Introducing something new on the ol' blog today, shedding a little light on a challenge I have set myself as of late. It's 2018 and plastic is everywhere. We wear it. We eat out of it. We drink out of it. We wash ourselves with it and the list goes on and on and on. Plastic defined as the 'generic term used in the case of polymeric material that may contain other substances to improve performance or reduce costs', is quite literally damn near impossible to escape from in this day and age and it's only recently that light is being shed on the damage that such abundance of this material can have on our environment. Plastic may be 'cheaper' and in most cases 'easier' but the extremes some companies go to with pure recklessness of plastic packaging is ridiculous. (Yes I am referencing the individually wrapped frozen goods that get their own little plastic home in excess to the plastic bag they are already sold in- plain daft.) This excess has led me to be curious in finding alternatives to what we would usually use on a daily basis and I've found that most things that you would expect to buy in a plastic bottle actually do have waste free or entirely recyclable alternative.
Why not just recycle?
Recycling plastic and other materials obviously is widespread in this day and age however I was startled to learn recently that even the plastic tubs and bottles you dispose of in the correct bins on your end may never see the recycling process and end up in landfill, just like the rest. This is because many plastics, especially mixed plastics are very difficult, not to mention expensive to recycle and therefore councils have individual guidelines for what can and cannot be recycled in your area. This is why I am opting to try for plastic FREE alternatives and then there is no need for the plastic to be manufactured in the first place. (On a side note, I do not claim to be an expert on this. I am simply trying to learn as much as I can about the recycling process and the impact of waste as I go along on this challenge, I'm an actor, not an environmentalist, so bare with me.)
The first place I looked was LUSH. I have always been fond of the brand's ethos of being cruelty free and have tried a few of their products over the years but as its the only high street brand that offer waste free bath products, I have absolutely become hooked to their cute and colourful ranges. I recently attended their Halloween Blogger's Event and if you haven't already seen their seasonal bath bombs, check it out.
So I thought that was a good place to begin and seeing as though I shower, brush my teeth and wash my face (pretty much) everyday, the bathroom was a pretty good place to start. So here's my tried and tested lists of must haves for a waste free bathroom!
MONTALBANO Shampoo Bar, LUSH
This is actually my second purchase from LUSH’s gorgeous shampoo bar range. I previously tried the ‘Jumping Juniper’ Bar and got on with that one equally as well. They both smell so good and despite anticipating a lower quality impact due to my hair being accustomed to the chemicals and crap in regular bottled shampoo, I am obsessed with the results. My hair is in great condition and feels and smells amazing. The range has all kinds of different bars for different issues, there are bars to enhance curls, ones to reduce the risk of hair loss, ones for dullness, you name it, they’ve got a bar for the job. The shampoo bars are mad with natural ingredients and last for up to to three times as long as a regular bottle of shampoo so price wise, pay off in the end. I am 100% converted and would never opt for bottles again.
JUNGLE Solid Conditioner, LUSH
This little gem was the biggest surprise of all out of the colourful bar selection I opted to try from LUSH. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the conditioner bar and have since realised that this is because of varying directions for use. I was instructed to leave the bar on the side of the water or on the floor next to my foot while I shampooed so that it would become softer and then simply use it like a bar of soap and apply to the ends of my hair, avoiding the roots rather than breaking a little off and trying to melt that. Whats strange is, using this product feels like it doesn't work at the time as there isn’t much of a lather but the results from the essential oils are undeniable. Made with Shea butter, this little bar is all you need for glowing locks and together with the shampoo bar have left my hair looking healthier than it has for a long time, even Jacob, my slightly reluctant boyfriend, is on board with these two!
T’EO Solid Deodorant, LUSH
Now I was a little apprehensive about this one. It’s a weird psychological thing that I feel I need to use a spray deodorant to be fully protected from the sweaty mess I can be when I’m hotfooting it to drama school first thing on a morning or going for it in classes. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this one. No complaints from classmates yet and the tea tree smells great. It’s a little awkward to apply but I’ve gotten used to it now. I’ve found it easiest to apply when your underarms are still a little damp from the shower or moisturiser.
