I’m always hesitant to use the ever-popular concept of “zero waste” when I talk about changes I’ve made to stand up for the environment as an individual. That’s mostly because… well, it’s impossible to be truly zero waste. Our society is simply not set up to operate that way. All we can do is make little changes that add up to something a little more sustainable. I’ve been trying to make those little changes over the course of a few years now, and I just noticed that some of them have added up to a *nearly* zero waste shower routine! Just to keep it real, I’m going to share each part of that routine, what makes it more eco-friendly, and where it’s not perfect. Because nobody’s perfect. Not even Ryan Gosling.
PS, I’m not advertising for any of these companies, these are products I actually use. Find brands with like-minded values near you!
PPS, being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a bunch of shit. My view is, if you’re already using shampoo, is there a better option you can buy? No need to get all sorts of “zero waste” gizmos in an attempt to fit in.
My shower routine broken down:
Shampoo & Conditioner in refillable bottles
I’m not going to lie, I actually prefer the smell of the Avalon Organics Rosemary Mint shampoos and conditioners, but the Saltspring Soapworks variety of the same scent works just as well. The reason why I’ve been choosing this one so far is because they let you bring back your bottles to refill (and get a discount). There’s more and more brands popping up that let you do this which is AWESOME, but some of the brands that have gotten some buzz for this have some drawbacks. Mainly, their business model is set up so they ship you the product, and you ship back the empty bottle for them to refill in the same box afterwards. I think it’s a great step in the positive, but you still need shipping materials for this system, and you are increasing your carbon footprint with how far the shampoo has to travel to get to wherever you are. Saltspring Soapworks is local, so that makes a little more sense for me.
Why it’s eco-friendly: refillable bottles, and supports local (so it doesn’t have to travel to get to you, and it’s better than corporations who green wash)
Drawbacks: it comes in plastic bottles in the first place. I also need to do some more research into the ingredients in their products. I have faith in them for the most part, but it’s always important to question what you’re washing down your drain and into the ocean each time you shower.
Package free soap
I’ve recently discovered Victoria based West Coast Refill, and I’m obsessed. I know this isn’t the only business to do this, but I love that you can buy bars of soap with literally zero packaging. I often find that natural soaps start to almost melt and get gucky (a highly underused descriptor in my opinion). The one from West Coast refill so far has stayed strong and put together (it don’t need no man). I also use it instead of shaving cream, and I might even try using it instead of face wash. Yay for multi-purpose purchases!
Why it’s eco-friendly: comes without packaging, and supports local makers who are making a positive environmental impact in my community
Drawbacks: chances are there may be a little production waste down the line. But I can’t see how you’d avoid that. Unless humans swear off soap. Which would possibly cause a stinky human apocalypse.
Ps, this bar is half used, so they are actually a lot bigger than this!
Reusable loofa replacement
I love loofas. Don’t worry, I know how much of a weirdo I sound like in saying that. But seriously, I had a hard time ditching these plastic puff balls. But finally, I’ve found a few alternatives. You can buy these at lots of places now, but the one on the left is from Handmade La Conner, and the other is from Saltspring Soapworks (which I’d recommend over the first one). They work just as well, and you can pop them in the wash when you so choose!
Why it’s eco-friendly: they aren’t disposable, and don’t take plastic to make
Drawbacks: they can still collect bacteria if you don’t wash them enough. But at least you have that option, unlike its plastic counterpart
Stainless Steel Safety Razor
I found out about these bad boys through some of my favourite zero waste bloggers, Lauren Singerand Andrea Sanders. Billions of plastic razors are thrown out every year (enough to wrap around the earth 6 times from the US alone), and they’re not easily recycled. Not to mention, mainstream razors are stupidly expensive to buy. The company that produces the one below states on their website that they aren’t in it for the profits, but to make a positive impact on our oceans. That’s why they’re not horribly overpriced like any other razor you’ll find. This one is 100% stainless steel, and was shipped without plastic in a cute little burlap travel bag. I’ve had it for about 5 months and I’m still on the same blade.
Why it’s eco-friendly: will last a lifetime, is made of zero plastic, and is shipped without plastic
Drawbacks: blades are made in China, and there isn’t a ton of info about working conditions and such. Safety razors also take some getting used to, but I love mine and have no regrets.
And there you have it! These are changes I made over the course of almost a year, and my shower routine is by no means perfect. Sometimes it can be discouraging seeing so many bad things happening to our environment, but by choosing carefully which businesses we support and voting with our dollar, we can start making small changes that can add up to more than we think.