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.

Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money & Bargain Finds In August

Well, we’re officially over halfway through the year. How this has happened baffles me. Whilst I had hoped to have a quieter month this month to try and shift some bits on eBay or Marketplace the reality is I’ve been preoccupied with enjoying my summer and remembering a little what real life was like pre the dread C-word in a way that I’ve felt safe.

I made a whopping £0 selling my unwanted items in August but I did score some great, necessary bargains that still make this post worth writing in my opinion.

Bargain Finds

I officially have an addiction to Facebook Marketplace and I’m totally ok with this as it has been saving me a fortune. This month I picked up 3 items of free furniture and in August I found a wonderful statement floor lamp. I was initially loosely hunting for a different style one before coming across this human sized Pixar lamp in a pale green blue colour. It’s magnificent. It was listed as “like new” and I can’t see a single mark on it.

I was chuffed to get it, knowing it was a bargain but I only got more smug from there. I looked the exact one I had up to discover it cost over £80 from the Range. Days later I saw a virtually identical shaped and sized lamp to mine retailing for over £200.

Mine cost me £20.

This month I resisted the lure of the Boots clearance section with strong willed determination to work through my accidentally hoarded stash of beauty products. I’ll no doubt be visiting there next month as I’m one of those people who starts their festive shopping very early to avoid stress and help save me some cash.

Saved Money

This month I began venturing to eat out in restaurants again after what feels like the longest time. Below are some of the ways I saved money whilst having a much needed night off cooking.

Tesco Clubcard Vouchers – These were converted to cover the bill for Pizza Express minus drinks and as I don’t drink this wasn’t costly. I also visited a Chef & Brewer chain where I enjoyed an entirely guilt free steak and chips as I had Tesco vouchers to cover the cost of my main meal. Without these I highly likely wouldn’t have splashed out so much so this felt like a real treat.

Remembering Money Saving Expert’s Nandos Hacks – yes, there are such things. I learnt ages ago that ordering 1 large portion of fries was cheaper than the price of 2 regular sides and it was rumoured you got more chips. So I decided to test this out with a friend and we both agreed we had more food for less cost. We also opted for the refillable zero drinks as these dodged the sugar tax cost and saved us a few extra pennies. I’m well aware we could have been even cheaper by only having tap water but as this was my first Nandos trip in over 18 months I fully intended to enjoy the whole experience and the little savings all add up.

My Decision To Ditch Dairy 1 Year On – Did This Dietary Swap Really Help My Acne Prone Skin & Improve My Life?

I’ve always been a hardcore lover of cheese so even writing the title of this, realising it’s been over a year, slightly blows my mind. I gave up dairy around the middle of 2020 as I was trying to find ways to help my skin that didn’t require medication I was uncomfortable with taking. I tried this once before for around 3 months in 2016, focusing mostly on lactose-free products, with no real difference but if I’m being honest with myself – I didn’t try that hard.

I Feel Better In Myself

If I put aside my skin for a second on the whole I feel better for not eating dairy. One of the reasons I decided to go without it for a time wasn’t based just on hysterical Google searches but the fact that dairy, particularly in the mornings, always made me feel sick. I’ve also never liked the taste of cows milk and could never drink it on it’s own, the idea makes me shudder even now. I could drink a cup of coffee no problem but it had been years since I’d been able to have cereal that wasn’t dry without feeling rough. Ditching dairy enabled me to rekindle a love for Cheerios, Fruit & Fibre, Weetabix and more. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed these. Prior to this switch every breakfast I ate was something toasted. In the last 7-8 months once I realised vegan products didn’t make me feel ill all I’ve eaten each morning has involved milk or yoghurt in some way.

