Hello again, you environmental hero goddess warrior! Thank you for your continued interest in ditching single-use plastics in your daily life.
With Americans producing an average of 4.4 pounds of trash a day, we are quickly filling up our landfills (and oceans) with trash that will take hundreds of years to decompose. One of the easiest ways to lower your daily waste is to switch to plastic-free packaging – especially in your health and beauty routine since you’re using those products every day!
Note: if you stumbled upon this blog without reading part 1, you can check it out here. Without further adieu, check out these 6 eco-friendly swaps for your health and beauty routine.
Ditch: Plastic Toothbrushes
Did you know that over a billion toothbrushes end up in North American landfills EVERY YEAR? On top of that, it takes about 400 years for those toothbrushes to decompose. That’s a terrifying statistic, but the good thing is that this eco-friendly switch is the EASIEST because it requires no sacrifice on your part.
Switch: Bamboo Toothbrushes
Not only are bamboo toothbrushes 100% biodegradable, they are also anti-microbial, meaning they won’t grow any nasty bacteria over time.
When you are ready to replace your bamboo toothbrush, simply remove the bristles and recycle. You can also burn it if you’re into that sort of thing. 🙂
Ditch: Tubes of Toothpaste
According to RecycleNow, toothpaste tubes are made mostly of plastic and many have a thin layer of metal on the inside for freshness. Unfortunately, that means the majority of toothpaste tubes are not recyclable. In fact, just like toothbrushes, more than 1 billion toothpaste tubes end up in a landfill each year.
There are a few brands that are starting to make recyclable toothpaste tubes, which is an exciting development – but that still doesn’t account of the resources and energy needed to manufacture these tubes. The switch? It’s an interesting one! But it’s worth a shot… keep reading!
Switch: Plastic-Free Toothpaste Tablets
Alright, stay with me here! There are several brands that make tablet toothpastes, but one of my favorites is Bite because not only are they a 100% plastic-free company, they also only use natural ingredients, are cruelty-free and are constantly working to reduce their carbon footprint during the shipment process. You can sign up for reoccurring shipments in eco-friendly packaging so you don’t even have to worry about going to the store to stock up.
Ditch: Plastic Floss
“But Abbey, what if I don’t floss?” Well, you should. My dentist told me I have to so if I have to, so do you. Floss is tricky because not only is the floss itself plastic, but it also comes in a plastic container – both of which are not recyclable. That small, plastic container alone could take up to 500 years to decompose in a landfill. That’s a long time for something you get twice a year at the dentist and rarely use.
Switch: Biodegradable Floss
Truth be told, it took me a long time to find biodegradable, cruelty-free dental floss options. Why? Because as an alternative to nylon (a type of plastic), some eco-friendly companies use silk. To make this silk, silkworms have to be boiled alive inside their cocoons and I’m just not cool with that.
When looking for environmentally sustainable floss options that don’t require anything to die, look for floss made out of bamboo fiber or anything similar that comes in a recyclable container like metal or glass.
Ditch: Single-Use Deodorant Containers
Like the majority of items in our health and beauty routines, deodorant is another single-use plastic item that’s almost impossible to recycle. Additionally, when non-recyclable deodorant tubes are thrown into recycling, they can cause recycling contamination.
The good news is, there are more and more deodorant brands that are switching to plastic-free containers for their deodorant.
Switch: Plastic-Free Deodorant
When looking for a natural, plastic-free deodorant, I highly suggest reading reviews! Especially if you have any specific concerns about making the switch. People are eager to say whether or not that product worked for them.
I am a pretty sweaty person, so when I was looking for eco-friendly, natural deodorant options, I wanted something that I didn’t have to reapply every couple of hours. You may have to go through a few products and brands to find the right formula for your body.
Ditch: Plastic Cotton Swabs
Did you know that 1.5 million cotton swabs are produced every day? That’s a LOT. You might be thinking “Cotton, that’s natural, right? What’s wrong with cotton?” There’s nothing inherently wrong with cotton, but cotton production is where the problem lies. Cotton requires more land, water and pesticides to grow and harvest compared to their more eco-friendly counterparts like bamboo. Plus, if your cotton swabs have plastic handles, that’s another piece of plastic that’s ending up in a landfill (or our oceans) every day.
Switch: Reusable or Biodegradable Cotton Swabs
I have two options for you here. The first is a reusable swab from LastObject. LastSwab is “a reusable, sustainable and sanitary alternative to cotton swabs, buds, and Q-tips.” By using this product, you can help combat the millions of cotton swabs that are produced every day. Plus, they are easy to clean with soap and water.
The other option is a biodegradable or compostable cotton swab like these bamboo ones from Well Earth Goods. After you’ve used them, simply throw them away or stick them in your composting! Or, like the website suggests, you can burn them – which also sounds fun.
Ditch: Shaving Cream / Shave Gel
Each year, there are billions of shaving cream cans sold around the world. While some cans are recyclable, the packaging isn’t the only issue. According to Aqua Jet Razor, “chemicals and ingredients in the shaving creams and gels (like glycols, PEGs and, isopentane) that are used can have a damaging effect when they make their way into the water ecosystem.” Many of the ingredients in shaving creams/gels can’t dissolve in water, which impacts plants, animals, fish and organic matter that can eventually make it back into our food.
The good news is that there are plenty of eco-friendly swaps that’ll still give you a close shave. Plus, no animals or plants will be harmed. 🙂
Switch: Shaving Bar
If you’ve read part 1 of this series, you are probably already aware of the impact plastic razors can make on the environment. Now that you’re ditching plastic razors, you can ditch your cans of shaving cream for a shave bar! Shave bars will have more natural ingredients and can still give you a close shave without all the excess chemicals and plastic packaging.
How are we feeling after reading this list? Inspired? Overwhelmed? Guilty? Hopeful? No matter how you feel, all I ask is that you have taken away at least one thing to incorporate into your routine; especially when it’s as easy as changing one purchasing habit. No real work required. Let me know in the comments what swaps you’re making or DM me on Instagram at @theabbeynormalblog.
Zero Waste / Sustainable Companies to Support
Wow, that was a lot of information! If you’d like to check out some awesome, zero-waste/plastic-free/eco-friendly companies to support in your quest for sustainability, click the links below!