Household Cleaning Eco Swaps – Low Cost & Easily Accessible – A Review Of Ecover Washing Up Liquid & Toilet Cleaner

Is it really possible to get excited about washing up liquid and loo cleaner? Yes, for me it is. After buying both of these I was significantly more excited than usual about cleaning.

If you’re new here I’ve been making a real effort in the last year to clean up my act to help the planet without spending a fortune. When something runs out I do my best to find a more environmentally friendly alternative that is either the same cost as the product I was buying previously or even cheaper. Believe it or not this is possible. So far swaps have largely focused on my beauty routine including saying goodbye to bottled hand soap and shower gel in favour of paper wrapped bars as one example of many.

Now products are finally starting to run out in my kitchen and around the house so some more swaps have been made. It’s almost embarrassing how excited I get about an affordable swap that is really easy to come by and that’s how I feel about discovering these products from Ecover.

It’s bugged me for a while that most washing up liquids have written on the back “harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects” and we are literally washing this down the drain into the water systems. It blows my mind how companies can sell products like this. Cheap supermarket own brand dish soap never lasts five minutes and the flashier stuff like Fairy more often than not irritates my skin which added another layer of excited when I found Ecover as it is labelled as suitable for sensitive skin. I hoped this would mean no more irritated skin from doing the dishes that instantly leaves me reaching for soothing hand cream or questioning why I don’t own some glamourous rubber gloves.

I purchased a 950ml bottle on Tesco Clubcard Price for £2. In the store their 900ml bottles of Fairy, so less product, were the same price so this does work out cheaper than buying a brand with labels declaring it dangerous to sea life. But it gets so much better from there. Ecover’s washing up liquid comes in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle which is fully recyclable and it is made in a zero waste factory. On the back of the product there are details for how to find your local refill station. These are spread around the UK so you can take the empty bottle to a store to have it filled up again meaning no further plastic bottle purchases are required. I don’t live in a big city at all, I looked up my local area for refill locations and was thrilled to find 3 within 7 miles. One of which is on a road I travel down daily on the route to and from work. The ingredients in the product are also plant based and biodegradable.

The product smells amazing, I find the bottle aesthetically pleasing and all told I’m really chuffed with this. To test it out I intentionally left my washing up overnight rather than cleaning it after cooking and had no difficulties removing things like dried on pasta sauce, almond butter or ice cream from my pans and dishes.

When purchasing the washing up liquid I was also in the market for some loo cleaner. Ecover’s 750ml bottle with an RRP of £1.75 was £1 Clubcard price. I’ve used the supermarket own brand one which costs less than 50p and found it rather useless staining my toilet blue and not really doing much besides. The Clubcard price deal placed this at the same price point as Duck & Harpic products but of course Ecover has the upper hand by not including any nasty ingredients which are detrimental to the environment. The only thing which disappointed me with this was that the bottle is made only from 50% recycled plastic unlike the washing up liquid, but given that this formula is also made with biodegradable ingredients it makes me feel like I’m doing better than not trying at all.

As the toilet cleaner claimed to remove limescale I popped the plug in my bathtub, squeezed a little of this on the offending stain that refused to budge with 4 other cleaning products and left for the instructed 10 mins. I returned to the bathroom smelling lovely and not eye watering like bleach. A quick wipe and the whole area was sparkling like new. I even sent a photo of the bottle to a couple of friends I was that impressed which brought to mind the online memes about how you know you’re an adult when you get excited about buying things like a vacuum cleaner.

The Final Word

Thanks to offers these cost me the same as other branded equivalents which seem to have no eco considerations. I appreciate that own brand options are cheaper but given how long an almost 1L bottle of washing up liquid will last me, and how much better this is for the planet than previous things I bought, I’m more than happy with this switch. I can’t wait to investigate refilling the bottle! I’m aware that solid bars of washing up liquid exist which eliminates the need for any plastic bottles but what really appeals to me about these Ecover products is how easily accessible they are as I could pick them up on my weekly shop without having to think in advance about ordering something online or venturing to a specialist store. I really hope that offers like this will encourage more people to make the swaps whilst buying their groceries. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more supermarket available eco conscious cleaning product swaps as my current products empty.

Comments Welcome.

Eco Effort Round Up: Recent Recycling Scheme Discoveries, Zero Waste Laundry Product Swaps, Packaging Free Supermarket Options & More.