There’s Very Little I Miss

On an almost monthly basis new dairy free or vegan products seem to be released with big brands like Petit Filous, The Collective, Kit Kat and more jumping on the bandwagon. Many products I actually prefer to dairy. I never really liked dairy creme fraiche, finding the almost sweet aftertaste odd in savoury dishes, but Oatly’s answer to this product completely converted me. The fact that it has a long shelf life and is incredible in pasta dishes makes it a fridge staple for me. Some products are so good now that it feels like zero compromise and I’ve had dairy-eating friends unable to tell the difference. Examples include Elmlea’s plant based cream, Magnum ice creams, Ristorante’s vegan margarita and the newly discovered plant based passionfruit flavoured yoghurt from The Collective. Brands like HiP – Happiness In Plants and Doisy and Dam mean I can enjoy chocolate without feeling disappointed at all. If I had to dig deep the only things I miss are Solero Exotic ice creams and that it’s harder to find a good coffee when out and about – Cafe Nero remain my favourite high street chain for dairy free coffees.

I Still Eat Cheese

After letting me skin run my life when I first developed acne in 2016 I vowed never to let that happen again. I still love cheese so I still eat cheese. I’ve tried two vegan ones and they just don’t cut it for me so instead I have it less frequently than I used to and I go for lactose-free options. Lactose free cheddar is easy to find, Lidl have very reasonably priced sliced edam and Tesco have an own brand mozzarella although sadly this is getting harder to find in stores. I’ve recently discovered Waitrose have lactose free Halloumi and Feta so rest assured I’ll be jumping on those very soon. I used to consume a family sized block of cheddar a week. Nowadays a small pack of lactose-free cheddar lasts me 2-3 weeks. I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate cheese more for not having it every day. Basic things I previously got bored of like cheese toasties now feel like the most wonderful self-indulgent treat.

I Cheat Sometimes Because I’m Human

I make occasional exceptions for things like Sour Cream Pringles, Dairy Milk and the odd Solero Exotic and I don’t feel remotely guilty for it.

Quitting Dairy Sparked More Of An Interest In Food

I’ve never cared for cooking and used to easily get stuck into a rut with eating the same things. Cutting back on dairy gave me the opportunity to try so many new things to find new favourites. Some have been real hits and there have been a few misses but I actually get excited about seeing something I’ve read about on a supermarket shelf whereas before I felt a bit like a zombie filling my basket with the same old things. Reducing my cheese intake forced me to up my lunch game from the default cheese and ham sandwiches I’d unknowingly become sick of. I feel like quitting dairy has hugely diversified what I eat which has been really good for me.

It Hasn’t Been As Expensive As I Thought

This is largely due to using cashback apps like Green Jinn. These have enabled me to get dairy free products either for free or hugely reduced. At the time of publishing I have 8 cartons of long life plant based milk in the cupboard which haven’t cost me a penny. I’ve been able to get free yoghurts, reduced vegan pizza, free plant based flapjacks and more all via cashback apps. It was a bit of a learning journey at first but I now know that some products are accidentally vegan so there’s no need to fork out for the “free from” section version. For example Tesco’s own brand dark chocolate digestive biscuits and Bakewell tarts don’t list dairy in the ingredient lists! I got into the habit of quickly scanning packaging labels. Lidl and Aldi now have vegan products which are reasonably priced, Asda also have some amazingly cheap desserts and free from products. I’ve found Home Bargains to be excellent for cheap snack bars which I see as dupes for Nak’d Bars and Eat Natural bars for half the branded price or less.

I Can’t Confidently Say Quitting Dairy Helped Me

I honestly tried so many things around a similar time that I can’t declare with 100% conviction that ditching dairy was the answer. I know for a fact that cutting caffeine did me a world of good and I’ve experienced less cysts since. Although I can’t say for certain that doesn’t mean I intend to jump back on the dairy wagon. I don’t really feel like I’d have anything to gain from doing so. I will say my skin is consistently in the best place it has been for years. I still break out from time to time because hormones exist but this now feels easily manageable. I put this improvement down to a combination of changes. I don’t feel restricted by my decision to reduce dairy and for as long as I feel this way I’ll stay as I am.

All The Free Items I Got During My Birthday Month – Including How To Get Beauty Gifts From Rituals, The Body Shop, Space NK and more.

