So, even those who do not follow a low waste lifestyle, are most likely aware of the obvious switches when it comes to reducing single use plastic (ie. using your own reusable shopping bag, using a resuable bottle of water and coffee cup and refusing plastic straws).
Most shampoo and conditioner bottles can be recycled, however, it’s far better to use a product that has little to no packaging. A lot of energy and resources will go into the production of the bottle and the recycling afterwards. Also, as I’m gradually switching all my beauty products to natural alternatives, finding an alternative to chemical shampoos and conditioners was the next thing on my list (I’m replacing all my non-natural products once my current things run out- there’s no point throwing things away that still have use)! I used to use shampoo bars from LUSH, but stopped after a while due to the price and the fact that it didn’t really suit my hair. Whilst shopping in Hisbe in Brighton, I found two shampoo bars by Friendly Soap Co, which come in a recyclable card box and nothing else. I’ve been using their Cleansing Bar for a couple of years now and really love it, so I thought I would try out one of their Shampoo Bars. I went for the lavender and geranium bar, which has a fresh yet subtle sweet scent.
Ingredients: Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Lavender and Rose Geranium essential oils, water.
Free from: Palm Oil, Parabens, Sulphates, Triclosan, Phthalates and Cruelty
Packaging: Plastic free and recyclable
Although I did have a muslin cloth for removing my makeup, I only had one and found that when it was in wash, I went back to using my organic cotton pads. Even once the cloth was washed and dried, I was still in the habit of using the throwaway cotton pads. Now and then I went back to using the cloth, but then the whole cycle would start again. Although the cotton pads aren’t plastic, they do come in single-use plastic packaging and the item itself is still single use and produces a lot of waste. So I recently decided to get a set of bamboo fibre reusable pads from Waste Not (a zero waste store) in the Brighton Open Market. The product comes as a set of six, meaning I will always have a couple of pads on hand whilst the others are in the wash. They also come in a paper bag which can be recycled. Now, as I have this set, I will not be buying the cotton pads again to take my makeup off each day!
Of course, time, convenience and sometimes money (I say sometimes as some things are cheaper in plastic but there are plenty of things which work out cheaper plastic free) means it’s very difficult to always buy plastic-free produce. Although I try my best to opt for plastic-free vegetables and fruits and get some of my loose wholefood goods (ie. rice, pasta, lentils, grains, oats etc) in bulk from loose food dispensers (Hisbe and Waste Not in Brighton offer this), I really wanted to encourage myself further with doing this. Hisbe offers organic cotton netted produce bags by Turtle Bags and their own fair trade cotton bags for the grains. I’m aware that buying these, is still using materials, but, it will encourage me to always opt for the plastic-free versions as I can always keep them in my bag. In addition to this, I was always using the paper bags when getting the dispenser produce- although I would re-use and recycle, it’s still wasn’t the least I could do. Plus, I had a couple of ripped paper bag and rice incidents! I would also, always find a collection of broken pieces of broccoli, onion skins and squashed veg in the bottom of my tote! Keeping these produce bags in my bag at all times will be super beneficial in ensuring I maintain a low waste lifestyle.
What can I say except, I wish I turned to soap nuts sooner! Again, wanting to switch to more natural products, wanting to be kinder to the oceans AND reduce the amount of plastic, I’ve recently switched from laundry tabs to these organic soap nuts, by a local company called Green Frog Botanic. For a long while, I was super sceptical of the idea, believing that it wouldn’t clean my clothes properly, however, I admit that I was very wrong! These amazing things are 100% natural, biodegradable, kind to all skin types and clean SO well. I was worried my cycling kit would still be smelly, but everything comes out so clean and fresh! You only need about 8 1/2 soap nut shells and they can be re-used about 3 times. A 500g bag cost me £8.50 from Hisbe (I’ve since found out that Infinity Foods offer them for £6.95) and lasts about 50 washes. Talk about money saving! I haven’t looked into it too much, but you can use them for your hair and house cleaning too. The soapnuts come with a washing pouch, which you put the nuts in, tie up and simply pop into the washing drum with your clothes. As they don’t leave a smell on your cleaned clothes, you can add a couple of drops of pure essential oils to the washing pouch, to add scents to your washing. I picked pure grapefruit and eucalyptus oils in the Holland and Barret sale.
I would love for you to share some of your easy low waste switches!