Alternative Products

High with hopes of starting my zero waste journey, I headed off to the shop to buy some toiletries, not realising just how hard my mission would be.

Although where I live recycles all plastics, I still want to reduce my personal plastic consumption. Firstly, our oil reserves are not renewable. There will be a time when we have to dramatically change the way we live when these reserves reach a critical point, or run out. As plastics are made from crude oil, by minimising the plastics I use I’m minimising the use of new oil. Many plastics are newly made rather than using the recycled plastic.

When plastic is left in a landfill it leaches toxic chemicals into the surrounding soils, which is then washed into the water course when it inevitably rains. Due to this toxic chemicals are commonly found in out oceans as well as in our water supply, which can cause harm to both animals and humans. (

  1. My first mission was to replace the everyday cotton buds with plastic sticks to some without, mainly because they are often too small for the sewage filters and hence end up out at sea and washed up on our beaches.

I was very very unsuccessful. I went in every shop along the high-street and couldn’t find any without plastic sticks. I’ve heard of ones with paper sticks and bamboo sticks, but alas they were no where in sight.

2. Make-up remover. Previously I had used make-up remover wipe which are disposable after one use (but instead use them until they were full up). No more. I went on the hunt for reusable pads with liquid/gel remover (preferably recycled plastic). Finding reusable pads was more difficult than I originally anticipated as many of the packets were also made from plastic. This was when I found this:

I can make my own reuseable pads using recycled fabrics! Now just the challenge of finding a non-plastic make-up remover…. the hunt continues.

3. Bottles from toiletries. Many of these are made from non-recycled materials and in many places the plastic is non-recyclable as well. I’ve found numerous local stores (as well as Lush, M&S and Tesco) who sell soaps in cardboard/paper packaging. However shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, mouthwash, cleansers and moisturisers have often been problem items. I have recently found that Lush accepts back it’s bottles to reuse themselves. Their range includes shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, cleansers and moisturisers. So it looks like I’ll be shopping there a lot more than I used to!

4. Upcycling bottles from toiletries is an idea I’ve been toying with. I’ve seen them be made into desk tidies, storage items and even bags!

Next challenge – to look into other bathroom items to replace


10 thoughts on “Alternative Products

  1. Well done! It’s really hard, isn’t it? I’ve just started trying to reduce plastic waste in the bathroom and it’s very tricky. I’ve heard that coconut oil makes a good make-up remover, though I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve also just started making my own deodorant. I’m going to change to bar shampoo and conditioner when I’ve run out of the current ones. Toothpaste and toothbrushes are more difficult. I don’t want to compromise our family’s dental hygiene!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deodrant was definitely one I’m stuck on. I’ll have a look into the coconut oil as I hadn’t heard that before. I’ve found bamboo toothbrushes on the internet, but not sure how successful they would be – I was hoping to go and have a look at them in store before I bought them. I’m also not sure how the Lush toothpaste works as it’s in little tablets that you use on a toothbrush? I think I’ll have to take a trip in store for that as well to ask in person!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These are great ideas. First of all, those cotton pads are not only super useful, but super cute (I love how attractive zero-waste items can be; helps those that are maybe intimidated to start this journey!). I like the idea of reusing packaging, especially with the photo examples you gave; I’m a teacher, and these would be helpful. Though I will strive for little plastic in my classroom, it’s still helpful to have these tips. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I as well can confirm that coconut oil works great! And you can use it for a million other things, such as cooking, toothpaste, and deodorant.
    For shampoo, what I’ll typically do is wash my hair with baking soda and vinegar. It may not work for every hair type, but for me it works great and it’s really affordable! Check out my blog for my post on how to do it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Coconut oil can cause acne or irritation for some people, so if you find some that happening, avocado oil works like a dream for make up removal. It is EXTREMELY gentle on sensitive skin. A quick Google search will reveal other gentle oils (I believe sunflower oil might be another good one but don’t quote me!)

    Liked by 1 person

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