The average family from the western countries produces more than 2 kg of waste per day. Most of it comes from single used plastic packaging, ending up on our landfills and in our oceans, killing more than 1 million seabirds and 100, 000 mammals every year.
Together with our aim to be a single use plastic free company by the end of 2019, we like to take it one step further and inform our guests on how to adopt a plastic free lifestyle to reduce our impact on our blue planet. Our first article is dedicated to personal hygiene and present you with plastic free alternatives to all products that we use in our bathroom on a daily basis.
Your dentist recommends you to change your toothbrush every three months. This represents 320 toothbrushes by the time you reach 80 years old! This simple part of our daily routine sees billions of plastic toothbrushes hitting the landfill. If you live close to the beach, you have surely found more than once one of those on the shore.
Bamboo toothbrushes are the plastic free and biodegradable alternative. Bamboo is a fast growing renewable resource that can not only be harvested in 1-5 years, but also it doesn’t need any irrigation nor pesticides or fertilizers.
Most toothpaste is packaged in plastic and contains chemicals (sodium lauryl sulfate, paraben and triclosan) that pollute our bodies and the marine life. You can either make your own toothpaste or buy it in a plastic free packaging such as glass or stainless steel packaging.
Here is a very simple toothpaste recipe:
• 2 teaspoons organic coconut oil
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 20 drops of organic peppermint essential oil
Store everything on a glass jar and you just have to dip your toothbrush into it and brush your teeth! As simple as that! 😉
Extra tip: whitening paste:
• 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
• 1 teaspoon of turmeric
The same goes for our mouthwash, the zero plastic alternatives are either coconut oil, green tea or sage infusion. Easy!
Dental floss is made out of plastic and comes in a plastic container, both of which can end up in our seas. Alternatives are silk floss or beeswax floss that are package in a beautiful glass jar.
Hair care and body hygiene
Most people are aware that conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain many chemicals that aren’t healthy.
You can purchase a natural deodorant in a glass packaging or make it yourself! Here is a quite effective recipe:
• 2 tablespoons of baking soda
• 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour or cornstarch flour
• 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
• a couple of drops of tea tree oil
• a couple of drops of the essential oil of your choice
Shampoo and conditioner
There are many alternatives to products that come packaged in plastic. Some people went go for the “no-poo method” that simply involves cutting out shampoo from your hair care routine.The method consists on washing your hair with just baking soda and water and then rinse it with apple cider vinegar. As each person has a different type of hair, this method might not work for everyone.
The other option is to buy your shampoo in bar form to try and find the one that best works for your hair and scalp. They contain many more natural ingredients and you don’t have to wash your hair as often as you do now with the conventional shampoo and conditioners. If you are lucky to have a bulk store in your city, you can also refill your own bottle and avoid that pile of plastic bottles in our landfills.
Hand soap and shower gel
Make the switch to soap bars. Many come without any packaging entirely or in recycled paper and are made of vegan ingredients that are much better for your skin.
Sponges and exfoliating
If you like to use a sponge while showering chose a shower glove that you can wash and reuse or a loofah that is also a natural exfoliating and can be composted! Swap plastic sponges and body exfoliators with a bamboo body brush which is antibacterial and sustainable. These articles can be purchased online, and once you’re finished with it, you can compost it!
Natural oils such as coconut, olive, argan or almond oils are the ecofriendly alternative to moisturise your skin. Moreover, these oils are great for removing your make up.
Bamboo hairbrushes and combs are not only plastic-free, but also anti-bacterial and help to better distribute natural oil throughout your hair than plastic. Bamboo brushes and combs definitely take better care of your scalp and your hair!
Hair removal & shaving
Forget about the disposable and plastic razors and make the switch to the old fashion stainless steel razors. You will only have to recycle the blade at your local scrap metal collection point.
You can use electric shavers and ladies, as you already know, can go for the laser hair removal or wax treatment. Have you ever tried sugar wax (just with sugar, lemon and water) ? It ‘s much more natural, less abrasive for your skin and you don’t risk getting burnt!
There are many options for the shaving cream, either soap or your new shampoo bar will be more than adequate to shave your legs and armpits. To moisturise your skin afterwards, as we wrote earlier, coconut oil does a great job!
For the gents, you can buy special shaving bars or make your own
– 1/2 cup of Shea Butter
– 1/2 cup of Coconut Oil
– 1/4 cup of Aloe Vera, Olive oil, almond oil or jojoba oil
– Essential oils ( optional)
Plastic cotton buds can often been found washed up from the sea, as we witnessed lately on the worldwide known photograph of a seahorse holding a cotton bud by Justin Hofman. You can either clean your ear with a piece of tissue or buy bamboo cotton buds.
On average, a woman uses more than 11,000 single use tampons or pads in her lifetime. Not only this represents a huge amount of trash that takes more than 500 years to degrade , but also it needs a huge amount of resources and chemicals to be manufactured. Luckily, here are sustainable alternatives.
Menstrual cups are flexible cups made of medical grade silicone that instead of absorbing blood, catches it. In addition to being reusable, they are hygienic and eliminates the fear of Toxic Shock Syndrome that tampons might cause.
Reusable pads are absorbent and washable. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and levels of absorbency. There are many ladies out there sewing their own pads.
Some contraceptives allow you to safely stop your period temporarily. One example Implanon; a small contraceptive rod which only needs to be changed every 3 years and can potentially stop or lighten your periods.
Swap out a plastic shower curtain with a burlap or hemp shower curtain. Unlike PVC shower curtains, they don’t release any toxics such as methane.
Toilet paper may seem unassuming but it’s often packaged with plastic. On top of this, toilet paper uses a lot of resources to be bleached. Go for a planet-friendly alternative that’s made from and is packaged in 100% recycled paper. If you would like to go a little bit further, you can chose to use family cloth wipes which is a stack of soft fabric wipes that you keep beside the toilet. Pick up one and simply wipe, throw in the communal washing basket, rinse, and repeat.
As you can see, all those changes are like going back to the old times when plastic wasn’t a common material.
It is recommended to make one small change at a time in order not to get overwhelmed. This is a slow process and we think that any change is better than no change. We live in times where our daily habits are very harmful to our environment so any change will have a positive impact. One small change is better than no change at all.
Follow us for further articles on how to be plastic free in your daily life!