It’s been over a month since I last had a chance to write anything (thanks to uni I’ve been drowning in assignments), but I’m organised and ready to write again. Over the last month I’ve been trying out some replacements for everyday disposable products. They’ve helped me to reduce my waste and save some cash – which as a student is always welcome – so I thought I’d share which alternatives I’ve chosen.
Over 3.5 million toothbrushes are used every year and it’s estimated that each person uses approx. 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime. A large proportion of those thrown away end up in landfill and, unfortunately, every plastic toothbrush takes around 500 years to breakdown. That is a lot of plastic polluting our land and oceans.
I recently switched out my plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one from Bam & Boo. Once thrown away, the handle will breakdown in 6 months, meaning 1,000 bamboo toothbrushes will breakdown in the lifetime of a single plastic toothbrush. Although the bristles are still made from BPA-free Nylon-6, meaning they aren’t biodegradable, it’s still an enormous reduction in plastic. The packaging is cardboard, however the toothbrush does comes in a PLA protection bag (still plastic, but it can be composted and biodegrades under the right conditions). I’m waiting on a 100% biodegradable toothbrush and I’m yet to find one, so until then I’ll continue to with my bamboo alternative.
Around the world, approximately 1 million single-use plastic bottles are bought every minute. Despite most being made from recyclable material, not enough are actually recycled and too many end up in landfill – or worse, in our oceans. Even if every bottle was recycled, plastics degrade each time they are recycled and become less valuable. To me, this means that cutting out plastic is a much more effective way of saving our planet (now I’m not saying don’t recycle, instead stay tuned for a post about the mine field that is plastic recycling).
I’ve actually had my Chilly’s bottle for a year, but I’m including it because it’s saved me buying so many single-use plastic bottles. I don’t think there’s anything I can’t leave the house without – apart from this. Not only do I no longer buy bottled water, I also drink a tonne more than I ever did before because I always have it with me. They’re worth every penny and come in so many different colours and patterns. If you’re a coffee drinker, they have coffee cups as well so you no longer need to use disposables when buying your morning coffee. My next purchase will probably be one of their food containers to stop me buying quick and easy food when I’m out and about, all while reducing my plastic use. All in all, I can’t recommend owning a Chilly’s bottle enough so please go and buy one!
Bamboo Cotton Buds
Inspired by the iconic picture of a seahorse carrying a plastic cotton bud, Non Plastic Beach make cotton buds with bamboo rather than plastic. Every aspect of the bamboo cotton buds are biodegradable, even the packaging which is entirely cardboard and, therefore, recyclable.
Non Plastic Beach also sell bamboo toothbrushes (these are packaged entirely in cardboard, so no PLA bag), natural deodorant, shampoo bars and toothpaste tablets – all of which are plastic free and kind to the planet.
Reusable Face Pads
I absolutely love these. Purchased from LittleGreenCraft on Esty, I bought a set of 20 for £10. There are so many designs to choose from which makes it a little more personal. Each pad has a smooth side (part cotton, part polyester) and a rougher side (100% cotton). It would be great if these could be made of 100% sustainable cotton or even bamboo – I’ll be searching for something like this once mine need replacing, since polyester isn’t a sustainable material. Currently I use the pads with micellar water but as soon as I finish this last bottle, I’ll be switching to using a bar of face-friendly, natural soap (again to reduce the amount of plastic I use).
The makeup wipes and cotton pads we throw away or flush down the toilet end up in landfill or on our beaches. Switching to a reusable alternative reduces the amount of non-degradable waste we produce and also saves you money!
This change wasn’t made based on the environmental impact, but more because I’ve never found a deodorant that has been kind to my skin. After suffering irritation thanks to the chemicals I was spraying or rolling onto my skin, I stumbled across Nuud. It comes in a concentrated cream and works for days, not just hours. One application lasts me 3 days (this may sound a little gross at first, but it really does work) and a whole tube is enough for around 8-9 weeks depending on how frequently you use it.
Not only has it stopped the irritation, Nuud is a pretty innocent product. It’s 100% vegan, doesn’t contain anything harmful to your body, the tube is made from recyclable sugarcane (unfortunately the lid isn’t), the packaging is recyclable cardboard and shipment is CO2 neutral. Nothing could make me use traditional deodorants again because everything about Nuud is superior.
How does this help?
Switching out disposables for plastic-free or reusable products not only reduces your waste and plastic use on a personal level, it also encourages more companies to switch to less damaging alternatives. Small changes like these can lead to bigger changes being made by companies with a lot of power and influence – show them we want to save our planet and they’ll have no choice but to give us the eco-friendly products we want, and so desperately need.
I’m always looking for new ways to make my lifestyle more sustainable, so please feel free to comment with any suggestions. I’d love to hear them!