Helping the planet & our own health by reducing bathroom plastics
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Read on for how you can make a difference today and be part of a bigger wave of movement to change the planet for the better
Every single human on this planet should know by now the dangers and detrimental effect plastics are having on wildlife, sea life, pollution levels and our own health. Here are some devastating facts to remind you in the plastic crisis our world is in:
1) A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute – according to a report by the Guardian newspaper in 2016, that’s equivalent to 20,000 bottles sold every second. Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean.
2) Every time we wash our synthetic clothes, 9,000,000 plastic microfibers are released per laundry. According to Ocean Clean Wash, a campaign initiated by the Plastic Soup Campaign in 2016, an average household generates about 20kg of dust a year, of which 6kg consist of microplastics. So to break that down, every time a synthetic fleece is washed, 1.7g of microfibre are released into our water system (University of California) Microfibers have also been found in tap water as well as bottled water. So stop and think for a minute the extensive damage this must be having on our wildlife, sealife and our own health through water ingestion.
3) The National Geographic states that there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are already floating in our oceans. Therefore 73% of beach litter is plastic from cigarette ends to polystyrene containers. Local coastal residents are taking it on theirselves to make a difference and cleaning up beaches such as Surfers Against Sewage, a grassroots organisation who are bringing communities together to inspire people to protect their coastlines. They state, ‘Throwaway plastic pollution is our new sewage. 12 million tonnes of marine litter and plastic enter the oceans every year.’
I could cover pages just hurtling depressing facts at you, but you get the gist that we are facing an immense problem that we all need to address. The good news is that we can all make a difference, you do not need to make grand gestures by starting to implement small changes into your daily lives and passing these habits onto your children and family members, is enough to make a difference, collectively.
A good place to start is in your bathroom. I came across a fact recently that really shocked me but actually it makes a lot of sense. Whilst Brits recycle 90% of kitchen waste, only 50% of bathroom waste in recycled,
There could be for a number of reasons for this:
1) We have 1 bin in the bathroom, and so with the cross-contamination it is all likely to end up in the black bin.
2) The beauty manufacturers are notoriously bad at using plastics that are not widely recycled and also not giving the option to re-fill, meaning vast amounts of unnecessary and bulky waste.
3) A beauty purchase can be an impulsive and emotional purchase so we are less likely to buy ‘with our head’ and reach for brands and products that target our weak spots and insecurities.
I was appalled recently when I wrote to a company that I believed to have sound eco credentials for cleaning products. I had bought a foaming handwash from them in the naïve belief I would just be able to refill when empty. I soon realised what a mistake I had made. First of all, the regular handwash failed to foam in my foaming container, so after a failed attempt to find refill for it anywhere, I wrote to the manufacturer who told me that they don’t offer re-fills! This is a brand that appears to be telling the eco story but when it comes down to it, is no better than the regular brands that are actually much cheaper!
So with all this in mind, I wanted to reach out with some tips to share with you about how to reduce waste in your bathroom and still feel/look/smell as good as you always did.
1) Do not take a company purely on face value alone, take a couple of minutes to do your desk research and you will soon find out whether the company can back up its claims. Every company out there at the moment is claiming to be ‘ecco’ but take the time to find out if their version of Eco-friendly resonates with yours!
2) Go back to good old soap. There are some beautiful soaps out there right now made by small businesses who take the time and care to create vegan and ethical soap. It’s also quite chic these days to have an artisan soap on a soap-dish on display in your guests’ toilet! Brands to look out for are: Little Soap Company (we are currently using the Grapefruit & Orange one which smells divine and doesn’t leave your hands dry), Soap Folk, Weleda and Faith In Nature. However keep your eyes out for artisan creations at your local farmer's market and independant stores. Markets are even happening online now to support local businesses to stay afloat.
3) Standard deodorants are big offenders when it comes to toxic ingredients and plastic/metal waste. However, within the natural beauty circles it is notoriously hard to get a natural deodorant in biodegradable packaging that actually works for a length of time. However, I am so excited to say I ACTUALLY FOUND ONE! It deodorises, freshens, it doesn’t irritate skin and is 100% biodegradable. I present to you; We Love the Planet available from Ocado and Holland & Barrett. I went for the sensitive option and although it is quite pricey at £8.99, for me it is well worth it for its effectiveness (without aluminium and other nasties) and knowing I can just pop the cardboard outer in the recycling once finished.
4) I have also struggled to find natural shampoo without the chemical nasties, that do not irritate my sensitive scalp and will leave my hair silky soft without the need for plastic coating. However, after years of trial and error, I am delighted to have found Ethique Shampoo bars. I have spent ridiculous money on ‘naturally’ branded haircare, so £12.99 which for me does the job of a shampoo and a conditioner (even though officially it's only a shampoo), and lasts ages, it is very good value. It comes in a cardboard box but has a very small plastic based sticker to secure it. For me, this is a compromise I am prepared to take.
As a nutritionist, I must point out that skin and hair heath start from within so to keep my hair & skin looking its best I take a broad spectrum multi-nutrient offering all the essential vitamins and minerals to support optimal health, in the forms the body can absorb, without unnecessary additives or cruelty.
Most brands, even though they state to be ecologically-minded aren’t prepared to put the dedication, money and legwork it takes to make their brand truly sustainable. So after a lot of research and many questions I have found the vegan premium brand of choice for me is Ethical Nutrition Company. They offer expert nutritional advice, the only 100% biodegradable supplement packaging available, and even can be posted through the door. To boot, they are the best priced high quality supplements I can find for my clients. You can find out about the family who developed this brand, Grace & Mark, and even their cute little baby Daisy, here. I love a human story behind the brand and happy to support small family businesses in this time of uncertainty (and of course a fellow nutritionist).
If you have any questions about natural beauty, personal care or home hygiene, then please drop me a message and I will be happy to answer.
Watch out for more articles to come on these subjects as natural health is my passion, and an area I have spent over 15 years trialling and researching (I started out in big business skincare). As a nutrition evangelist, I am always reminding my clients, that there is little point spending money on organic food, if we are not looking at what else we are putting in our body, via our skin, hair and nails!
I’d love to hear your natural beauty finds too. Please message me to let me know.
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Best wishes for great health, inside and out,