In recent years, consumers have begun to put the ingredients of their products under the microscope, as well as consider the impact of their carbon footprint. With the environmental legislature being slow to change, consumers are taking the change into their own hands. Although it seems small, when everyone makes a change – it has a huge impact.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of low waste, environmentally friendly products that are actually better quality containing less chemical toxins and unwanted ingredients. The best part is that most of these products are the same price (if not less) than conventional mainstream products. In this post, I’ll be focusing on personal care products. Selecting personal care products has a lot to do with preference. From the bristles on your toothbrush to the smell of your deodorant, it depends on what you like. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to give some options with the benefits of the product, then leave the rest up to you! As many of these products aren’t found in major retailers, some of the links I provide will be to Amazon. To reduce packaging and shipping waste, opt to get all of your products delivered at once!
Let’s start with the basics – toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. Most of the mainstream tooth care products are housed in single-use plastics that are nearly impossible to recycle.
Low Waste natural Toothbrushes
Biodegradable toothbrushes are a sustainable option made from many materials; commonly bamboo and and sustainably grown corn. Some have nylon bristles which aren’t fully compostable, but are still low waste nonetheless. Bamboo toothbrushes have many benefits such as being antimicrobial, and the bristles are commonly charcoal-infused which helps to absorb agents that typically stain your teeth like coffee, soda, dark wines, etc.
Brush with Bamboo– this is the only fully plant based brush using a bamboo handle and bristles made from castor oil and bean oil.
Low Waste Natural Toothpaste
There are a lot of toothpaste brands that claim they’re low waste, all natural, vegan, etc. For the majority of them, the major difference I see is the ingredients they use in the actual toothpaste. Some use recycled plastics or metal to create their tubes, but the tubes can’t be recycled again after the toothpaste is in them. The lowest waste option is toothpaste tablets which are single tabs that come in a glass jar or paper packaging. This might be too harsh to an adjustment for some people, so I’ve included links to both. Regardless, using less manufactured chemicals, unnecessary ingredients and recycled packaging is a step in the right direction!
Low waste natural Floss
When I started my low impact / waste journey, there were a lot of products that I hadn’t realized the impact of their waste because they’re so small – floss being one of them. Typically, floss comes in a small plastic container that can’t be refilled, and the actual floss is usually made out of synthetic compounds like nylon or teflon which can’t be broken down. Switching to a zero waste floss is one of the easiest changes because it’s a simple product swap. Zero waste floss isn’t starkly different than regular floss – it’s made from biodegradable ingredients and comes in a refillable/reusable glass container. Not all of these options are vegan because the silk comes from the cocoon of silk worms, but there are still some options!
Moving on from Oral Care, I’m going to touch on some other commonly used personal care items that can easily be swapped for a sustainable, natural option!
Low waste natural First Aid
Most adhesive bandages/band aids are made from plastic and fibers which are never going to be biodegradable. One of the main ingredients in bandaids is PVC (AKA vinyl) which is toxic to the environment and to our health. In addition to bandaids, there are endless first aid products (ointments, medicines and pain relievers containing harmful chemicals). Here are some natural and/or low waste first aid options!
low waste natural Menstrual Care
Recently, I’ve seen quite a few different options for low waste menstrual care – this isn’t just healthy for the environment, they’re also healthy for your body. Research shows that many mainstream menstrual care products contain toxic ingredients. For this category, I won’t include links to specific products but will name some of the most popular types of healthy menstrual care products:
- Menstrual Cups – typically made from a medical grade silicone, they last for years.
- Biodegradable single use pads and tampons– while this option isn’t reusable, it is still better for the environment.
- Period proof underwear – the underwear can hold up to 2 tampons worth of blood and can be washed and reused.
- Reusable organic cotton pads – similar to reusable diapers you’d use on your babe, reusable pads can be washed. To prevent too much staining, you can soak them in cold water when you’re ready to change the pad.
In the next low-waste post, I’ll be focusing on household products!