Zero Waste Swaps: Personal Hygiene

While the journey towards zero waste is a continuous one, these alternatives to wasteful items will make it a little easier. All of these items have been tried, tested, and approved by me. When making these swaps keep in mind what to do with your old items – don’t throw them away! Use up old products, recycle, donate, give away or sell the rest. The purpose of zero waste is to prevent as much matter from heading to the landfill as possible.

Here are some of my recommended swaps to make in the area of personal hygiene.

Swap Plastic Razors for a Metal Safety Razor

The Waste Problem: Disposable razors

Why:  Non-recyclable, expensive, wasteful

The Alternative: Safety Razor or laser hair removal

Where to buy: Here

 

Swap Plastic Toothbrush for a Bamboo One

The Waste Problem: Plastic toothbrush

Why:  Non-recyclable, wasteful

The Alternative: Bamboo compostable and sustainable toothbrushes

Where to buy: Here

 

Swap Makeup Remover Wipes and Cotton Balls for Coconut Oil and Reusable Cotton Rounds

The Waste Problem: Disposable makeup remover wipes and cotton balls

Why:  They’re wasteful, expensive, unnecessary, and the wipes often have toxic chemicals

The Alternative: Organic coconut oil and Reusable Cotton Rounds

Where to buy: Here

 

Swap Bottles of Body Wash for Bar Soap

The Waste Problem: Body wash in plastic packaging

Why:  It’s wasteful and not recyclable everywhere

The Alternative: Unwrapped bulk soap

Where to buy:  Here

 

Swap Bleached Toilet Paper for Bamboo Toilet Paper

The Waste Problem: Bleached toilet paper in plastic packaging

Why:  Dangerous chemicals, non-recyclable, wasteful

The Alternative: Bamboo toilet paper wrapped in paper

Where to buy: Here

 

Swap Disposable Tampons and Pads for a Menstrual Cup and Reusable Pads

The Waste Problem: Plastic tampon applicator and disposable pads

Why:  Pads ending up in landfills, conventional cotton in tampons is pesticide laden, and plastic applicators –  I don’t want plastic in my life, especially not in me

The Alternative: Menstrual cup such as a Lunette cup and/or reusable pads

Where to buy: Menstrual cups here and pads here

 

Swap Traditional Floss for Refillable Dental Lace

 

The Waste Problem: Traditional floss and plastic floss containers

Why:  The containers are rarely recyclable or recycled, and some floss manufacturers coat floss in a chemical contaminant that helps it glide through gums more easily, but can lead to other health issues

The Alternative: Refillable dental lace made from 100% mulberry silk

Where to buy: Here

 

Swap Deodorant Stick in Plastic for a Jar of Cream Deodorant

 

The Waste Problem:  Traditional sticks of deodorant

Why:  Most sticks come in plastic containers often wrapped in more plastic packaging

The Alternative: Natural cream deodorant in a glass and metal container

Where to buy:Here

 

Swap a Loofah for a Natural Bath Sponge

The Waste Problem: Synthetic loofah

Why: Most drugstore loofahs are made from non-compostable or non-recyclable materials

The Alternative: A natural bath sponge

Where to buy: Here

 Purchase all of these, plus more of my favorite zero waste bathroom and personal hygiene items below.

 

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Why I Make My Own Toothpaste



I haven’t purchased toothpaste in years, and y​es –  I brush my teeth!​ How is this possible? I make it myself.

When I transitioned to a Zero Waste lifestyle over four years ago, toothpaste was the first product I stopped buying and started making. The ingredients are simple and easy to find at almost any store: baking soda, organic coconut oil, and organic essential oils. It takes no more than 2 minutes to combine these three ingredients, and the toothpaste leaves my mouth feeling so incredibly fresh— way fresher than store­bought toothpaste.

But let’s take a step back… why did I make the switch from “conventional” packaged toothpaste to one that I make myself?

The Packaging:

For starters, I live a Zero Waste lifestyle and toothpaste tubes are totally wasteful. They are typically sold with not just the tube, but a box as well. While the box is recyclable, the tube is very difficult or impossible to recycle and will most likely end up in a landfill. The benefit of making my own toothpaste is that I can put it in a glass jar or stainless steel container that I can wash and reuse infinitely. No plastic tubes, no trash, no landfill.

The Ingredients:

I like to have control of what I am putting on and in my body. There has been a lot of controversy around the ingredients that are in conventional toothpaste. Two that I will focus on are triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate, but conventional toothpaste also contains fluoride, propylene glycol, and sodium hydroxide, all of which are controversial because they are linked to cancer and a long list of other ailments.

