Save our seas! Of course, we’re focused on the oceans here because that’s where we surf, swim, dive, snorkel and play, but let’s face it, plastic is doing damage on land, in our bodies, and all around. We’re now learning only 9% of plastics produced globally end up getting recycled. And if you think you’re recycling yours, well, you probably aren’t. We must stop our use of plastics at the source and do all we can to stop buying the stuff.
While it’s easy to avoid using plastic bags at the grocery store, we’ve found it’s not as easy to avoid plastics completely in the home. Our dish soap, our shampoo, our face wash, our chapstick, our laundry detergent, and our deodorant all come in plastic. So where to begin? No worries…we did the research for you!
Plastic Free in the Kitchen
You could keep your kitchen plastic free by making all sorts of Do It Yourself concoctions, but let’s be honest, nobody’s got time for that! Dish soap is the main culprit, or liquid dishwashing detergent if you’re rich enough for a dishwasher. Of course, if you drop the liquid, dishwashing detergent can be purchased in paper boxes. Easy.
But the dish soap at the kitchen sink? You can purchase liquid soap in paper cartons from companies like Clean Cult. They also make tablets for your dishwasher that come in paper bags. The drawbacks here that we don’t like: you can’t order a single refill when you need it, this is a membership scheme. Personally, those things mean we tend to buy more than we need. And that’s a problem too. It might work great for you.
Alternatively, No Tox Life sells a zero waste dishwashing block, which is just fantastic. Lather it up against your sponge like you would with your bath bar, and you’ve got a frothy mix to clean your dishes with. We’re ordering our block right now.
Speaking of your sponge…Did you know that most sponges are made of plastic, and little bits flake off, go down your drain, and end up in the ocean? Will those microplastics get filtered out before the sewer lines open up to nature? Research says no. So buy yourself a natural, environmentally friendly sponge. We’ve seen these sponges by Twist available widely in U.S. stores, we use ’em and we love ’em.
Plastic Free in the Bathroom
The bathroom is a tough one, so much plastic there! First, most people don’t really need to use deodorant. Try it. Everybody does need to brush their teeth. No Tox Life sells a mint toothpaste in a recyclable aluminum tube, and you can pair it with a bamboo toothbrush. The David’s brand toothpaste is very popular on the internet too, only the cap is plastic.
Ready to try something new? Drop the toothpaste and try a toothpaste tablet. You pop it in, give it a crunch, and froth it up with a wet toothbrush. Bite tablets come in cute, refillable glass jars, but again…that damn membership thing. I don’t know, maybe it’s handy.
Buying shampoo and conditioner in bulk and using it to refill your travel jars or smaller pumps is a good start, but you could drop the liquid shampoo completely and switch to a plastic-free bar! Ladies love the shampoo bars at LUSH cosmetics, and they’re very convenient for traveling with too. No liquids, no worries when it comes to TSA.
Plastic Free at the Beach!
Of course, we’re all about travel and going to the beach. Not only do those pesky little travel-sized containers usually come in plastic, but so does our sunscreen.
If it’s an option when traveling, check your bags. No little plastic bag required. If that’s just not possible, no TSA requirement says your toiletry bag has to be plastic. As long as it’s one quart, see through and has a zippered closure, you’re good to go with a nylon or cotton mesh bag.
We’ve seen lots of silicone alternatives to travel packaging, but we don’t like ’em. Silicone is not biodegradable and effectively lasts in the environment just as long as plastic. While it lasts longer, when you finally are done with it, you’ll need to take it to a specialty recycling center. Be wary and mindful when reaching to a silicon alternative. Ask yourself if there’s another way.
If you followed our above recommendations, your shampoo and soap is in bar form and can be stored in a steel or tin container, and even your toothpaste is in tablet form. No liquids and no need for a TSA approved toiletry bag.
And…once you arrive at your beachfront destination, EiR NYC offers a natural reef-safe Surf Mud that comes in a tin, or as a stick in paper packaging. To keep them long-lasting, store these preservative-free products in the fridge when you’re not using them. Avasol is another responsible brand that offers plastic-free packaging for their line of sunscreen.
What did we miss? Share your favorite, most effective everyday tricks for living a plastic free life in the comments below.