At first I thought a month without plastic was a lame idea, and true change needs a lifestyle adjustment not a short phase. I then remembered that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. If people can stop using throw away plastic for an entire month, then they would have formed some positive life & planet changing habits. So yeah, I’m all for a Plastic Free July.
An area of plastic and waste reduction that is often overlooked is personal care products. For example: toothbrushes are made of plastic, come in plastic packaging, then toothpaste (with plastic microbeads) is applied to the brush from a non recyclable partly plastic tube. I bet most peoples personal care is riddled with plastics, including cleansing, moisturising & hair removal. What’s the alternative? We can’t just walk around smelly, bad breathed and un-groomed for a month, well we could, but I think being labelled as a “dirty hippie” is the last thing we want to do if our message is to be taken seriously.
The following are some zero waste, totally free from disposable plastic replacements for every day personal care. Some of the items are definitely long term investments, but ultimately economical, more convenient, aesthetically pleasing and most importantly we’re not being a total dick to the natural environment. There are so many easy opportunities to make smarter choices, but for now I’m just going to talk about the top 6 easiest swaps for a plastic free July.
Comes entirely package free from the health food store or handmade from your local markets. If you pick the right one for you it will act as your face and body wash (some people even use it as a shampoo- but I’m not that hardcore, it makes my hair ratty). To the left of the soap is a home grown & entirely compostable loofah which I purchased from the local markets. Exfoliation and cleanliness with no plastic containers & no microbeads! Plus it’s way more space and cost effective.
Plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable, they’re used for three months, then get thrown “away” along with the plastic packaging they came in. By using a bamboo toothbrush, you’re supporting the use of sustainable materials, these comes in recyclable cardboard packaging, plus these can be composted. That said, I’ve also seen some awesome upcycling. All good health food stores will sell these, or buy in bulk directly from Brush with Bamboo.
It’s like a bar of soap, except it’s for your hair. Get it package free (don’t forget to bring your tin or jar), or with minimal cardboard packaging from health food stores.
Stainless Steel Safety Razors
If you’re not careless, and value this product this can last a lifetime. It’s super good looking compared to a packet of throw away plastic razors which are designed to be obsolete after only a short period of time. You can buy stainless steel safety razors off Amazon or ebay on the cheap, but if you want guaranteed quality and a brand that sources its materials ethically, click here.
This one is for the ladies: Used pads and tampons will go to landfill along with the 2-3 layers of (often plastic) packaging that comes with their purchase. A really practical alternative is the menstrual cup, which freaks people out, mostly because it’s something that we aren’t use to, but the taboo and weirdness around them needs to chill. The cups last for 5 years, I don’t need to keep paying a monthly fee to put bleached cotton in my vag.
100% Recycled toilet paperwith PAPER packaging
TP usually comes in soft plastic packaging, but there is TP that comes in paper packaging. Also consider reducing deforestation by only buying toilet paper made from 100% recycled materials, and have a look at the Wipe it Out campain.
From here on in I make products myself, including toothpaste, deodorant and moisturiser, and I will be posting recipes over time. DIY sounds intimidating, but it’s awesome because we can choose what our products smell like, decide the texture, they’re guaranteed to be entirely cruelty free (unless you’re a freak), we know exactly whats going onto our body and most importantly we don’t have to buy into disposable plastic (or any packaging for that matter)