LESS PLASTIC SHOPPING GUIDE
A list of our favourite product swaps that have helped us to use less plastic in our daily lives, and dramatically reduce the plastic waste we create.
Featuring products that help you to use less plastic for: Bathroom & Beauty, On-The-Go, Kitchen & Food, and Fashion & Lifestyle.
Compared to just a few years ago, there is now a huge choice of ethical, sustainable, plastic-free products - which is amazing for the planet but can be overwhelming as a customer, particularly if you're just starting out on your 'less plastic' journey.
Of course, the most planet-friendly and purse-friendly approach is to buy less stuff in the first place. But when you need to replace something, and you're looking for alternatives that reduce your plastic footprint, we hope this Shopping Guide will save you some of the time and money we've spent discovering our favourite ways to live with less plastic.
One key way to reduce your plastic waste is to buy fresh, local food and drink, refilling your reusable bags and containers. See the 'On-The-Go' and 'Kitchen & Food' section for some quality products that will help you do this.
We'll be adding to this Shopping Guide as we discover new plastic-free products, so check back regularly!
Full disclaimer - we approached everyone on the list because we genuinely LOVE their products and wanted to feature them. Most have kindly made a donation to support our non-profit work, in return for mentioning them. If you use the links provided below to make a purchase, some will also donate a percentage of the sale back to support our projects
The products listed here are UK or European companies because that's what we're familiar with. We hope to be offer an International Directory for Less Plastic Product Recommendations in future.
Bathroom & Beauty
Beauty Kubes offer a brilliant plastic-free way to wash your hair. Simply take a cube into the shower, crumble it into the palm of your hand, add a little water, make a paste, massage into your hair & scalp, then rinse. They leave your hair feeling very soft so you may not need conditioner. Each box contains 27 cubes, the equivalent of a conventional 250-300ml shampoo bottle. We love that they're compact, light and not liquid, so very handy for travel, camping & festivals. Organic, vegan, palm oil-free, sulphate-free.
If your hair needs an extra moisturising boost, Wild Sage & Co's Lavender & Rose Geranium Hair Conditioner with Organic Broccoli Oil is a real treat. It comes in a small glass bottle and is handmade with pure, natural, vitamin-packed ingredients in the Herefordshire countryside. Although it's £20 a bottle, you only need a very small amount to tame dry, flyaway hair and frizz, so a bottle lasts for ages. Hand-made, natural, cruelty-free. No parabens, SLS, artificial colours or fragrances. Tiny amount of sustainably sourced palm oil used in each bottle.
Wild Sage & Co
Hair and Body Soap Bars
Friendly Soap bars for hair, face and body are handmade in the UK using 100% natural ingredients. They're gentle on your hair and skin and contain no palm oil, parabens or any other synthetic ingredients. Packaged in simple recycled, recyclable cardboard boxes there are lots of amazing scents to choose from. The zesty, uplifting, and naturally exfoliating and moisturising Lemongrass and Hemp is one of our favourites. We also love the handy all-in-one travel soap for hair, body and laundry! Vegan, ethical, cruelty-free and plastic-free.
Face & Body Moisturiser
Since converting to a less plastic lifestyle, we've saved money as well as plastic, by minimising & simplifying the number of products we use. Now we keep a large glass jar of coconut oil in the bathroom as an all-purpose, everyday face & body moisturiser. But we recently discovered Scence body moisturisers, face balms & lip balms, made from all-natural ingredients and packaged in simple cardboard. Their lightweight packaging is super convenient for travel, and the face balm works as a brilliant night cream if your skin needs an added moisture boost. They have a lovely range of vegan-friendly, plastic-free, paraben-free products; handmade using only ethically and sustainably harvested oils.
We love Scence skin softening deodorants which are handcrafted using coconut oil, mango butter & essential oils. You simply hold the balm against your underarm for 2-3 seconds to melt, then glide a small amount onto your skin. We've found they work well for sports, warm weather & pressured situations (such as presenting!) A tube lasts 2-3 months. Ingredients are ethically sourced, paraben-free, aluminium-free and cruelty-free. And the handy, lightweight packaging is made from recyclable, compostable cardboard.
