this is rather wonderful. Use sparingly as otherwise it can feel a little greasy. I purchased this particular bar as I have silvery/ blonde hair (apart from my roots). It contains shea butter and Fair Trade cocoa butter, therefore is highly conditioning. A great swap from my usual and goes further too! (Sugar Daddy-o conditioner bar – £5.95 – LUSH)

Storage for shampoo and conditioner: I bought a few of the LUSH tins, though you can probably find tins elsewhere (tins from £2.50 – LUSH).

Body wash: I’m sorry! I’m a LUSH addict (this post is not sponsored by LUSH, but if they want me to visit the LUSH kitchen, I’d be down with that). I’m using a couple of different soaps by LUSH. I remember we always used to use PEARL soap or DOVE when I was a wee nipper, so using soap as my all-over body wash isn’t something alien to me. Try these ones (which are my faves and in my cupboard, ready to use): Ro’s argan (vegan – £9.00 – LUSH) and Drop of hope (vegan – £8.30 – LUSH). Obviously they have some lower price point soaps, these are just my personal favourites.

Photo credit: LUSH Portsmouth (Instagram)

Razor: I could go a month without shaving and there’s totally nothing wrong with letting your natural body hair fly free, that’s cool. However, I just can’t beat the feeling of slipping into bed with freshly shaved and moisturized legs and feeling like a silken mole. Anyone? Just me? This razor is revolutionary! I haven’t found a razor that really does the job in years, so when I decided to switch to a double edge safety razor for my plastic free month I knew I’d made the right choice. You’ll need to purchase the blades separately (unfortunately the ones I purchased were wrapped in plastic?! Gah!), though it’s worth the switch and such a close and smooth shave. Git it gurl. Also, this is a razor for life and can be zero free waste if you find blades (not wrapped in plastic) and recycle the blades at your local waste disposal centre. Winning. I got this rose gold one (Amazon – £12.99). I got these blades for £3.75 (for 20).

So, for a total £16.74, you’ve got a razor and an amount of razor blades to last you a couple of years perhaps? Saving the planet AND saving money. BOOM!

Deodorant: Earth conscious deodorant is where it’s at. I went for them as they are only up the road from me,thus supporting a local business. I workout a lot and can get quite sweaty, so I went for the mint deodorant. It’s fresh and just as good as my plastic roll-on I used to use. Plus ZERO WASTE! You can re-purpose the tin afterwards to keep things such as hair grips or paperclips (Earth Conscious natural deodorant – mint – £5.00).

Face serum: I’ve opted for the LUSH ‘Full of grace’ serum bar. It’s wonderful and have been using this for a while now. 10/10, would recommend (Full of grace – £8.25 – LUSH).

Face cream: Now, I’m approaching my *cough* mid-30’s, therefore a good skin cream is super important to me. I usually use an SPF 50 as my daily skin cream, however for this challenge I’ve gone for the LUSH ‘Million dollar moisturiser‘ which has an SPF 30 in it. Use sparingly otherwise it feels a bit greasy (Million dollar moisturiser – £32.50 – LUSH).

Photo credit LUSH Portsmouth (Instagram)

Shopping bags: I live in the house that tote bags built. Always carry them with me, and so should you. I cycle to and from work, so have a backpack and put a couple of tote bags in, just in case I pop into town on my lunch break to buy bits and pieces. for food deliveries I take bags with me, or opt for bagless for home deliveries and take my re-usable bags to the door when my delivery turns up.

Cutlery: So when you’re out and about, you may pick up some food on the go which comes with plastic cutlery. That’s where the ‘spork’ comes in! I’ve got this portable spork (spoon/ fork for those not in the know) which I intend to carry around with me. It also has a bottle opener on the end. Sweet (Spork – £7.99 – Amazon)

Bin Bags: Think about it; you put your plastic rubbish into plastic bags to then be buried in the ground and take hundreds of years to decompose. Even then it will never fully decompose, but just break down into tiny pieces. Soul destroying stuff. I’ve purchased some biodegradable bin liners to try for the month. We don’t have a big garden, therefore I don’t have a compost bin, so any excess food waste will go in these bags. No plastic (Bin bags – £10.75 for 25 bags  – Amazon)

Food wrap: I go through a lot of plastic food bags and clingfilm. Hopefully this will be a habit to shake as I have now purchased some eco-friendly food wrap (which comes in adorable print I must say). These can last up to 2 years if you look after them (Wrapeat Reusable Food Jumbo Wrap Pack-x3 Multipack – £9.99 – Amazon)

Water Bottle: My Dad bought me a Chilly water bottle for Christmas which I always carry with me. You can use it for hot and cold drinks and it keeps your cold drinks cold for 24hrs (Pastel Edition Chilly’s 500ml water bottle – £15.00, Chilly’s)

Photo credit Chilly’s (Instagram)

What about cheese/ meat purchasing?

