It’s no secret that plastic is an ever-growing problem. The quantity of plastic waste being produced each year is staggering — and only nine percent is ever recycled. Today, we generate approximately 380 million tons of plastic every year. Most of that plastic waste is made up of single-use or disposable plastic products, like the ones commonly found in our toiletry bags.
Want to do your part to help? Take a look inside your toiletry bag and swap these 10 plastic products for more sustainable alternatives.
1. Bottled Shampoo
Traditional shampoos are typically made with high density polyethylene (HDPE), a type of plastic that potentially takes hundreds of years to break down. Why not use a shampoo bar instead? When properly formulated, shampoo bars work so much better than the liquid stuff. Plus, they’re often 100 percent plastic-free and don’t have the nasty ingredients that are all too common in conventional shampoos. Trade in your liquid shampoo for a shampoo bar, and chances are you won’t look back.
2. Bottled Conditioner
Well, you can’t simply leave your shampoo bar lonely, can you? But seriously, switching to a conditioner bar just makes sense, especially if you’re a Curly Girl Method devotee. Unlike traditional conditioners that are loaded with silicones, conditioner bars are usually silicone-free and come packed with nourishing ingredients that leave strands silky-smooth without weighing hair down. It’s a win-win for your hair and the environment!
3. Disposable Razors
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Considering that disposable razors are meant to be tossed away after only a few uses, it’s pretty disheartening to think how much plastic waste ends up in landfill sites from razors alone. Fortunately, there is an easy, low-waste alternative: steel safety razors. Made entirely of stainless steel, safety razors are designed to last a lifetime and require simple, metal blades (read: no cartridges). Are you now looking for a low-waste shave cream? Your solid conditioner bar can double as a shave bar in a pinch!
There are a slew of problems with conventional deodorant, least of which are the ingredients. Conventional deodorants — specifically, those with aluminum — often contain toxic ingredients that have been linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. And, of course, there’s the fact that most deodorants come swathed in plastic.
Thankfully, there are now plenty of natural, plastic-free deodorants that promise to cut the stink without contributing to our ever-growing plastic waste problem.
5. Toothbrush and Toothpaste
We all need to keep our teeth clean somehow, but who says the planet has to be harmed in the process? Replacing your plastic toothbrush for one made of bamboo is possibly one of the easiest zero-waste swaps you can make to lower your carbon footprint.
If you want to take things one step further, you can also ditch your plastic tubes of toothpaste for a more sustainable option, like toothpaste tablets. Tablets not your thing? Try David’s Natural Toothpaste, which comes in a 100 percent recyclable metal tube.
6. Makeup Remover Wipes
Wait a minute, makeup remover wipes have plastic in them?! Sadly, yes. Makeup removers are notoriously bad for the environment because they’re made of non-biodegradable plastic fibers. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly (and budget-friendly) addition to your toiletry bag, switch to reusable cotton rounds. You can reuse these pads hundreds of times to remove makeup, apply toner, remove nail polish — you name it. And once you’ve worn them down, you can compost them.
7. Hair Brush/Comb
A sustainable hair brush is one of those products that you buy on a whim one day and then wonder why you didn’t make the switch sooner. After all, eco-friendly combs and brushes do the job just as well as their conventional counterparts, only without the plastic. They also come in a variety of designs to help you achieve the exact hair style you’re going for.
Of course, don’t replace your hairbrush unless you actually need a new one. But when that day comes, look for a hair brush that’s made from sustainable materials — like bamboo and tree-derived rubber. Your hair and the environment will thank you for it!
Most of us keep a few adhesive bandages in our toiletry bags on the off chance we get an annoying cut or blister. But most conventional bandages are made of plastic — usually PVC, polyethylene or polyurethane. PVC plastic, which is infamously known as the “poison plastic,” is particularly concerning due to its high quantity of toxic ingredients. If you’re looking for a more sustainable alternative, switch to biodegradable bandages made from bamboo fiber.
If you struggle with dry skin on occasion, there’s a good chance that you keep a travel-sized bottle of lotion in your toiletry bag. But like shampoo and conditioner, lotion doesn’t need to come in a traditional plastic bottle. In fact, lotion bars have an advantage over liquid lotion because they’re good for the skin and good for the earth. Plus, they’re travel-friendly! You’ll never have to deal with an exploding lotion bottle in your duffle bag ever again.
10. Hair Ties
Hair ties might be convenient for when you need to quickly throw your hair into a ponytail or good ol’ man bun, but they’re definitely not good for the environment. For one thing, they almost always come wrapped in plastic. Additionally, most hair ties are low-quality and usually made from synthetic materials. When they become lost (as they often do), they can end up in our waterways, where they harm wildlife and contribute to our plastic pollution problem.
For a more sustainable alternative, choose plastic-free, biodegradable hair ties. There are lots of great options out there, but the best ones are usually made from certified natural rubber and organic cotton.
Give Your Toiletry Bag a Sustainable Upgrade
Making the effort to incorporate plastic-free products into your life can sound, well, a little daunting. So, why not start with your toiletry bag? With a few simple swaps, you’ll be well on your way to a low-waste lifestyle.
Article Submitted By Community Writer