Conscious Bathroom Products...
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Bathroom products were the next obvious choice for me after I made "My First Plastic Free Swaps"
The Bathroom is where most of our plastic waste comes from so I wanted to get to this troublesome room pronto.
Photo by Consciously_Harri
I must admit, I was very excited about getting stuck into swapping the bathroom products for more conscious plastic free & natural products. I knew this area would carry a large amount of the households single use plastic but I didn't quite believe the statistics I was reading when I researched into it.
Here are a few facts i'd like to share with you...
Bear with me whilst I get the facts out the way, I promise you will have a laugh, possibly at my expense, later on in the blog. Firstly, a gentle reminder, knowledge is power!
"Tap warehouse has calculated that the average Brit uses over 52,000 bathroom products in their lifetime, weighing a total of 512 kilograms. Over 38,000 wet wipes are used within an average lifetime, taking 100 years to decompose"
from Wales online
"Recyclable bathroom waste accounts for up to 40% of total landfill waste in the UK "
"The number of plastic products & packaging in the bathroom often outstrips the plastic found in other household rooms"
"The UK ranked 36th in the world for it's CO2 emissions from consumption spread across it's population, totaling at 8.34 tonnes per person in 2017 - the last year when such data for the UK was available" - quote published 06/01/20
To put that into perspective here is what else they said...
"A British citizen emits more CO2 in two weeks than some people in Africa do in a year, research shows"
So how do CO2 emissions relate to plastic consumption? Here is what I found with regards to plastic production & incineration...
"Incineration creates the most CO2 emissions among the plastic waste management methods.
Nearly all plastic – 99% – is made from fossil fuels. ... Plastic is among the most significant and rapidly growing sources of industrial greenhouse gas emissions” the report says
WOW! It's statistics like this that fuel me to make as much change as I possibly can within my financial capabilities & that's all we can hope for all of us. If we all make as much change as we can within our own remit, positive change will happen.
As well as wanting to reduce my plastic consumption, I also wanted to transition to natural, plant based, vegan products. I knew little about the impact of harsh chemicals in our every day bathroom, cleaning, household products & food! I was again shocked to find out what these chemicals are doing & can do to our bodies & the environment.
You may know of the words/ abbreviations "Parabens" & "SLS" or if you're like me you may only recently have heard of such words or perhaps not at all. So here is a little bit about these chemicals so you can perhaps choose to make more conscious choices with your purchasing.
from Holland & Barrett
What are parabens?
Over 75% of skin care products available to buy contain parabens. They are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and have been used for over eighty years as a preservative. This is to give products like shampoos, deodorants, moisturisers and mascaras a longer shelf life and kill any bacteria that tries to grow within the product itself. Parabens are also used in glues, oils, soft drinks, sauces, processed meat and hundreds of other everyday products.
What is SLS?
Commonly known as SLS, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a chemical used in all sorts of cosmetics and cleaning products. It works by turning liquids into a foam and you’ll usually find it in things like toothpaste, body wash, soaps and detergents. It’s also an ingredient in industrial strength cleaners, bath salts and even make-up. In a nutshell, the frothy lather your shampoo produces is thanks to SLS.
Now you know what parabens & SLS chemicals are, I would encourage you to do your own research into the possible effects of using products that include these chemicals. It won't take long to get an idea as to what some of the reports are for the use of these chemicals & it's worth taking your own view after you have looked into this.
Luckily, if you're making the jump to plastic free products then you will most likely be buying natural products free from parabens & SLS chemicals anyway, so it's a step that will likely come hand in hand.
Here are some of my Favourite Plastic Free Bathroom Products...
For those of you that know me, it has brought you all great amusement over the years to know that I don't like wood in my mouth. It has been a phobia/ horrible gagging conducive dislike of mine. Despite how much I have disliked this over the years, I decided to make this swap one of my first bathroom swaps to see if this path to a sustainable way of living was really going to be possible for me.
To my family & friends utter amazement, it was possible!
This really was one of those cases where I would be the subject of everyone's amusement as they ate their meals with wooden cutlery in front of me pulling silly faces or grabbing my attention as they lick their ice cream sticks (i'm not cringing as I type this *shifty eyes/yuck*) or sending me random pictures of wooden cutlery (cue my trusty spork which has been in my handbag for years ready for those festival food days/ lunch on the go)
I have been so well known for this little, but significant, phobia of mine, that it was even joked about by my boss in an employment letter of recognition a few years ago.