I do love birthday months for getting extra samples at no cost. It’s a brilliant opportunity to try new things or have a little treat from brands you love. Any regular visitors to my blog will know that I’m a huge skincare fan and love trying new products without breaking the bank after spending years trying to address adult acne. Brands with a more environmentally friendly approach also have a very special place in my heart so I’m thrilled to be able to try plastic-free make up remover that doesn’t require cotton pads from The Body Shop as well as a new REN mask at zero cost this year. If you aren’t signed up to some of these loyalty schemes that offer birthday perks you’re missing out! There are plenty more out there but I’ve chosen to focus on beauty related ones as I find those the most exciting.

Space NK

On the 1st of the month I received an email from Space NK inviting me to pick up my free birthday gift in store with no purchase necessary. It is possible to get this online but when I’ve contacted them about this a purchase has been required. Last year I ordered a £6 REN Ready Steady Glow toner and got free delivery to receive my beauty gift but this ear it didn’t cost me a penny. I was so happy to pick this up as it contained a facial tanner and I’ve been keen to give one a go as well as a vitamin C serum and glycolic product from REN. I’m a huge fan of REN for effective formulas and eco ethos. I definitely prefer this gift to last year and it came with the most amazing printed tissue paper with cult beauty products on it!

Boots

Via the app I got offered double points for the entire of my birthday month if I loaded the deal to my advantage card. I did this as soon as I saw it as I love getting extra bonuses for things I intended to buy anyway. I didn’t go out of my way to make the most of this but purchased a couple of essentials a few weeks early to make the most of in store offers and the double points deal. I’m a big fan of buying ahead for saving money.

The Body Shop

I got a free £5 voucher from TBS for being a Love Your Body Club member. I redeemed this on a mini of their Chamomile Cleansing Butter which I will say looks absolutely tiny! Whilst the larger size worked out at far better value for money I didn’t want to spend the remaining £6 on the larger £11 tin when truth be told I’m not in desperate need of a cleanser. By choosing the mini one there was zero spend involved and I still get to try a product I’ve been excited about for a while. I’ve seen it is Caroline Hirons approved as well as TBS being a more eco conscious beauty brand than most available high street options.

Shopmium

Via Shopmium, a cashback app largely for groceries, as I’m a gold member I was offered a free box of Celebrations chocolates. Whilst I don’t really eat dairy I decided to pick these up as I could always gift them on to someone else if I decided I didn’t want them. The offer was £3 cashback, due to Tesco Clubcard prices I paid £2 so ended up making a £1 profit. To be a gold member of Shopmium it is totally free, I think you just need to submit a certain number of cashback requests initially and then one each month to stay in the gold level. I’ve found this really easy to do.

Rituals Cosmetics

Reading this you may think I’ve gone mad but I decided not to claim my birthday gift from Rituals this year. Their free gift for loyalty club members is a silky full size shower oil worth £8.50. However; as I don’t live near a store and couldn’t find a free delivery code online I was going to have to spend around £6-7 on products and postage to get the freebie and there wasn’t anything I really needed. I did consider making the most of this and saving the products for Christmas gifts but my heart wasn’t in it.

Comments Welcome

July ’21 – A Round Up Of All The Samples & Free Items I Got This Month & How I Got Them

Somehow another month has flown by and it’s time to write a samples round up post. How we are halfway through the year already is completely beyond me. This month I received an incredible amount of products which I’m both really excited about and grateful for.

Beauty

Mac Mascara – via Boots sampling. I’ve previously tried one mascara from this brand and really liked it so am looking forward to giving this a go.

Paco Rabanne Fragrance Samples – I believe this was also via Boots sampling

Paco Rabanne Aftershave Samples – This was from a sponsored advert. I save up aftershave samples for several months and them gift them to a friend as a little something towards a birthday or Christmas present.

Burts Bees Lip Balms – Burts Bees really generously offered 2 lip balms to anyone on Instagram who shared a photo of their existing Burts Bees products using specific hashtags. I received two full sized tubes of their balms in the post a couple of weeks later. I’m a serial lip biter when stressed so always have a huge stash of lip balm so these are hugely appreciated!

