Reducing Plastic Waste in the Laundry
Welcome to Week 3 of our Plastic Free July Journey! If you haven't already, Click Here to see our Week 1 and 2 guides on reducing plastic waste in the kitchen and bathroom.
The following guide covers our top 5 tips for reducing harmful plastic waste in the laundry. Click here to access a printable checklist that corresponds with this week's guide. Before we get into it, we'd love to bring your attention to one awesome laundry solution that is applicable to many of our tips. Many of our conventional laundry products that come in single-use plastic can actually be replaced by one natural and plastic-free product: Soap Berries! Check out this video on how to use soap berries - including how to use them to wash your clothes, make an all-purpose liquid house cleaner, and how to make a liquid hand soap!
And now for our top 5 tips for reducing plastic waste in the laundry:
1. Wash Your Clothes Without Plastic
Traditional washing liquids and powders almost all come in hard plastic bottles or boxes which are thrown away as soon as their contents are emptied. This is a huge waste of a material that is very hard to recycle, and we would love to encourage you to try some more eco-friendly ways of washing your clothes.
Most bulk stores now offer washing liquid and powder refills so you can keep reusing old bottles that you already have! This is a great and easy way of getting the products you know and love without the plastic.
Soap berries are the ultimate answer to your clothes washing needs if you are willing to try something a little different! 100% natural and compostable, we sell this awesome product in bulk so you can fill your own containers with them to take home. Watch the video above to learn how to use in your washing machine.
2. Clean the house without plastic
Similar to laundry products, cleaning products also almost always come in hard single-use plastic bottles. Buying your cleaning products from bulk stores or making your own can significantly reduce your plastic waste while also being much more satisfying and cost effective!
It is especially important when choosing your cleaning products (if you are buying them from a store and not making your own) to ensure that there are no toxic ingredients that may harm your health or release harmful chemicals into your wastewater and on into the natural environment.
In the video above, we show you how to make your own all-purpose cleaning liquid concentrate from soap berries! This is a 100% natural and chemical-free recipe that can be used for absolutely everything, from cleaning the bathroom to washing the dog. There are many other DIY cleaning product recipes all over the internet so don't be shy to look up how to make anything you need and pick up the ingredients from your local bulk store.
3. Make your own hand soap
Have a go at making your own hand soap from your soap berry concentrate (by following the instructions in the video above) to refill your household hand soap pumps! This will save you buying new ones and wasting the perfectly good containers.
4. Catch microfibres in the wash!
We talked a little about why plastic waste is such a big issue in our Reducing Plastic Waste in the Kitchen blog, and mentioned the problem of microplastics. Microplastics are broken up pieces of plastic that can never fully biodegrade, but many people don't reaslise that our clothing also releases microplastics in the form of microfibres! With every wash, synthetic textiles release plastic fibres that find their way out into rivers and oceans.
There are now devices available to make sure you're not polluting your wastewater with microfirbres. The Guppyfriend Washing Bag and White Magic Microfibre Laundry Bag are two awesome products that not only extend the life of your garments (as fewer fibres break down when washed inside the bag), but they also catch any microfibres that would have gone on to pollute the ocean and marine life! Simply place any items made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, nylon, and fleece into the wash bag and then wash in the washing machine as normal. The microfibres will slowly accumulate into lint balls inside the wash bag where you can pull them out to dispose of in your landfill bin.
5. Shop consciously
Our final tip is less about single-use plastic and more about being mindful of how your clothing choices affect the environmental in general. The United Nations estimates that 10% of total global emissions comes from the fashion industry. Furthermore, gathering the materials for clothing often contributes to deforestation, and the water required to produce just one cotton t-shirt is the same amount that one person drinks in 2.5 years, according to the World Resources Institute (read more about these statistics and the impact of textiles on the environment here). Most of today's clothing also contains synthetic materials that are not compostable, and toxins that can leach into the environment when disposed of in landfill. The excessive rate at which the world is devouring "fast fashion" means that this industry is having a huge destructive impact on the Earth. We can minimise our personal contributions to this worldwide destruction by choosing to shop consciously at second hand stores and from environmentally friendly clothing brands.
We can also be conscious of how we dispose of our textiles by upcycling old materials into new items. For example, some of our products at Urban Revolution are made locally from upcycled materials, such as our kitchen dishcloths, hankies, heat mats, coffee carrier bags, reusable wipes, wash bags, reusable makeup removers, coin pouches, and more. Products like these give textiles a new life and keep them out of landfill.
Thank you and good luck!
Thank you for continuing your 2019 Plastic Free July Journey and we can't wait to see how you go!
Remember to photograph your new laundry swaps - every person who checks in at Urban Revolution Australia on Facebook or tags our @urbanrevaus page on Instagram will go into a draw to win a $50 store voucher to buy all kinds of sustainable home and garden products!
We would love to see you in our Vic Park store in Perth if you need any eco-friendly supplies or would like to chat to our knowledgeable team. Feel free to email or message us any time if you have questions of feedback.
Thank you and good luck!