Going zero-waste is now easier than ever before. New eco-friendly brands are popping up everywhere, which makes switching out plastic products for environmentally sustainable ones a breeze! And even better, stores are pivoting towards going zero-waste, just like our friends at Nu Grocery.
Ready to go zero waste yourself? Take a moment and look around your bathroom, what do you see? Likely a lot of plastic. A great place to start pivoting to zero waste is with your daily routine. Everyday, we shower, brush our teeth, wash our hands and shave. Switching to zero waste doesn't mean throwing out everything you have and replacing all of your items. But, when you need new items for your daily routine, transition to more eco-friendly options. We've compiled a list of zero waste alternatives to help guide you in the right direction!
SWITCH OUT YOUR SHAVING CREAM FOR A NATURAL SHAVE BAR
When transitioning from single-use package products to zero-waste, eco-friendly ones, a great place to start is with shaving products. As you finish your can of shaving cream, and need to replace it, pivot to a naked shave bar. Naked means no packaging. When using one of our 100% natural, naked shave bars, they're low impact to the environment. When the product's continents are washed down the drain, none of the ingredients used will effect the drained water and surrounding ecosystems.
SWITCH OUT YOUR PLASTIC RAZOR FOR A STAINLESS STEEL SAFETY RAZOR
Another product you can transition out, alongside shaving cream, is the razor you use. Whether they're a single-use, throw-away razor or the ones with plastic replacement blades they have disposable plastic pieces. It's estimated that over two billion razors end up in the landfill each year, that’s about one million pounds of plastic waste. So, what's the solution? Stainless steel safety razors.
Plastic razors have a much shorter life cycle than safety razors. The average disposable razor cartridge is estimated that it can only be used 6-9 times before being thrown away. The bulk of a disposable razor is non-biodegradable, leading to billions of pieces of hazardous waste ending up in landfill every year.
Safety razors aren't indestructible, but they’re still a major improvement over disposable razors. Blades are still one aspect of razors that will need to be disposed of, which means a safety razor isn't completely zero waste, but it's a step in the right direction.
HOW DO YOU DISPOSE OF RAZOR BLADES?
Blade banks are storage containers you can buy to store your razor blades. Metal blade used in safety razor average use are 5-7 shaves, meaning the lifetime on blade banks being anywhere between 6 months to a year. Once full, you can properly recycle the entire container. Using a blade bank keeps disposal employees safe, as waste management stations highly recommend against recycling such small pieces of metal.
SWITCH OUT YOUR BODY WASH FOR NATURAL SOAP
Most body wash comes in single-use plastic containers. Of course, when going zero-waste, plastic is the one thing you want to avoid.
There are a lot of unnecessary chemicals in body wash. Chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, and sulfates, can disrupt the way your body produces hormones and the way your cells replicate, which can cause cancer. Body washes often alter the colors which contain chemicals.
Natural soaps don't use chemicals, they use all natural ingredients. Most of our products (soaps included) are 100% natural. Purple Urchin's owner and maker Rebecca likes to experiment and create fun, custom scents such as our '80s Revival. When creating these, she uses some synthetic fragrance which accounts for 1-3% of the products ingredients. The remaining 97% are all natural! All of Purple Urchin's products can be filtered to identify which products are 100% natural, vegan and vegetarian (see how do use our filters watching this video).
BUY A STONE SOAP DISH INSTEAD OF A PLASTIC ONE
If you already have an existing plastic soap dish, tossing it out to replace it with a more eco-friendly dish does contribute to landfill waste. However, we do understand if you do. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that has been used in the production of plastics since the 1960s. A 2015 study published in Roczniki Państwowego Zakładu Higieny shows that BPA interacts with estrogen receptors and play a role in the pathogenesis of several endocrine disorders, including female and male infertility, early puberty, breast and prostate cancer, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The colours in our soaps are all natural, we don't use any colour dies. Our bar soap, after being used, can leave a bit of residue in your bathtub. For example, our Onyx bar soap will leave a black residue around where the bar soap has been sitting. Sometimes the colouring from our soap can run down the side of your sink, shower or bathtub. Using a stone soap dish can help prevent this. Our stone soap dishes are hand crafted by a local resident, Ian Coffin.
Additionally, you can also purchase an eco-friendly soap sock, such as Nu Grocery's Agave Soap Bag. Not only does a soap bag help keep your area clean, help with the slipperiness of the soap but it can be doubled as a wash glove and triple as a travel bag for your soap!
