When was the last time you saw a toothbrush without a plastic handle?
One of the biggest struggles I’m facing as part of my pledge off plastic is my morning routine. Virtually every toiletry is made of plastic. The first step in trying to reduce my plastic footprint was to take an account of what plastic products I use every day in order to figure out what I could live without, and what alternatives I already had.
The products included:
- Reusable razor with disposable blades.
- Shaving cream.
- Hair product.
- Contacts & contact solution.
I suppose it could be worse. Looking at my hoard of toiletries got me to thinking about how much of the plastic waste humanity produces must come from our hygiene habits alone. What you see in the picture above constitutes probably a 3-month supply. Now, let’s figure about 5 billion people are living at or above the poverty line, and so they can afford at least basic hygiene products. Then, with some fuzzy math, let’s say this is about 1 pound of plastic, or four pounds of plastic per year, per person. Multiplied by the world population living above the poverty line, means about 20 billion pounds of plastic produced per year off hygiene products alone.
Obviously the amount of plastic per person would fluctuate a depending on each person’s habits, but even if my estimate is a worst case scenario, half my estimate is still pretty horrible to think about.
So I looked at my supply and figured what I could cut out.
Reusable razor. Aftershave. Shaving cream. Hair product. Contacts & contact solution.
I was able to replace the shaving supplies with my electric rechargeable beard trimmer, and my contacts and contact solution with glasses. Unfortunately, unless I want to drive away my girlfriend and coworkers, I’m going to need a better solution for body cleaning products.
Going back to my original question about the toothbrush—it turns out there is a toothbrush without a wooden handle, as well as a lot of other non-plastic hygiene products. I discovered this great website called Life Without Plastic, which has a whole host of non-plastic products, including wooden toothbrushes.
The toothpaste was still an issue, especially since Tom’s switched from aluminum to plastic casing. I went searching for solutions, and found a great blog post at My Plastic Free Life presenting an array of options. So, when I run out of toothpaste in my current tube, I think I’ll try making my own toothpaste using one of the recipes presented, or else purchasing the Tooth Tabs from Lush. It turns out that Lush has a shop just down the street, so I’ll be checking them out for shampoo and deodorant as well, per the suggestions on My Plastic Free Life.
- Squeaky clean (afoodlyaffair.com)
- A Claire Lewis Product Review: Lilly’s Eco Clean Products (clairelewisco.wordpress.com)
- Eyes wide open (guardian.co.uk)