I’m really trying to do by bit for the planet without hugely increasing my spending and decided to write bi-monthly posts on the recent eco efforts I’ve made. I remember in school many ears ago being really upset by the deforestation of the Amazon and wanting to do something about it so these little swap wins really make me happy as I know I’ve taken small actions rather than doing nothing at all. I’ve had quite a summer clear out and with every eco swap I make the more conscious I am of the rubbish that is still left. I find products designed to help the planet often fascinating such as packaging made from sugar cane, which is sustainable and totally recyclable. Some inventions completely blow my mind, one of which is included in my recent discoveries. I’ve found better ways to “bin” things as well as some low cost swaps that will lessen my impact on the planet. Read on to find out more.

Decluttered Make Up & Recycled The Items

Garnier have partnered with Terracycle to pop cardboard bins across the UK to collect unwanted make up items. I’ve seen a few of these bins in larger supermarkets as well as Boots and Superdrug stores making them very easily accessible which I love. Whilst having a good sort through my make up this month I decided to be brutal on a declutter by being really honest with myself about how long I’d had items, when I’d last used them and if I was likely to again. I popped deposited them in a Garnier bin that I found. To give an idea of how easily I’ve found these I’ve so far come across 3 in my local area in supermarkets or Boots and I don’t live in a big city. I was pleased to see the bins were quite full so people are engaging with the scheme.

This month I discovered that The Body Shop have relaunched it’s recycling programme to help recycle trickier skincare and beauty packaging. They’ll accept items from any brand which I think is fantastic and I’m keeping any awkward to recycle items to one side to deposit in store.

Discovered Packaging-Free Options At Supermarket Counters

I reached out to supermarkets via Twitter and had both Tesco and Sainsburys confirm that they’re happy for customers to bring in their own containers for shop assistants to fill at their counters to avoid the use of plastic bags. I’m so pleased this is an option as although I don’t eat meat that often for convenience I tend to buy cold cooked meat packs weekly. That’s one more plastic-free switch for me!

More recently I’ve made a really effort to cut back on the amount of plastic in my weekly shop. I’ve used my own bags for years but in the last month I’ve made a real point of sticking to packaging free fruit and vegetables. I’m pleased to see more options are becoming available although I’ll forever roll my eyes at why cucumbers need to be shrink wrapped in plastic?! My local Tesco has varieties of potatoes, broccoli, carrots, apples, bananas, citrus fruits etc without packaging so I’m trying to stick with those and shop seasonally as this keeps costs down also.

Ordered More Wild Refill Deodorant Blocks

I placed my first online order for 3 blocks of deodorant from Wild Refill. I used the discount code they gave me for my blog which is NOT affiliate – FSFARD20 to get 20% off. Delivery was free. I’ll admit they are more expensive than the deodorants I used to buy at £1 a pop but these have zero plastic waste, I love what the brand stands for as well as their fundraising efforts and the products are highly effective for me. I’ve not struggled with any skin irritation and much prefer the scents I’ve tried already to any deodorant I’ve used previously so I don’t mind paying for these at all. Quite a lot of eco swaps I’ve made have worked out much cheaper e.g. bar soap over plastic bottled shower gels so for me it all balances out. Given the name of my blog, Forever Saving For A Rainy Day, I think it speaks volumes about this product that I’m willing to pay a bit more for this eco swap.

Discovered More Ways To Recycle Soft Plastics

Since the start of the year I’ve been collecting anything labelled as “recycle with bags at larger stores” and doing exactly that. I was slightly amazed and horrified how quickly these things added up. I didn’t realise until very recently that you could also chuck crisp packets into these collection bins as well as things like clingfilm. Whilst I don’t use clingfilm I am quite partial to crisps so this was a nice discovery to reduce what I send to landfill. I tend to take my items to Tesco as this is most convenient for me but I’m aware the Co Op also offer a similar service.

Bought An Eco Egg For Laundry

After posting that I intended to make this switch quite some time ago my laundry capsules finally dwindled and one of my amazing Instagram followers messaged me to say they’d seen the Eco Eggs on a stunning deal in Home Bargains. I was able to pick up an egg which is suitable for sensitive skin, approved by Allergy UK, fragrance free and capable of doing 720 washes for £4.99 instead of £24.99. 720 washes is due to last 3 years if doing 4-5 loads a week. At most I do 2 so not only if this a magnificent way to save the planet, it’ll also save me a fortune if I get on with this. I genuinely legged it to Home Bargains the morning after I was told about this deal for their opening time I was that excited. The egg itself is made with recycled plastic, the inner packaging is recyclable and the more I read about it the more impressed I was. It’s non toxic so not harmful to aquatic life also. The egg itself is surprisingly light. A housemate of mine had one, I never heard it in the washing machine, she struggled with eczema and this didn’t flare it so I’m almost embarrassingly excited to try this. I’m hoping this is goodbye plastic for my laundry! Needless to say in time a egg review will be coming.

