Hello and welcome back to another year of Plastic Free July! Last year was the first year I really “celebrated” this month of reducing plastic use and I’d like to think I’ve carried it with me all year. So, to start this next round of blogs here are some new tips I’ve gained in the past twelve months
Last summer when we went to see the Meg (awesome movie, check out our podcast episode about it here!) we decided to keep our 3D glasses afterwards instead of recycling them (full disclosure: Sara’s idea) and then we just brought them with us every time we went to a 3D movie this year. It’s a super small thing to do but it cuts down on cleaning and repackaging glasses thus saving energy and plastic but beware! This is not for an amateur, you really have to be on it and remember your glasses for your movie otherwise you’ll have to get another new pair and the cycle starts all over again (hint: find a friend who remembers that kind of thing and writes themselves a note to remember as soon as you buy your advanced tickets to the next amazing Marvel movie).
Using bar soap is something I’ve seen on a lot of plastic free sites and videos and it’s a valid point. However, I have insanely dry skin (TMI? Sorry) so body wash is more effective to keep from going on all scaly. But I was gifted many a Lush gift box this Christmas (#blessed 😜 ) and a bunch of them had good fancy soaps in them. So, I started doing a combo. It reduces the amount of body wash I use and therefore buy, and it helps me get rid of all the soaps I have in my house. Which is randomly a lot. Again, it’s a small step but a pretty easy one and it saves me a very small amount of money-bonus!
Like soap, switching to hard shampoo and conditioners is a great way to reduce plastic. I finally switched to hard conditioner about a month ago and its going ok. A special hack we got from the guy at Lush (I don’t mean to keep name dropping them, its just how things go!) is to fill your conditioner tin with warm water when you get in the shower, then the bar will be softer when you’re ready to lather up. Another tip I would give is to switch to a “clean” shampoo/conditioner before going to a bar (I use a paraben free one from Herbal Essences) as it can be a bit of a shock on your hair. Also, on your brain since there is much less lathering abilities which feels weird and causes you to overcompensate.
Note: you will not be able to do this with your hair when you switch to clean or hard shampoos. But you still can sing pocket full of sunshine while you wash your hair. And you should.
Again, this is what works for me, but my hair is super chill when it comes washing. If anything, this should give you an idea of how many options there are out there for you to try to help reduce your plastic use.
No, I don’t have some fancy non plastic razor. I think that would involve a barber cut-throat blade or something which does not sound like a good plan for shaving legs. 😐 But I have used the same razor for my entire life of shaving. I’m kind of amazed that Gillette still makes replacement blades for it, but they do (or did the last time I bought some) so hooray. As long as you keep it clean and as dry as possible there is no reason to buy a new razor handle or especially a disposable razor. From what I can tell, you cannot recycle used razors or blades (someone let me know if I’m wrong please!) so all the more reason to only have to throw out the blades, not the entire thing.
These are just a few of things I’ve been working on changing this year. I have also tried to switch to hard plastic “clamshells” of lettuce or mixed salad instead of bags as they are easier to recycle. Yes, they are still plastic, but I have neither the money nor the ability to eat an entire head of lettuce before it goes bad, so this is still something I have to purchase. I love the salad mixes but there is so much plastic in them that I’ve worked really hard to give them us this year. I’m not going for perfect, just for better.
I know I’ve mentioned the soft plastic recycling program through London Drugs and Recycle BC before (it’s awesome!) but the biggest part of this is it made me realize just how much plastic I have been using. Now that there is hardly any plastic in it, I only take my garbage out like once a month. Having to keep (and sometimes rinse) my soft plastic and then remember to take it a different place than my other waste (as well as a place I don’t often shop and does not open early enough to be convenient to go to before work-sigh) really highlights what I’m getting rid of. I see so much more of the plastic I use now which is something I really hope I can get you to do too. You don’t have to go all in and get rid of all plastic in your life (it’s really REALLY hard). Just look around and realize that its there. And then see what you can do about it.