Hydrophil produces beautiful, sustainable bamboo toothbrushes that are ethically-made, water-neutral and vegan-friendly. The company works hard to ensure they reduce their negative impact on people and planet in every way they can and donate 10% of profits to Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli, a non-profit dedicated to providing access to clean drinking water for people living in the global South.
Finding a plastic-free, natural toothpaste your whole family likes can be tricky as they taste different to conventional toothpastes, and it can take time to adjust. We love this mineral-rich toothpaste blended with organic Peppermint oil (a stronger minty flavour than Spearmint). Studies have also shown Peppermint oil to be extremely effective at killing the bacteria that can cause gum disease. It's fluoride and SLS-free and comes in a glass jar that can be repurposed, or returned to Georganics to recycle as part of their zero to landfill scheme.
For those who prefer tooth tablets, these naturally foaming tooth tablets with organic Spearmint oil offer a refreshing way to clean your teeth. Simply pop one in your mouth & chew for a moment before starting to brush. These are particularly handy for travel and camping which makes them popular with our teenage boys! Free from synthetic ingredients, they come in a glass jar which can be repurposed or returned to Georganics to recycle as part of their zero to landfill scheme.
You can say goodbye to plastic dental floss when you switch to this natural alternative is made from 100% compostable Ahimsa (Peace) silk, coated with Candelilla wax and flavoured with organic Spearmint oil. The silk is cruelty-free and suitable for vegetarians. It comes in a small reusable glass dispenser with a metal cap, to be used again and again, with 2 x 30 metres refills. Packed in a fully compostable, plastic-free kraft box. One roll of floss is around 30 metres (around 100 uses).
Switching to reusable menstrual products is game-changing in terms of convenience, comfort, expense and waste - when compared to disposable pads and tampons. These super comfortable, stylish WUKA period pants are perfect used on their own instead of tampons, pads and menstrual cups; or they can be used as a back-up in addition to a menstrual cup for heavy flow days or night time use. The moisture-wicking, eco-friendly underwear absorbs 4 tampons' worth of blood giving you confidence that you'll be leak-free. After use, simply soak in cold water, rinse, add to your normal washing load, then line dry. Available in extra small sizes for tweens. Made with fabrics that are kind to your body and the planet.
Although it can take a few goes to get the hang of using a reusable menstrual cup, once you've mastered it, it's much more convenient than using disposables (because it generally needs changing less frequently), it's more comfortable, it's cheaper over time, and of course it creates significantly less waste. It's also healthier than the average disposable which is made from bleached cotton and plastic. The Ruby Cup is made from 100% soft, medical grade silicone. We love Ruby Cup because for every one sold, they donate one to a young woman without access to reliable period products.
Reusable Menstrual Pads
These top quality, soft, comfortable, organic reusable menstrual pads come in different sizes to suit your body shape and flow. The beautiful designs are ethically made in the UK for zero waste periods. Great used on their own or in combination with a menstrual cup for back up protection. Simply soak in cold water and rinse out, before adding to your normal wash load. Honour Your Flow also offer organic cotton reusable makeup wipes for a gentle, plastic-free way to remove makeup.
Honour your flow
traditional reusable safety Razor
It's common to delay switching to a traditional razor due to fear of the unknown, and then when you finally get round to doing it, to wish you'd done it sooner! Bambaw's safety razor comes with an in-depth user manual to help you transition quickly so it soon becomes an easy, very smooth shaving experience that produces zero plastic waste. The bamboo handle on this razor provides grip for wet hands and the double edge safety blade refills are cheap and recyclable. Unlike other hair removal options, safety razors require no harmful chemicals, are plastic-free (did you know wax is plastic?!), save considerable money over time, and they require no electricity.
Most toilet roll brands come wrapped in plastic packaging, but Who Gives A Crap is a bulk order, delivered to your door which also saves lugging toilet roll home with your weekly shopping. It comes in a cardboard box, with each roll wrapped in paper. They offer recycled loo roll (saves trees!) or bamboo (sustainable paper source). We prefer the bamboo version as it's softer. The paper wraps can be repurposed or recycled. We use ours instead of dog poo bags - to pick up, 'wrap' (!) and carry our dog's poo to the next bin. (We also repurpose newspapers for this.) 50% of WGAC profits go toward building toilets for those in need.
