This is a topic that I have been wanting to blog about for the last month, but other things have taken precedence. However, I have had a good few weeks to try out some new products and can confidently share my enthusiasm for some of the little treasures that I've discovered.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, today I would like to introduce some new ideas on the things that keep us feeling beautiful. Yes the topic of the day is toiletries and the discussion will hold no bounds, so those with sensitivities turn away now.
When I first embarked on The Rubbish Diet, I realised that in my attempts to go for Zero Waste, one of the things that I had to ditch was the aerosol antiperspirant/deodorant brand that I had been using for years, as these have no other fate than the landfill.
I had thought about changing over a few years ago when I became aware of potential health issues surrounding using aerosols (see Guardian article here). However, when I thought of the alternatives, wet and icky roll-ons had little appeal and deodorant bars seemed far too hippy-ish for me. A girl needs products upon which she can rely and I never thought a deodorant bar could do the job. I am sure there are many people out there who share my doubts on the matter.
But come closer and huddle together, while I share the news that I'VE FINALLY DITCHED THE AEROSOL and HAVE BOUGHT A BAR and I feel pretty confident that I haven't turned into the smelly old hippy that I thought I would. Well I don't think I have anyway and I am sure someone would have mentioned it by now. In fact, the deodorant bar has been far more effective than my old aerosol brand, which is fantastic.
I bought my bar from Lush and because I was doubtful about the whole situation, I chose the product that came with "added insurance". It's called T'eo and the great news is that it has been superb. I've used it for a month and it looks like there are a few more months use ahead yet, so it has already proven to be great value for money. The only downside is that it was wrapped in a bubble-wrap pocket, which is tricky to recycle but at least it can be reused for other things.
When I placed my order online, I thought about the other products that might help to reduce waste. Even though my usual shampoo and shower gel bottles can be recycled easily, I considered going the extra mile and try eliminating them altogether. Consequently I have also been experimenting with shampoo bars that do away with plastic packaging and I haven't been disappointed. The shampoo bar is very effective and I have just bought some shower butter cream, which I have yet to try out. I even managed to find some shaving cream for Mr A.
For someone on a Zero Waste programme, the delivery from Lush is a delight, as the package comes in a recyclable or reusable cardboard box, which is padded out with popcorn. Yes, POPCORN. Take a look at the main photo again and you will see that it's not polystyrene puffs, but pure compostable popcorn. Thank you Lush, this must be the most eco-friendly delivery I've received in a long time. My next intention is to pop into a store when I am the vicinity, so I can do away with the packaging altogether.
It's so easy to fall into a regular habit and hold onto it for years isn't it? When I first moved away from home, I remember the sheer delight that liquid hand-soap offered. It seemed so much nicer and more modern than the old-fashioned soap bars. However several decades on and I am moving back to the good old bar of soap, which comes with little or no packaging.
The other area where we ladies get quite habitual is when buying sanitary products. Whether we are a tampon or pad girl, when we find our ideal product (if there is an ideal product) we stick by it and it becomes our best friend in times of need. However, this "best friend" comes with an entourage of packaging, some of which may be recyclable but the main product just ends up being flushed down the loo or thrown onto landfill.
These products made sense a few decades ago when the alternatives were huge pads of gigantic proportions that came with a whole host of cumbersome straps. What a way to lose your sense of feminine appeal. I am just pleased that I never had to experience it. However, with new innovations, there are alternative products out there that are reusable and can see you through the moment without any inconvenience at all.
For the squeamish amongst you (which includes me), look away now as I introduce the Mooncup. It has taken the eco-friendly world by storm as an alternative for tampon products but if you're not that kind of girl, there is also the option of Sea Sponge tampons.
However, if you are looking for more mainstream options that might be a little more "pallatable", I'd like to introduce a washable product, which offers a convenient replacement for the disposable pads.
When it comes to sanitary protection I admit that I needed an attractive product to convince me to make the switch, as the thought of using washable pads didn't appeal at first. However, when I saw the fleece washable pads from Lollipop, I had no hesitation. The product has feminine appeal in its colourful design and there are no straps in sight, only pop fasteners, which fully provide the security needed. As they are made from fleece, they are also easy to wash and very quick to dry.
If you are looking for an alternative option, the Lollipop pads come highly recommended and are much more pleasant to manage than mainstream disposable products. If you are a parent of young infants, you may be interested to hear that the company also offers fleece nappies as an alternative to cotton nappies. If I had children at the "nappy stage" I might consider this as an option, but I am just lucky that we are now past this point.
The Zero Waste Challenge has actually forced me to consider options that I would never even have looked at a few months ago. It is amazing what products are out there, which are accessible and now also acceptable to a generally average person like me.
It's been a great wake-up call and has encouraged me to change my own habits in a positive way. I haven't managed to get Mr A to change his aerosol anti-perspirant yet and I don't think he will.
However, you never know and in the meantime, at least my beauty and personal care regime looks a lot less packaged.
Friday, 7 March 2008