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Sustainable swaps for December 2021

By Rachneet Randhawa, December 22 2021—

Not only is this the jolliest time of year but it’s also the most dreaded — final exam season. As you sit for the last of your tests and submit term papers, one thing that goes out the door is personal hygiene. So this month we decided to focus our sustainable swaps edition on self-care.

So make sure to grab one of these stocking stuffers, which by the way, would make some nifty gifts for your family and friends. And as you relax by the fireside drinking hot cocoa lounging in your PJs, rest assured that this holiday you are having a real impact on your eco-footprint. 

Reusable bamboo toothbrush:

Bamboo has made a big green splash in so many self-care products lately, partly because it is versatile as it is a natural material and 100 per cent biodegradable and fully compostable within six months. This is a hot trend as bamboo brushes have been all the rage lately.

They an eco-friendly material, compared to conventional and disposable plastic and nylon toothbrushes which contain polypropylene for the handle and nylon for the bristles, which is of course toxic for you and the environment. And the sheer level of discarded waste from plastic toothbrushes is astounding as nearly 1 billion toothbrushes in America get tossed in the landfill every year.

We recommend buying directly from recognized brands like the Humble Brush from The Humble Co. It is 100 per cent biodegradable, vegan and cruelty-free certified and made with sustainably grown bamboo made of natural vegan wax — the packaging is also made of recycled materials.

Reusable wool dryer ball:

These are quietly making an appearance at a laundromat near you. Use dryer balls instead of liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets. What many don’t realize is that softener contains a toxic soup full of chemicals. Worse, softeners that give a wonderful lemony fresh scent and bright bombastic colours contain thousands of fragrant ingredients including pathogens that cause allergies, skin irritations and disrupt your endocrine system. So why not opt for something au naturel and beneficial for your health? 

Although there are two key materials for dryer balls like rubber and wool, we recommend the latter as they can leave a softer and supply effect on your garments. Wool dryer balls leave less static and fewer wrinkles too so we recommend switching to 100 per cent wool dryer balls made of natural lanolin which speeds up the drying process, softens laundry and reduces static.

This set of three hypoallergenic wool dryer balls from Grove Collaborative reduces wrinkles and are the ideal eco-friendly alternative to those flyaway dryer sheets. Best of all, as big energy savers they last up to 1,000 loads and are 100 per cent biodegradable — so no sweat if you toss them out. Get your scent on by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to give your load of laundry a fragrance to desire. 

Reusable feminine products:

There are so many varieties of reusable period products it’s amazing. We’ve done a review on this before so we’ll stick to our top three basics. The easiest swap is to buy fluid-absorbent underwear as it’s comfy and classic. Period underwear has gone mainstream too with so many brands to choose from.

Thinx is a popular one with many styles for all body types, shapes and sizes. This underwear works with your flow and has built-in protection from leaking and is super comfy in many different body shapes and styles to choose from. For easy cleaning, they can be tossed in the washer for cleaning and hung dry. 

Next, we have reusable pads. Surprisingly it’s not a tree hugger thing to adopt. In fact, before the onset of Industrialism in many developing countries like India, women would use old and recycled rags and cloth before buying disposable and synthetically made varieties from big-name brands like Always or Kotex.

We recommend grabbing a Maxi Pad from Aisle, who has 90 per cent plus approval for being natural and using recycled polyester. And lastly, we have the menstrual cup. Did you know there is a cup from an organic variety? It may seem like an uncomfortable option at first, but you’ll breathe a sigh of relief at the costs as one Menstrual Cup from All Matters formerly known as the OrganicCup lasts for up to 12 hours per use and allows the replacement of 528 pads and tampons over two years.

Reusable makeup remover: 

We know those disposable and single-use wet cloths are convenient but oftentimes they contain harsh chemicals and can even dry out your skin. Why not opt for a more eco-friendly skincare routine? There are many reusable makeup remover cloths on the market, but of course, we recommend The Original MakeUp Eraser makeup remover cloth you can get at Sephora. It’s made of 100 per cent polyester and is antibacterial as its hypoallergenic and made with sulphates. 

Reusable shampoo bars:

Solid shampoo bars are another growing hair trend. For one, their scents are amazing but mostly because they are zero waste. For example, a single plastic bottle takes 450 years to decompose and of course, this doesn’t include the tiny microplastic particles that leach into our waterways. Best of all the packing comes in FSC certified boxes that are completely biodegradable.

There are other benefits too with many of these bars containing cruelty-free and natural ingredients free of harmful chemicals and sulphates most drugstore shampoos contain that strip the hair of its natural oil leaving your scalp feeling dry and irritated.

Also, if you are living on a budget it’s an economically savvy option — did you know most bottled shampoo has water as filler? No good! We recommend the Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Shampoo Bar made locally right here in our backyard. It’s sulphate-free and is hydrating using a mix of rosemary oil castor oil and organic shea butter.

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