I plan to take my food wrap to the butchers and to the cheese counter at local supermarkets and ask them to place my food wrap on the scales, zero the scales and add my produce. Simples

What about grains, rice and oats?

I purchased some 2ltr containers from Wilkinson’s (Wilko sanctuary jar lrg – £3.00) and our local Wholefood shop (big up the Wild Thyme massive) are offering to fill people’s containers every Friday through June with these itemsI grew up around ‘weigh and pay’ shops, which seems to be something that’s dying out. Good business plan for anyone who wants to bring them back and encourage waste free/ minimal waste consumption!

What about tea/ coffee? 

I think I’m just going to not bother for a month with tea or coffee? Although you can recycle your plastic bottle tops at LUSH and your plastic bottles at home, I’m pretty sure the foil/ platic topper is non-recyclable and obviously contains plastic. If I’m desperate for a coffee or tea I’ll use my re-usable coffee cup. Surfers against sewage do this really nice one for just £12.00. Most places will give you a discount on your morning cuppa if you take in your own cup.

How do I wash my clothes/ clean my house etc?

Well, that can be a toughy! You can buy soap flakes from health food shops, or online, some washing powder comes in cardboard still which can be recycled. However it’s been difficult to find cleaning products not in plastic or in tins with plastic components. I’ve bought some bits from a fab company called ‘Splosh‘. They’re cruelty free, eco friendly and focus on minimising waste. You buy the initial product (bottle and cleaning liquid) and then keep the bottle and keep re-ordering the refills which come in their own melty wrapping, therefore zero waste. To receive a £5 discount on your first order, use my code: 6DA0A0 at the checkout! 

I think that’s it for now? What are your plans for a plastic free June? Are you taking part? Do you already live a plastic free life? I’d love to hear your hints, tips and tricks in the comments below, or just welcome words of support.

Alanna xo






  1. Bizzy
    May 31, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    I am having an issue with cheese. I went to Tesco cheese counter the other day with my containers ready to fill with cheese but it is all pre cut and wrapped in plastic 😢 I’m in southsea too so would love to hear it you find anywhere. I can’t live a month without cheese!

      June 1, 2017 / 1:49 pm

      Hey Bizzy!

      Oh no! That’s not great! I was going to give Waitrose a try this weekend. Also, I’m sure Lucile’s Crêperie has a cheese counter (along Marmion road) and you can buy from ‘Cheese and Cheers’ along Osborne road too 🙂 There’s also the Farmer’s Market on Palmerston road on the 18th of June from 10.00am – 2.00pm, so that might be a good place to go and rummage? I totally get you! Cheese is life!

  2. June 2, 2017 / 10:06 am

    Great photos!

  3. June 3, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Love the post alanna! I’m just gonna cut down on single use plastic for the time being and eventually phase it out completely. As we spoke about before, I don’t want to be having a drastic life change (junk food diet/single use plastic central) in my last month of pregnancy, but I am looking. For other options none the less.
    I recently made my own toothpaste (2:1 coconut oil to bicarbonate of soda with a few drops of organic essential peppermint oil)
    Also, do you have any ideas about loo roll purchasing? I stocked up and bought a big pack but I’m hoping to find paper wrapped ones? Or biodegradable plastic wrap at least?
    It’s crazy and such a shame how tricky this can be! I can’t wait to read more about it on your blog 😁

      June 4, 2017 / 10:51 am

      Hey beaut!

      I like the sound of making your own toothpaste and think I might give that a go when my toothy tabs have run out?

      The only toilet paper I’ve found which comes wrapped in paper is by ‘Who gives a crap’. It’s a little on the pricier side, though they donate money towards building toilets in poorer countries and are affiliated with Water Aid which is cool. Here’s a link to get £5 off of your first order if you’re interested:

      I’ve not done too badly so far. I did go out for some drinks last night and totally forgot to say no to straws, so I’m a bit bummed out about that. I do have a plastic free ‘swear jar’ so any time I accidently use plastic, I put 50p in which I will then add to my donation to MCS at the end of the month 🙂

  4. May 7, 2018 / 12:09 am

    So many gorgeous suggestions! I’ll take the pan galactic gargle blaster ?>?:!! Whjat? But seriously thank you for raising awareness and being living proof of plastic free.
    Seeking a zero waste lifestyle is something we can all achieve.

    • May 10, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      Haha!Loving the Hitchhikers ref! Plastic free is tough, and perhaps not entirely possible, but we can all be making small changes to reduce our plastic footprint. Love what you’re doing with the stainless steel straws! Recently got some myself, they’re great!

      Namaste right back at cha, Bren!

      Alanna x

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