Easy Swaps to live more sustainably: In the Bathroom
Here at Almond & Co our mission is to help you to reduce your household waste. But for sustainable living to work for the planet, it also needs to work for you. It can be hard to change habits, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Even a few small changes can make a big difference when it comes to how much waste you produce. You could try and make one swap each month, or pick an area that you’d like to change first.
If you’ve all ready decided you’d like to try some sustainable products, it can be really overwhelming when you start looking at the options. With most items being unavailable in high street stores, you’re often left to research online and just hope that you like whatever arrives in the post. At Almond & Co, we have done all the research and all the trying for you! We only stock products that we love, that work, that look/taste/feel good and most importantly are actually beneficial to the planet. Wherever possible we work with local suppliers who we know and trust. If you’d like to see what you are buying before you make the leap, then please do pop into the shop and we can show you the products and help you choose.
Here we’ve selected some of the easiest swaps can you make. We’re going to do this as a trilogy, (don’t worry, it won’t be as long or as complicated as the Lord of the Rings). We’re starting today in the bathroom, next time we’ll delve into the kitchen and then we’ll give you some tips for when you’re out and about.
Before we get started, we’d just like to answer a question we get asked a lot. Is it more expensive to use sustainable products? There might be an initial investment at first, but in the long run, all of these swaps will end up saving you money. They are made to be used again and again and again, so you can start eliminating the usual things you put into your trolley each week!
Reusable make-up pads
The UK uses an estimated 11 billion wipes per year (1). There seems to be wipes for everything now – hands, faces, bottoms, surfaces, children… But they all get binned and go to landfill, or worse, they get flushed and end up clogging up our sewage systems and flowing into our rivers and seas. Part of the issue is that most wipes contain plastic and synthetic fibres. When they enter the water systems they break down, releasing microplastics, which end up entering wildlife and human food chains.
Reusable pads are a great way to reduce this crazy amount of waste. We love the ones made by local company, the Stitchery Dorset. They are the perfect replacement for make up wipes. Use with water or coconut oil then simply rinse and pop them in the washing machine. Kind to your face, kind to the planet, and kind to your wallet - at £6.50 for 5 these could end up saving you hundreds of pounds!
This is probably our best zero-waste swap in terms of the amount of money and waste saved. The razor uses a single blade, which makes one clean cut on the surface. It doesn’t cut quite so close to the skin (yet still leaves a smooth finish) so it’s great for your skin as it avoids ingrown hairs and razor rash from the tugging of multiple blade razors. The idea of using a single blade can be daunting at first but it’s nothing to worry about. It took just a few goes to get used to and if you slowly glide it along your skin at a 45 degree angle you’ll soon be silky smooth, and safe in the knowledge you’re not chucking tonnes of plastic razors in the bin each month. We stock Naked Necessities shaving products, who tell us that over 2 billion plastic razors are thrown away each year, as well as a metal range from the Zero Waste Club. Combined with moisturising shaving bars, olive soap and blade disposal tins (for safe recycling) we have everything you need to make your hair-free swap carefree!
Reusable sanitary pads and menstrual cups
Let’s talk about periods. Chlorine, bleach, dioxins and dyes probably wouldn’t be on the list if we were to ask you what you want inside your body. But in fact, that’s exactly what you’ll find in most period products, which tend to be made from synthetic fibres and chemical-filled materials.
Not only this, but with women using an estimated 11,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime (2), there is a lot of waste (often containing plastic) ending up in landfill and waterways.
If you’d like to consider a more natural way of dealing with your period, then reusable pads or menstrual cups are a great alternative.
The pads simply need rinsing with cold water after use (this will help to stop them from staining), and then pop them in the washing machine (they come with a little laundry net to keep them together in a load). If you’re unsure, then you can always buy one or two, see how you get on with them and then gradually build up a bigger collection. We stock a range of ethically produced moon pads by local supplier, Victoria Lovett (fun fact, she is the wife of Bad Hand Coffee owner, the local roastery based in the Triangle whose beans we stock). They come in an array of colourful patterns and you can choose from hemp or cotton.
