As we increasingly realise the impacts that plastic pollution is having on our planet and our global neighbours, we might start thinking about how we can reduce our waste. And as well intentioned as our recycling efforts are, the biggest impact we can have is by minimising our reliance on single-use plastics and packaging as much as we can.
Whether you’re looking for a specific swap, want to try a few new ideas or want to make changes room by room, here are a few easy plastic swaps you can make today.
Soap and hair care
Among the biggest contributors to bathroom plastic waste are the bottles containing essentials like soap and shampoo – but this doesn’t have to be the case. There’s evidence to suggest hand soap bars have been around since the Ancient Egyptians and you can now find solid alternatives to almost everything that lathers. If you prefer liquids, you could make use of your local refill shop to top up and reuse bottles of liquid soap and hair care products.
Toilet roll normally comes wrapped in plastic and whether it’s labelled as biodegradable or recyclable it’s best avoided. There are plenty of plastic-free options available nowadays, including online subscriptions and off-the-shelf products in your local supermarket. Many of the alternatives are also free from the chemicals and bleaches that make toilet paper perfectly white. (You’ll be surprised how bizarre regular bright-white toilet paper looks to you in a matter of weeks.)
Oral hygiene creates an oversized amount of plastic pollution for the four minutes a day we spend on it: toothbrushes, disposable electric-toothbrush heads, toothpaste tubes and even floss. Plastic toothbrushes can be replaced with bamboo (although sometimes the bristles still pose an issue) and there are recycling services for used electric toothbrush heads. There are toothpaste options that come in glass or even toothpaste tablets that you chew to create a paste in your mouth. Finally, there are several places selling plastic-free floss made from materials like cornstarch, bamboo and charcoal.