REN EverCalm Global Protection Day Cream Review – Eco Conscious Moisturiser Used On Acne Prone Combination Skin

As a brand I love what REN are doing. I’ve tried their Ready Steady Glow toner and really like it so a combination of the two makes me keen to try more from REN. A wonderfully kind Instagram follower sent me a deluxe sample of this product which I’ve now almost emptied so here comes the review.

Why I Like REN As A Brand

They’re tag line is “clean skincare”. At the time of publishing this 68% of their product meet the brand’s zero waste pledge. They anticipate being zero waste by the end of this year. They’ve also joined forces with a handful of other skincare brands pledging to make positive changes and all be zero waste by 2025 noting that the impact will be greater if they work together. REN are actively making changes such as designing the world’s first aluminium skincare sample packaging which they anticipate, based on their yearly forecasts, could save 900kg of plastic from landfill in 2021 alone. They’ve removed things like harder to recycle pipettes in favour of new packaging designs to reduce waste. Their packaging is all designed to be recyclable, containing recyclable materials and suitable for reusing. Materials include glass, aluminium and post-consumer-recycled plastic so it isn’t virgin plastic. They strike me as a brand that doesn’t just talk about wanting to do better for the planet but one that is implementing changes and fast which I love to see.

I’ve previously only ever tried 1 product from REN which is their Ready Steady Glow exfoliant. The more exfoliants I tried from other brands the more I’ve been keen to return to this. The product was not only eco friendlier than the competitors I tried but more effective with the formula doing the job I wanted it to.

Review Of REN Evercalm Day Cream

It retails for £38 for 50ml.

I have seen this on the TK Maxx website selling for £14.99 which is much closer to what I’d typically spend on a day cream. I personally wouldn’t pay £38 for it but that is no reflection on the product and more on my spending limits for beauty!

It has a beautiful luxurious scent to it that is gentle and I find it really calming. I’m fully aware this is a day cream but I have used this a few times during my evening skincare routine as I find the smell so de-stressing and relaxing. It feels like a real moment of self care to use which is on a whole other level compared to my usual products. The best way I can think to describe the comforting scent is that it felt like a hug for my face. Given that this is designed to nourish and combat skin discomfort I was a little surprised by the scent, assuming it to be fragrance free, but this didn’t irritate my skin in any way.

Texture-wise it is a cream formula with a little going a long way. I first squeezed out the same size quantity as my usual gel moisturiser and was there for quite some time rubbing it all in with my face looking very ghostly in the process. Once I’d got used to using a smaller amount I didn’t have this issue but I will say it required more rubbing in than most moisturisers I’m used to including Cetaphil’s Rich Night Cream which is a thick cream texture.

Did it make me break out? No, not at all. Given the amount of rubbing needed for this to absorb into my skin and it being thicker than usual formulas I’m used to I was a little hesitant but can report no extra spots as a result of introducing this into my routine.

It helped to soothe and ease sensitisation after I accidentally went in a little heavy with some new skincare that had active ingredients in.

The Final Word

Would I buy this? Whilst writing this review I had the TK Maxx tab open to where it was on offer for £14.99 and couldn’t bring myself to close it. I was on the fence because whilst I wanted to buy it I had a few reservations. Pros for buying included that it met my requirements for being more environmentally conscious as I’m really trying to make better product choices with this in mind. I was also aware that my skin tends to need a bit of extra nourishment in winter. I felt that this would be great for that time of year and I didn’t have anything lined up in my stash.

The only thing which put me off this purchase is that I’ve been dedicated to my day cream, the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ now for over 6 years. It does a wonderful job of addressing breakouts and helping me to manage my acne prone skin, removing this from my routine feels unsettling. I see it as a trusted friend. But I have other products in my routine like The Ordinary Niacinamide serum which addresses spots and hyperpigmentation and being without the LRP during this trial period has been fine. It may be labelled as a day cream but I can see myself reaching for this more in the evenings which means this would replace the Cetaphil Rich Night Cream that I relied on last winter.

Long story short, I placed an online order for £14.99. It’s a product that I really enjoy using, I was able to justify space in my routine for it, it’ll mean an eco swap and ultimately I was never going to own a bottle at full price.

Plastic Free July – Reflecting On My Eco Swaps & Cheap Ways To Be More Eco Friendly, Reduce Waste & Consumption

I am far from perfect when it comes to being eco friendly but I am really trying. I don’t live a zero waste life and I don’t get it right all of the time but I think it’s better to be imperfect and trying to help the planet than do nothing at all. I’ve made a lot of progress in the last 12 months at making my life more environmentally friendly which prompted me to put together this post.

