I’ve long tried to live a less-wasteful life, but I haven’t committed to that as much as I’d like. As I made dinner yesterday – a stir fry, I used three plastic packets to make a meal for two people. I’ve had enough. We are addicted to plastic.
One of the most important parts of our upcoming trip, for me, is to live differently for a while. To see how others live a better life, and learn how to do that. We’d like to meet people living self-sufficient lives, so we too can hopefully one day do just that. Our planned workaways include farms, retreats and places where no plastic nor chemicals are allowed. This couldn’t be more exciting for me. Human’s reliance on plastic goods is overwhelming. It’s impossible to go a day without interacting with something made of plastic. I find it … sad.
When we worked through our packing list a few weeks back, I realised that much of it was things packaged in plastic. I decided there and then to do what I can to ensure what we now buy for our trip, is as sustainable and as plastic-free as possible. I’m aware that I would have to be radical if I were to say no plastic at all. For starters, I’ve invested in some good plasters and they have plastic backing. Secondly, I wish to invest in a waterproof case for my electronics – this is important for me, as a financial safety net.
One of the things that raised my awareness of this plastic business (past the Pacific trash vortex) is recently committing to natural skincare. It made me aware that most things I use (either natural or not) are disposable and come in plastic packaging. When I do my makeup, everything except my moisturiser (which I repackaged because the plastic bottle pump was faulty) comes in plastic. I stumbled upon this quote whilst googling my dilemma:
Organic Monitor, a marketing research firm, made this observation a few years ago: “Although packaging has the highest environmental footprint within the realm of cosmetics products, it appears to be largely ignored when beauty companies look at sustainability.” – Treehugger
It’s so true. Green People – one of my favourite brands for their use of natural and organic ingredients, use plastic packaging for everything. Yes, most is recycled, but it’s still plastic. I dived into research to find alternatives. I vowed never to buy another tube of mascara. When I dived, I aimed for the deep end.
I’ve used natural makeup for a while – particularly Lily Lolo’s mineral powders, but they all come in plastic tubs with no refill option. I found Kjaer Weis which was a near solution if it weren’t so expensive. What do I do? My solution is one under investigation, but it’s greatly affecting what I purchase for travel.
I’m really keen to hear from people who are on a similar mission, and I’m stockpiling the plastic-free people blogs. In the meantime, I’ve been researching what I can find to pack which is plastic-free, and here are some of my favourite finds:
After rejecting Lush’s shampoo bars for their perplexing ‘naturalness’, I’ve tried out this soap which doubles as shampoo: Oliva Olive Oil Soap. It’s £1.29 from Holland & Barrett and I’ve been using it just over a fortnight. It’s amazing. Showering has become a 5 minute task because all I need to do is rub soap all over me, but also, my hair is so soft. It’s incredible. Life changing. 100% biodegradable and 100% plastic-free. I’ll be stocking up for the trip.
Organic Essence Lip Balm – this was about £3 from 8th Day – one of my favourite shops in Manchester. It’s all natural and comes in a cardboard, compostable tube. I love it. Organic Essence also makes deodorant and body butter in cardboard packages and I’ll be investing. I’m very happy.
Toothpaste is a scary one. By scary, I mean, all I know is tubes. This Georganics Toothpaste just arrived in the sweetest little jar. I’m excited.*
*review – it’s going to be an interesting experience, this one!
Preserve razor and 4 spare blades, £14, 8th Day Manchester (it’s plastic, but made from recycled yoghurt cups, and should, in theory, last me forever. Or until I embrace the safety blade – it’s going to happen).
Organic Essence Shea Cream, £15.78, 8th Day Manchester (in lemongrass mint) – comes in a cardboard jar and smells like heaven. YES!
In terms of other equipment, Stuart uses a BPA-free plastic reusable bottle and I have a metal one but it has an bad taste so I’m seeking an alternative…I’m thinking Kleen Kanteen. I’m also wondering whether to take a lunchbox or not…I bought ceramic lunchboxes so when I reheated food no toxins would leak in to my edibles (they still have plastic lids) but they are heavy and I’m tight on weight. Maybe I’ll invest in a metal one.
I would LOVE any advice if you have some. I realise there’s a lot of stuff I have to learn and if I can go on my next trip with 100% homemade remedies in glass jars and tins I’ll be one very happy traveller. In terms of cosmetics, I can get by with just a rosy lippy that I can use as blusher and a natural pigment for my cheeks – if you can recommend one that’s not in a plastic tube, I would really appreciate it! These Mia Couture paper sheets look intriguing!
Header image via Unsplash