SWITCH OUT YOUR PLASTIC LIQUID SOAP FOR REUSABLE BOTTLES + BUY LARGE REFILLS
When buying liquid soap, there's three things to keep in mind to pivot towards zero-waste. One is the packaging of the liquid soap you are buying. Is the bottle reusable or is it a single-use plastic? Consider how often you go through liquid soap, how many plastic bottles are you going through and is there an alternative, refillable option available to you?
The second is the material of the sticker on the bottle, which is much harder to identify. To find the material of the sticker on the bottle, you often need to ask or research it on the brand's website under their environmental sustainability's page. A lot of companies don't have this, but those who do are ahead of the game, and demonstrate ethical practices by being so transparent.
Thirdly, check the ingredients in the liquid soap. What is the liquid soap made of. Is it all natural, or does it have chemicals used in the product. Choose a liquid soap that is anywhere between 95-100% natural, to have the lowest impact on the environment.
Recently our team here at Purple Urchin switched out our plastic liquid soap and lotion bottles for amber glass, reusable ones. As we launch a new label design, we're swapping out our vinyl stickers for a more eco-friendly, biodegradable alternative. And shortly we'll be offering 1L refills on our liquid soap!
SWITCH OUT YOUR SHAMPOO FOR A NATURAL SHAMPOO BAR
Majority of shampoo and conditioners come in single-use plastic bottles. Ever notice those numbers on the bottom of single-use plastic and aluminum products? Those numbers are used to identify what's in the packaging to know which plastics you can recycle. Based on the 2018 study in Pediatrics, researchers suggest steering clear of plastics with the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7. Those numbers directly correspond to the chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system (phthalates, styrene, and bisphenols).
To pivot towards a zero-waste routine, choosing eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic shampoo and conditioners is one way to make a significant impact! Shampoo bars can replace the 552 million shampoo bottles thrown out annually. Shampoo bars are often sold naked, without packaging and made with natural ingredients. Two key aspects that make a big impact.
SWITCH OUT YOUR PLASTIC TOOTHBRUSH FOR A BAMBOO ONE
Toothbrushes bristles wear and tear, and we need to replace them every few weeks to months. The handle on plastic toothbrushes are made from polypropylene and the bristles from nylon. These materials are both sourced from non-renewable fossil fuels. Both polypropylene and nylon are basically indestructible.
Bamboo is a fully biodegradable material, renewable and sustainable. Bamboo, as a plant is one of the fastest growing plants. Bamboo toothbrushes make a great alternative to plastic ones. Nu Grocery is a great place to start your shopping journey for eco-friendly alternatives, bamboo toothbrushes included!
The bristles on bamboo toothbrushes are often nylon or made up of a synthetic material that is BPA free. Similar to razors, making the switch isn't fully waste free but it is a step in the right direction.
SWITCH OUT YOUR SYNTHETIC LOOFA FOR A NATURAL ONE
There are several types of loofahs, the natural type which are made from the fibrous skeleton of the loofah fruit and unnatural loofahs made from plastic and synthetic material. Overtime loofahs collect bacteria and fungi, that's why it's important to clean your loofah. Synthetic loofahs do last longer than natural ones. But when it comes to your impact long term on our planet, natural loofahs biodegrade versus clogging up the landfill or harming ocean life. If pivoting to a zero waste lifestyle, the natural route is the one you'll want to take.
Want to go fully sustainable, grow your own! Did you know, you can grow your own loofah? Luffa gourds are cousins to cucumbers, melons and squashes. Luffa gourds are tropical plants, meaning they need moist soil and a warm environment to grow.
SWITCH OUT YOUR COTTON MAKEUP REMOVAL PADS FOR REUSABLE ONES
If you wear makeup, cleanse or use toner on your face, or even remove nail polish, you may be using cotton pads in both your morning and evening routine. This is a considerable volume when you think about how many you may be throwing away each week. Some cotton rounds and cotton balls aren’t even made from cotton, but from synthetic fibers.
An excellent alternative to synthetic cotton balls are reusable pads. Our friends at Nu Grocery sell some (view here)! Their washable and reusable makeup removal pads made of 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton. Soft and gentle to the skin, they can be used to remove makeup, lipstic and mascara and for minor wound care in lieu of disposable wipes and cotton pads. When you toss your cotton rounds in the wash, make sure they’re in a lingerie/delicates bag to prevent fraying.
Living in the world we do, we have the opportunity to make decisions that have long term impacts on our environment. It's not always easy or convenient to choose a zero-waste lifestyle. And at times, you can't be 100% waste free. But you can be a more conscious consumer. Here at Purple Urchin, we're always looking to improve our business operations and practices. We want to do our part, and we hope you do too!