Yikes! I just realized how many plastics I use as part of my everyday
It’s Wash Day. No, I’m not talking about laundry. I’m talking about washing my hair. I’m a Black woman and washing my natural hair can sometimes feel like a monumental task as it can take a couple of hours or more, numerous products and multiple steps depending on our unique hair routine. Hence, ‘Wash Day’.
On this particular Wash Day, as I stood in the shower, trying to detangle my hair, I noticed my shower caddy. More precisely, I noticed what was in my shower caddy. Two disposable razors, shave gel, body wash, in shower hair removal cream, a deep exfoliating face cleanser, and a bath scrub. Not to mention, the shampoo and deep conditioner that I was using. There was a lot of plastic bottles. Even the comb I was using to detangle my hair was plastic! Why had I not noticed this before? I didn’t feel good about it at all.
I’d recently decluttered my bathroom cabinet because I wanted to toss out or give away products I was not using and eliminate the wasteful habit of buying more items I didn’t need – this behaviour was simply bad for my wallet and the environment. I was proud of myself for adopting a less is more approach when it came to my skincare. Yet, at that moment while detangling my hair, plastic comb in hand, the reality hit me that when it came to embracing more sustainability as part of my lifestyle, there was plenty of room for improvement.
Because I’m a glass half full type, I saw this situation as a great learning opportunity. It was an opportunity to do better (and feel good) when it comes to being more environmentally friendly. And, in recognition of Plastic Free July, I wanted to share some of my favourite simple tips for starting a journey to a more sustainable living by reducing single-use plastics.
What’s Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a movement that aims at challenging and inspiring individuals with ideas and tips for making small changes to reduce single-use plastics in their daily lives to collectively make a greater positive impact on the environment. They have resources and ideas for home, work, school, businesses and community organizations.
12 Simple Tips to Help You Go Plastic-Free at Home
#1. Say bye-bye to body wash.
Consider going old school and using soap bars instead of body wash. I used to love my body wash, especially after a workout but making the switch to soap bars was a simple adjustment to make.
#2. Ditch the plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioners.
Switch the plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner for shampoo bars. Use them for your hair or try ones that do double-duty and work for the body as well.
Other options to consider including looking for more eco-friendly, clean products or brands that offer refillable bottles.
#3. Replace the plastic disposable toothbrushes.
Biodegradable and sustainable bamboo toothbrushes are trending right now and look stylish especially if you’re going for a spa-like feel in your bathroom. Better for the environment and aesthetically pleasing? That’s what I call a win/win situation. Just remember to cut the bristles off before disposing of the toothbrush.
Alternatively, opt for a toothbrush with replaceable heads to avoid having to toss out entire brushes every few months or so. Talk to your dentist to find an alternative that’s right for you.
#4. Invite toothpaste and floss to the eco-friendly party.
Consider switching to eco-friendly toothpaste and dental floss. Because there’s no point in having a bamboo toothbrush without eco-friendly toothpaste and floss.
Your next cleaning when they hand you the new plastic toothbrush and floss might be the perfect time to get some professional advice on what’s right for you.
#5. Give your skin a kinder scrub.
Look for eco-friendly body scrubs. Avoid exfoliating products with microbeads which are terrible for the environment even though they feel good on your skin. You can make your body scrub as well, kinder to the planet and your wallet.
#6. Say no to disposable razors.
You know how drugstores carry the packets of multiple disposable plastic razors usually in some variation of pink? Let’s say “no” to that and opt for a plastic-free alternative razor. They may cost a bit more initially but they will pay for themselves, in terms of monetary costs and costs to the environment, over time.
#7. Go all-natural with your deodorant.
This one may take some trial and error to find the brand that’s right for you. But I can tell you from my search, natural deodorant has come a long way, with lots of options on the market, including unscented, roll-ons, creams, and solids.
#8. Do better with your morning brew.
Rethink the way you have your morning joe from using a coffee travel mug to reducing coffee filters by a French press.
#9. Ditch the plastic shopping bags.
According to PlasticFreeJuly.org by doing this easy switch and opting for alternatives to plastic bags you are helping to keep an estimated 500 plastic bags per year out of oceans and landfills. Use reusable shopping bags and produce bags for your fruits and vegetables.
#10. Mind your beeswax!
Seriously, consider swapping those plastic wraps for eco-friendly beeswax that you can wash and reuse and that are compostable. You can also DIY your beeswax if that’s your thang!
#11. Trash the plastic garbage bags.
Consider using biodegradable trash bags as an alternative to plastic trash bags or try composting.
#12. Donate and educate yourself.
Donate to local organizations that support environmental causes, watch documentaries, read books or sign-up for newsletters that provide you with tips and resources on how to go zero-waste at home.
These are just a few of my favourites ways to transition your home into a more environmentally friendly or zero-waste space for those of us trying to find easy ways to be eco-friendly and be kinder to the environment, one reusable item at a time.
As always, whenever you can, buy local and support small business owners, your community, the economy and the environment.
This blog post first appeared on the Swell Made Co. blog.