I like to entertain so I'm happy to endure the taunting & ridicule to please others.
I share this because I hope that by you seeing what I have overcome with having wood in my mouth, albeit I have to meditate whilst brushing my teeth, then I think anyone can make this "easy" plastic free swap.
I should add, this swap is almost plastic free. The brand I use, truthbrush, (link here) and not unlike other brands, have bristles that are 62% plant based & 38% BPA-free nylon. They are working on the bristles being 100% plant based but currently it means, before you put your toothbrush in the compost after use, you need to remove the bristles. This is still a fantastic swap to make as it's saves on a lot of plastic regardless.
*Tip* You can always extend the life of your toothbrush & use it for cleaning those hard to get to places.
I have only tried one toothpaste so far which is pictured above. I use Georganics (link here) English peppermint natural toothpaste. It is a non-foaming toothpaste, which takes a little getting used to, but it's what to expect when it doesn't contain SLS as I mentioned earlier.
This toothpaste is a bit like a soft clay to look at. It comes with a bamboo spatula to scoop a pea sized amount onto your toothbrush. You then just brush for two minutes & rinse well.
I have gone for a Fluoride Free toothpaste & I would encourage you to do your own research into whether this is a step you want to take yourself.
There are many different types of toothpaste from tablets & powder to tooth soap. For my next purchase I will be trying the tablets which are apparently foaming. Watch this space! I'll be posting about this on my Instagram in the coming weeks.
Through my journey so far I have come to realise & feel that I want to do my own research & come to my own conclusions on topics that have mixed opinions/ facts. I will base my opinion on how the topic sits with me & what my intuition is telling me. I would encourage you to take a similar approach, to be informed & make your own decisions based on knowledge & not just accepting "what is"
3. Shampoo & Conditioner
This is a big topic for me, of which I will dedicate an entire blog to one day. I'm still getting used to natural hair products after nearly 30 years of using paraben & SLS ridden products that replace your natural hair oils with synthetic versions, which then cause a build up of, what I can only describe as, gunky sticky c**p!
You will only notice this substance as you start to transition to all natural products where the build up will then start to lift from your hair.
I don't want to put you off by this. It can be a short transition period & you will then end up with luscious silky smooth happy locks. Well, my husband is experiencing this lovely feeling post transition (lucky whatsit!) whilst I am still transitioning due to having long hair (I am affectionately known to family as fish & chip girl at present, as I am currently using copious amounts of vinegar & water solution to strip out the product build up)
Again, please don't let this put you off, I just want to keep things real & honest. This plastic free swap will have a MASSIVE impact on the planet by reducing a HUGE amount of plastic that you would otherwise have consumed & thrown/ recycled away. Think about the amount of shampoo & conditioner bottles you may already have thrown away to date. Scary!
And another reason to take this step now is, if you're like me, you're at home more than in previous years due to the current pandemic, so no one has to see your transition hair & if you do go out, you can just put your hair up & no one can tell you might have slightly wilder hair than normal.
In the words of Bridget Jones' friend "Whatever you do, DON'T iron your hair!"
Some of my favourite shampoo brands are...
*Funky Soap - Link here
They have a huge range of liquid & bar products to choose from, amongst other products. If you have long hair & live in a hard water area, you may find the liquid versions easier to start off with. If you have short hair, like my husband, you will love the bars. They will lather up quickly & last ages at a small price.
Great savings are to be had!
Why I Love Funky Soap:
The liquid shampoo & conditioner bottles can be bought in aluminium bottles that can then be returned to be refilled at a smaller price, saving on the amount of waste being produced. I have used this service & loved it! I think it's a fantastic idea & it was so easy. I filled out a form they sent with my original delivery, I sent the money to them via paypal, posted my bottle back & it was returned in the same packaging refilled.
*Bain & Savon - Link here
My husband uses Bain & Savon products & loves them. With his short hair he can rub the shampoo bars over his hair in two strokes & have a huge lather.
*Tip* - make sure you rinse thoroughly to ensure you don't end up with a build up of soap in your hair.
This is a really cost effective way to go plastic free with your shampoo as the prices are comparable to normal high street shampoo bottles but can last at least twice as long if not more.