Plastic bottles, straws, disposable coffee cups and takeaway packaging are just a few of the everyday items we used to throw away without question. But, the world is waking up to the scourge of single-use plastic.
Our kitchens are being cleaned up thanks to an upcoming ban on plastic straws alongside better education about what we can and cannot recycle. But, because none of us want to let David Attenborough down, there’s always more we could be doing. Namely, turning our attention to our bathrooms.
It’s not just cotton buds clogging up our oceans – almost every beauty product we buy, from deodorants to disposable razors, are often made with non-recyclable plastic — so do we need to totally overhaul our bathroom cabinets?
TV presenter and eco blogger Kate Arnell is on a mission to go completely zero-waste in her everyday life, so we turned to her to find out where to start.
‘Going waste-free [in your bathroom] will be different for everyone, depending on their skin and hair type and even the water hardness they have.’
This means choosing products can be trial and error, but Kate assures us there’s an option for everyone out there: ‘There are so many amazing low-waste options available now that you’re bound to find something that works.’
Start with a less-is-more approach. Reduce the number of products you actually need by looking for ones that can be multi-purpose instead. Kate says: ‘A bar of soap can replace body wash, hand wash and shaving cream. Sometimes, a simple kitchen ingredient can work as an alternative, such as bicarbonate of soda as deodorant, or olive oil as a moisturiser.’ If you can share a product with other members of the household, even better.
Choosing reusables over disposables every time will help you cut the amount of plastic you use significantly. Kate says: ‘Replace single-use make-up wipes with a reusable face cloth or flannel.’
When it comes to hair removal, the Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa will give you years of hair removal without the need for soap, shaving foam or shower gel. Providing you with smooth skin that lasts up to four weeks, it’s longer lasting than shaving, too.
Look for alternatives that are either available in a refill form, sold unpackaged or come in minimal, plastic-free packaging. Kate adds: ‘You can get lovely balms, deodorants and creams that come packaged in compostable cardboard tubes. And, some retailers have online refill services where you simply return the bottle for them to clean and reuse each time.’
See if you have any refills shops available to you locally, too, which will reduce the carbon footprint of your purchase.
STAY AT HOME
Trips to salons for your regular beauty treatments can also increase your carbon footprint – something we should all be wary of if we want to save the world. The more you can do at home, the better. If you regularly enjoy facials, try the Braun FaceSpa Pro, which is an all-in-one tool for cleansing, exfoliating and toning, because it offers better application of your skincare products than manual alone.
See? Sustainable doesn’t need to be inconvenient or expensive.
This article first appeared on ELLE.