“Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses,” according to the NHS.

Public Health England says the same, and suggests that we should only be using hand sanitiser when handwashing isn’t possible. It can be quite rough on our skin and in some cases lead to cracking which can increase your risk of infection.

So why are we all buying and stockpiling hand sanitiser? In the past week I’ve seen people in the likes of Boots and Superdrug, as well as leading supermarkets, hunting for the stuff. Incredibly, shops are now rationing the limited supplies they have available. I’ve witnessed customers scouring aisles for sanitiser and picking up everything from floor wipes to make up wipes in a desperate attempt to satisfy their desires.

On sites like Amazon and ebay, people are listing bottles that would normally cost a few pounds at £100 or more.

I’m not here to lecture you on whether you buy and use hand sanitiser or not at the moment. I’m probably as worried as you are about the potential pandemic.

But the irony of the current situation is that to slow the transmission of COVID-19 we need everyone to be washing their hands well and regularly. So stockpiling is counterintuitive.

According to experts here and in the USA, anti bacterial hand wash is no more effective than hand soap so those who have switched to the latter to reduce the amount of plastic they consume can rest easy. As I always say, it’s about what’s on the inside too. At Plastic Free Home, we recommend Gower Lavender soaps and Friendly Soap. Both are British made, free of nasty chemicals, plastic free, vegan friendly and kind to animals.

It’s a similar situation when it comes to toilet roll. Many of us will have seen photos on social media this week showing empty supermarket shelves or perhaps you’ve struggled to stock up. 

The production of virgin (from newly felled trees) toilet roll is extremely damaging to the environment. Toilet rolls made from recycled paper are a better option but environmentally are trumped by a new breed of toilet rolls made from Bamboo and/or Sugarcane. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth, as is Sugarcane, which is also a by product. The manufacturing process uses far less water and energy than other options too and the use of bleach and harmful chemicals is generally avoided. We recommend The Cheeky Panda and Greencane Paper, both of which will deliver in bulk, unwrapped (as in plastic free) to your door.

Take care X

You can find us on Facebook by searching for Plastic Free Home or at http://www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk.

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