START WITH 3 EASY THINGS
1. Dispose of your disposables! Buy a steel razor.
Disposable razors aren’t as disposable as the name seems: they’re only disposable to you, not the earth. They’re headed straight for the landfills, where that “disposing” stops completely (they’re too small to be recycled). Instead, consider adopting a razor that you’ll have over a lifetime: you just need to swap out the steel blades, which you can recycle. If you do the math, it’s definitely cheaper in the long-run too.
2. Bamboo tooth brushes
Toothbrushes: another not-so-disposable, disposable. Turns out there’s a great alternative at a competitive price: bamboo! Comprised of all-natural materials, bamboo brushes are biodegradable. If you’re as worried as I was about maintaining “soft” bristles, don’t worry, I’ve tested these out and haven’t noticed any difference.
3. Recycled toilet paper
Does it really need to be virgin paper if it’s just wiping your behind? Enough said. You can get forest-friendly TP without the plastic packaging from Who Gives A Crap. If that weren’t awesome enough, they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets. They offer free shipping on most orders, but buy in bulk to reduce unnecessary delivery transportation.
If you’re in a bind and need to shop local, look out for Seventh Generation toilet paper, or a similar recycled paper alternative: they’re popping up in more and more retail locations.
Switch out your floss…
Ditch the plastic floss dispensers and grab some 100% silk, REFILLABLE floss from Dental Lace. According to AShiftedPerspective, “if everyone in the United States used the same floss as we have in our bathroom right now (Colgate 25 yds) and followed the American Dental Association’s recommendations for flossing (1 x day, 18″ of floss — 7.3 containers per year), together we would need a landfill the size of a football field that’s 6 stories high just for our empty floss dispensers.” This is an easy one because there’s no real tradeoff, in fact, you’re trading up since the dispenser is far prettier than your standard dispenser.
…and your perfume.
Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs over 50% of what you put on it. Scientific American looked into the chemicals in fragrances and found some shocking results. The Environmental Working Group found that the average fragrance product they tested contained 14 secret chemical not listed on the label, some of which are associated with hormone disruption and “have the propensity to accumulate in human tissues”. How could this be? Turns out the FDA hasn’t assessed the safety of many of these additives because the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 exempts fragrances, therefore allowing the cosmetics industry to get a pass when it comes to transparency around potential health risks with the public.
Good news! There’s a simple, natural alternative. Mix pure, high-quality essential oils with water in a reusable spray bottle and create your own! Not only do you eliminate unknown chemicals and reduce packaging waste, but you also get the well-documented health benefits associated with essential oils. I usually add 10-20 drops of Rose oil and fill the rest of the bottle with water, but you can play around with the mix of oils and ratio of oil to water depending on how strong you like your fragrance. Note: do your homework on this one, as some oils shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin. Sandalwood, Lavender, Rose, Bergamot, and Orange are pretty safe bets, but try out a diluted mix on a small patch of the back of your hand before applying all over.
Have you found other solutions? Drop me a line so I can add them to the list!