Advert: this post contains references to PR gifted products. My views are honest and my own.
Hi beauty lovers!
Have you heard of Plastic Free July? Plastic Free July is a movement to reduce the amount of plastic waste we produce. The challenge is to refuse single use plastics in July.
As a family, we are mindful of the impact of our plastic waste and have been reducing single use plastics for some time. But there’s still huge room for improvement.
The most offending single use plastics we still use as a family are without a doubt wet wipes and disposable nappies. I know how harmful they are for the environment, but sometimes getting through life with little kids seems more important. Can you relate?
How does this help you? Maybe you’re in the same position as me. We can’t promise a plastic free July, but we can make a start implementing some changes for life. This is what it’s all about!
…The truth is that even small changes of habit, accumulated over time, add up to a big difference.lessplastic.org.uk
So this post is all about me getting my act together and sharing it with you. Together, we’ll learn – why plastic is a problem, how to spot plastic in beauty products (it’s not as easy as it seems), and we’ll learn what easy beauty and health swaps we can make.
Feeling motivated? Let’s go!
Why Plastic Free July?
Seeing the level of involvement in Plastic Free July on my Instagram feed motivated me to improve our habits for the better.
Being part of Plastic Free July will help you to find great alternatives that can become new habits forever.plasticfreejuly.org
It’s all about small, manageable changes. I’m setting reasonable targets for myself. I want to make these new habits concrete!
So what’s the problem with plastic? We all know it’s “bad” but how specifically?
Plastic is ruining the oceans
An estimated eight million tonnes of plastic is set to make its way into our oceans each year. There’s so much plastic in the sea that we can now see it from space.
We literally breathe plastic
It has a huge effect on the food chain.
Micro-sized plastic particles and minute fibres are accumulating in soils and sediments. Plastic is now in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the clothes we wear and the food we eat.commonseas.com
It’s killing marine life
I’m so saddened to learn that plastic kills 100,000 sea animals every year.
Plastic doesn’t go away
It goes nowhere for hundreds, maybe thousands of years.
Yet, change can be hard. Plastics are something we’ve grown up with and what has become the norm. But with some simple swaps, we can reduce our plastic waste. The first step is to hunt down plastics inside the bathroom!
How to find plastics in beauty care
Most bathrooms have products in plastic packaging, but did you know plastic is common inside our beauty products! Here’s how to spot it.
Finding hidden plastics
Most of us are aware of microbeads in skincare – these were banned in 2018, but polymers inside our beauty care products are a problem.
One such polymer is dimethicone, a silicone used in skin and hair care for its silky feel during application. Annemarie Gianni notes “there is some concern that dimethicone is hurting the environment. It is non-biodegradable, which means that it can pollute our environment”.
According to Weleda, to avoid plastics in beauty care we should avoid polymer based ingredients including dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, PEGs, acrylates copolymer, and carbomer.
I’ve avoided these ingredients for about 4 years now. I have the odd product in my cupboard with PEG in that I’ll be replacing with something else.
Finding single use plastics
Single use plastics are used once, then thrown away. They can’t be used again – think wipes, nappies, plastic ampoules, and plastic handled cotton buds. The aim here is to switch to using something else, so keep reading to see my purchasing swaps and how I’ll be reducing my use of single use plastics.
Reusable, recyclable plastics
Things like plastic shampoo bottles and large body lotion bottles can be reused or recycled. I recycle mine using our council’s kerbside recycling service. Check what’s recyclable.
My plastic free pledges
This is where the magic happens! These are the plastic free changes we’re currently undergoing, and that we’re aiming for in the future. You’ll continue to see plastics in my empties as we use them up.
Choose glass and metal over plastic
Sounds like a no brainer – because it is! The easiest change you can make to reduce plastic waste is to avoid buying beauty products in plastic.
This is easier with smaller beauty products. Larger items such as shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel you can replace with solid bars (see below).
If you’re still using face cleansing wipes, then switching to double cleansing is better for your skin and the environment.
Facial cleansers you can buy in bars or in glass. Most serums and face oils come in glass anyway. Lip balms, face and body moisturisers, and scrubs you can aim to buy in glass or metal tubing.
Swap liquid soap for bar soap
This is a really easy swap that we made some time ago. And we’re currently using Organii cream soaps which are plastic free and produced carbon neutral.
Replacing liquid soap with bar soap is a good way to cut down on plastic packaging waste.
Swap plastic haircare bottles for solid bars
I’ve been trying plastic free hair care all month, and I’m still deciding my favourite solid bars to replace my bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
My new plastic free haircare routine did take some adjustment, and I should blog about that because there’s a bit more prep to ensure your solid bars stay in good condition after you’ve used them.
Reduce plastics in our dental routine
My kids get through toothbrushes like you wouldn’t believe, so using a bamboo toothbrush is a quick win.
As far as I know, all “plastic free” toothbrushes have nylon bristles which are not fully biodegradable, recyclable, or compostable, and end up in the rubbish bin – the point here is that they reduce plastic waste from the handles.
Toothpaste for my husband and kids could come as tablets, powder, or in a metal tube. I won’t be swapping my own toothpaste – I need sensitive toothpaste in my life, and there’s no way around it. I wish someone would make natural sensitive toothpaste!
No more plastic shower scrubbies
I haven’t bought one of these in a long time. You could try a brush or a reusable shower scrubbie!
Deodorants in tins or glass
It’s easy to buy deodorant that comes in a tin or in glass. My favourite is Elsa’s in a tin, it’s perfect if you’re sensitive to bicarbonate of soda.
Get a safety razor
I am still using plastic razors. I really don’t use that many since I shave infrequently and look after my disposables. But now I need a plastic free replacement – I like the rose gold Muhle razor, and the UpCircle safety razor, they are gorgeous!
Beauty boxes and gifted items
I will continue to receive beauty boxes and gifted items that are housed in plastic packaging, but I will keep on highlighting the need for sustainable packaging.
Switch to sustainable period wear
Recently I’ve fallen back into using supermarket brand pads. I’m heading over to BigGreenSmile to stock up on plastic free pads. As for the longer term, I did try a period cup (the Mooncup, fyi) and failed. I still need to find the right period solution. I like Cheeky Wipes period panties, so that will be my first route. The initial outlay is expensive though.
Reduce the use of wet wipes
Cheeky Wipes reusable wet wipes are a great option! I might DIY this with a wet box and some flannels.
Use cloth more often
I can’t promise to never use a disposable again, but I can use cloth more frequently at home. We currently have Bambino Mio nappies for Cara.
Final thoughts on Plastic Free July beauty & health swaps
If you made it this far, thank you! Plastic free July and those taking part in it have really motivated me to reduce my plastic use. I hope my musings have helped you in some way!
Are you taking part in Plastic Free July? What swaps are you making? Let me know all about it in the comments below!