$10 Urban & $15.50 Rural ~ 800+ 5 Star Reviews

Plastic Free July – Little Steps to Make the Big Change

“It’s only one plastic straw,” said eight billion people

That simple statement packs a huge punch, doesn’t it?

I came across it recently on Instagram & it’s such a good (and striking) reminder that when we dismiss something as just a ‘small bit’ – we might be missing the point of it. We humans are a huge collective, there’s 8 billion of us, and it is us living in a human way on the earth that’s having a changing effect. It isn’t the Bees who are drilling for oil, or the Whales who are dumping fast fashion textiles in Chile’s deserts. And that might feel confronting.

I say, lean into it, and be the human the earth needs us to be, the human, humanity need us to be. Trust that when you choose to live more lightly on the earth, it will be noticed. Be proud that you are activating your number in the ‘1 of 8 billion opportunity’. Doing our bit, bit by bit does add up to something monumental.

Ok this is great – but what about what the planet needs Vs modern living?

The planet, and its critters, animals and plants need us to remember the quote “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good”. There is NO way you can do all the things – and you don’t need to (Lordy knows the you ‘can do everything’ slogan sold to girls in the 80’s drove a lot of burnout and anxiety – let’s not repeat that). It’s about being inspired for change and prepared to act. It’s realising that change only becomes permanent when you are prepared to give it a go, and you put in place systems and habits that that work with you in your daily life. That you commit not to being perfect, but to being better.

Anyway, doing good feels good. Knowing you are taking part in looking after our precious planet is uplifting.

Here’s a few Plastic free changes I have made and stuck with.

I read and recommend reading the book by Bea Johnson ‘Zero waste home’. It was the first book of its kind and it made an international groundswell for living a life that makes less waste. I found it SO inspiring and the book has a tone of great tips and ideas.

Zero waste home by bea johnson is a very inspiring book on reducing waste

  1. Reusable coffee cups: I won’t get a coffee in a takeaway cup. I drink a lot of coffee, I enjoy it. So I made it my personal responsibility to not use single use cups. And this has been a huge success! This is the system I use. I keep a clean keep cup in the car ready for any coffee opportunity – that’s it! After washing my cup, I store them in my car so they are right there when I need them. I don’t put them in a cupboard in the kitchen – because I would forget to take them with me.
  2. Rubbish bin plastic liner: This is my 2015 New Years ‘doing better’ change. And it’s stuck. This little change actually rippled into much bigger changes at our house. Because I didn’t want a gross stinky rubbish bin, it forced us to be really on to it with our food waste. We implemented a ‘leftovers to be used up’ space in the fridge, and stepped up our composting – now no food goes into our rubbish bin. This achievement feels really good. Food waste is a sizeable chunk of waste that goes to landfill in New Zealand & is a big methane gas producer which drives climate chaos. Told you, one bin liner…. huge ripples!
  3. I asked this question when shopping: What happens next? The effect is brilliant, it forced me to think about what would happen to an item when I was finished with it? This single question really shone a light on MY relationship to the resources I was using. This is purchasing power! I was consciously choosing if I was accepting waste – I was owning my part. Was I about to buy a single use item destined for landfill? Was I choosing a poorly made item? Was I choosing something that could be repaired? Could I find it second hand? Could I borrow it and not even buy it? Could I live with out it???
  4. I learnt about plastic: Knowing what I was making decisions about really helped me keep things in perspective. It can be very easy to say ‘it’s all bad’ and then get very overwhelmed. You would need to completely change how you live to avoid all plastic – Let’s focus on better everyday. I learnt about ‘compostable plastic’ and decided they are a regrettable substitution amongst other things. I avoid compostable plastic and wouldn’t add it to my compost. I learnt what plastics can actually be recycled here in New Zealand. If plastic can’t be avoided, I look the better option. Where you can, choose resin 1, 2 or 5 that is un-tinted with no added colour. For example a see though milk bottle is more recyclable than a white one. A clear plastic drink bottle is recyclable where a green lemonade bottle is not. I learnt about microplastics. I now try very hard to avoid buying textiles that will shed microplastics when washing. These are this or that decisions, where you are pragmatically choosing the better option based on knowledge.

Though I haven’t added it here, one of the other things I did (that won’t surprize you) was making my own cleaning products and personal care products. Part of this was about less waste and part about being chemically conscious too. So below ill add some swaps that reduced waste while keeping my home clean.

Embarking on Your eco-friendly cleaning journey

If you are starting out your plastic-free journey, let’s be honest, it can feel a little bit overwhelming. Where do I start? My best advice is to target your consumables – the things you use and replace over and over again.