Food & Drink

Took a refillable bottle to work and used the chilled carbon neutral water filter to stay hydrated. Any plastic drinks bottles I did get I kept to a minimum and have kept to reuse for purposes like watering my house plants, using to make ice blocks for picnics etc.

Picked up 4 free 1L cartons of plant-based milk via the brilliant cash back app Green Jinn.

Took reusable bags to the supermarket during every food shop or running errands so needed 0 plastic bags or paper bags. I find leaving one folded up in my handbag or where I keep my jackets and shoes really helpful so I never forget a bag.

Prioritised buying fruit and vegetables loose with no packaging including potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, apples, broccoli, cauliflower etc. I’m really pleased that supermarkets are offering more products without plastic packaging in places like Tesco and Sainsbury but it still frustrates me that items like cucumbers are all shrink wrapped?! I caved only to buy clearance berries but otherwise stuck with zero packaging buys.

I made a conscious effort to check items I bought more thoroughly to see if the packaging could be recycled or not and then bought whichever was the better option. I’m intending to research local refillable stores for the future as well as finding my local Terracycle collection point for things like crisp packets.

I bought a lot of clearance food which I feel should be mentioned as not only does it save me money but counts towards reducing food waste.

Beauty

Used zero waste deodorant from Wild Refill – A Review of Wild Refill – Zero Waste Eco Friendly Deodorant . I love this product, I’ve tried 2 of their scents now and completely trust this product to keep me smelling fresh even when the British weather decides to be summery and hot. I like that it also hasn’t caused me any skin irritation as I have experienced this in the past with other deodorants. The scents are also great, for years I took to buying men’s deodorant as I hate the cheap, fake flowery smell of so many women’s ones that remind me of toilet air freshener. These scents are delicate, fresh and I can still smell them at the end of the day.

Used zero waste razors from Friction Free Shaving and accompanying skincare products – Review of Friction Free Shaving Zero Waste Eco Friendly Blossom Razor & 1 Smooth, 2 Remove, 3 Soothe Hair Removal Products . Since switching to these I’ve had zero accidental cuts which is amazing for me as I’ve always been prone to nicking my ankles or knees when in a hurry.

Picked up a free mini of The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Balm which comes in a fully recyclable pretty aluminium tin to replace the Garnier Micellar water which I’ve been using for years to remove make up. I used my £5 birthday voucher from TBS’s Love Your Body club on this. I have a wash cloth I can use with this which saves cotton pads being used too.

Had 2 small baths using packaging free bath bombs from Lush picked up for free via the brilliant community app Olio which aims to reduce waste and encourage helping others.

Used paper wrapped bar soap instead of shower gel or hand wash. This is such a cheap easy swap to make.

Began research into more eco beauty swaps that I can make as I work my way through my beauty stash. I hope to replace any empties with an effective product that is more planet friendly.

Around The Home

Reused an empty rinsed plastic spray cleaning bottle to water my house plants.

Did the laundry at 30 degrees putting on one big load a week. I never put the machine on unless I have a full load of clothes or bedding etc as it feels like such a waste. Once the non bio pods I’m using at the moment have run out I’m intending to buy an Eco Egg or try Smol laundry products as they’re better for the environment. I’d also like to note that all of the clothes I wore for work were preloved, largely from charity shops, and no fast fashion was purchased this month.

Unplugged or switched electrical devices off at the wall when not in use to avoid using extra electricity for example the television, microwave, kettle and my phone charger.

Bought toilet roll made from recycled paper which comes wrapped in paper instead of the usual plastic. It’s always driven me mad that loo roll comes in plastic packaging as I find it so unnecessary. I don’t buy kitchen roll but have noted it’s possible to get this wrapped in paper now too in stores like Tesco and Aldi.

Recycled anything labelled as “recycle at larger stores” in their collection bins. I used this for any cereal bags, frozen food packaging etc.

Saved any cardboard boxes or padded envelopes from any click and collect orders or work deliveries to reuse for sending gifts or any online sales. Wherever possible I shopped in stores for things I needed.

Travel

I either walked everywhere when the weather was nice, took a bus when it rained or car shared.

The Final Word

I have a long way to go but wanted to end this post by saying that one of the most eco friendly things to do is using what you already have until you physically can’t anymore. This is exactly what I’m doing with everything from plastic bottles, existing opened cleaning products etc before gradually upgrading to something that is better for the planet whilst being affordable. It makes zero sense to chuck things away when they work.