Who Gives A Crap
The best way to use less plastic is to buy less products, and make the ones you already have last longer. Not wearing makeup everyday, and knowing what suits you so you can resist fads, will save you money as well as the planet. When you do need to buy a new makeup item, the Zao range come in refillable wooden containers. They're not 100% plastic-free, but they use a lot less plastic. Plus they're organic, natural, and vegan.
Reusable bamboo MakeUp Remover pads
Disposable wipes are terrible for the environment: they're made of plastic, block sewage systems and end up in the sea where they take decades to break down. Single-use cotton pads are not much better, requiring excessive chemicals and water to grow the cotton, and usually wrapped in plastic. Luckily, there are some brilliant alternatives. Bambaw's set includes 12 soft and 4 scrub makeup removal pads. They're cheaper over time than disposable alternatives, more planet-friendly, and better for your skin. Wash at 30 degrees in their handy laundry pouch, and reuse time and again.
reusable drinks bottles, tumblers & FLASKS
We love Klean Kanteen's range of quality, durable stainless steel bottles, tumblers and flasks, designed to last a lifetime. Food grade stainless steel, is one of the safest options for storing and carrying food and drink. Many alternatives leach harmful toxins, especially when hot. We never leave home without our stainless steel Klean Kanteen Reflect reusable water bottle - a simple, classic style that withstands family wear and tear. Klean Kanteen's insulated stainless steel tumblers are perfect for hot or cold drinks on-the-go; or to avoid disposable cups at events and festivals - for everything from coffee or juice to cocktails and pints! Their TKPro plastic-free flask is a great companion for beach trips and long walks, for a hot cup of tea after a refreshing sea dip or a challenging hike.
glass water bottLe with natural charcoal filter
Glass is one of the safest options for your reusable water bottle. Many of the alternatives, such as aluminium or plastic, have been found to leach toxins into food and drink. This good-looking, high quality, hand-blown glass water bottle from Black + Blum features a natural charcoal filter that removes chemicals from the water such as chlorine, while adding beneficial minerals such as calcium. The bottle includes a neoprene sleeve to protect against breakages and a stainless steel coil to secure the charcoal in place.
stainless steel food canisters
Klean Kanteen's range of insulated and regular food canisters are perfectly designed for taking food on-the-go. The small sizes are ideal for carrying healthy snacks or baby food; while the large insulated canister is just right for adult portions of porridge, soup, salad, or last night's leftovers (warmed up or chilled) - for easy, tasty, plastic-free meals from home that save money and the planet.
stainless steel Lunch boxes & storage containers
Living with less plastic is made so much easier if you can take your food with you, to avoid succumbing to take-away food with excessive plastic packaging when hunger strikes. Elephant Box offers a range of beautiful, durable, and versatile products so you can throw away less stuff. Their best-selling original large box is well worth the investment. Perfect for taking the whole family's sandwiches in one container, or preparing a hearty packed lunch for one or two. Also useful for fridge or freezer storage, or for storing a batch of home-baked treats (if there are any left to store!)
stainless steel lunch box
This sleek, compact stainless steel lunchbox from Black+ Blum is not only stylish, it's also leak-proof so your homemade lunch repertoire can include meals with dressings or sauces. It's a multi-functional lunch box you can use for transporting your lunch, cooking dishes in the oven (not microwave though!), and even storing precooked meals in the fridge or freezer.
stainless steel sandwich box
Black + Blum’s clever sandwich box design allows you to prepare and carry your sandwiches, crudités or cheeseboard selection. The naturally anti-bacterial bamboo lid ingeniously doubles up as a chopping board to prepare your culinary creations (less washing up!), before sealing them in the compact sandwich box for transport. Can also be used for storing food in the fridge.
