Packaging Free Shopping in London

A while ago I was in London again for a few days. Even though I live fairly close to London, I’m there a lot less than I expected to be. I’ve had a great time being in my beloved city and I went back home with lots of inspiration. I stayed with my employer’s family, around Battersea, which is  a lovely area. The 2 most important things on my planning were, to visit Unity Diner (which I did, but will write a separate article about) and to visit the Whole Foods Market. I always go to the Whole Foods Market when I’m in London, because that is the shop I miss the most. They offer quite a range of products which you can buy in bulk and package free and that is exactly what I wanted to do. They have dried fruits, different types of rice, beans, seeds, nuts, oats, herbs and spices etc. I had a real purpose this time and I planned to do this on the last day, just before I’d go home.

On Saturday Portobello Road was on my to do list. This is my favourite part of London. Notting Hill is so pretty and there is so much life, inspiration and lovely things on Portobello Road. Especially on Saturday. It’s busy though, because on the weekend most of the people are tourist. I love all the market stalls, where I used to get lots of my fruit and veggies. It’s something else I miss. Where I live in the county side, weird enough, is no good farmers market, but in London there are so many. I wish I could carry it all home. I love to see new cafe’s, shops and (vegan) options everywhere and ever time I come to this lovely street, there are some. This time, the one that made me the happiest (apart from the vegan donuts) was a little shop called: Liberté Chérie.

Liberté Chérie is a zero waste, plastic and packaging free, shop! I obviously needed to go inside. There was only one other person inside and when she left, I had a lovely chat with the owner. A very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly Frenchman. He told me that they just opened this morning (how lucky was I?!) and that most of the products he sold were grown in England. A few were from France and elsewhere though: things that can’t grow in England or are not available (like almonds or certain peas for example). Also some of the herbs and spices came from countries like India or Turkey, but his aim was to have as much as possible from England. Even though it was a tiny shop, they sell quite a lot of different things. Of course there are the beans, rice, oats and seeds etc, but also oils, different types of vinegar and even soap nuts. Next to the pantry products, there is a small range of waste free/plastic free products like water bottles and lunch boxes etc. you can buy. It is a lovely shop, set up with a lot of passion. There was such a lovely atmosphere and I felt like I never wanted to leave again. Haha! I could have stayed there, staring at all these lovely products, listening to the stories of inspiration behind it all. I had more things to do though, so we exchanged Instagram profiles and I said my goodbyes. Unfortunately it was only midday and I didn’t want to walk around with lots of (heavy) things for the rest of the day and so I decided not to buy anything. Next time when I’m in London with my van, I’ll definitely get some lovely things here. Did I mention that the prices were quite compatible as well? Whenever you are around there or you live nearby, please visit this lovely shop.

It was such a coincidence, because on that same morning, when I walked towards the bus stop, I had to wait at a traffic light and when I looked up I couldn’t be any happier. Right in front of me, on the other side of the road, was a zero waste/plastic free shop! It was called ‘The Source’, what I think is a perfect name for a shop like that. It was closed though and I was on my way to visit the girls I looked after before. So I couldn’t wait for it to open (even though it was gonna open in 5 min). I promised myself to come back the next day. Now you understand that it was an extra nice treat for me to discover ‘Liberté Chérie’ a few hours later. Anyway, the next morning, I had to take the same bus from that same bus stop and so it was a perfect, cuz I was able to quickly pop in. I was so excited, that I was a little early and Nola (my dog) and I had to wait a little bit. When it opened we went straight in and it was heaven!! There was soooo much! It is quite a big shop and there are so many containers with so many different things. I didn’t know where to look and what to do first. The owner told me that they normally don’t allow dogs inside, but luckily Nola is very small and I carried her whilst we had a little chat. They also have a shop in Chiswick and so, from what I know of, there are 4 options in London to shop zero waste and plastic free. That is amazing! It makes me so happy that shops like this exist and can exist. He told me that it was going well and it was busy.. YES! I asked if I could take some pictures and that was fine. It’s a good thing that I was early, so I was able to take some nice pics, without having to wait for people to finish. Haha! They sell so many things.. too many to write down. One of the nicest things, was that they did freeze-dried veggies. I really wanted to buy things and I even brought my zero waste bags with me, but I was carrying too many things (3 bags and Nola) already. I still had the whole day in front of me and so I couldn’t. I should have brought my backpack, silly me! Later I did regret not getting a little bit of those freeze-dried veggies though, cuz they would have been light and easy to carry around. So next time, I’ll definitely get those. So for those of you who live in or around Battersea, please go and visit ‘The Source’ (and tell me how good those freeze-dried veggies are!).

