1. Swap shower gel and hand wash gel for a bar of soap
That’s probably the easiest, yet one of the most effective ways to reduce plastic waste in your life. Hand wash and shower gels made a sneaky entry into our lives and they are a big contributor to the global plastic pollution. A humble bar of soap is as effective and, if you buy a natural hand-crafted soap, contains no harsh chemicals. You can even make your soap at home, fully controlling what goes into it. I’ve been making my own cold -processed soap for about 5 years now. I love both the process and the satisfaction when you unwarp the mould after 24 hours of resting to see the first effect. I will write a whole blog post on how to make a cold processed soap at home, so you can try it yourself and (of course) fall in love with the process.
2. Swap traditional deodorant for a bicarbonate of soda talc
Nowadays, you can buy an all-natural, plastic-free deodorant in many online shops. It’s great as it reduces the amount of plastic packaging and the recipes are getting better and better. The only downside is – they can be quite expensive, and if you check the ingredients list, the main one is bicarbonate of soda. I tried using home-made deodorants pastes, but find it a bit messy and abrasive. I much prefer an old style, uncomplicated talc. I simply keep a small jar of bicarbonate of soda in my bathroom (and another one in my cycling bag) and tap a small amount of pure bicarbonate of soda straight under my armpits after a shower. Just like you would use talc. Bicarbonate of soda absorbs smells and moisture, keeping you dry and fresh for hours. And a real bonus – you don’t get this horrible sicky feeling under your armpits like when using a roll-on deodorant. And no staining of clothes either. A winner 🙂
3. Swap shampoo for a no-poo method or a shampoo bar
This one takes a bit of time and determination. At least it did for me. I have always had a very sensitive scalp, meaning that finding the right shampoo wasn’t easy and any changes to my hair washing routine made my scalp go crazy. My hair would become greasy really quickly, my scalp would be itchy and develop dandruff almost immediately.
That meant that a journey to a plastic free hair-routine took me longer and was more of a transition rather than a swap. I tried a no-poo method for a few months but struggled, used shampoo bars but couldn’t find the right one – after a few weeks of use the old symptoms would come back in full display and eventually I gave up and went back to bottled shampoos. Defeated. Then tried again different types of shampoo bars, spent a fortune (they really aren’t cheap) and eventually decided to give the no-poo method a go again about 7 months ago.
There are many no-poo methods you can try, I use bicarbonate of soda paste combined with an apple cider vinegar rinse. I sometimes use soap nuts instead of bicarbonate of soda as I find it gives my hair extra softness. Soap nuts are a great, natural way to wash anything (not only your hair), but you need to be extra careful not to let it get into your eyes. It’s pretty stingy but the worst thing is, your eyes become really (really!) red for a couple of hours which gives you a bit of a stoner look. Not the best look if you shower at work. Talking from experience here…
I use a no-poo method for over 7 months now. The beginning of the journey was a bit of a pain trying to figure out the right ratio for my scalp and hair. Now I wouldn’t go back to a normal shampoo. My scalp feels really healthy and happy. And it makes me that little bit happier too 😉
4. Use reusable period pads or a menstrual cup
How did we end up putting so much chemical crap near our most sensitive body areas? How did we get convinced by the society and big corporations that this is hygienic and safe? I keep asking myself these questions, and really struggle to find an answer. I read a really good article on TreeHugger recently on how the culture of “dirty periods” and shaming women led to where we are now. It’s good to see this is changing in both, the perception of a period and the use of plastic. I’ve been using a menstrual cup for a god few years (maybe 5 – 6) and would never go back to using tampons (I used to be a tampon girl). It so much cleaner and it feels better (sorry if it’s too much detail!). There are two things you need to remember when using a menstrual cup thou:
- you need to always boil it after you finished your period. It’s always a fun sight once a month in my kitchen when I cook my menstrual cup in the morning. And you should see my daughter’s face the first time she saw it in the pan (Mum, WHAT ARE YOU COOKING?!)
- you need access to a bathroom or a toilet with a sink to rinse your cup. Otherwise you will look as if you’ve murdered someone in the public toilets…
5. Swap body balsam with a good quality sweet almond oil or home made body butter
Oh I like this one 🙂 because it’s so easy and because it involves making it at home (so it makes me ecstatic of course 🙂 ) I use a homemade body butter that takes only 4 ingredients, essential oils and is so easy to make. And I love how my body feels after I apply it. I used to use the body butter on my face as well but noticed it dried it a bit (probably because of coconut oil) so started using sweet almond oil. It’s really good. And simple 🙂 I promise to upload a recipe for the body butter really soon!