SUSTAINABILITY IN THE BATHROOM
More and more people are becoming aware of the lingering danger of using plastic-products, not only for the environment, but for our own health as well. There is definitely movement happening - the single-use-plastic ban the EU approved last November and companies and influencers raising awareness about sustainability and plastic-usage.
In this blog-post I want to address a subject that I personally haven’t seen that frequently spoken of when it comes to reducing waste and recycling.
1. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
I’m talking about personal-care-items. If you were to look into your bathroom-cabinet right now, you’d probably struggle to find a product that doesn’t contain plastic in some form.
DoSomething.org stated that more than 552 million personal care bottles are thrown away each year in the US alone. Now, that’s quite a huge number, right?
First of, I want to show you some ideas on how you personally can reduce your plastic-waste in the bathroom.
The fact is, personal-care items are mostly packed in plastic-containers, that’s just the way they are sold and until recently there weren’t many alternatives available. So, let’s just think about how many bottles of shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, toothpaste, you go through each year. It’s a lot. which means that we throw away millions of plastic bottles, but the saddest fact of all is, those bottles could be easily recycled.
2. WHAT CAN WE DO?
All you need to do is rinse the bottle thoroughly once it’s empty and throw it into your plastic-bin, which you can take to your local recycling centre. In case you aren’t sure whether the product you use is recycled in your area, you could always send it to TerraCycle, which is a recycling company for hard to recycle plastics. It is also completely free, since TerraCycle offer free shipping.
To reduce the amount of plastic bottles you use, you could also buy personal care items in larger packaging. A lot of companies offer XL-products for reasonable pricing.
3. MEASUREMENTS BEING TAKEN BY COMPANIES
Let’s start with Head & Shoulders. In 2017 the world’s best-selling shampoo brand partnered with TerraCycle to collect plastic found on beaches and recycle it into new shampoo bottles. By the end of 2018 they produced more than half a million bottles, which contain at least 25% recycled ocean plastic.
Nature Box is part of the Henkel Beauty Care range and all of their bottles contain 25% recycled plastic. They also support farmers in Nigeria and India and give them the opportunity to grow their products sustainably. One bottle from Nature Box holds 385ml which is 25ml more than most personal care bottles contain.
And now, the crème-de-la-crème of plastic-free-packaging: Lush!
Whereas other companies use a certain percentage of recycled plastic, Lush take it one step further and sell products without any packaging. Even shampoos and body washes are available in bars, without any plastic surrounding them. Lush also managed to produce make-up products, which don’t need any packaging as well.
Now, in case you don’t have any access to a Lush-store or simply would like to use a product with a less intense smell, you could always buy simple soap-bars, which are packaged in cardboard. High premium brands like Chanel and Dior also offer soap-bars, and their packaging doesn’t include plastic, so those are definitely worth a try.
4. WHY SHOULD WE USE SOAP-BARS?
Generally speaking, soap-bars are better for the environment and for our skin, since typical personal care items are very chemically made and deprive your skin of its natural protection. Soap-bars are mostly based on more natural ingredients, contain fewer chemicals and are therefore gentler to your skin.
When we look at the impacts “conventional” shampoo and shower gels have on the environment, it’s clear how damaging using those is.
First off, some companies still use mircoplastics in their products, although it is now very well known that microplastics are killing millions of fish, whales and other beautiful sea-animals.
Furthermore, the ingredients used in conditioners and liquid soaps are very dangerous for the environment as well. They are hardly degradable and sewage-treatment facilities struggle to eliminate them. Thus, they land in our water where they particularly endanger seaweed and shellfish.
We really need to stand together to make sure that these harmful products no longer produced and do our best to establish a more sustainable lifestyle.
5. MY THOUGHTS ON SUSTAINABILITY
Last but not least, I’d like to mention a few thoughts on sustainability in general. My personal journey started only a few months ago and I still struggle to achieve a plastic-free, vegan and conscious lifestyle, but I’m slowly getting there.
And so can you. I know that trying to live as sustainable as possible can be a bit overwhelming at first and it does take time and effort to make this happen. But even if we all slip up sometimes and find ourselves sitting with a plastic coffee-cup in front of us because we forgot our reusable cup at home, it’s not worth beating ourselves up about it. What really counts is that we should be in it for the long run and that we collectively try, every single day, to give our best and do whatever we can to make a bit of a difference.
I’ve loved the ocean since I was a little kid. Although I live in Austria and am therefore nowhere near the sea, I always felt this deep connection to the ocean and its diverse inhabitants. Looking at how trashed the ocean has become in the last few years makes me cry and I want to use my voice over on my blog to raise awareness and to get some inspo from my readers, because we can only save our planet together.