Please, when you live in London, try to make trips to shops like this. These are the shops we want to support. This is the future. This is the way to no more plastic, a lot less waste and lovely wholesome and healthy food. Even when you don’t live very close to one, just go once in a while and buy in bulk. It will save you money too. Try to think of a way to go and help to make these shops work!

The Whole Foods Market: 63-97 Kensington High Street, W8 5SE.
Liberté Chérie: 291 Portobello Road, W10 5TD.
The Source Battersea: 99 St John’s Rd, SW11 1QY.
The Source Chiswick: 24 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W4 1QP.

Do you already shop at shops like this? Are there any shops near you where you can shop waste free and without plastic? Or do you live in London and are you shopping at one of these amazing shops? I’d love to hear about it! You can do this in the comments below or via Instagram. Thank you! X

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0Waste #5: Cleaning

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ – ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ and ‘0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less (chemical) waste whilst cleaning!

SOAP NUTS 
We all need to wash our clothes once in a while. We sweat, we spill and we get dirty in all sorts of ways. What laundry soap do you use? There is a ton of choice, but did you ever think about what will be best for the environment? I never did, until a few years ago. All the soap you use will go through the drain and most of the laundry soap contain horrible chemicals and are not biodegradable. This is why I use soap nuts. I once bought a bag from Ecozone and I’m still using that same bag and it’s still pretty full. It last for soooo long. I use 5-6 nuts per cycle and I use those same nuts at least 3-5 times. So imagine how much money it will save you as well. It’s super easy to use and it’s such a natural product. I love them!

SUPERMARKET CLEANING PRODUCTS 
If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products, then at least try to use natural products that won’t harm the environment and come in a recycle bottle (and make sure you do recycle them properly!). The 2 most popular brands are Method and Ecover. Method is my favourite out of these 2 as their products smell amazing. I do sometimes use the fabric softener from Ecover for my towels and bed sheets. Both brands are biodegradable though and are safe to use around children and animals. I’d still recommend making and using your own products whenever you can, but otherwise this is a good alternative.

SPONGES/CLOTHS
Most cloths are made out of plastic, you need to search a little if you want anything else. You can get cotton cloths, which are a good choice, but I also really like these. They are a combination between a cloth and a sponge. They are lovely to clean with (tables, surfaces, bathrooms, kitchens etc.) and the best thing of all, they are biodegradable. You’d probably think ‘but what about the plastic that they come in’? Guess what.. it’s biodegradable too (in municipal composting facilities). There are 5 cloths in 1 pack and each cloth can be used up to 300 times (as in, you can machine wash them for 300 times) and after that they can go into the compost. I like using these or I’d choose a cloth made out of organic cotton, hemp or bamboo.

MAKE YOUR OWN
It’s totally easy to make your own cleaning products. I will give you a recipe that is a nice all-rounder and you can use around the kitchen, bathroom, all services (be careful with granite, stone and some wooden services though!) and all other things you can think of. I use the peels from the lemons I use in the morning for my morning water and the ones I use for my salad dressing, this way I use them again in such a good way. If you don’t consume lemons regularly (you should though, hehe..), you can maybe make a nice lemonade and use those peels. Anyway.. First step: purchase a nice glass bottle with a spray option (brown glass) and then follow this recipe:

Makes: 500 ml

Ingredients:
-Peels of 6-8 lemons
-250 ml white vinegar
-Essential oils (optional)
-Fresh rosemary (optional)
-250 ml water (spring or pre-boiled)

-Weck jar (500 ml)
-Glass spray bottle (500 ml)

-Put the lemons in the weck jar (until it’s nicely full, you don’t need to stamp them in) and fill it up with the vinegar.
-Add a few drops of essential oil or include some fresh rosemary.
-Give it a little stir before closing the weck jar.
-Put it away in a dark and dry place and leave it for about 3 weeks.
-Use a fine colander to separate the water from the lemons/rosemary.
-Pour it into your spray bottle and fill it up with cold (spring or pre boiled) water.
-Clean, clean, clean!

What cleaning products are you using? Will you make your own? I’d love to hear how you get on. Please let me know in the comments below, by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ and ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste in the bathroom!

LINERS/PADS 
One of the last things I struggled with, was liners. I like to use the ultra thin liners from ‘Bodyform’. I absolutely love them! But apart from that they obviously aren’t zero waste or plastic free for that matter, to make things worse, they are also individually wrapped. And using one every day, quickly adds up. So I tried to find a good reusable liner for a while, but they are all so thick and wearing them with lace thongs (only underwear I wear) is just not comfortable. I did find these ones that are quite thin (could be even thinner and maybe a little smaller) and I find them usable. I still don’t love them, but at least it will keep me from using disposable ones. All tips on this subject are welcome! Talking about periods, you can also buy proper pads that are very absorbent, in case you don’t like to use cups. They feel a lot more comfortable than the disposable pads too. Just look on Etsy for example, there are soooo many and loads of different colours and designs.

