My MoneySaving zero waste morning routine
This week, from Monday 7 to Friday 11 September it's Zero Waste Week. Previously, we've brought you 13 ways to use less plastic and save cash, so at MSE we're always thinking about whether we could in fact save money as well as the planet. First thing on Monday, I tried a completely zero-waste morning, and this is what I came up with.
7am - brushing your teeth
First thing in the morning, most people brush with a plastic toothbrush. The zero waste alternative is a bamboo toothbrush which you can order online from about 99p - about the same price as you'd pay for a plastic toothbrush wrapped in plastic. Alternatively, Superdrug has now started selling Humble branded bamboo toothbrushes for £3.99 - good if you've points on your card to use to get a discount.
7.05am - washing your hands & face
If you're taking a shower, washing your hands, face or hair, you'll probably notice most of the items in your bathroom are wrapped in plastic. Did you know your shower gel could be rinsing money down the drain?
Switch to a bar, and you could save. I found two bars of posh Dove beauty bar soap for £1.25 (62.5p per 100g) at Asda, whereas the liquid Dove hand soap is £1.80 (72p per 100ml) so as 1ml = approximately 1g if you switch, you could save 9.5p with every purchase. It might not seem a lot, but it adds up!
7.15am - washing your hair
But what about hair? There are actually shampoo and even conditioner bars for hair, but they can be pricey. The cheapest I've seen shampoo bars online is £2.60 for a 95g bar, so it pays to shop around as that's about the same price as a branded 250ml bottle of shampoo.
Lush also sells shampoo bars from £7.50 for 55g - you can buy them in a paper bag or buy a reusable tin for £2.50 (extra). Solid conditioner at Lush costs from £6.95 for 50g, which, granted, is more expensive than the cheapest available shampoos and conditioners (though we have seen branded shampoo for £8.99 a pop), but MoneySavers report these bars last longer - so you could save in the long run. Lush claims you can get 80-100 washes, the equivalent of three 250g bottles of shampoo, out of each bar. See the Lush website for more info, plus tips on how to use solid shampoo.
If you can't stand the thought of a solid shampoo or conditioner, Lush does also sell liquid versions in recycled and recyclable bottles. If you buy anything in its trademark black plastic pots, you can return five pots to get a free facemask - see my blog on Free skincare rewards for recycling to find out more.
7.30am - making a cuppa
Shockingly, most tea bags contain plastic. Some brands have started to remove plastic from their tea bags and packaging - like Teapigs tea - but you can also buy loose-leaf tea and use an inexpensive metal or silicone reusable 'tea bag' so you don't have to give up tea.
Whittards sell loose tea (100g) in metal tea caddies for £12, and you can either reuse the metal caddy, or you can take it back to a Whittard store and refill it and you'll get 10% off. A 100g refill is about £6.50, depending on your chosen tea, so 65p off just for bringing your caddy back is pretty decent.
What do you make your tea in? A reusable cup of course! With bamboo cups normally costing about £10, I've spotted them for £1.99 at Home Bargains - can you find 'em? If you can't, you can pick up a reusable cup from Starbucks for £1. It is plastic but it's BPA-free, dishwasher-safe and not single use.
Prefer coffee or tea on the go during the day? You'll also be able to use your reusable cup to get at least 30p off at Starbucks (25p plus you'll not be charged the 5p cup charge) or 50p off at Pret. See my blog on How saving the planet can save you money on your coffee for more examples of where you could save.
7.45am - breakfast of champions
Aha, you might think, my cereal comes in a cardboard box - what about the plastic inner? Fear not, you can still eat - did you know you can buy oats in a cardboard recyclable container or paper bag similar to flour? 1kg of oats is 75p in Lidl - packed in a paper wrapper. You can also find 500g of gluten-free oats packed in a similar fashion for £1.79.
Porridge oats wrapped in plastic are 75p for the same amount at Asda - so you won't spend any more money, but you'll cut down on your plastic use. You can eat oats with water (from the tap is, of course, packaging-free) but you'll be pleased to find tetra-packs and milk bottles are widely recycled. If you'd like to cut them out too, you can make oat milk at home really easily, or almond milk if you've a blender - Lidl also sell loose almonds, simply bring your own bag.
8am - time to leave for work
It's time to leave now, and you've got your reusable cup with you, but don't forget a reusable water bottle. You'll be able to fill it up for free at many places when you're out - even the airport, see our guide on How to find free water at airports - saving at least £1 on every bottle you might otherwise buy. You can pick up a reusable bottle for less than £1 at discounters like Home Bargains or B&M, but you can also get trendy thermal metal water bottles, like those sold by Chillys, from £15 each - so it's up to you which you pick up.