Madonna sang, “we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl” over 20 years ago. She released that song in 1984, but it is even more prominent now. So much of our lives are driven by having, getting, or using various material things. When buying something, most of us only think about if they enjoy the product or can afford it. They don’t consider how healthy it is for ourselves and our planet. If we are going to continue living in a consumer world, we can at least become informed about our daily choices. Tons of the products that we use daily and love can be swapped for more eco-friendly alternatives. Let’s start with one simple area of our lives: our self-care routines. Here are some sustainable self-care essentials everyone will love.
Reusable Cotton Pads
At some point in our lives we have all used cotton rounds, cotton balls, or makeup wipes to cleanse our skin. All of those products have a commonality of being single-use. How many of these rounds do you think you have used during a single week? Now, multiply that by 52 to assess the amount you use in a single year. Little things add up.
Swap your single-use products for reusable cotton fabric rounds that you can use for applying toners or cleansing your skin. The best part is that they are machine washable. This is a simple and cheap substitute that will decrease your amount of daily waste.
Toothpaste Capsules & Compostable Bamboo Toothbrush
Your toothbrush is another source of single-use plastic that we often overlook. Dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months, meaning you throw away that product 4 times a year. A great alternative is to switch to a toothbrush made out of bamboo so it will compost instead of sitting in a landfill for hundreds of years.
As for toothpaste tubes, they generally aren’t recyclable. Switch to toothpaste powders or capsules that mix with water, to eliminate the majority of the packaging. If you want to continue with this theme, there is also biodegradable dental floss that is a great substitution for classic floss.
Menstrual Cup or Cotton Menstrual Products
Did you know the FDA does not require tampon/pad companies to disclose their ingredients? That’s sort of shocking, considering these are products that women need to use and are put into our bodies. Many of the big-name menstrual product companies pack their products full of harmful chemicals. A great way to transition to something healthier for yourself and the planet is to switch to a reusable menstrual cup which eliminates all the single-use waste of other feminine products. If this seems a bit scary to you, look for a brand of organic cotton products and tampons with a compostable cotton insert.
Soap and Shampoo Bars
Have you ever noticed that the majority of your bath products are in plastic bottles? Shampoo, conditioner, and body washes can all be purchased in the forms of your classic soap bar. This eliminates all of the packagings. Of course, not all brands create haircare bars, but it might be time to look into the toxic chemical ingredients in your everyday drugstore hair products and make the switch. These are great sustainable essentials.
According to GilletteVenus.com, you should change your razor blades every 1 to 2 weeks if you shave every day and every 2 to 3 weeks if you shave every other day. That’s a pretty short life for your razor. And if you use disposable razors, that’s even more wasteful plastic material. If you have a plastic one, you still have to change the heads on the razor, which brings up the issue of plastic that can’t be recycled. Luckily, there are plenty of brands that make metal reusable razors, and some companies will let you ship old blades back to them so they can properly recycle the material.
It takes time and effort to replace everything you own with sustainable products, and I understand that some skincare products can’t be substituted. In those cases, make sure you properly dispose of the packaging when you use all the product up. A lot of containers and materials are reusable or recyclable. Only purchasing products with natural ingredients, no animal testing, and packaging made from recycled materials makes a huge world of difference for our planet. Every little bit of change helps, and sustainable self care essentials are a great place to start.
Check out more tips from Sarah Scoop here!