MENSTRUAL CUPS
Let’s talk about the menstrual cup again. I wrote about these before and they definitely belong on the list with products for living a more waste free life. Also, I’m still a big fan. More and more woman started to use a cup and that is so positive. They are  simply perfect when you decide to live a (more) zero waste lifestyle. I’m using my one for almost 2 years and my cup still looks like it’s new. I have 2 cups actually, the Organicup and my most used one, the Lunette. In case you’re not using one yet, but you are curious, in the articles I explain exactly what they are and how to use them. Please learn about them and aim to use one. It might sound weird and you might have to practice a little at first, but it is soooo worth it. Trust me!

FACIAL CLEANSING 
Me and my face. It’s like the skin on my face lives her own life. I have break-outs since I can remember and even though I kinda accepted it, I always try to find the best way to care for my skin. I tried sooo many things, but something I’m sticking to for a while now, is using simple facial cloths and this little brush I found in a shop called ‘Søstrene Grenes’. I accidentally bumped into this shop when visiting The Hague. I always wash my face with the tea tree oil soap from ‘Faith In Nature’ and 1-2 a week I use the brush (or cloth). It works like a gentle scrub. My skin is reacting well and I love that it’s waste free. The little brush is made out of some sort of silicone, but it’s super durable and I think it will last me a life time really. I’m very happy I found something like this. Works a treat!

NAIL FILE
There are many types of files, metal ones, paper or plastic disposable ones and glass ones. I personally never used the disposable ones, but they are popular though. I always used the metal ones, but they do have a plastic bit on them. I still have a few and I still use them, because even though they have some plastic, they do last ages, years and years really. A few years ago, my mum gave me this glass nail file and I love it. It files really well. It’s actually my best file. The only problem is that, because it’s quite thick, it’s hard to do the sides and little corners of your nails. It’s very gentle on your nails though and that is the main reason I love using it.

BODY BRUSH
Who doesn’t have a plastic (puff) sponge to use under the shower? I used to have lots of them. After a while they go bad and I threw them away to get a new one. They made my skin feel nice and soft and so I never gave it much thought. About 1-2 years ago I stopped using them, because I didn’t want to be responsible for that much waste and so I looked for an alternative. I tried different things and I now have a wooden brush with cactus bristles. I really like it. The bristles are quite hard, but I personally like that. If you have a sensitive skin, you might want to use something softer. When I bought it, I didn’t realise that the bristles are stuck in a little layer of plastic though. Such a shame. Eventually, when this one is not usable anymore, I have to look for something that has no plastic at all. Tips are welcome!

COTTON PADS
Some girls and woman like to use wipes or cotton pads to take their make up off. Especially their eye make up. I never use them, but when you do like to use them, did you know that you can buy reusable pads? There are nice soft ones in lots of colours and designs. Look on Etsy for example and invest in a nice set. This way, you will not only create less waste, but it will also safe you money, because you can use reusable pads for so much longer. Make sure you get nice soft ones, made out of organic cotton or bamboo for example.

TOOTHBRUSH 
Who uses a toothbrush?! Haha.. I’d be surprised if you say ‘not me’. But who’s still using a plastic toothbrush? I’m sure the answers of this last question are not all the same. Many people are still using plastic toothbrushes, even though they are one of the most used plastics in the world. There are so many brands that will sell you a nice toothbrush made out of bamboo though, whereby all the materials are natural, even the bristles. Please go for this option, as it will make such a big difference. I use the ‘Humble Brush‘ toothbrush and I’m very happy with this brand. I personally really like the look of them as well, especially the ones with the black bristles. There are all sorts of colours though, even multi coloured ones. Pick your colour and brush away.

WOODEN COMB
This is one of my most loved zero waste, plastic free items. My wooden comb! I have long hair and so I need something to untangle it once in a while. Luckily my hair doesn’t tangle easily and so I only brush my hair 2-3 times a week. Before I got my wooden comb, I used to always use a plastic hairbrush. I didn’t know any better. Until, about a year ago, I read something about the use of a wooden comb. Apparently this is much better for your hair as well. Wooden combs are more gentle and it doesn’t tend to break your hair as fast. My comb I simply got from Amazon as I couldn’t find a nice one anywhere else (I’m so picky). It’s beautiful! It has a nice grip, I love the colour, size and the little carvings. The teeth of the comb are perfect as well. They aren’t too big or too small, they’re not too close together or too far apart. I feel very lucky to have found it.

