We’ve already highlighted some of the small changes we’re trying to make to live a more sustainable lifestyle, like cutting down on meat and switching energy suppliers. But there’s always more that can be done, especially in the bathroom, which (if your shelves are anything like ours) is packed with products. Beauty and grooming products are amongst the worst for plastic – many come in single-use plastic containers, things like face wipes clog up the sewers and plastic tampon applicators take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Obviously recycling everything that you can recycle is important but it’s not enough, so here are some more swaps you can make.
Ditch the Tampons
Women will use around 11,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime, so making some period swaps can have a real impact, not to mention saving you £££. There are a range of menstrual cups, like the Mooncup and the Lily Cup, which are reusable, made from medical-grade silicone (so they’re gentler on your body) and still convenient and reliable. Or you can just free bleed by using a pair of period pants instead. Modibodi has a range of leak-proof undies in a range of styles that can cope with all levels of flow, so you just wear and wash ’em.
Paper Cotton Buds
Plastic cotton buds that get flushed down the toilet (they should be going in the bin) can easily wind up in the ocean as they’re small and light enough to pass through sewage treatment works. A load of supermarkets as well as brands like Johnson & Johnson have made the change to 100% biodegradable paper stems, so although you still shouldn’t flush these ones either, they will at least break down quickly if they do make it to the sea. Also you can switch to LastSwab’s reusable swab which is a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to single-use q-tip. You can use it over 1000 times and wash them with soap and water.
Swap Waxing For Sugaring
We’re surprised that sugaring hasn’t taken off in London the same way it has in the States but there are places where you can have it done, like Sugaring London in Notting Hill. This method of hair removal using sugar, lemon and water to create a mixture that’s similar to wax, not only leaves your skin super smooth because it also exfoliates, it’s much more eco-friendly than wax as all the ingredients used are natural.
If you find other methods of hair removal too painful you just need to get a new razor. This Edwin Jagger one contains zero plastic, the steel handle is long lasting and the blades are all 100% recyclable, and Bambaw do razors with bamboo handles and stainless steel parts. And because these eco-friendly ones are safety razors, you get a much closer shave than you would with the throwaway ones. That’s a win-win.
Solid or Reusable Deodorants
Swapping hand pump soap for bars is one easy but effective swap to make, as some of the parts in the pump can’t actually be recycled. And you can do the same for a lot of products, with shampoo and perfume just a couple of everyday items that come in solid form. Deodorant is another one, with Lush doing a range of solid ones. If you’re not ready to let the roll-ons go, brands like Myro and By Humankind do refillable deodorants that use way less packaging – plus they look pretty good on your shelf too.
This is one of the simplest changes you can make – not only is glass packaging easily recycled, quite often the shapes, sizes and look of the containers make them ideal for reuse. Isla Apothecary products come in dark amber glass jars, which help protect the integrity of the natural ingredients inside. Wake Skincare uses glass for their bottles as well as working with UK manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprint (and they donate 5% of their profits to Women’s Aid, which we also love). You can even search products by the type of packaging they come in on sites like Content Beauty Wellbeing.
Go one better than recyclable packaging by getting products that can be refilled. Lush has just launched its own refillable lipstick case and it’s currently the only mass market brand to sell zero-plastic aluminium and brass vintage design cases – refillable can still be stylish ya know. And Beauty Kitchen is doing its bit with its new Return. Refill. Repeat scheme, where you send back your empties, BK refills them with product and posts them back to you.