Reusable sandwich wraps
These linen reusable, washable sandwich wraps offer a simple, eco-friendly way to carry your lunch without the need for single-use plastic sandwich bags and cling film. The beautiful linen designs are inspired by nature and are handprinted and handmade in Helen Round's Studios in Cornwall. Made from pure linen with a waterproof lining to keep food fresh and for easy cleaning. Hand wash or machine wash at 30 degrees.
helen round designs
bamboo reusable cutlery set
Obviously you could just take some cutlery from your kitchen drawer and wrap it in a reusable napkin so you are prepared for food-on-the-go. We do this a lot! But it can be useful to have a more lightweight reusable cutlery set, especially when travelling. This neat bamboo set has everything you need to avoid using single-use utensils ever again. Keep it in your bag, desk drawer, or car - somewhere you will always have it when you need it. And remember to rinse after use so it's ready for next time.
travel cutlery set
If you're after a stylish, compact, stainless steel reusable cutlery set with a knife, fork and spoon; this one nests nicely into a plastic protective case. making it easy to carry and keep clean when you're on-the-go. Not only will you avoid wasteful use of single-use cutlery, it's actually a lot easier and more enjoyable to eat with a proper knife, fork and spoon set rather than flimsy single-use cutlery.
bamboo spork and cork
We love this small, multi-functional bamboo spork that fits neatly into a cork carry case. As the name suggests, a spork is a cross between a spoon and a fork, so is equally useful for breakfast, salads, main meals or puddings. This one is handshaped from a single piece of bamboo and packaged in a smart cork fabric sleeve. Cork is sustainable, durable, and wipes clean easily. Handwashing recommended to prolong the spork's life. The case can be cold machine washed.
A slice of green
reusable stainless steel straws
Single-use plastic straws are devastating in the ocean but they're also one of the easiest single-use plastic items to avoid, as long as you get in the habit of saying 'no straw please' every time you order a drink! If you, or your family, prefer drinking with a straw, these high quality, stylish Klean Kanteen stainless steel straws are made from food grade stainless steel with colourful, flexible, removable silicone tips. Perfect for home, or to carry when out-and-about.
bamboo reusable straws
Saying no to straws altogether is the eco-friendliest option, but if you still want to use a straw, a bamboo reusable straw is a sustainable option that adds a tropical feeling to any drink. Great for families with children, the sturdy bamboo straws are hard to break. These straws come in a cotton pouch to keep all the straws in and a separate pouch for a single straw to take on-the-go.
Kitchen & Food
plastic-free multi-functional yogurt maker
REUSABLE BREAD BAGS
Whether you homebake bread, or go to the bakery, these beautiful, linen, reusable bread bags are a fantastic way to store loaves, rolls, artisan bread, sour dough, and even cakes, muffins and pattiserie. The 100% linen bread bags allow the bread to breathe, helping to keep it fresher for longer, and they look amazing on your counter or hung on a hook. Suitable for the freezer too. Handprinted in Helen Round's Cornish studios. Machine washable, 30 degrees.
HELEN ROUND DESIGNS
REUSABLE produce bags
When you're buying loose, plastic-free fruit and veg, you can simply put them loose in your basket or trolley; but if you're buying lots, it can be useful to have some reusable produce bags. These organic cotton mesh reusable produce bags make it easy to carry loose fresh fruit and veg home from the market, supermarket or farm shop. Produced responsibly by a family run business in India. Machine washable at 40 degrees.
reusable beeswax wraps
Abeego reusable beeswax wraps from A Slice of Green are the all-natural alternative to single-use plastic cling film. The breathable design extends the life of fresh food, preserving its natural flavours. They are flexible and slightly adhesive so can be easily shaped around food and bowls. Made from hemp and organic cotton infused with pure beeswax. Hand wash in cold water with an eco-friendly soap and air dry. Abeego can last a year or longer with proper care and at the end of its life it can be composted.
coconut fibre scourers
Most cleaning sponges contain plastic, but these naturally biodegradable scourers are made from coconut fibre (coir) wrapped around a stainless steel wire and are the ideal multipurpose, non-scratch scourers for all your household cleaning needs. Suitable for non-stick frying pans; great on hard surfaces like the cooker hob or stove top, and safe for enamel sinks and baths. As well as being totally natural, the scourers are durable, naturally antibacterial, free from toxic chemicals, recyclable, biodegradable and plastic-free.
insulated stainless steel cafetiere
Having the ability to make decent coffee at home will save you a fortune over time. It's also quicker than queuing for your daily caffeine hit, and of course avoids single-use takeaway cups. We love this large insulated cafetiere because it requires no wasteful pods. It simply makes delicious coffee and keeps it warm for longer, whether drinking at home or pouring it into a reusable flask or tumbler to drink-on-the-go. Plus, unlike previous glass cafetieres, it appears to be unbreakable. Remember to buy in-store rather than on-line to avoid plastic packaging.
