Reviews by Alice Ellerby, Saffia Farr, and Jess Hazel
Organic Cotton Unpaper Towel
This is the most fantastic cloth. It’s designed to be an ‘unpaper towel’, so you have a few in your kitchen to mop up spills, which you then wash and reuse. I have been using it for all sorts of things and it works really well and washes well too. I love the design and the hook is helpful for hanging. It’s available as a pack of five, or as smaller grey wipes, and arrives wrapped in eco-friendly, ethically sourced tissue paper. It’s designed in the UK and made in India where 35% of electricity used during manufacture is from renewable sources, using hydroelectric power.
£2.50 for a single towel
Makeup Remover Pads
These are fantastic makeup remover pads. There are 10 in the set, so plenty to last between washes, and they are really big with lots of space for cleansing; I find smaller pads can get dirty too quickly if I’m trying to use them for my whole face, not just my eyes. The pads are made from 100% organic cotton and are unbleached and undyed. One side is organic towelling, which worked well for the first cleanse, then the other side is softer and smoother (brushed cotton) for a second wipe over if needed. Or you could use one side for the face and the other for the eyes. The pads come with a drawstring bag for washing and I find this very easy to use. I just put the used pads in the bag ready to wash when I’m next putting the machine on. This has been an easy eco and plastic-free swap. My teenage daughter is also happy to use washable pads like this, so that has helped start her off with consumer habits that are less impactful on the environment.
Violet’s Earth Friendly Mineral Bleach
This is a fantastic laundry product. It can be used to brighten whites and remove stains as well as adding to a cloth nappy wash when extra cleaning is required. It’s been brilliant at bringing some older shirts and bedding back to brightness, giving them a new lease of life. I soaked them first and then put some in the washing machine as well, but only a small amount is needed. It can be used on coloured clothes but needs patch-testing for naturally dyed fabrics. It can also be used to help freshen trainers or smelly sports clothing, but I’ve not tried that yet! This mineral bleach has no chlorine and is safe to use with septic tanks. It can also be used as a disinfecting agent.
Unbleached Bamboo Toilet Roll
Toilet roll is one of those things we all buy, and it pays to buy in bulk to get the best value (if you have space to store them, of course), especially in the current world of endlessly rising costs. These extra-long rolls are made with soft FSC-certified sustainable bamboo, and refreshingly, they’re unbleached. This does mean they’re beige (rather than bright white), but the natural colour looks great in the bathroom, and really, who needs perfectly bright white toilet roll anyway?! The biggest box of 96 rolls works out at brilliant value – just under 80p per roll. And because you’re getting lots of extra sheets (320 per roll – most rolls are 200 sheets), they last a lot longer. JH
From £23.50 for 24 rolls, £39.99 for 48 rolls, £75.99 for 96 rolls
Wrap Me Up Bby Bamboo Hair Towel
Using this, I had one of those ‘why have I never tried this before?’ moments! I have long, thick hair with a mind of its own, and this hair towel is amazing for gathering it up once it’s washed and keeping it out of the way until I’m ready to tame it. I’ve used towels for this in the past, but then I am staggering around trying to keep the spiral-of-hair-turban perched on my head while I dry and get dressed. With this hair towel, you simply twist it up with your hair inside and button it at the back of your head. It’s very neat and compact. It’s a lovely soft towel made from organic bamboo and recycled polyester; the company, Indie, aims to be “sustainable without sacrifice”. SF
Organic Cotton Non-sponge
This is a dinky ‘non-sponge’. It’s 12cm x 9cm, so fits well in your hand, and is useful for soaking up spills or wiping surfaces. As it’s thicker than a standard cloth, it can soak up more liquid, and it washes well too. I also used it for wiping around dishes when washing up. It’s made with printed organic cotton on one side and absorbent weave organic cotton on the other and is 100% recyclable. As with the unpaper towel, it arrives wrapped in eco-friendly, ethically sourced tissue paper, is designed in the UK and made in India where 35% of electricity used during manufacture is from renewable sources, using hydroelectric power. SF
£1 or 2 for £1.75
Concentrated Organic Laundry Liquid
