Local businesses

Eco Swaps – 4 Easy Changes to Make Today

Easy eco swaps from lovely, local, independent, small businesses.

This is technically an AD as I was kindly gifted all these products by Local Loop Clowne which is now operated by Happy Roots Farm. However, all these views are entirely my own and I was under no obligation to post.

When I was researching the ‘Meet the Women Leading Derbyshire’s Eco Businesses’ article, Kim of Local Loop Clowne asked whether I’d be interested in reviewing any of the eco friendly products in order to reduce waste. I specifically asked to try a shampoo bar and some reusable make-up pads as I’ve meaning to make these two eco swaps myself and then the other products were Kim’s idea.

If you live anywhere near Clowne please do support Local Loop which is now operated by Happy Roots Farm. There’s local delivery, within three miles of the farm, or you can click and collect. However, if you’re a bit further afield, It’s All About You has a wonderful online store and ships nationwide from its Dronfield shop.

Reduce plastic bottles and use bars

Eco swaps - ditch plastic bottles for eco friendly shampoo bars like this Faith in Nature bar
Eco swaps – ditch the plastic bottles and use shampoo bars instead

So, first up, the shampoo bar. I tried the Faith in Nature Shampoo Bar Lavender & Geranium (£5.79) which is 100% natural (so no nasty chemicals being washed down the drain), vegan and cruelty free. It comes wrapped in a cardboard box which you can either recycle or compost. My hair is pretty normal, but prone to being greasy and my scalp can be easily irritated resulting in a flaky scalp so I was a bit hesitant about trying something new (despite being keen to ditch the plastic). Kim suggested working up a good lather and even running the bar over my scalp, which I did. I am genuinely impressed with the results. It leaves my hair clean and bouncy and doesn’t irritate my scalp. It’s a solid bar and would be great for travelling. I wish it smelt a bit stronger but overall the results are great and I would definitely re-purchase this. If you haven’t already considered ditching the plastic bottles for a shampoo bar this is a great place to start with manageable eco swaps.

Swap cotton wool for reusable bamboo pads

reusable, washable bamboo pads are a great eco swaps
Easy eco swaps – use washable pads instead of single use cotton wool wrapped in plastic

It’s All About You Reusable Make Up Remover Pads, £11.95
The make-up pads were another swap that I have been considering for far too long. Although I have tried to reduce the amount of cotton wool I use by using flannels, I was still purchasing probably a pack a month, which of course was wrapped in plastic that I can’t easily recycle. I have googled reusable make up pads numerous times, then always got bewildered by the choice and never got round to changing. Well, these are GREAT. Honestly, so much better than cotton wool! I am genuinely kicking myself for not swapping sooner because these are so much nicer and more effective to use. You get 16 bamboo pads with an organic cotton wash bag.

Admittedly, washing them is a tiny bit of a faff. The washing bag they come in has opened in the wash both times I’ve washed them. I like the pads so much I would buy this brand again, despite the issues of the wash bag (maybe I got a dud one?). In fact, I feel like I need to buy these for all my friends and family because everyone needs to know how great they are. £12 is obviously a little bit of an investment, but I can see how these will pay for themselves in about a year, and then I’ll actually be saving money.

Eco friendly multi-purpose, refillable cleaner

refill cleaning products - a great eco swaps
Eco swaps – luxuriously French lavender eco anti-bac surface cleaner from Miniml, refillable glass bottle

Miniml Anti-Bac Multi Surface Cleaner, French Lavender
Well… this stuff is a revelation! Like many Mums, I used to follow the trail of destruction my toddler leaves in her wake with an anti-bac spray and kitchen towels. No more! This spray really feels quite luxurious to use. Initially you buy a glass spray bottle full of product (for just £3.50 which I think compares very favourably to the cost of Method products which I’ve previously bought from the supermarket) but then it’s refillable. It costs just £2.40 for a litre of the product itself (or even less if you wanted to buy five litre refill packs, personally I’d rather have the convenience of being able to store the refill bottle easily). The other revelation to me was that I didn’t need to cart all my empties to a refill shop. Instead, I could purchase a refill bottle to refill my own glass spray bottle at home, then wash and return the empty refill bottle next time I purchase. This seems a far more manageable solution for my lifestyle (and let’s be honest, laziness threshold) and one that I can actually see myself doing on a regular basis and therefore another successful eco swaps.

