This post is part of an on-going series about going plastic free one area of your life at a time. See the other posts here and sign-up for Nikkey’s newsletter to recieve new plastic free challenges as they come out. This challenge is inspired by her work with eXXpedition on a microplastic research voyage through the Pacific Ocean.
As Nikkey sails the Pacific Ocean I want us to talk about consumer guilt. Everyone has had it at one point. Maybe from the clothes we buy, plastic packaging we see or for the purpose of today’s topic…. Plastic in personal health care products.
This was an area I’ve wanted to make changes in for some time. I tried desperately to use cloth diapers for our son. Turns out he has the most sensitive unicorn skin known to man. No washing/cream/liner combo was going to prevent terrible diaper rash. I had to give up. But waste not, want not – all the cloth diapers have been regifted as swimsuits to replace disposable swim diapers.
Seeing how we talked diapers, lets get real and talk periods. That’s right, let’s talk about feminine hygiene products – AKA pads and tampons. When I started to think about the fragrances, chemicals and plastics used in traditional pads it was a no-brainer to switch. I had best intentions of making my own, but life is busy and I soon came to my senses and ordered some online. I’ve seen a few options in natural health stores but I purchased mine from HannahPad. They are organic, ethically made, work amazing and wash really easily. I purchased the probiotic soap as well which also worked wonders on the sweat stains of my husbands baseball hats.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
I’ll admit to this one. I haven’t switched over my toothbrush. I have terrible teeth and I’m addicted to my electric toothbrush. But if you are ready to ditch the plastic and electricity there are loads of options available either online or in most natural health stores. Your options range from bamboo to charcoal. I’ve even recently seen eco-dental floss. About time! I have used a natural toothpaste but said terrible teeth need the chemical stuff or they are super sensitive….Starting to realize where Logan gets all his sensitivities from? If you use a regular toothpaste like I do there are places that do recycle the packaging such as Terracycle.
This spring my husband asked for a safety razor for his birthday. He was obsessed with the entire process. He only saves once a month so he liked the idea of making it more of a ritual with the brush, lather, oil, razor and moisturizer. After nervously watching him a few times I realized this was a great option for ladies too! Why should I have to use plastic razors and shaving cream in an areosole can? Especially when I get so annoyed that I have to look for a sales person to unlock the cabinet to buy replacement blades. I just buy another razor resulting in more plastic waste. This weekend I took the plunge. I shaved my legs with the safety razor and it was kind of fun. Only cut myself once and didn’t even feel it. Damn, that blade was sharp! It can’t be done in our shower so definitely takes more time but it was worth it knowing I was using environmentally friendlier products.
Every Christmas our Grandma gives every woman in our family the plastic shower puff things meant to lather soap. Super well intended, but super bad for the environment. I can say with certainty those things will never ever break down in a landfill. Luffa sponges and the like are a much more sustainable option and they do a better job of exfoliating the skin. Instead use a 100% cotton washcloth to lather soap.
Facial & Body Scrubs
This is the biggie. The one that has received the most media attention in recent years. The little wee plastic balls that some genius (sarcasm) thought was necessary to add to hand sanitizer and soap. As if this was going to help get our hands cleaner? Stop the spread of flu viruses? While most of these plastic compounds are now or soon-to-be banned in Canada and US you can still make an impact with your purchasing habits. There are certain stores and product lines I will no longer shop at or purchase because I don’t agree that these plastic compounds are necessary ingredients in cosmetics, soaps, sanitizers and body scrubs. Spend five minutes on Pinterest and you’ll be inundated with recipes on how to make your own facial and body scrubs using sugar, salt, coconut oil and some essential oils for fragrance. Takes a few minutes and BAM, eco friendly beauty products. Also makes a great gift in a mason jar with a twine bow.
Have a plastic free health care swap to share? Don’t forget to follow Nikkey on Instagram for updates on her voyage @nikkeydawn @exxpedition