Hello and welcome to the first Shades of Green blog post of 2020. Emma is a bit snowed under this week, so we’re happy to present a guest post from Polly at Your Waste Gone, an environmentally friendly and eco-conscious waste clearance company for commercial and domestic waste. So, let’s hand over to Polly.
Personal hygiene and beauty products are major culprits of wasteful plastic packaging, making the bathroom a dominant source of plastic consumption. Thankfully, however, there are many things we can do to reduce plastic waste in the bathroom. So, why not start the year off right and make your new year’s resolution one that benefits your environment?
Why Plastic is a Problem
Unfortunately, even with climate change concerns growing, many people still see little point in making the switch to plastic-free products. It’s easy to feel helpless in the war on plastic, but by making small changes now, we can make a difference to the future health of our planet.
Microplastics – a Hidden Danger
Plastic is not biodegradable, but plastic does break down into tiny, sand-like grains called microplastic. Some microplastics are actually even smaller than grains of sand, and can only be seen under a microscope. As it makes its way into the ocean, toxic microplastic is ingested by fish and other sea life, and if we eat seafood, we end up ingesting microplastics too. Microplastic is also in the air we breathe, and scientists are concerned about the health impacts, with research suggesting that they could be a contributing factor to lung cancer.
Threat to wildlife
Plastic waste poses a major threat to wildlife across the globe as wild animals’ natural habitats are invaded by our plastic waste. Because of this, animals ingest plastic, which causes major problems to their digestive systems. Animals can also easily find themselves permanently trapped or entangled in pieces of plastic waste, with little chance of survival thereafter. Plastic pollution also continues to harm aquatic and marine life. Sea turtles, dolphins, whales and marine birds are particularly vulnerable, as these creatures often ingest plastic when mistaking it for their prey.
How can I reduce my Plastic Consumption in the Bathroom?
When it comes to wasteful plastic packaging, the bulk of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of large industrial companies. However, we as consumers are not exempt. If we think of our shopping habits like a voting system, every time we buy a non-recyclable plastic product, we are voting for companies to continue producing them. By changing the way we shop, we can have our say. Opting for sustainably-packaged, plastic-free products tells the big companies “we want more of this!”.
Many of us don’t have the time to inspect every package label when we’re out shopping. This is why we recommend making the permanent switch to greener options. That way, you always know the products you are buying, don’t contribute to plastic pollution. To help, we have created a guide here.
Eliminating the need for plastic bottles, these handy bars work just like a normal bar of soap but are designed specifically for your locks!
Angel Hair shampoo bar – Lush £8.00
The shampoo bar may be a little pricier than your go-to bottle, but this mighty little bar is said to last up to 80 washes. That’s the equivalent to three large bottles of standard shampoo. Lush sell packaging-free shampoo bars in various scents, each targeting different hair types and hair dilemmas.
Sunny Orange Bain and Savon Shampoo Bar – Peace with the Wild £5.50
The Bain and Savon shampoo bars are packaged in wax paper and recyclable, recycled cardboard. The bars are made using 100% natural ingredients, are vegan-friendly and made in the UK!
Just like shampoo bars, conditioner bars offer all the benefits of conditioner, without the plastic guilt.
The Golden Cap Pressed Conditioner – Lush £8.50 – £9.00
To use the conditioner bar, simply hold the bar under warm water and work between your hands until a silky formula is released, then smooth through your strands as normal and rinse, simple!
Lavender and Geranium Friendly Soap Conditioner Bar – Friendly Soap £4.95
Just like their shampoo bars, the conditioner bars from friendly soap are packaged in recycled card. They can even be turned into liquid conditioners and stored in a glass bottle or old conditioner bottle at home by dissolving in water.
Grooming and Personal Hygiene
Despite their convenience, cotton buds are a big contributor to plastic pollution. Whilst the bud part of the cotton swab is made from cotton, the stem is often made from non-recyclable plastic. According to Cotton Bud Project, cotton buds are also one of the most commonly-flushed household items and they pass easily through the fine mesh screens in our sewage filtration systems, landing them in our oceans and contributing to more microplastic pollution, as well as threats to marine life and human health via toxic release…scary!
We encourage you to ditch those plastic cotton swabs for swabs with paper stems. Even better, why not try a reusable bud. LastSwab is looking for supporters in their latest endeavour, a reusable bud made from medical grade silicone.
Packaged in plastic and made out of plastic, disposable razors are one of the least environmentally friendly beauty products in our bathrooms. They’re simply tossed into the bin at the end of their short lifespan and only to add to the growing plastic pollution problem.
A more sustainable and economical alternative is the safety razor. Safety razors made from wood and metal and are designed to last a lifetime. Once they do reach their end, they can then be recycled and turned into new razors or new products. The blades of safety razors can also easily be recycled using a razor bank. Just be sure to check with your local council first, as some areas have other ways of recycling blades.
Mutiny Double Edge Safety Razor – Peace with the Wild £14.00
Bambaw Double Edge Safety Razor with long bamboo handle – &Keep £16.99
Cotton Pads and Cleansers
Although cotton pads themselves are usually made from 100% natural cotton, they are often wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Plus, to actually remove makeup and cleanse the face the pads are used with a makeup removal solution, often from a plastic bottle. To reduce plastic consumption in your beauty routine, swap the cotton pads for a reusable makeup removal pad and the cleanser for one in a recyclable glass bottle instead.
Pack of 10 Imsevimse Reusable Cotton Cleansing Pads – Natural Collection £12.50
These pads are made from soft organic cotton terry and are a generous 8cm size.
This beauty staple is handmade in the UK and packaged in a recyclable glass jar with a recyclable aluminium lid.
Eye Makeup Remover – The Zero-Waste Maker on Etsy.co.uk £3.00
A skin-friendly, effective eye makeup remover packaged in a recyclable brown glass bottle.
Deodorants and Body Sprays
While aerosol deodorant cans are often made from aluminium and can easily be recycled, most roll-on deodorant and non-aerosol sprays are sold in a wasteful plastic shell. Aerosols are also a harmful air pollutant, so even with their recyclable packaging, they aren’t the most environmentally-friendly choice.
The good news is, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to both deodorants.
Grapefruit and Lemon Natrual Deodrant Stick – & Keep £7.00
Packaged in 100% recycled cardboard, the earth-conscious deodorant range offers a selection of delectable scents that are vegan and cruelty-free as well as plastic-free!
Fit Pit Tea Tree & Orange Natural Deodorant – The Green Woman £4.00
These are plastic-free and handmade in the UK. They stock a variety of scents and cater to those with more sensitive skin with their ‘Fit Pit Sensitive’ products.
Your Waste Gone specialises in waste removal. Their range of services includes house clearance, rubbish removal, refuse collection and more. Your Waste Gone will never send your recyclable waste to landfill.