Tag Archives: Sustainability

Brushing teeth with bicarbonate of soda.

I couldn’t find a toothbrush which didn’t come in packaging, but a much more environmentally friendly option, and mostly plastic-free, is the “environmental toothbrush”

I had been getting myself used to the taste of bicarb before the challenge by using the Kingfisher Bicarbonate of Soda toothpaste, so it didn’t come as too much of a shock to me.

I managed to get hold of loose bicarbonate of soda from my local loose foods shop, Save a Packet. All I do is wet my toothbrush and dip it in the powder, or sometimes I’ll wet my finger and distribute some evenly around all the teeth, and then bush as usual.

I’ve found that it leaves my teeth and mouth feeling really clean and my teeth are looking whiter already.

There is a lot of mis-information out there saying that bicarb is too abrasive, when it’s actually a less abrasive than store-bought toothpaste. If you’re interested in the figures, the Relative Dentin Abrasivity RDA values (how abrasive they are: a lower value = less abrasive) of all the main toothpastes, and bicarb, are listed here http://www.levysmiles.com/faq/best-toothpaste  Baking soda has an RDA of 7. The toothpastes range from 35-200.

Here is some information from the “Arm and Hammer” website about brushing with baking soda.

  • It is clinically recognised as an incredibly powerful cleaning agent by dissolving deep into tooth surface crevices.
  • Despite its highly effective cleaning powers, it remains significantly non-abrasive and incredibly gentle, making it ideal for dental use.
  • Baking soda maintains a good pH balance inside your mouth by neutralising any acids. This keeps your breath fresh for hours.
  • Baking soda has the power to whiten teeth. It is so efficient at removing deep engrained stains that subsequently your teeth get whiter.

I don’t know enough about the long-term usage of baking soda, but I know a lot of people have been successfully using it without problems, and it seems good to me so far.

Toothbrush and baking soda.


January foraging ideas.


January, on first thoughts, seems like the most hostile month to foraging, but a quick search shows there are many possibilities.


These are all possibilities:



Cow parsley



Ground elder


Package-free herbs and spices in my local healthfood shop.


I had a quick shop in “Nicholsons” one of our two healthfood shops in Kingsbridge today and I investigated all the herbs and spices that are available package-free. The helpful shop assistant told me that many of their customers bring their own containers, or if not they provide people with paper bags.


They also sell package-free Ecover – washing up liquid, washing machine liquid, fabric conditioner and surface cleaner which have the added advantage of being kind to the environment.

Well done Nicholsons! I will be stocking up on lovely herbs and spices here.


Bathroom Products

I’ve been having a think about how we can find unpackaged products for things like shampoo and conditioner. I’m hoping to find similar things which are made locally, but as a back-up I’ve seen that Lush do some excellent looking solid products like shampoo bars. Here is their Jason and the Argan Oil 

They also do solid conditioners like this Jungle conditioner. We could also use natural alternatives like eggs, avocado, and banana, but I haven’t tried them yet.

Solid deodorants  are on their menu too, but I’m probably going to continue using the alum crystal deodorant which I already use. I just might have to think of a creative way of sourcing it.

Lush even sell solid toothpaste (but these come in a recycled and recycleble/compostable box) Like these Chou Chou I Love You’s

I think I’m going to make my own toothpaste though to make it truly package-free, if I can find somewhere which sells loose bicarbonate of soda.

Hats off to Lush however for doing a good range of package-free products.


Trash is for Tossers

Whooooa I just stumbled across an article from a woman called Lauren in New York, who has lived Junk-Free for two whole years. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16168/i-havent-made-any-trash-in-2-years-heres-what-my-life-is-like.html

She also writes an awesome blog called “Trash is for Tossers” She has recipes for making your own household and bathroom products. Loads of good practical information here.

Package-Free Supermarket in Germany.

Junkless food in Germany proves popular. Original Unverpackt founders Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski. Photograph: Unverpackt (in the Guardian)

I was pleased to read this Guardian article about a Supermarket in Germany, founded by Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski, which sells produce to customers without any packaging at all. People bring their own containers which are weighed at the start, and a label is stuck on them to indicate their weight, so it can be deducted from the final weight of the product at the checkout.

The article highlights that these schemes seem to be marketed to the richer echelons of society. In my opinion there is no need for this. Selling produce in this way should be cheaper. The reduced costs can be passed on to the final consumer. Just think how many middle-men are missed out. No need for expensive packaging, design teams, marketing people etc. The product sells itself by its quality.

Let’s get back to using our own senses to determine how good a product is.

How does it look?

How does it smell?

How does it taste?

Don’t let the vampiric advertising people take your power away.