Plastic Free Advent Ideas

We are absolutely delighted to announce that the Foodloose shop in Cheltenham is now officially open!

Our mission is to make sustainably packaged goods accessible to everyone, whether you’re living zero-waste or interested in making your first plastic-free switch, we can help!

Come and visit us in store or contact us on social media and we’ll be happy to answer any queries, take your product suggestions or just have a good old chat about one-planet living.

With the store opening on the 1st of December, what better way to kick things off than with our very own advent calendar of tips to reduce plastic waste? We’ve indicated where alternatives are available at Foodloose but not all the products listed below are stocked at the shop, if there’s something you’d love to see at the shop then send us your suggestions.

1. Christmas tips! Planning a plastic-free festive season? How about shopping from our selection of dried foods for that all important Christmas pudding? Use fabric wrapping or make your own from newspaper. Better still, why not think about giving experience gifts instead of novelty ones? Theatre tickets, cinema vouchers, subscriptions or memberships can be a gift that keeps on giving, unlike those novelty stocking fillers!

2. Water bottle and coffee cup. Stay hydrated and/or caffeinated whilst out and about with a sturdy water bottle and reusable cup. We are proud to be a Refill stop for free tap water and we also offer a range of teas and coffees which we’ll happily pour into travel cups.

3. Toothbrushes. Every toothbrush you’ve ever used still exists somewhere in the world. If Henry 8th had used one, his would still exist somewhere, sitting in a landfill or washed up on a beach. Switch to bamboo, we stock adult and child sized options. Keep those old toothbrushes for cleaning tiles and grout.

4. Shampoo and conditioner. Think about switching to a solid bar shampoo or conditioner, or refilling existing bottles.

5. Perfume. Think about switching to solid perfume bars or oils. You can now also buy refillable glass perfume bottles which make you feel like a 1920s film star. Why make something that can only be used once?

6. Soap. Bar soaps are back in vogue and we stock a range of handmade soaps in lots of delicious scents.

7. Dishwashing. Dishwashers save water but can be plastic wrap heavy compared to handwashing. Use eco tablets with dissolvable wrappers, look out for dishwasher salt in cardboard boxes and if you prefer scrubbing the dishes yourself, visit us for refillable liquid.

8. Laundry. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it! Switch to an eco product that won’t harm aquatic life, powders in cardboard boxes or refillable liquid options. Eco Eggs can be a good option for some. Either way, switch to 30 degrees and the planet will be happy!

9. Period plastic is rubbish. Literally. Switch to a mooncup or reusable washable pads to save the planet and your money. If that’s a step too far for now, look at eco pad/tampon options which are plastic and chemical free.

10. Plastic containers. We don’t care what you bring into the shop, we’ll fill it up (as long as it’s clean and suitable!) old takeaway boxes, your Nana’s tupperware, immaculate glass kilner’s, we’ll fill em’all, we’re not fussy.

11. Beeswax wraps and silicon covers. We’ll be stocking some fab wraps made in Stroud, perfect for those bits that need to be covered before they go in the fridge or back in the bread bin. Silicon washable covers also work a treat. Never underestimate the power of a plate placed on top of a bowl of leftovers! Cost-free and zero food or plastic waste!

12. Food. Glorious Food! Raisins, beans, pasta, almonds, coconut, lentils, yum. Visit our website or pop into the shop to peruse our heaving shelves of dried goods, if there’s something you’d like but can’t see please ask or pop it in our suggestion box.

13. Clothes. The biggest source of ocean microplastic is man-made fibres in clothes (closely followed by car tyre fibres) both of which end up in watercourses and subsequently in the ocean. Try and buy natural fibres, steer clear of fast fashion and make the most of Cheltenham’s vintage and charity shops. Sequins and fake fur are also plastic so make this year’s Christmas party outfit on trend by re-wearing or shwopping with friends.

14. Bags. You’ve got your reusable bags to avoid that 5p charge but what now? Re-use them! Keep them handy so you can remember them. There are also many options for produce bags which mean you can bypass those flimsy plastic bags. Most supermarkets will take bags back for recycling.

15. Straws. Plan that cocktail or G&T session in advance and pop a reusable straw in your bag.

16. Cutlery. Sometimes there’s no avoiding eating on the run, pop a spork or takeaway cutlery from a previous lunch dash in your bag so you never need to grab a plastic fork again.

17. Cotton wool and cotton buds. Switch to reusable, washable face rounds made from natural fibres. Look for plastic free cotton buds too.

18. Toys. We’ve heard from the big man in the red suit and even HE is trying to reduce the amount of plastic that goes into and out of the workshop. Look for wooden toys, second hand or charity shop finds. If you’re a godparent or a grandparent, uncle or second cousin once removed, check you’re getting a gift that the child will love and avoid disposable, flimsy plastic options.

19. Events, parties and more. If you’re planning a big Christmas shindig have a think about alternatives to disposable tableware, look for paper alternatives or use proper glasses for fizz and mugs for mulled wine. Christmas Fair planning? Look at glass hire options and propose your school, scouts, guides or church group think about ditching single use plastic for all future events.

20. Toilet roll and kitchen roll. Look for plastic free alternatives, like Who Gives a Crap which is available in the shop. Cut up old towels or use cloths in the kitchen for spills and cleaning.

21. Nappies and wipes. Pop into the shop to find leaflets about the Real Nappy Project in Gloucestershire. Consider using reusable nappies, even if just for one or two nappy changes a day. Reusable wipes such as the Cheeky Wipes option are proving more and more popular.

22. GetLoopy! Nature is cyclical, all systems in nature are never linear, they always loop back round. Check out the Ellen Macarthur Foundation for more information about circular economy thinking, you’ll never look at waste in the same way!

23. Tell companies! Boycotting that plastic wrapped coconut? Loving that new naked cucumber option? Tell the manager in the store, e-mail or tweet or facebook to let them know that packaging is affecting your buying decisions. Talk to friends and family to amplify your impact even further. Individual action leads to system change, and system change leads to individual action.

24. Labels. Learn the label lingo. What’s the difference between compostable and biodegradable? What is and isn’t recyclable here in Gloucestershire? Should we be growing food crops to make plastic alternatives? We’re happy to share our thoughts but ask your local council representatives and MP about these issues to really ramp up your individual impact.

25. You can do anything but not everything. We all lead busy lives and there’s frankly quite enough negativity and confusion out there in the world right now. If you’re able to make one small step then congratulate yourself, then look for the next tiny step. If you’re able to make 10 giant leaps then fantastic! Don’t feel guilty that you’re not doing it all and don’t feel paralysed with fear about the scale of the problem, it will take lots of people just like us to all make changes to our lifestyles in order to turn off the plastic tap. It always feels impossible until it’s done so hang on in there and raise a glass of festive cheer to your efforts!

RK

2 thoughts on “Plastic Free Advent Ideas”

Kate Dimmer

Great tips, thank you!

Jenny S

I was delighted to see the shop in Cheltenham this morning. I am a devoted follower of Cate Cody’s eco blog and admirer of her commitment to living green. This is the genuine article and I will overcome my abhorence of what Cheltenham has become and make the trip to restock with you. All strength to your efforts and thanks to the lovely lady who saw me looking through your (closed) door to give me a flyer.

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