Sometimes, it’s the tiny (and surprisingly easy) decisions that can score you the biggest brownie points from Mother Earth herself.
Our bathrooms are overflowing with single-use plastics. They appear in the form of makeup wipes, shampoo bottles, cotton pads, razors, the list goes on. Sure, some might end up in the recycling bin but how much of that is really recyclable? Or sustainable for our planet?
Here’s the ugly truth; the world produces around 300 million tonnes of plastic per year, half of which is single-use. Since plastic isn’t biodegradable, it sits in a landfill for hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of years. Or just as bad, is swept into our waterways.
While embracing a totally zero-waste lifestyle might seem far-fetched to some, it’s certainly not impossible. And your bathroom is the perfect place to start. Keep reading for Aleph’s simple eco swaps for a plastic-free paradise!
1. Makeup Wipes
For a long time, disposable wipes have been a staple in every woman’s bag. They could solve lipstick fails, smudged mascara and panda-eyes in seconds. While devilishly convenient, these wipes contain non-biodegradable plastics like polyester and can take up to 100 years to break down. That’s longer than our entire lifetime.
The fix: Use an eco-friendly wipe instead! Thanks to reusable alternatives, like the Terra or Take It Off, going waste-free no longer means removing your makeup with your hands.
2. Toothbrushes, Toothpaste + Mouthwash
The quest for bright pearly whites might be doing more harm than good. The average person goes through a jaw-dropping amount oral care essentials per year. For example, 3 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year worldwide. Many of which end up floating in our waterways, posing as fish food.
The fix: Luckily, you can still achieve pearly white status without harming the planet! Swap your plastic toothbrush for a sustainable bamboo alternative and your toothpaste for a natural tooth-powder like Dr Hisham’s Ozospa. While the Ozospa powder is packaged in a plastic container, at least you can reuse that - unlike a tube of toothpaste. And for that lasting minty fresh feel, you can now get your mouthwash fix in tablet form.
3. Sheet Masks
It’s true, sheet masks are everyone’s favourite fix after a rough day or a wild weekend. There’s something strangely comforting about sitting down, slipping on a mask and feeling its icy touch take effect. But what happens afterwards? Your skin might feel bright and alive again, but that one-time mask is destined for a lifetime spent in a landfill.
The fix: After scouring the web, it didn’t take long to discover some incredible planet-friendly masks. Aleph’s favourite? It’s a little on the spenny side, but this vegan reusable mask by Orveda can be used again and again. Plus, it’s free of harmful ingredients and designed to feel just as luxurious as any sheet mask.
4. Hygiene Products
Did you know that a woman can use between 8,000 and 15,000 disposable pads, tampons and liners in her lifetime? The impact of all that waste isn’t just limited to the landfill: the manufacturing processes for the materials used in some hygiene products can also take a nasty toll on our planet.
The fix: The anti-plastic movement has officially hit the sanitary world. Now, we’re absolutely swamped with eco-friendly options! Moon cups and reusable underwear are available everywhere and they’re just the sustainable swap you’ve been searching for.
5. Shower Staples
Let’s face it, everyone’s shower routines can get complex. For some, the daily shower ritual involves a number of fragrant gels, foams and lotions. There’s the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, scrub - and don’t get us started on the post-shower moisturiser drill. All of those empty plastic (and probably non-recyclable or compostable) bottles start to pile up.
The fix: Turns out, there’s a growing number of sustainable options for your shower caddy. Ethique offers packaging-free shampoos, conditioners, face cleansers and more. They calculate that for each one of their bar products —which range from soaps to shampoos and deodorants— three plastic bottles are saved from being made.
Compared to just a few years ago, we have so many wonderful and innovative eco-friendly options to choose from. It’s just a matter of phasing out your current disposable beauty essentials for sustainable ones - and once you start, it’s hard to go back. Whether you’re looking to reduce, recycle or go completely plastic-free, making just a few simple changes can make a world of difference.