So if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I’ve been trying to limit the waste I produce, and generally how much of an impact on the earth my actions lead to. I’ve touched upon this topic here. I thought it’s time I show what practical measures I have taken and how it changes the look of my bathroom!
This post is not sponsored (I mean, my blog is far from dragging the readership that is required for sponsorship :’D) so I’m only “advertising” the products that I use, because I use them, and in case you’d like to know why I use them and where you can find them.
- I’ve switched from buying liquid soap and shampoo in plastic bottles to soap & shampoo bars. I also switched my deodorant to a solid one you can see on the picture below (pro-tip: I find that wetting it makes the application much easier). All of those right now are from Lush, they are vegan and cruelty-free aka not tested on animals *. I like that they don’t use palm oil, and are generally a pretty conscious company, both in terms of animal testing and eco-friendliness. For more info on their practices I recommend reading this blog post.
Why getting rid of plastic when you can recycle it, you ask? Well, first, a lot of it just isn’t recycled. Second, plastic can only be recycled a couple of times as it is downgraded each time it is recycled – so it’s truly downcycled rather than recycled. Third, the plastic itself requires a LOT of energy to be made (link is for water bottles). Finally, liquid products weight more and take more space, increasing the transportation energetic cost compared to solid. For exemple, I’ve switched to solid shampoo since last October, and I’m not even through my second shampoo bar ( I shampoo every 2-3 days)!
However, I have found that with the shampoo bar, I do need a conditioner, else my hair looks greasy. I didn’t use to use a conditioner beforehand, but now I am simply rinsing my hair with a mixture of vinegar or lemon juice and water, which works like a charm.
* I still don’t understand how you can label a non-vegan product “cruelty-free” and vice-versa – you’d think those would be synonymous but you can have “accidentally” vegan products tested on animals and products non-tested on animals which contain milk, honey or carmine (crushed insects).
- I am actually using this same “conditioner” mixture to dust most of the apartment off. Any glass, mirror, or wood surface is easily cleaned by this slightly acidic mix and a cloth. And possibly some elbow grease.
- Sponges. For some reason, it didn’t hit me until I started looking into buying an eco-friendly sponge, but most sponges are made out of plastic, which cannot be recycled, and ends up in a landfill where it will take hundreds of years to decompose, if it ever does. So I switched to a compostable sponge. It’d still packaged in plastic, but at least I can just put it in my compost bin once I’m done with it, and recycle the plastic film (which other sponges would have too).
- One of the easiest switches I made was to get an adjustable safety razor. I actually got it as a present for christmas, and I love it. It shaves so close to the skin, and I don’t get razor bumps anymore! There is a bit of a learning curve as it barely requires any pressure to shave, and it takes a bit more time as I am more careful not to cut myself, but even without the environmental concerns, I cannot imagine going back to disposables.
I also stopped using shaving cream, I just lather my skin with the soap bar and voila!
- My comb is not really a “switch” as it is not an item that you replace so often. But my old comb (which was made out of plastic) broke down, so I replaced it with this more eco-friendly alternative – I also like the simple look of it. I would not have replaced it if it didn’t break down as it is better to use up what you have rather than buying something new, even if the new item is eco-friendly.
- Face products! That was a tough one. As you might know, I have had bad skin issues in the past, and my skin is still pretty reactive and unhappy with most creams – so much that it is often better without putting anything on it. The one exception I have to mention is Matricium. This sh*t is absolutely magical and amazing, and saved my *ss many, many, many times. However, it’s also very wasteful… individual doses, plastic-wrapped 😦 and not vegan. So I had been trying to find a replacement solution for a while, and so far I seem to have settled down for Persistent vegan face cream.
As for washing, I either use only water, or a bar face soap from Lush, once again.
- Alongside the safety razor, I got reusable pads for my christmas present. I’m not linking any of those, as I realized later that it would have been better to sew my own out of an old T-shirt. Furthermore, I got some made out of bamboo fiber, before I learned that bamboo textile was actually not eco-friendly. Oh well, you live, you learn.
As you can see below, I store them into glass containers labeled “clean” and “used”. When I go to the laundromat (yes, welcome to NYC, nobody owns a washing machine here!) I put them in my underwear net and wash them with the rest of my clothes. I use Dr. Bronner’s soap to wash my clothes, which is hypoallergenic.
- One of the first things I did was to switch my toothbrush for a bamboo one. Plastic toothbrushes are one of the worst things for the environment, as they cannot be recycled, have very long decomposition times, and are changed pretty often. Bamboo toothbrushes can be composted, however I recently found out that you need to either break the head off or pluck the bristles out, as even the toothbrushes labeled as biodegradable are not truly so, unless they’re not vegan. So to be honest, I’m not sure a bamboo toothbrush is truly better than a toothbrush with replaceable heads, especially since I’m pretty sure most people don’t have the patience to remove bristles or break the head of their toothbrush off.
Finally, some things I’m still working on / trying to find better alternatives to. Both have to do with oral care.
I haven’t managed to find a packaging-free toothpaste that contains fluoride. I have teeth which are very sensitive to tooth decay, so I really want fluoride in my toothpaste. There is a lot of fear-mongering about fluoride in toothpaste, but after looking through the scientific literature, I could not find evidence of fluoride being bad for you unless you actually eat a large quantity of toothpaste, which might be an issue for young children, but definitely not for adults. I could find, however, lots of evidence showing that fluoride prevents tooth decay. So even though I tried Lamazuna‘s solid toothpaste, I reverted to regular toothpaste (I also really didn’t find it practical, as it broke down into pieces about halfway through use). Please leave a comment if you know of an eco-friendly toothpaste with fluoride.
I’m also struggling with finding an alternative to floss. The biodegradable floss I’ve seen is made of silk, so not vegan. I’m thinking of switching to toothpicks instead. Once more, if you have suggestions please please please leave them below.
I hope this was useful! Did it inspire you to change some of your bathroom items for a more eco-friendly option? What is your next swap gonna be?