Menstrual cups are another option. They are a reusable device, usually made from silicone and are worn inside the vagina where they collect (not absorb) the blood. They tend to hold three times more than tampons or pads making them easy to use, eliminating the need to carry loads of spare products and are great for overnight use. At around £20 each the initial outlay is a bit more, but they will last for years and years. They can take a little bit of getting used to, but most people we speak to say that once they started, they never looked back.
We have chosen to stock the Talulah Cup, an ethical company which is helping hundreds of woman in Zambia with menstrual health and hygiene. You can read more about their story here www.talulahcup.com
Not only do these reusable products help eliminate waste, anecdotally users tend to experience less pain and lighter periods.
Washing your hair frequently can actually cause your scalp to produce more oil resulting in greasy hair, making you want to wash it again and again – it becomes a bit of catch 22 situation. Whilst we don’t expect you to stop washing your hair, the rise of the shampoo bar is helping us get back to our natural roots (haha, geddit) as they tend to be made with more natural ingredients. Shampoo bars are really concentrated (picture normal shampoo but without the water) and as long as you keep them dry between uses, they will last for 50-80 washes. It’s thought in the UK alone we will get through a whopping 520 million shampoo bottles every year so that’s a lot of plastic waste you’ll be saving if you make the swap.
We stock Nope products - they don’t contain any synthetics, are SLS free (the nasty chemical that can make your hair dry and brittle), are plastic free and aren’t tested on animals. With natural foaming cleansers from coconut oil, the bars still lather up beautifully and used with the conditioner bar too you’ll be left with silky-smooth, clean and nourished hair.
Okay, we get it – not many people these days want to go totally ‘au naturel’ when it comes to their armpits. But with pretty much all of us either spritzing or rolling on deodorants and anti-perspirants every single day, we’re creating a huge amount of rubbish in order to smell sweet. Packaging from these products is not always easy to recycle - they usually need to be totally empty/dry with lids and tops removed and in reality this is just not happening. Coupled with the chemicals released from aerosols, which have a harmful effect on CO2 emissions, these products are really hurting our planet.
There are some fantastic options on the market now that will allow you to avoid all the nasty chemicals found in most conventional deodorants, and ditch the plastic and aerosols. Most anti-perspirants can actually end up putting your body into a bit of sweaty cycle. They work by blocking the pores of the skin to stop you from sweating (usually with aluminium), but your body then just wants to sweat more in order to unblock the clogged pores… The deodorants we have tackle the bacteria instead as this is what creates the body odour. They tend to help your body re-regulate and you end up sweating much less. At Almond & Co we stock plant and mineral derived, cruelty-free products by ‘Scence’ ‘Ben and Anna’ and ‘Biork’, all of which use eco-friendly, recyclable packaging. This can be quite a big change, so why not pop in and see us so you can smell and feel the products and we can talk you through the different options.
Finally let’s talk teeth! Globally, every year over a billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away (4). That is a whole lot of rubbish for sparkly smiles and fresh breath. Please don’t stop brushing your teeth (no, seriously, don’t) but do think about making a super easy switch to a bamboo toothbrush. We stock Truthbrush – with bamboo handles and plant-based bristles these brushes are eco-friendly, award winning and effective and we also stock our very own branded Charcoal Bristled bamboo toothbrushes pack of 4 for all the family!
We hope that’s given you some information and advice about how you can start ditching the plastic and gradually bring reusable products into your daily routines, but please feel free to pop in, give us a call on 01202 280303 or drop us line for more information.
(1) – Water UK – www.water.org.uk
(2) – Wen, www.wen.org.uk
(3) - Circular, www.circualr.co.uk
(4) – Truthbrush www.thetruthbrush.com