COTTON BUDS 
Something I also struggled finding a replacement for, are cotton buds. I love using cotton buds. It feels so nice in my ears, haha! But the little plastic sticks are the worst! So even though I still have some left from the last time I bought them (they never seem to finish), I hate using them now. About a year ago I tried to research for a replacement. There are bamboo ones (Humble Brush sells these as well), but I also found a metal one. I know it sounds a little scary and uncomfortable and I did have to get used to it a bit as well. Once you start using it though, it’s actually ok. It’s a little different, but just as satisfying as the ones you’re used to. I like my metal one now, because it will last forever and so I won’t be creating any waste when it comes to looking after my ears.

SAFETY RAZOR 
I actually, basically do not shave. I’m very much against the whole ‘girls need to shave’ rule. I never shave my legs or my arm pits, but I do shave my bikini line area though. Just to make it look neat, especially when I’m actually in my bikini. I think it’s ok to look after yourself in that way. You can make yourself presentable in public places when it comes to intimate areas like this, but without going over the top. At the moment I’m actually still using my plastic razor, simply because it doesn’t need replacement yet. But as soon as it does, I will invest in a nice safety razor. The one on the picture is from my sister-in-law, who is very happy with hers. Did you invest in one yet?

BEAUTY PRODUCTS 
I can’t stress this enough: Use natural beauty products! Not only for the planet, but also for yourself. No one likes the idea of putting chemicals on their skin, but weird enough, many people do it every day. Swap your chemical products in plastic packaging for natural (biodegradable) products with plastic free (or at least recyclable) packaging. There are many brands nowadays that offer nice products. I love using tooth tabs (look at the pic of the toothbrush) for example. Are you using these yet? I’d still love to learn about this subject a little more though, so tips are very welcome.

I hope this was helpful and will motivate you to swap (some) things in your every day  beauty routine. Do you have more tips or more things you can change/swap in the bathroom, please let me know in the comments or contact me via Instagram (@planetmanel). Thank you! X

0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ and ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste on the way!

STRAWS
Everyone knows they are the worst! Avoid plastic straw at all cost. They are the reason many turtles and other wildlife die. It’s so not necessary. If you really want to have a straw for a smoothie for example, choose reusable straws. There are many types: metal, glass, bamboo, silicone. I have silicone ones myself and I love them. I don’t think I’d choose them again (I bought them about 3 years ago) as they’re not recyclable, but I must say that they are great quality. I love the feel of it on my lips in comparison with the harder materials. Invest in a good (set of) straw(s) and make sure you always have on in your handbag if you like to use straws on the way. I’d go for metal ones if I’d choose again now.

CUTLERY
You can of course carry around a set of your kitchen cutlery around and that is totally fine. This is helpful whenever you want to buy something from a market stall or from the supermarket that requires cutlery. Though I invested in a travel spoon and fork (in one), made out of titanium. One side is a fork and the other side is a spoon. I totally love it! I keep it in my handbag and it has been super useful. It’s easy to clean and light + small to carry around. There are also complete travel sets including a full set of cutlery (made of metal or bamboo) and a straw. I think it’s a personal choice and also I think different people have different needs. Do a little research and find out what will work best for you.

TRAVEL CUP
I used to always drink my tea (sometimes every day, shame on me!) in a take away cup. So much waste! And then I’m especially talking about the lids. All plastic! So a few years ago I bought myself a travel cup. I saw it and fell in love with it, so I didn’t mind investing in it at all. My one is just so pretty. I bought my one at Starbucks and it’s in my favourite pink colour. I don’t drink coffee (yuk!), but I use my one for tea, so I’m very happy with a medium size. There are so many brands selling travel cups though and as a coffee drinker you might want a smaller one. So go and explore the options. A great thing about getting your coffee/tea in your own cup is that in many coffee shops you actually get a (often 25p) discount. Yay!

WATER BOTTLE
An easy one! Using a reusable water bottle. Luckily many people are using one already. Are you as well? If not, please invest in a nice water bottle. I used to have a Bobble Bottle. I had many to be honest, because of heavy use they broke after a while. I love them, because they make water taste sooo much better. Especially here in the UK, because I think the water here tastes like swimming pool water. The downside is that they are made out of plastic and when they only last for about half a year, I was creating plastic waste. So I bought a metal one instead and dealt with the taste (I now add pieces of ginger and lemon to mask the flavour and it’s so much better!). I totally loved the bottle, but after a few weeks the water started to taste like metal, because inside the bottle it started to oxidate. What made me buy the HIP bottle, which I totally love, but is also a plastic one. This one will for sure last very long, because when I drink it keeps the shape. It’s also recyclable, but I do love to get a metal one again when I’m in need for a new one, as I think they are most durable. So tips are welcome!

I hope this was helpful and will motivate you to swap (some) things in your every day life. Do you have more tips or more things you can change/swap on the way, please let me know in the comments or contact me via Instagram (@planetmanel). Thank you! X