I’ve put together two suggestions that get used the most in a home – small swaps like this really do add up. Not only will these products help you reduce waste & plastic from your cleaning routine it will also help with reducing harmful or unneeded chemicals from your life too! Little steps like these can make big long-term ripple changes. So here goes..

Option one: Kitchen and Bathroom DIY pack

Our Kitchen and Bathroom DIY pack will provide you with about one-year worth of home cleaning staples.  The pack will make a huge 25+ 500ml refills of bench spray & 6 x 250gm batches of cleaning paste.

How to use Bench spray: Perfect for kitchen benches, tables, high chairs, vanity, mirror, outside the loo, and wet dusting… again any hard surface that needs a wipe down.

How to use cleaning paste: This is a cream cleanser for hard surfaces and is akin to a jif type product. Perfect for stove top, oven, roasting pans, tannin in cups, baths, showers, sinks, tiles, tapware, white sneakers and getting scuff marks of walls and floors …. literally any hard surface.

the Figgy and co kitchen and bathroom pack is a great way to get into making your own home cleaning products.

What’s inside the kitchen and bathroom pack pack:

  • 1 x 500ml home cleaning castile soap: Bottled in a glass bottle which is easily reused or recycled. We hand-batch this in Paraparaumu from fair-traded coconut oil. It is the backbone of our DIY cleaners. It’s concentrated and very good at cleaning! As its made at Figgy HQ the soap travels from us to you and is not imported- hooray!
  • 1 x 1.5kg baking soda: Packed in a brown paper bag, stamped with water based inks & secured with real cellulose tape making the entire package home compostable. We actively chose not to have a plastic liner. Once you add paper and plastic together neither can be recycled.
  • 1 x Essential oil of your choosing: These little glass vials bring an element of delight to any cleaning. A smell you enjoy signals to your brain that the task isn’t so bad. We have 8 pure essential oils to choose from – so you can make your cleaning smell how you want!
  • 1 x 500ml glass trigger bottle: This is what you will make your bench spray in over and over again. Disclaimer- the trigger head is made from non-recyclable plastic – because the unit as a whole is made of different kinds of plastic parts. It is durable and will last many refills – when it does come to its end of life we have replacements available on the website. This means you do not need to buy a whole new bottle and trigger.
  • 1 x 250gm glass pottle: This sits so easily in your had and is perfect for storing your cleaning paste. Again it is sturdy and designed to be used indefinitely.
  • 1 x recipe card: This is the key to you learning a new skill! We walk you through the steps of whipping up your homemade cleaners. After this, you will know how to make the two cleaners you use the most! Hurrah!

Perhaps the best thing about this pack is that you may never need to purchase plastic cleaning vessels or plastic lined ingredients again. When your soap, baking soda and essential oil run out, your glass trigger bottle and glass pottle will still be good to go. Just restock up on these ingredients and your next year of cleaning will be sorted too!

Option two: Laundry powder

Figgy and Co Laundry Powder jar being refilled


Our hand-batched laundry powder is something special. It contains only natural and non-toxic ingredients (including our powerhouse home cleaning soap) and is handmade with love at Figgy HQ. It contains NO EXTRAS – that is, every ingredient is contributing to the laundering- you won’t find any builder or filler ingredients here! Because there are no fillers the laundry powder is very concentrated – this means you will only use 1 tablespoon per 6kg load of washing; one 2kg bag will last 100 washes and works out at $0.31c per load.

Its tough enough to handle the day-to-day laundry burden, but gentle enough to be used for babies or those with skin irritations including eczema and dermatitis. It can be used for clothes, sheets, towels and does a great job washing machine washable merino too. It’s also pretty handy as a pre-wash soak for heavily soiled items too like reusable period products.

We batch it up and send it to you in a plain paper bag that is safe to compost at home and there is not a hint of plastic in sight! It is a genuine zero waste option. It’s very important you store your powder air-tight once you receive it – there are no anti clumping agents in our powder keeping all the grains separated (thank goodness).

Other ideas are our waste free washing dishes by hand with Figgy bar soap made for cleaning and soap shaker or why not check out our DIY recipe booklet for even for homemade cleaning inspiration! We also have sturdy stainless steel forever Pegs for hanging out washing

As you can see, one or two small changes to your current cleaning habits can make changes that are sustainable and permanently reduce the plastic use in your home – with the massive added reward of reducing the chemicals in your home also. I hope plastic-free July is successful for you whatever changes you make and best of luck. Start small and if we all do the same big things will happen!