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Can Charlene go plastic-free?

For Plastic Free July our People & Development Officer, Charlene, shares the changes she has made at home to reduce her use of plastics. Well done, Charlene! We hope it encourages others in the CHT Community to make some changes to help the environment. 

I have always been interested in being responsible for the environment, but my efforts have increased since I had my wee boy and wanted to be a good role model for him on how we treat our planet.

It started with very easy changes of buying a reusable cup for takeaway cafes and a water bottle to avoid buying bottled water. From there, I have implemented:


  • Environmentally safe dishwasher and laundry tabs, delivered in cardboard
  • Beeswax wraps for food/sandwiches
  • Biodegradable bin liners
  • Refillable washing up liquid and other cleaning products, with no harmful ingredients
  • Replaced plastic scourers with coconut scourer
  • Soap for handwashing


  • Eco-friendly replaceable toothbrush head for electric toothbrushes
  • Bamboo toothbrush for little one
  • Toothpaste tabs
  • Bamboo toilet roll, deliver to the door
  • Soap for handwashing
  • Reusable razor
  • Shower gel bar
  • Coconut loofah for shower
  • Plastic free moisturiser
  • Plastic free make up


  • I used cloth nappies for my little one for a long time. I had to stop using them when he was getting ready to learn to roll as the bulkiness was hindering him a little. The great thing with the reusable nappies were that they had a large resale value when he was potty trained.
  • I refuse plastic straws when I am at a café or restaurant (not that this is very often these days).
  • Paper greetings cards. I ordered a bulk load of birthday, thank you, get well soon, anniversary cards from a local person, which were not wrapped in plastic and the designs were superb.
  • At Christmas, I bought some plain brown paper for wrapping presents and my little boy and I had lots of fun stamping the paper, which made them unique and recyclable. A lot of wrapping paper is not recyclable.

Things that didn’t work for me were:

  • Shampoo and conditioner bar. My hair is very long and very thick and the bars just didn’t cut it. I am currently looking at other options for natural hair care products, preferably with recyclable packaging.
  • Bamboo interdental brushes. The brushes were very expensive and didn’t last for one full set of teeth.

The next stages for me, personally is to look into plastic free alternatives to balloons for my little one – he loves balloons!; and also eco-friendly feminine hygiene products.


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