3 minute read
Throwaway culture is so ingrained in our society, and trying to find a solution can feel overwhelming. The message used to be to recycle, but only 14 per cent of plastic ever produced has been collected for recycling and just five per cent has actually been recycled. We don’t live in a zero-waste world – yet – but small changes make a big difference.
I’ve been using a shampoo bar for a while and love it – it lasts for months and leaves my hair soft. Next, I switch my disposable razor for a metal one with recyclable blades. Initially, I’m unsure, but it works well. There are bamboo options too, but some still contain plastic. We use so many products but it’s often a choice between convenience and considered purchases. When I really start looking, I realise there’s a lot I don’t need or for which I can find an eco alternative.
I replace my hand soap with a wooden dish and natural palm oil-free soap, which is sold naked. It is more expensive, but I feel good about the change. I head to a zero-waste shop and fi ll a glass bottle with shower gel. These outlets are opening gradually and, because you’re not paying for unneeded packaging, their products are reasonably priced.
Oral care is a big one for me. Unfortunately, there’s not yet an environmentally friendly alternative to throwaway electric toothbrush heads, and many biodegradable manual brushes still have plastic bristles. As a vegan, I don’t feel comfortable using a toothbrush that biodegrades but uses animal hair.
Toothpaste tubes are usually non-recyclable (a few are metal). I try Georganics’ natural tooth powder – a reusable glass jar, and it’s SLS-free. Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) can be toxic to marine life and is often a derivative of palm oil. Adapting to a tooth powder takes time, but now I prefer it. My mouth feels clean and a friend even commented that my teeth look whiter.
I also change to a natural deodorant in a glass jar and I’m surprised by how effective it is. Through research, I’m discovering alternatives that are not only plastic-free but that I love, too. It’s gradual, but I’m proud to be filtering the plastic out of my life, one step at a time.
Eco finds: join the action in the war against plastic
- How to Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum (Penguin, £12.99) - Packed with simple ideas to reduce your waste, this book is written by the head of oceans at Greenpeace UK.
- Indigenous Beauty, The Natural Deodorant Co and Nuud all make highly effective eco alternatives to traditional deodorant. Try Indigenous Beauty's Natural Deodorant Cream, £7.99
- Truthpaste and Georganics make natural, plastic-free oral care. Try Georganics Oil Pulling Mouthwash and Toothpowder, £6.90 each
Read more from Ellen on her eco journey @Ellen_Tout