Tia Grazette reveals the reusable alternatives worth stocking up on.
Out with the single-use and in with their environmentally-friendly replacements. There are plenty of easy and affordable changes to make to your daily routine that’ll have less impact on the planet. While the government has confirmed a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in an attempt to slash the estimated 5 million tonnes of plastic waste generated annually in the UK, there’s still a lot more work to be done. Do your bit by making these eco swaps.
Swap bottled shampoo and conditioner for bars
Single-use plastic tends to be the default packaging for most toiletries. We are all familiar with the effects plastic is having on the planet and our health. However, 50 per cent of the British public does not recycle their bathroom waste, which means 2.7 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills every year. Swapping to a solid bar option with minimal packaging for anything beauty related is by far the best option.
Let your solid soaps air dry completely before reusing them. This will help them to last much longer and stops them from turning into mush.
Swap plastic toothbrushes for bamboo versions
A huge 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are used worldwide every year, with the average person getting through 300 in their lifetime. Each individual toothbrush will take up to a thousand years to decompose and creates havoc with the environment by just existing. Enter the bamboo equivalent – made from one of the most environmentally-friendly materials known to man.
The Zero Waste Club do a great bamboo toothbrush that’s 100 per cent vegan, comes in a selection of colours, and is biodegradable. Georganics’ beechwood toothbrush is also a winner. None of the bristles contain BPA and it leaves your teeth feeling incredibly clean.
Replace your bamboo toothbrush every one to four months and pluck out any bristles before you compost it.
Swap face wipes for reusable face clothes
Cotton wool pads cause more harm to the environment than you could ever imagine. Cotton farming pollutes rivers, damages local wildlife and severely impacts our ecosystems. Plus, it takes a huge amount of water to produce it. On top of that, regular cotton wool pads do not biodegrade due to the bleaching and mixing processes used to create them.
A bamboo flannel is an easy and affordable swap for single-use pads and will last for years. Alternatively, you can’t go wrong with Face Halo, a double-sided face cloth which can be reused up to 200 times. It deep cleanses the skin and is three times the size of a cotton wool pad.
Give your reusable face clothes a quick wash with warm water and a bar of soap after you use them to remove the majority of your make-up from them immediately. This will keep them cleaner for longer and save on washes.
Swap plastic tampons for menstrual cups
The Ocean Conservancy collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on beaches around the world in a single day in 2015. Tampons are made from cotton which is saturated in pesticides, insecticides and contains chemicals such as dioxin, chlorine and rayon. In other words, not the type of substances we would want to put inside our bodies, let alone leaving to sit in landfills.
A menstrual cup is a great reusable alternative. It can last from two to 10 years if looked after properly and has minimal impact on the environment. Made from silicone, it degrades back into its original form and does not harm the planet.
Intimina have a line of menstrual cups that are proving to be popular. The Lily Cup is perfect for first time users with its anti-spill rim and easy to remove pull ring.
First time users should practice inserting the cup in the shower as it’s easier to insert the cup when it’s wet.
For more from Tia, find her on social media @legoodsociety