Fashion & Lifestyle
eco-friendly bean bags
We love the Big Beanbag Company's range of beautiful, super comfortable, eco-friendly bean bags and bean chairs. Handmade in Cornwall, they're robust and hard-wearing so they can withstand the rigours of family life - ours is a favourite with our kids and pets! The team have taken every effort to make their bean furniture as sustainable as possible. Most beanbags are filled with environmental enemy, polystyrene, but these are filled with Biofoam beads that will last for 10 years and at the end of their life you can order a refill and return the old ones to be hot composted on-site.
Big beanbag company
Washing Machine Microfiber Filter
Microplastics have been found everywhere - they are in water, soil, food, and air - but we don’t yet know the full health consequences for animals and humans. Microfibers represent 35% of the microplastics found in the ocean and they are the type of microplastic most likely to enter our food chain. A typical load of washing containing clothes made from synthetic materials is estimated to release up to 700,000 microfibers. One way to tackle the problem is to attach a Planet Care filter to the outside of your washing machine that removes 90% of microfiber emissions; and you don’t have to be a plumber to do it! Easy-to-follow video instructions are on their website and the filter comes with a simple step-by-step installation guide. You can attach the filter to the side, back or top of the machine or situated in a cupboard up to a meter away. We love Planet Care because of their circular economy ethos. Their subscription service means they maintain responsibility for safely recycling of all plastic parts so their product doesn’t end up as a future problem. You replace a cartridge after around 20 washes and send them back once you have 6 used cartridges. The service costs less than buying a cup of coffee a week, and in return you gain peace of mind that your laundry load is not adding to ocean plastic pollution.
If you're looking for sustainable, ethical, fashionable adventure wear that's made to last, Passenger has you covered. This versatile Recycled Insulated Jacket is a brilliant example from their range; crafted from recycled plastic bottles and PFC free, it's available in both men's and women's sizing. Perfect for winter escapes, it's light enough to pack into its own pocket whilst providing all day comfort and warmth. Windproof, roamproof and shower proof, it's the ideal everyday jacket for every adventure. Delivered in plastic-free packaging too.
reusable gift wrap
Although wrapping paper looks beautiful, and it's lots of fun to tear it off, it's very wasteful and most modern wrapping paper is plastic coated or glitter infused. But you can still give beautiful presents without the waste, either by repurposing newspaper or pre-used wrapping paper, or by choosing reusable fabric wrapping paper instead. Wrag Wrap is a stylish, ethical, reusable gift wrap designed to make life easier, with no cutting or sticking required. In a choice of four designs with integral fastenings, you can reuse them for all your family's gifts, year after year.
eco-friendly dog poo carrier
It's very frustrating to see dog poo bags dangling from hedges or discarded in bushes. We pick up our dog's poo using old newspaper (or Who Gives A Crap loo roll wrappers), and on longer walks it's handy to put the wrapped poo in a waterproof, odour-proof bag, attached to the top of our dog's lead, so we can be hands-free when carrying our dog's poo to the nearest bin. Dicky Bags are a genius invention that come with a caribiner clip that you can attach to the lead, a belt or bag and the poo is safe inside until you find a bin for disposal.
plastic activist t-shirts & tote bags
You can support our non-profit and show you care about plastic pollution by wearing one of our range of eco-friendly Plastic Activist T-shirt designs or carrying one of our printed reusable bags. Made using organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes, printed on-demand in a factory powered by renewable energy. All proceeds from Less Plastic clothing sales support our global impact projects targeting plastic waste reduction and nature regeneration.
Less Plastic clothing
book to reduce plastic in your organisation
The world's first book to help businesses reduce plastic waste. Written by our founder, Amanda Keetley, it features a five-step framework to accelerate your plastic reduction efforts; plus insightful case studies from the likes of Sky, Surfdome, and Iceland Foods sharing how they have done it. If you care about plastic pollution, you can make a huge positive impact by taking steps to reduce plastic waste in your organisation. All proceeds from 'Plastic Game Changer' book sales support our global impact projects targeting plastic waste reduction and nature regeneration.