Your washing up liquid just ran out. You might have a great idea to upcycle the plastic bottle into something else. But when you inevitably buy a new one from the supermarket you have another bottle to find a use for. And there are only so many spare bottles you can keep in that cupboard under your sink.
So you might eventually end up recycling your used washing up liquid, anti-bac, laundry detergent packaging and bottles. And that's a good step to reducing waste in your household.
But there's an even better way of cutting down on the amount of packaging that goes to landfill. Even better than recycling. And that is to use a refill service!
The Future Is Refill: Time to Switch to Refill Cleaning Products
The Plastic Problem
When you use a refillable washing up liquid, you cut down the amount of plastic that you use every week. And as a planet, we really do need to do something about plastic.
One unmissable example is The Great Pacific Garbage patch. It is twice the size of France. The collection of rubbish is constantly growing as a whirlpool of ocean currents bring together our ill-disposed rubbish and plastics.
Yep, it would take an estimated 67 ships 1 year to clean up less than 1% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is just the visible plastic. While plastic breaks down over hundreds of years, it never truly goes away and is instead reduced to tiny microplastics. These bits are too small to see with the naked eye and are even small enough to be eaten by tiny plankton. In turn, these plankton are gobbled up by fish. Which means, eventually, we are eating the plastic that we threw in the sea to start with. Microplastics have even been found in the placentas of unborn babies.
For people and planet we all need to do something about this. We don't currently have a good solution to fishing microplastics out of the sea since a lot of it has fallen to the bottom.
An easy first step is ensuring that we optimise the things we do on a daily basis to be less wasteful. And that of course includes washing up, doing the laundry and cleaning the house.
In the case of the refill set up we have at Green Heart Collective, the big containers that we get from Suma get sent back to be refilled. This means there's a circular loop where we don't have to create a bunch of extra plastic just to clean our houses!
Refill Price List - What You Can Expect to Pay to Refill Your Household Cleaning Products
This is how we price our refills at Green Heart Collective, which gives you a ball-park figure for how much it costs. The brand we use is ecoleaf, from Suma which is natural, plant-based and free from nasty chemicals.
Washing up liquid: £1.50/litre
Laundry Liquid: £2.67/litre
Toilet cleaner: £1.73/litre
Anti-bacterial multi-surface cleaner: £2/litre
You can bring any container to fill up. However, do advise that you buy a prefilled ecoleaf container that has a list of the active ingredients of each product in case of accidental consumption.
Where Can You Find the Nearest Refill Station?
For refills to work, they need to be convenient. As convenient as visiting a supermarket. Thankfully, there are an increasing number of places you can visit to refill your cleaning products.
There are lots of different places you can use, including the Refill.org.uk app and HappyCow. But you could also search online for terms like "zero waste shop near me" or "plastic free shops near me".
And if you live in Gateshead or find yourself near Team Valley, why not pop in and use our refills!