They estimate about 4.8 - 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year. That plastic washes up on shores, gets tangled in wildlife and even ends up in our food because fish and other marine life often end up eating it.
These days, plastic is hard to avoid. It's in most packaging from groceries to the to-go cups from fast food restaurants. You can recycle a lot of plastic things, but recycling isn't as effective as avoiding plastic all together. Countries are banning single use plastic and many brands are looking for alternative products, so as an individual I've set out to try to do the same - reduce my plastic consumption.
I took a hard look at what I typically buy and wow, it's a lot harder than I thought. I encourage you to be intentional with plastic for one day. Keep track of what you use, buy, etc and see how much plastic you use over the course of 24 hours. Then try to go to the grocery store and try to buy your entire meal without any plastic whatsoever. You'll be shook, because even the darn veggies usually have plastic stickers on them!
There is a big movement right now to go "zero waste." The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or then ocean. The process is similar to the way natural resources are reused in nature. But it's a huge commitment. One I ultimately want to make, but I need an on ramp before I can go full beast mode on zero waste...So right now I'm starting with a few specific things. I'm going naked.
Sorry to disappoint all those who came here to read about how I'm embracing a new lifestyle and maybe even joining a nudist colony. While I'm all for a topless adventure (what happens in Europe, stays in Europe right?), I am going naked with my hygiene products. Whenever I can, I'm investing in a beauty routine that avoids plastic. I'm making my own products or investing in brands that also seek to remove plastic from their packaging and products.
It can be a little hard, but the extra effort of saving the planet while taking care of yourself, provides a surprising added benefit than just the skin care product you've chosen use. You feel good on the outside, and the inside.
My first stop is Lush Cosmetics. My mom first introduced this company to me when they were only found overseas. They make all their products by hand with natural, organic ingredients, and best of all, they are completely cruelty free. Never tested on animals - in fact they go out of their way to protect them. (See their current orangutan campaign)
I first fell in love with Lush because of their bath bombs and soaps. I'm a huge fan of unwinding in the tub with a glass of wine, a book, and a mask on my face, so you could say I'm a frequent customer. Their bath bombs come unpackaged so you can smell each and every one with fresh ingredients that really do make a difference in the tub and on your skin.
Now they've expanded their line of unpackaged goods to even more bath time products. Shampoo bars and face wash! I usually go through 3-4 bottles of shampoo throughout the year. If everyone went through shampoo bottles at the same rate as me, there would be over 12 billion shampoo bottles being thrown away each year... yikes! I have found these shampoo bars to be life changing. They are really easy to use (just a few streaks across your hair) and the soapy suds make my hair smell and feel better than regular bottled shampoo. I'm picky about my shampoo/conditioner because I have such fine hair - but let me tell you, these things work!
Face wash is also something I go through pretty regularly. Lush has also come out with small face wash bars that leave your skin looking radiant. Exfoliants, makeup removers, you name it. They make morning and night time routines feel like a day at the spa.
So I've been able to transform my daily shower time routine - shampoo/conditioner bar, face wash bar, exfoliating (and moisturizing) soap - now it's time I turn my attention to my teeth. I'm pretty particular about my teeth because I am sometimes prone to cavities (donuts are a favorite food group...) and I like to keep my teeth as white as I can. So the prospect of switching to something other then Crest got me nervous. I looked into a couple of different options, but the best one that I have tried is Bite. An all-natural, plastic alternative for toothpaste, these little bits of toothpaste are great to bring with you while traveling. Raise your hand if you're always worried about your toothpaste exploding? No more, my friend! The charcoal mint flavor is pretty good; the hardest part is getting over the texture because it isn't a cream feeling like normal toothpaste. It's gritty, but it definitely gets the job done and gives you a clearer conscience.
Oh, and don't forget your toothbrush! Super simple, but pick up a bamboo toothbrush next time you need a new one. Completely biodegradable and works just as well!
Ok, so the last thing on my beauty routine list is face masks. I love a good Dr. Jart face mask, you know, the ones that make you look like a serial killer? But they aren't sustainable and are one-time use only... so instead I've been experimenting with my own concoctions.
The easiest (and quickest one) one is just oats and milk, stuff you probably have lying around the house. 1 tablespoon whole rolled oats, 2 tablespoons 2% milk... mix together...wash face with warm water...apply and let mixture sit for 20 minutes... and rinse. Voila! Smoother, softer skin without breaking the bank or extra plastic. I got this recipe from SiO Beauty - they have a lot more here, for those interested.
So what do you think? Could you make the switch to go naked? It can be hard to let go of tried and true products, but there are lots of other great alternatives out there that don't rely on packaging to keep them fresh or make them work. Definitely worth experimenting if you're up for the adventure.
How do you use less plastic in your beauty routine? Any new products I should try? Share them below! Let's all go naked together!