This concentrated laundry liquid has been formulated to wash clothes without harming the environment and I have found it to be just as effective as the mainstream brands. The new formula is made with Greenscents’ unique organic surfactant mix, which is based on organic soap nuts and shikakai pods. I use 25ml per wash, as per the instructions (but it does help to know if you have hard or soft water) and this washes well. It has a delicate, clean smell, which isn’t overpowering. It can be used for hand-washing and on all fabrics, and I like that it comes in a glass bottle with metal screw cap, which can be easily recycled or reused if you buy in bulk. SF
£7.20 for 500ml, £56.25 for 5 litres
This organic cotton pillowcase has a 300 thread count, and you can really feel this. It has a silky smoothness that is wonderful in a pillowcase! Each pillowcase measures 50cm x 75cm, which is the standard UK size, and there is the option to buy a pack of two. The pillowcase has washed well, and I am sure that it will last for years. I love that it has been ethically made, grown and sewn without the use of harmful pesticides or other toxic chemicals. LittleLeaf organic cotton pillowcases are also made using 91% less water than ordinary cotton, which is a huge bonus with water shortages causing problems across the world, and the factory is solar-powered. All the details have been thought about. SF
Laundry and Stain Remover Bar
I love using soap bars, so I was excited to try this. We seem to get a lot of marks and stains in our household and I normally use a mainstream bar. This bar worked just as well without the toxic bleach components, which is really helpful as I have spoilt clothes in this way before. This is an excellent, solid bar of soap, which has kept it shape and not gone soft. I tend to use a combination of soaking clothes and rubbing with the bar before putting items in my usual wash, and it has removed the variety of stains I’ve tried it on. It’s vegan, made in the UK, plastic-free and suitable for septic tanks. SF
I am finding the Guppyfriend to be a really useful household item on two counts. Firstly, washing clothes in the bag protects them so that they wear less through washing. As I love to keep my clothes for ever, this is really attractive to me. The idea is that with the protection of the bag, fewer fibres are released (synthetic textiles constantly release microfibres), so there is less wear on the clothes. Secondly, if the clothes do shed any fibres, these are caught by the bag and are not released into the waterways – you can just remove them from the corners and dispose of them. So far, I have found very few fibres in the bag, which I’m pleased about. You have to take care not to overfill the bag so that the clothes can move around, but it is large (50cm x 74cm) so there is plenty of room for what I usually want to put in there. It dries quickly and folds for storage, but there is also a hook if that’s easier. It has double stitching around the edges and looks really durable. The cardboard packaging is full of helpful information on both sides. SF
9oz Vacuum Insulated Straw Bottle
These 100% plastic-free reusable children’s water bottles are designed to fit with a range of tops in order to improve their versatility and lengthen the life of each bottle. The straw attachment was a great design for my toddler. The straw is valved, which helped prevent leaks and spillages, and it has a travel top to keep the straw clean when you’re out and about. The silicon sleeve comes in a choice of bold colours and is easy for little hands to grip. Once your child is ready to move on from the straw top, it can be swapped for a junior sports top, or if you have a younger child, they can use the same bottle with a sippy top. Made from high-grade stainless steel, it’s really durable and lightweight and we found the insulated bottle effective for keeping water fresh and cool all day. It’s easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and certified non-toxic. A great quality bottle that can be used for years.
Plant-based Meals Taster Bundle
Wildly Tasty offers plant-based frozen meals designed to introduce children to exciting flavours and encourage a love of food from a young age. With two small children, I find it really hard to cook fresh meals every day while getting my eldest to various clubs and keeping my youngest happy. Having these in the freezer is a godsend. They are absolutely delicious, they take minutes to cook from frozen, and they taste homemade and nourishing. Packed with veg, they are a world away from most convenience foods. You can either take out a subscription or order a one-off box. We tried the Taster Bundle, which is a great way to discover your favourites. We particularly enjoyed the Apricot and Chickpea Tagine, the Coconut and Sweet Potato Dahl and the Yellow Thai Veggie Curry. The meals arrive frozen, and all packaging is either recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. Each meal serves two small (or one big) mouth.
First published in Issue 83 of JUNO. Accurate at the time this issue went to print.