Like many, I have been challenged around ideas of consumption. At first I felt overwhelmed by the ‘plastic problem’ – with supermarkets and large stores offering little in the way of plastic-free alternatives. So, I decided to look at independent businesses. I was encouraged to find many smaller companies taking conscious and purposeful steps towards reducing their impact on the environment and looking closely at their supply chains.
Our bathroom is crammed with creams, gels and lotions – most of which are packaged in plastic containers. After seeing the impact these sorts of hard plastics have on our oceans when thrown away and the length of time it takes for them to compose, I realised the problem began there in my own home. If you have a ‘zero waste’ shop nearby, or something similar, you can save your old bottles and take them to be refilled. I decided however, that to really make an impact I had to reduce the amount of plastic I was purchasing, rather than reusing it or recycling. By saying no to plastic, you eliminate the issue of how to dispose of it – essentially turning off the tap at the source.
I started simple – I switched my shower gel for a bar of soap from The All Natural Soap Co. After a few washes, it is safe to say I am sold out for soap! This particular company uses natural glycerine in its handmade bars which form a foamy lather. My skin loves it! The soaps are biodegradable, minimally packaged and many are vegan. I had so much fun choosing my favourite scents and colours and felt positive knowing that the soap was doing good for both my body and the environment, as they contain no chemical nasties like SLS, parabens and palm oil.
There are many ways you can get the most for your money by making your soap last as long as possible, like cutting it into smaller pieces and being careful to store it away from the shower stream. I invested in a slatted bamboo soap dish to ensure it drains well between each use and doesn’t go soft. I estimate that one bar lasts four to six weeks, showering once a day.
Since the swap I have noticed that many local shops stock small batch soaps and other cosmetics, all of which are reasonably priced. (This even extends to dog soap – full of natural oils for your furry friends!)
The plastic pledge has prompted me to think more critically about my consumer choices. Recently, my faith has played a greater part in my lifestyle as I try to make fair trade and ethical choices. This now extends to choosing products without plastic packaging as they are less of a burden on creation. On this journey God has shown me how connected we are to the people, animals and the environment around us and that being mindful of the impact we make on them is an integral way of acting with justice and compassion.
Could you give up one item of plastic? Sign our plastic pledge today!