We’re advised to change our toothbrushes every three months for health and hygiene reasons. And while throwing away four toothbrushes a year doesn’t sound so bad, how do over 300 toothbrushes in a lifetime sound? That’s hundreds of toothbrushes that you alone are contributing to landfill sites — just think about how many the world’s population throws away every year (which then sticks around for hundreds of years, releasing harmful plastic particles into the environment).
The alternative? Bamboo toothbrushes. These beauties have a way smaller carbon footprint than their plastic counterparts because bamboo can be grown quickly and easily with the need for fertilizer or pesticides. They’re also compostable and biodegradable — you just need to remove the nylon bristles first before composting.
2. Reusable Water Bottles
With easy, growing access to drinking water (think office water coolers, public drinking fountains, or inventions like the awesome app Tap, which directs you to nearby refill stations at coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses so that you don’t have to buy single-use plastic), there aren’t really many reasons to buy plastic water bottles on your travels.
Instead, swap this poor plastic habit for a reusable bottle that you can wash and refill time and time again.
There are so many available in a wide range of stores, so whether you want a sports strap for the gym, a thirst-quenching jumbo bottle, or to infuse fruit into your water for a refreshing flavor (we highly recommend cucumber and lemon), then you’re covered.
3. Sustainable Period Products
Period products are not environmentally friendly at all. Tampons and pads can take hundreds of years of break down, particularly if they’re wrapped in plastic packaging.
And with the average woman using around 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, that’s a whole lot of waste piling up in landfills — or making its way into the sea and washing up on beaches (after clogging up our drains, of course).
Luckily, there is now a huge range of period products that are more environmentally friendly (and healthier for your body too!). If the idea of menstrual cups doesn’t appeal, you can invest in some eco-friendly period proof underwear, which comes with a magic built-in liner and can be rewashed and reused time and time again.
4. Deodorant Bars and Crystals
Normal deodorant is not environmentally-friendly: the roll-on type can be made from two or more different types of plastic which makes them hard to recycle, so they often aren’t.
Aerosol spray cans aren’t much better: while they are generally recyclable, some countries still use CFCs, which are so bad for the ozone layer and the environment. And in countries where CFC use has been banned, spray deodorants still contain hydrocarbons, which does increase your carbon footprint.
You don’t have to go au natural if you’re serious about saving the planet, however. There are all sorts of awesome eco-friendly deodorant swaps you can do these days made with natural and organic ingredients.
You can choose between deodorant bars (like soap bars) or deodorant stones and crystals. These might sound a bit weird but they really work! All you do is run the stick under water and then rub it on your armpits, where it leaves a tiny layer of natural minerals to combat any body odor.
5. Biodegradable Face Wipes
The synthetic fibers that make up most types of face wipes (think polyester, polypropylene, and rayon fibers) make them non-recyclable. These same ingredients do not biodegrade, which means when you throw away your used face wipe and it ends up at a landfill site, it stays there for a long time. The same goes for those wet wipes you flush down the toilet: they clog our sewers, find their way into the ocean, and can end up on that beach you’re sunbathing on. Pretty gross, right?
Thankfully, you can swap to biodegradable and compostable face wipes, made from ingredients like renewable plant fibers (such as bamboo and cornflower) and sustainable wood pulp. There are some great, plastic-free face wipe options out there that are kind to both your skin and the planet — and at a reasonable price.
6. Shampoo and Soap Bars
Why buy plastic bottles of shampoo and shower gel when you could have a more sustainable shower and use alternative products?
Many brands sell products like shampoo and soap in the form of bars, which of course don’t have to be kept in non-recyclable plastic packaging. In fact, some brands like Lush have even gone a step further, and have embraced a zero packaging policy — meaning you can pick up a naked product from a shelf and cut back on waste!
Avoiding plastic packaging can help you to have a positive impact on the planet, so choose wisely and buy an ethical, eco-friendly shampoo bar instead.
Making these six essential products swaps for eco-friendly woman isn’t difficult, but it can make a huge difference to your personal carbon footprint and help you to live an eco-friendly life.