OUTBACK MATE Soap, LUSH
£5.10 per 100g
Ah, the good ol’ bar of soap. I know this really is nothing new but over the years, like many of you I’m guessing, I have grown to favour shower gels over the traditional bar of soap for reasons to do with cleanliness and ease, not to mention the wider selection of bottled soaps on offer in shops. However with the transition from shampoo and conditioner bottles to bars, I have set out a larger soap dish which has room for all of my shower products therefore the mess is easily managed and contained, plus they all look real cute! And with regards to variety of colours and fragrances, LUSH absolutely has you spoilt for choice with their spectacular array of soaps in all different shapes, sizes and smells. It’s like a sweetie shop and has me fully converted to their soap bars over plastic shower gel bottles.
Natural Bamboo Toothbrush, georganics
A fine swap. the average toothbrush may be slightly cheaper but the rounded charcoal brush head leave my teeth feeling super clean but isn’t too harsh on tooth enamel or my gums. The bamboo is biodegradable and eco friendly. Georganics do a whole range of natural and zero waste oral care products and after the toothbrush, I’m very keen to try out the toothpaste. Let me know if you have any experience trying these out, I’d love to hear some feedback!
PS... Face Cleansing Cloths, Primark
Pack of 3, £3
These little cloths are pure magic. I was introduced to them by my friend and I admit when she first handed me a wet cloth and said it would take all my make up off without making me look like a panda, I gave her a bit of a funny look. But much to my surprise, they’re actually way more efficient than my previously favoured routine of cotton pads and micellar water. My skin feels softer and I’m pretty sure, even looks clearer since I’ve been using them. I usually manage to use the same cloth for about a week before there’s no room left but then they come up brand new when you chuck them in the wash! Annoyingly the pack of three I got from Primark actually come in a plastic box, (tut tut Primark) but the hundreds of cotton pads I use each year are no longer wasted, not to mention their packaging and the plastic bottles of remover. An efficient change all round really.
A few things to note to finish:
1. I am not naive in my understanding of the impact that single use plastic has on the environment and I am aware of the percentages and that there are are far greater pollutants such as the fishing industry, I recently read that 46% of waste in the ocean is discarded fishing nets, which obviously endangers sea life far greater than a plastic straw. BUT my focus is based on the changes I can make in my day to day life, on the products that I personally use and eradicating unnecessary plastic from that primarily. We’ve all got to start somewhere.
2. Changing your plastic habits WILL NOT change the world so try not to act like the planet’s welfare entirely relies on you ordering your morning flat white in your swanky res-useable cup. But every little helps and if you’re like me, these changes you make are more derived from having respect for the environment and consciously avoiding single use plastic/other non renewable materials demonstrates that respect.
3. Some changes that you can make will require you to do/use things slightly differently so don’t immediately dismiss a certain product as useless or ‘a bit shit’ if it doesn’t work exactly like the plastic housed alternative. That is why the use of plastic is so wide spread, it has many uses therefore is often the most effective packaging. However responsibly making these changes away from plastic can often require you to adapt to a new way of doing things and these are sacrifices we sometimes have to make for the greater good. People have become generally lazy when it comes to ease in cosmetics and sometimes those sacrifices are necessary to make a significant impact.
4. Nothing much is going to change until legislation does. The worst thing about making these changes and sacrifices is knowing that you can try your very best but your efforts are quite literally a drop in the ocean. What baffles me is that despite there being actual functioning alternatives to single use plastic, it is STILL legal to use it. Companies that still buy new plastic as its cheaper and easier need to take a leaf out of companies such as LUSH’s book, who haven't bought new plastic for TEN years. Their signature black plastic packaging for the products that do require packaging is all recycled within the brand which is possible therefore SHOULD be more widespread.
5. As well as making small changes to your day to day life with regards to single use plastic, try to inform others on ways that they can too. Sign any petitions that crop up on your Facebook timeline that will help the cause towards legislation. Spread the word basically, that is powerful tool.
So join me in #MyPlasticPledge, lets eliminate the need for one use plastic altogether. Get smart, learn about alternatives, shout about them from the top of rooftops. It's a challenge and one that is very much necessary in this day and age.
Let me know how you get on or if you have any questions/recommendations!