Bite Beauty Mascara – via Boots sampling. Mascara samples save me a lot of money on make up so I’m always grateful when I can pick them up!

Chanel Liquid Lipstick & Perfume Sample – via the Boots apps. Under the events section of my inbox there was an invitation to pick up a Chanel goodie bag with zero spend required. I believe this was account specific so not everyone got it. I also had an offer to pick up a free sample from Elizabeth Arden but sadly there are no counters for this brand locally to me.

Space NK Birthday Gift – I got 4 mini products from amazing brands like Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant and REN for free with no purchase required by being an NDuldge member. It’s free to sign up to this loyalty scheme and a fantastic way to try new products. I picked my gift up in store.

The Body Shop Birthday £5 Voucher – I received a £5 voucher for being a member of their Love Your Body club which I really recommend joining.

PR or Gifted Packages

I am always incredibly grateful to receive packages like these. When I first started my blog in the midst of the chaos of lockdowns in 2020 I didn’t see this coming at all so never take it for granted. A huge thank you to the individuals and brands which sent me products and have given me the opportunity to try even more self-care goodies. I appreciate every one of you.

Peace Out Skincare

I’m really humbled to receive this 3 product set from Peace Out. I was in no way obligated to share or review but naturally will be as I love testing out new skincare and sharing my reviews. First impressions are how much I love their holographic packaging with the message “make peace with your skin”. This really resonated with me as I used to feel like I was waging war against my spots when I was younger and found that real skin acceptance and trying not to nuke my face was life changing!

Avene Cleanance Cleanser & Moisturiser

These were really kindly passed on to to me by Kara Olivia Beauty as she found they didn’t quite suit her skin. To stop them going to waste she generously posted me them to try out. I’ve used the Cleanance Comedomed moisturiser before with no complaints and am one week into using the gel cleanser.

La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF Products

Via La Roche Posay’s online skincare community I won a package of 3 SPF products. I believe I won this by uploading a photo to their gallery of my favourite of their products. I’ve previously tried a sample of their infamous SPF50 facial sun protection so am looking forward to opening a full size bottle to road test. Naturally in time full reviews will be on their way.

The Acne Pharmacist Gift Swap

I’m lucky to count Lydia, who is behind the amazing account The Acne Pharmacist, as a very good Insta-friend. Not only is her content informative and inspiring but she’s also incredibly supportive and always makes me laugh. We decided to have a little gift box swap. She sent me some wonderful vegan chocolate, non alcoholic cocktail cans, a conditioner bar and some new skincare products to try out. Regular readers of my blog will know just how perfect this package was given that I don’t drink alcohol, don’t eat dairy, am trying to make eco switches and frankly, I’m addicted to skincare. In return I sent her some dairy free chai latte cans we’d spoken about, some beauty and skincare samples and cans of Kombucha which I knew she’d enjoy far more than me.

Food & Drink

2 Litres Mighty Pea Milk – via the app Green Jinn. This stuff is long life, dairy free and whilst it isn’t my favourite milk it’s nice on cereal and I’ve totally got used to it in hot drinks. It retails at £2 per carton and I pick it up whenever I see it on cashback apps. So far I’ve got 8 stashed away in the cupboard. Once open a carton lasts me about a week so I’m covered for the next couple of months!

2 Vegan Sausage Rolls & A Sausage Bap – via Greggs and O2 Priority Moments. As this offer is available on a Saturday morning I tend to time running errands with this deal when it suits my schedule. It’s a nice mid morning treat. Sadly due to my intense work schedule lately I’ve missed out on the free Cafe Nero drinks this month but hopefully next month should be able to get back on those as I have some time booked off work!

2 Tubs Alpro yoghurt – via Green Jinn which meant I had some very cheap breakfasts. These cashback offers saved me £4.20 on a weekly essential I’d have bought anyway so this is amazing.

2 Vegan Probiotics / 1 Vegan Milkshake – again via the incredible Green Jinn app. I claimed the probiotics from Waitrose and the milkshake via Tesco. I love these apps for being such a great opportunity to try new products and they save me so much money on dairy free items.

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