At the risk of sounding rather like a hygiene obsessed witch (!), this week’s triumphs have mostly been about the simplest of things – toothpaste and tea leaves.
When I started trying to reduce the plastics that I throw away, I never thought that I would spend so much time contemplating toothpaste. With so many different brands and types available, who would have thought it would be so hard to find one that I didn’t have to chuck away to landfill after.
We have been using Toothy Tabs from Lush for a while, which are excellent but a little bit pricey as an everyday alternative. I also know that some people use straight baking soda powder to brush their teeth but I felt that was too harsh an option for little kiddies teeth. So as a last resort, I have made my own!
As a quick caveat for the blog in general, I only make things which are quick, effective and don’t cost the earth (from making biscuits to cleaning products the same rule applies!).
The toothpaste recipe I have developed therefore only takes about 3 minutes to knock up, uses only a few ingredients, is cheaper than regular toothpaste to make and lasts about 6 weeks. As a bonus it tastes nice (it gets the approval of 3 little ones) and gives a really good clean. All the ingredients can either be bought in bulk (in your own containers) or in recyclable glass jars.
6 tbsp coconut oil (Organic, Virgin is best)
4 tbsp bicarb of soda (baking soda)
25g xylitol/stevia (or 6 packs if you can’t get it in bulk)
1 tsp peppermint oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Refrigerate for about an hour and then store as usual in the bathroom. You can increase the baking soda up to 6 tbsps if you like more of a scrub but these quantities are about right if you have kids.
Ours is kept in a jar, branded as Fairy Tooth Paste for the benefit of my 6 year old! A small amount is applied with a spatula. I have however just found a medium sized plastic syringe which came with a play dough kit years ago which I plan to sterilise and use so the toothpaste can be squeezed on to the brush – easier for little hands.
We Brits love a good cuppa cha, and many households go through a good few boxes a month, with choices of English tea, Earl Grey, Lady Grey and Fruit teas available. I used to buy a brand that just came in a cardboard box so that all the packaging it did come with, was at least recyclable. But since finding a ‘tea ball’, a cup of tea is now totally zero waste.
Loose tea leaves are readily available in specialist tea places or can even be bought from your local coffee shop if you ask them nicely. And with that simple change to the shopping habit, the tea bag and the box are all packaging that doesn’t have to be produced or recycled. Win, win.