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5 min read

Top tips from our awesome team this Plastic Free July

Seeing as we're halfway through Plastic Free July we decided to ask a few probing questions of our team about what changes they have made to get closer to a waste-free life. 

The aim is to share our  tips with you as well as prompt us all to make the next step on our quest for a greener way of living. So here goes...

Answers from:

Founders: Joy Bariana and Liz Watson

Sales and admin queen: Katy Martin

Content creator: Brodie Farrow

Is green living important to you? If it is - how long have you been thinking about these issues for? If not - Whaaaaaa? 

Joy: “Yes, it is important to me. Has been for quite a long time now. I try not to be too ranty and self-righteous about it though. I’m aware that I often fail at this!”

Liz: “Yes, it's at the heart of what we do at Elephant Box. And you can't compartmentalise these issues, so I am pretty evangelical about doing the best I can to reduce waste. Some of it is so easy now too for everyone to achieve. But there’s still a long way to go, especially if we are relying on legislation to move us forward.”

Katy: “It is important to me and has been for years!”

Brodie: “My green living journey started with reducing food waste, this has always been my biggest pet peeve since I was a teenager! Since then I’ve tried to move one step at a time to a plastic-free, low-waste life. There is still a way to go but I’m ditching more single-use every month as I search for easy alternatives.”

What things have you swapped at home for a plastic free alternative.

Here are the top swaps from the team:

  • Toothbrush: Joy loves her Naturbrush, Katy uses Humble Brush, Brodie uses Goeorganics (only one she could find with firm enough bristles)
  • Deodorant: Joy loves Pit Putty. “It comes in a metal tub and it works and it smells great.”, Katy and Brodie both swear by the Lush deodorant bars as you can get whatever size you need and they last for ages.
  • Shampoo: Living Naturally soap nut bars are Joy’s favourite, but she also likes the Lush bars.These are Katy’s favourite. Liz took a while to get used to shampoo bars, her top tip is to “stick a bottle top in the middle to make a platform for it to sit on - so it lasts longer”.  This tip came from the wonderful blogger @zerowaste.Japan - You find her daily plastic free living  tips on her instagram feed
  • Washing up liquid: Katy, Brodie and Joy all refill their washing up liquids and have been doing so for years (Joy’s bottle is 20 years old!). Katy swears by Bio D for this.
  • Toilet roll: The whole team are HUGE fans of Who Gives a Crap. Although Liz says that you need to make sure you manage your subscription as now she has  “enough loo roll probably for the whole year!”.
  • Period stuff: Everyone has a different way of dealing with this. Joy very cleverly has made her own pads! “I made some pads out of the kids' old terries nappies years ago! They are still going strong but have recently invested in some period pants too. They all work really well and I don't have to wash anything by hand so no complaints there”. Brodie is also a big fan of period pants - “perfect for light flow days, removing the need for unnecessary pads”. Liz uses a mooncup and loves WUKA period pants. 
  • Laundry detergent: Joy buys 10kg bags of plant-based biodegradable powder! “It comes in paper but is very heavy to transport,” so she’s now considering the laundry sheets. Brodie already uses these and loves them!
  • Anti-bac: Katy makes her own anti-bac using a glass spray bottle and essential oils - check her out!
  • Cleaning products: we’re big fans of Ocean Saver refills - they’re very concentrated which avoids the need to transport massive amounts of heavy water!

What thing would you like to stop using but haven't yet? and why?

Joy: “I'd love to change my car - or stop using one altogether. We need to campaign for better, cheaper public transport. I'd also like to stop buying crisps in plastic packets. It's so hard!”

Turns out crisps are a big one for us at Elephant Box…

Katy: “Probably snack packaging – crisps and choc (not easy!)”

Brodie: “Crisps! It’s easy to make your own dips but crisps are a lot tougher. Biodegradable plant packaged crisp packets need to be a thing!”

And for Liz, it’s the bubble bath: “I really like bubble bath, which comes in a plastic bottle…I'll have to get over it won't I?!”


What kit do you take out with you to prevent you from using disposables?

Now we’re a little biased here but obviously we all bring our Elephant Box water bottles and lunchboxes with us…

Joy “Oh my goodness. I always take my water bottle, a cloth bag and a spork. If I'm out for the day I'll add a reusable to go cup and a lunchbox.”

Liz: “I always  have a water bottle and a reusable cup on hand. And there’s always a few elephant boxes knocking around the car.”

Katy: “My water bottle, lunchbox and cup”

Brodie: “I don’t go anywhere without my Elephant Box water bottle and a tote bag. If I’m getting lunch out then I always chuck my lunchbox in my bag”.

 Check out our range of reusable essentialsfor when you're out an about.


What things do you take into consideration when you're buying something new?

We’ve compiled the top considerations into a step by step process for mindful buying: 
  1. Consider - can I do without it?
  2. If not, could I buy it 2nd hand?
  3. What is the manufacturing process? Is it ethical?
  4. Is it local? How far has this travelled?
  5. What will happen to it at the end of its life? Is it recyclable? Will it last? 
  6. Then consider - could I buy better somewhere else? 


What was the hardest thing to swap or stop using?

Joy: “I don't think that any of the swaps I've made have been hard. All the substitutions work just the same. It's the things I haven't done yet that are hard!”

Liz: “When shopping, unless you go to the right place, it sometimes feels like you need superhuman willpower not to give in and buy stuff encased in plastic.”

Katy: “Nothing has been to hard, just remembering to be organised to take a bottle etc with me”

Brodie: “Finding the right plastic-free shampoo and conditioner was a bit of a process, but I’m so happy with the results now. My hair looks the best it's ever looked and I don’t have to feel guilty about it!”

What's the thing that you have stopped using that you find hard to believe you ever did?

    Joy: “There's loads of packaging that I would never buy now - I mean on food. I find it crazy that I ever did buy it. I guess I thought it was unavoidable before. Or I didn't understand the extent of the problem.”

    Katy agrees: “Over packaged food – fruit and veg in loose produce bags”

    Liz: “Shampoo in bottles. Hopefully I’ll be saying that about bubble bath this time next year!”

    Brodie: “I can’t believe people used to get a new shopping bag every time they went to the shops! Charging for these has caused such a big shift in people’s minds. I hope we’ll be saying this about a lot more things in the future”.

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