Comments Welcome

Low Cost & Easily Accessible Eco Friendly Beauty Swaps That I Plan To Make

In the last few months I’ve been trying really hard to clean up my beauty act. I’ve swapped to zero waste razors and deodorant, given up plastic bottled soaps and gels for paper wrapped bars and tried to prioritise brands with better eco credentials. I know I still have a long way to go. The only reason these swaps are in the pipeline and haven’t already happened is because I have a stash of beauty products or essentials to work my way through. As someone who likes to make the most of their money I’ll often stock up on items I trust or rely on in advance of needing them to ensure I’m not caught out having to pay full price which means I’ve accumulated quite the stash.

Bar Soap Facial Cleanser

I’m aware that last year I mentioned wanting to try Carbon Theory’s bar cleanser but have found such conflicting advice online that I was put off from this. Reviews I read said the formula could be quite drying and as I use prescription acne treatment or ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide, AHAs, BHAs which can be drying I now use and need a more hydrating cleanser. I’ve seen that Cerave, one of my favourite brands for cleansers, released their famous formulas in bar form with cardboard packaging. So far I’ve yet to see this on sale in the UK in stores but have seen it on Amazon and as I love the original bottled formulas I’ve a lot more confidence that my skin will get on well with this. I think Cerave must be sick of me and my enthusiasm for this product on Instagram as I keep trying to find out when I might be able to buy this in UK stores!

Via Instagram SebaMed UK’s cleansing bar came onto my radar. It too comes in cardboard packaging, has a ph of 5.5 and is designed for sensitive acne prone skin meaning it is gentle and non stripping.

Once my stash of bottled cleansers has been worked through I’ll be transitioning over to one of these alternatives. Interestingly I recently saw online that Nivea have released bar facial cleansers and I’m aware The Body Shop also have a variety. I’m just incredibly fussy as my skin is very acne prone but if yours is less temperamental than mine and your face is less likely to break out faster than you can say “spots” then this is becoming a really easy swap to make.

Bar Shampoo or Refillable Shampoo

I am thrilled that The Body Shop now have refill stations in their stores up and down the country. I didn’t expect my smaller local stores to have this option but both do which made me very happy. As they’re little stores they only have 6 options but this includes 1 hand soap, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner and 3 shower gels. The shampoo in my local store would be my one of choice out of all their options which was a very happy discovery.

I’m torn between trying the refillable shampoo and Garnier’s new Ultimate Blends bars. I’ve seen these several times in Boots on half price offers making them £3.99 instead of £7 which sounds like a great affordable swap option to me. As they’re stocked in Boots I can see myself using my Advantage Card points to give this a go without spending a penny. I think I’ll try one of their bars first and if I don’t get on with the shampoo bar experience then I’ll go for The Body Shop refillable option as a back up.

I’ve got quite a collection of shampoo bottles that I’ve accumulated from clearance deals thinking these were too good to pass up at the time. I’ll move towards bars once I’ve emptied the bottles I have. I know so many people rave about Lush but their expensive prices put me off slightly when I’ve no idea how I’ll get on with shampoo bars hence waiting it out this long to make an eco switch.

Reusable Cotton Pads

I’ve been incredibly wary of these given that my skin is really acne prone. I didn’t want to potentially waste my money on these. Since delving into using an oil cleanser I’ve been using a wash cloth to remove this and as long as I chuck it in the wash once or twice a week I’ve not had any issues. This has given me the confidence to venture into trying reusable cotton pads. I’d only really be using these for exfoliants and don’t tend to use that many cotton ads as it is hence not making this switch sooner.

One of my wonderful followers and “insta-pals” as she likes to call us, The Acne Pharmacist, kindly sent me a surprise pack of 3 reusable pads recently so I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to try these out.

Plastic Bottle Free Make Up Remover

I’ve been a huge fan of the Garnier Micellar Water since discovering it a few years ago. It’s my go to for removing eye make up as it is cheap, cheerful, highly effective and doesn’t break me out. However, given that I really want to try and make my beauty routines more eco friendly I’m intending to try The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter instead as this comes in an aluminium tin. Their mini retails for £5 and as I’m a loyalty card holder I received a £5 voucher for my birthday month so I was able to pick this up at no cost. All that’s required is a wash cloth which is far better than plastic bottles and disposable cotton pads so I’m really hoping my skin gets on well with this.

More Eco Friendly Body Lotion

I’m aware The Body Shop recently redesigned their packaging for body butters to include an aluminium lid to make them more eco friendly. I’m torn between purchasing this which I’ve used before and enjoy or branching out to try products from Lush. I’m equally open minded about using a moisturising product in a cardboard tube or similar so intend to do my research for when the products I have run out.

I’m open to low cost suggestions of ways I can continue to clean up my beauty routine.

Comments Welcome