Green Beauty

 

three handmade soaps stacked next to two natural-fiber washcloths
image by jussiak from Pixabay

Little by little, I’m replacing things in my life with more eco-friendly alternatives. Lately I’ve been focusing on beauty and personal care items. I’ve already written about how much I love my Little Seed Farms deodorant. Another thing that’s been helping me feel cool and fresh as the weather gets hotter is my Rainwater Botanicals baby powder. Look, I’m a fat woman with a big chest. Summer tends to bring chafing, chub rub, boob sweat, and prickly heat, which are damn uncomfortable. This arrowroot-based body powder helps with all of that and has a pleasant but very light fragrance. It comes in a cylindrical cardboard canister and sprinkles out easily. I keep it in my bathroom cabinet, and even though the air gets quite steamy during showers, the container has not been affected.

cardboard canister of natural baby powder

I also bought a sample size of Rainwater Botanicals under eye serum with carrot seed oil and olive squalene, and I looove it. I’m not sure yet if it’s helping with my wrinkles, but it feels and smells so wonderful! I might just have to buy a regular-sizes bottle to see how it works long-term.

After countless hours searching for body lotion in a glass bottle, I finally ordered a homemade goat-milk-based lotion from Borden Acres on Etsy. The lotion is lovely- smooth, moisturizing, absorbs easily, smells great. There were several fragrance options and I chose lavender essential oil. At first I was disappointed because it arrived wrapped in bubble wrap. I felt like all my time searching for lotion in a glass bottle was for naught. But I spoke to Danielle Borden, the owner of the shop, and she explained that she never buys bubble wrap to ship her products. She reuses the bubble wrap from packages she receives, such as the raw materials that go into her lotions. I was so happy to hear that she is actually lessening the plastic waste stream by reusing plastic, and I will continue to buy Borden Acres lotion.

Other earth-friendly switches/purchases I’ve made:

I bought a lipstick from Color the World. It’s advertised as “age-friendly,” which sold me, since lipsticks tend to bleed on my middle-aged lips. It goes on smoothly, tastes like absolutely nothing (which I love), and the tube is an adorable printed cardboard (mine has kitty cats; each color has a different print, usually related to a worthy cause your purchase is helping). But the color I chose was such a perfect nude that I can barely notice a difference when I wear it. I need to buy a different color to really test it out.

I just ordered some organic cotton bulk/produce bags and some handmade cloth napkins, and I can’t wait for them to arrive. I will, of course, write about how they work out.

I also bought a couple more travel cups, one from Marshall’s and one from Starbucks. The Starbucks one was a bit pricey but I reeeeally wanted an iced coffee and didn’t have a reusable cup with me. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel guilty if I buy coffee in a plastic cup (even my teenage daughter feels guilty using a disposable cup now!). So I bought it and I’m glad I did. It’s recycled glass with a very pretty green tint. Next task: clean out my trunk and stash a few reusable cups in there so I always have one if I make an unplanned coffee stop.

a glass travel cup half-filled with iced coffee

9 Ways I’ll Be Using Less Plastic in 2019

A dumpter overflows with trash, mostly in plastic bags, some loose. Trash is on the ground around the dumpster. Text says:
Image by Pixabay

I’m not big on New Year resolutions, but one of my intentions for 2019 is to continue making small changes in my daily life to walk more gently on the earth, and especially to reduce my use of single-use plastic.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

Reusable grocery bags

After literally years of leaving my reusable shopping bags either at home or in my car, I am finally remembering to bring them into stores with me almost all the time. I use the kind grocery stores usually sell for a dollar or sometimes give away, and I find they work well for me. Not only are they green, but they’re stronger than plastic grocery bags, so I don’t have to worry about a bag being sliced open by the sharp edge of some cellophane packaging or splitting from too much weight. They also sit in my trunk without flopping all over and spilling their contents. If you’d prefer another type, though, there are many bags available for purchase, such as foldable bags in cute designs, or bags that are actually collapsible boxes.

 

Packing lunches

An open plastic container holds wrap sandwiches and grape tomatoes
Image by Pixabay

Along with plastic grocery bags, I’ve ditched plastic ziplock bags for the most part. I still use them for frozen foods, but when packing lunches or snacks I use either Sistema boxes (yes, they’re plastic, but they last for years. Much better than plastic bags or disposable plastic containers) or Lunchskins paper sandwich bags. These bags seal with a peel-and-stick strip and are perfect for sandwiches and dry snacks. I’ve noticed that Reynolds has started making paper sandwich bags, too, but I’m a sucker for the cute pictures on the Lunchskins ones.

 

I also use reusable water bottles. After trying a bunch of different brands over the years, I found that I really love Sip by S’well stainless steel bottles. They don’t have straws or any other fiddly parts that get lost or are hard to clean. Just a bottle and a cap. They come in cute prints, they last for years, and they are double-walled, so they keep your cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. They can be a bit pricey, but I usually buy them on sale. I’ve also gotten some knock-offs from Aldi, so keep your eyes peeled at back-to-school season!

Making Laundry Cleaner and Greener

I’m planning to ditch plastic jugs of laundry detergent in 2019. Homemade laundry soap is really easy to make, and the recipe is even easy to remember. It’s just one bar of soap, one cup of borax, and one cup of washing soda. You can probably find borax and washing soda in the laundry aisle of your local supermarket, Walmart, or Target. Or you can order it from Amazon. Grate the soap with a box grater, and then stir the grated soap, the borax, and the washing soda together. If you want, you can add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. Store the mixture in an airtight container, and use 2-4 TBS  (1/8 – 1/4 cup) per load. I’ve never had a problem with it dissolving in cold water, but if you do, you can just dissolve it in a cup or two of hot water and toss that mixture into the washing machine before filling it up with cold. (Or pour it into the liquid detergent dispenser if your machine has one of those). It’s safe for HE machines, too.

Shower solutions

stacked bars of soap
image by Pixabay

I’ve started using bar soap in the shower to avoid using plastic bottles of shower gel. This also solves the problem of having an inch of soap left in the bottom of the bottle that you can’t get to with the pump. Don’t you hate that? I suspect that manufacturers purposely make the pump tubes too short so we’ll buy a new bottle sooner.

Did you know that shampoo and conditioner also come in bars? I just bought a handmade conditioner bar on Etsy, and there are also a ton on Amazon. Once I finish my current bottle of shampoo, I’ll replace that with a bar, too.

You know what else is plastic and in my bathroom? My toothbrush. I just ordered a pack of bamboo toothbrushes, and I’m going to try to convince my whole family to switch.

I’m not perfect, and I know there’s plenty more I can do to help the environment. But using less plastic, especially single-use disposable plastic, is one step, and it’s not hard to do. If you have other suggestions for using less disposable plastic around the house, please let me know in the comments!