The product itself is a great all-round cleaner and worked beautifully on dirt and grime. It’s made from naturally derived, sustainable ingredients and is vegan, cruelty free and palm oil free. I really enjoyed the lavender fragrance. It sounds a bit cheesy saying this, but it actually felt like I was using a luxury, high end product (something I never felt as I whipped round with my old Dettol spray!).

Miniml Refills is an independent family business in Yorkshire. They reuse and refill every bottle and container that they supply to create a completely zero waste supply chain. All their formulations are biodegradable, vegan, cruelty free and palm oil free.

One of the best eco swaps? Re-fill!

eco swaps - zero waste - refill bottles
One of the best eco swaps: refill plastic bottles

One easy swap for hand wash is to use a bar of soap. However, I’m too attached to the convenience of a liquid soap so it was great to hear I could just buy a refill bottle to refill the existing pump bottles I already had in. Refilling pump action and spray bottles is a particularly good example of effective eco swaps since the pump/spray action bit is unlikely to be recycled and thus typically ends up in landfill or incinerated. Kim supplied me with a litre bottle of the Miniml Anti-Bac Liquid Hand Soap, from which I topped up my own empty bottles. Refilling was really easy and when the bottle is finished I will wash it and return it when I buy my next one.
The soap itself was lovely to use. It lathered well and felt quite moisturising. It’s made from naturally derived, sustainable ingredients with no sulphates, phosphates, parabens, chlorine bleaches or petrochemicals. I’m not really a fan of fruity scents, so wouldn’t have chosen the clementine scent, but it wasn’t over powering.

I’ve since seen that R3-Fills (who operate in the Derby area) sell a Sesi rose scented liquid soap which sounds much more thing so next time I’m going to try that. It’s All About You in Dronfield also stock a good range of liquid soaps in a range of scents.

What I loved about the Local Loop

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with Local Loop Clowne. The website is really clear and easy to use. I particularly liked how it doesn’t just sell practical household items, there’s an extensive range of bakery items from The Welbeck Bakehouse, an award-winning wholesale bakery on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire. From sourdough to pastries to cruffins, and seasonal treats like triple chocolate hot cross buns and mini egg cookies, there’s something for everyone. There’s also a good selection of gifts and treats, all from local and/or sustainable small businesses, like Chocally artisan chocolate (I love the sound of the dark chocolate lavender shards), Seedballs and quirky, pretty jewellery from brands like Ivy & Ginger.

I think part of the reason I haven’t really explored refilling before was just an uncertainty about how it all works, but I really need not have worried. I’ve learnt the key is just to start with very small eco swaps, and before you know it, you’re seeking out more ways to be a little bit greener.

Our hope is that you’ll remember to check in with us every so often to see if there are any local or sustainable alternatives to some of the items you’d normally get from the supermarket. Maybe you might come to us for a fresh bag of salad, grown just up the road at Happy Roots Farm. Maybe you fancy some hand-cooked crisps for a Friday night treat; and ours just happen to come in a nice compostable packet. Maybe reducing your plastic is a goal but you can’t change everything all at once, so you head back here each time you’re ready to try a new swap. Perhaps next time you need to buy a gift, you check our range of locally handmade products and buy from a small business before heading straight to the big brands. If lots of us start to make changes like these, little by little we can begin to make a BIG difference.

Kim Willett, Local Loop Clowne

Ready to make some eco swaps?

Overall I’ve realised that making eco swaps is actually quite easy. All of the products performed as well as my usual choices and some actually work out cheaper in the long run. I’ve definitely been inspired to continue to try and be greener.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, please read my previous blog post on Meet the Women Leading Derbyshire’s Eco Businesses.

You might also be interested in this blog post on luxury beauty brands that are planet friendly, this post on the ultimate list of sustainable swaps and also this guide to sustainable travel.

By Molly Scott

Derbyshire blogger - bringing you the best places to eat, drink, spa and stay in the wider Derbyshire area. Champion of the most fabulous independents.

7 replies on “Eco Swaps – 4 Easy Changes to Make Today”

Great Eco swaps and honest feedback too. It’s the reason I got into handmade soap making. These are such easy swaps to make and a small start is better than no changes!

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