Triclosan:​ A chemical added to many products to reduce bacterial contamination which is also used in toothpaste to prevent gingivitis,​according to the FDA and toothpaste manufacturers.​In addition, it has been said to be potentially carcinogenic and have negative effects on the endocrine system in animals. It is banned in certain applications in Europe and in 2011, some of Colgate’s soap products were reformulated without the chemical, but not their toothpaste. The ecotoxicology of the ingredient is still under heavy scrutiny and EWG rates it to have a moderate/high health hazard. That’s all I needed to hear to make the decision to stay clear of it for good.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): ​Is a surfactant (a foaming agent that lowers the tension between two liquids or a liquid and a solid) used in toothpaste to evenly disperse the ingredients and help with effective rinsing and removal of mouth debris. It also promotes foaming. Many studies on SLS show that it is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process, which is also a possible carcinogen. SLS is also said to aggravate gums. No, thank you.

If something has a supposed risk, I will avoid it until I have concrete evidence that it is safe. This is why I choose to make my own toothpaste with just three ingredients that I trust and buy package­free: baking soda, organic coconut oil, and organic essential oils.

The Savings:

Toothpaste can cost anywhere between $1­-$8 for a 6oz tube depending on the brand you are buying and where you are purchasing it from. In my experience (purchasing ingredients in NYC), I have spent at most $.60 for 6oz of toothpaste. All aside, the cost savings alone are worth it.

With so much to gain and not much to lose, making your own toothpaste makes sense! It’s cheaper to make, tastes better, feels better in your mouth, and is better for you. See for yourself, to learn how to make my zero waste toothpaste by checking out this video. 

Find some more of my favorite zero waste dental hygiene products below:

Repurposed from this post on EcoWatch.com

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Zero Waste Shopping: A How To Guide

One of the most common questions I get is how to shop in bulk or package free. In this series of videos you will learn how to tare your jars to buy bulk, how to buy liquids in bulk, and how to buy solids in bulk so that you can be prepared to shop Zero Waste anywhere that offers bulk.

IMPORTANT: very often I hear that people feel uncomfortable trying to buy things package free because they are afraid the people will look at them like they are weird, or challenge them. Well, guess what, Zero Waste is NOT the norm and it is likely that people might not know what you are doing.

EMBRACE IT!: If someone looks at you when you try to shop Zero Waste, it is most likely because you are the first person that they have ever seen shopping that way and they don’t know what you are doing, it’s not that they think you are weird. Take this as an opportunity to educate someone or reach out to them and explain what you are doing in a positive way. Remember, the more you shop package free, the more common it will become for stores and other shoppers and the more comfortable others will feel doing it. I believe in living my values, and so I am never afraid of looking different from others, I embrace it!

YOUR ONE STOP SHOP: And lucky for you, I recently opened a store, Package Free Shop, alongside my business partner Zero Waste Daniel to make it easier for anyone and everyone to transition into a low, or zero waste lifestyle. You can shop all my favorite items online here, or if you’re in NYC, stop by our shop at  137 Grand Street Brooklyn NY, 11249 Below are a few essential items to get you going.


 

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My Favorite Zero Waste Toothbrush

In this video I’m talking about living a zero waste lifestyle but also keeping your teeth nice and healthy by choosing a better brush. I’ve listed my all-time favorite toothbrush below so you can get one too, and make sure to check out the video to learn more

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Zero Waste Deodorant That Actually Works

Smelly armpits are pretty unanimously unsexy. I hear people saying all the time that they cannot find deodorant that is sustainable or “eco” that keeps their armpits scent free and they go back to plastic packaged, chemical laden store bought deodorant.

That was until I discovered Meow Meow Tweet’s small-batch, vegan, all-natural and organic deodorant sticks. Get yourself one below.

If you’re in the mood to DIY, I created a recipe for deodorant that kept me smelling fresh and clean even when working out. Check out how I keep stinkiness at bay in this video:

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Contact Lenses

I have terrible vision.

When a doctor first told my mom that I had bad vision there was a brief second of excitement, glasses! But then reality struck. It was so cool to see like 70 percent of what was in front of me, but then there was this large range outside of the glasses that I couldn’t see and it was weird and terrifying and so I graduated to contact lenses. I have been wearing the for over 12 years now and can’t see myself going back to glasses (no pun intended) and the thought of getting laser eye surgery isn’t even a thought for me.

So how do I live a Zero Waste lifestyle and still wear contacts? Check out this video below!

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