Save money and waste less making your own ice lollies

Children of the 80s will remember the highlight of summer was when the make-your-own ice lollies mould came out of storage. But they were bulky, hard to clean, and took ages to freeze, so - wanting to avoid plastic packaging - I've taken a look at more modern examples.

If you're a Calippo fan, but don't want to contribute a lolly-load of non-recyclable waste to landfill, you may be interested to know you can get reusable silicone moulds in a Calippo-esque shape.

Two boxes of six 80ml mini Calippo ice-lollies are £3 at Asda and Morrisons. Calippo 'normal-size' lollies are 105ml, and normally about £1 each when you can find them.

When we checked, you could get silicone moulds in both the larger 100ml-ish size and smaller 75ml-ish size (from £5ish), so it's up to you which you choose but I'll be focusing on the larger size.

Where can I find 'Calippo-like' silicone ice lolly moulds?

It's well worth checking your local charity shop just to be sure before purchasing new, but if you can't find anything, I found the following prices:

  • £2.49 for four at Home Bargains
  • £3.50 for four at Ikea (plus £3.95 delivery)
  • £10.99 for 10 at Amazon*

I heard Poundland also sold something similar, but unfortunately when I checked, my local Poundland didn't have ice lolly moulds but it's worth a look if you're passing Poundland.

What can I use in these moulds?

  • Smoothies made from wonky/overripe fruit (avoid waste)
  • Squash (concentrated so creates less waste)
  • Fruit juice (recycle any cartons)
  • Yogurt (recycle any yogurt containers)
  • Flavoured soy/coconut/oat milk for a dairy-free treat
  • Protein shake 
  • Fruity cocktails (not for kids!)
  • Fruity prosecco (again, not for kids)

As Pops alcoholic ice lollies are normally £5.99 for a pack of three, you'll make your money back making your own a lot faster than making your own Calippos, but please be drink aware, and keep 'em away from the kiddos. We found these freeze pretty quickly so you could always make your ice pops up after the kids have gone to bed to avoid any confusion.

Is this really more environmentally friendly?

Of course, we live in a non-perfect world so there are a few things to consider. Whichever lolly mould you choose, it still required resources to make it, so if you don't think you're going to use it for a long time it might not be worth it. That's one of the reasons I picked these silicone-type moulds, you can also use them as reusable snack pouches, or to keep other items in.

If you fill your lolly moulds with juice that you've bought in a plastic bottle or carton, you'll have to recycle those - but they're better than a thin plastic lolly wrapper which can't be recycled. Alternatively, if you buy loose, unpackaged fruit and juice it at home - maybe pick up some yellow-stickered bargains, or a £1.50 veg box at Lidl - the only waste you'll make can go on the compost heap.

Most curbside recycling schemes don't accept silicone, so it can be hard to recycle at the end of its life. However, silicone should be more durable than most plastics as it shouldn't break if you drop it, and it's dishwasher safe which helps with use. If you're not sure whether you'll use silicone moulds long-term, you could always keep the packaging and donate the set to a local charity shop.

Do you make your own ice lollies to save money? What do you use, and do you make 'em for yourself or your kids? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.