The infinite number of self-care products on the market can makes it really difficult as we decide what to purchases for ourselves. Factors such as cost, effectiveness, pleasant scents, and companies we're familiar with all play a role in how we choose. However, I want to encourage you that while those factors are important, perhaps we should first look at the packaging. Is it plastic? By asking this question first your choices are already narrowed down to products that are better for people and the planet.
Is it feasible to transition everything to low or zero waste, probably not. But that's okay because we're not looking for perfection, we're in search of sustainable changes and tweaks you can make to your self-care routine in the name of going low or zero waste. Today, I'm going to share five of the easiest self-care swaps you can make to help you on your journey of going green.
Safety Razor: It has been estimated that approximately TWO BILLION razors get tossed each year! That’s a lot of razors. While some companies are currently working to make their razors with more sustainable packaging and rolling out recycling programs, the reality is that a disposable razor is just that; disposable. We submit that a safety razor is an eco-friendly option and investment that will save you money in the long run.
Using the razor: It will take a bit of practice to navigate vulnerable areas with a safety razor. However, this can be easily accomplished after the first few uses. To prevent your razor from developing rust and dulling, it’s a good idea to store it in an area of your bathroom where it can stay dry when it’s not in use. For recycling, it’s best to consult with your local municipality since most have programs to help consumers recycle the blades responsibly.
Shampoo Bar: For the most part, shampoo bottles are recyclable. However, each year millions of bottles are being thrown out ending up in landfills where it will take up to a whopping 450 years to decompose! Shampoo bars are a healthier, sustainable option with less packaging. Just like conventional shampoos, you can easily find shampoo bars that are best suited for your hair type and particular needs.
Using the bar: Getting acclimated to using a shampoo bar is very simple. First, create a lather with your hands and rub it into your hair and scalp in several areas. Continue this process until you’re satisfied and then rinse as usual. Alternatively, you could also rub the bar directly into your scalp. To extend the life of the bar, we recommend purchasing a soap rest to store the bar in the shower.
Conditioner Bar: Much like the shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles are also recyclable. However, all too often they are thrown out and contribute to our planet’s growing waste problem. Conditioner bars are easy to use, have a much lighter footprint, and are available for every hair type.
Using the bar: The process of using the conditioner bar is similar to using a shampoo bar, focusing more on the ends of your hair. After you’re done applying the conditioner to your ends, use a wide-tooth comb to work the conditioner through your hair, and rinse as usual. Again, to make the bar last longer, it’s a good idea to keep the bar on a soap rest.
Bar Soap: Body washes are another product packaged in plastic bottles and, although convenient to use, this product has come at a cost to our environment. Our ever-growing plastic-waste problem is ruining our landscapes and choking our waterways with an estimated 250 million people in the United States using body washes alone. The truth is that low or zero-waste bar soap typically contains less packaging, fewer ingredients, and is naturally better for our health and that of the planet.
Deodorant: Conventional antiperspirants and deodorant containers are usually not recyclable because they are comprised of more than one plastic. This poses an even greater risk to our environment as single-use plastic. Low-waste and zero-waste deodorants are made with sustainable ingredients in eco-friendly packaging and work just as well.
The notion of going low/zero waste can feel overwhelming. However, these simple swaps are a great place to start reducing our contribution to the planet's serious waste problem. We hope we've inspired you to try one (or all!) of these ideas. Now it's your turn! Have you made any of these or other zero/low-waste swaps in your self-care routine? If you have, leave us a comment, we’d love to hear and learn from you!