I spoke to Melissa, a research and development chef at the university, on how she's switching products to reduce her plastic waste.
The main issue with trying to find the best alternatives, is the cost. Melissa has tried many shampoo and deodorant bars that might say they last longer, but can cost up to £8! I myself have invested in Lush shampoo and conditioner bars, amongst other plastic free products. Whilst Lush offers amongst some of the most expensive products on the high street, all of their products are vegetarian, not tested on animals, handmade and the materials are sourced ethically. The shampoo bar I have tried was amazing- it made no difference to how my hair felt, compared to the three products I was using before! Whilst looking for products in Lush, I noticed that a lot of them are in black plastic pots- the kind that cant be recycled by most councils. Luckily, Lush can take back all of the black plastic, which they send back to their recycling centre, to be shredded and remade. You even get a free face mask when you take back certain size tubs!
Another product that Melissa has made the switch to is coconut oil; which she uses as a body moisturiser and it typically comes in glass jars, which are easy to recycle.
Melissa also told me how she first swapped out all single-use wipes in her house; for the home and face. An easy alternative is to buy 'unpaper towels', which is essentially washable kitchen roll made from cotton. You can easily find them on Etsy from local sellers. Brands like Ecover and Method offer refillable bottles if you're not ready to make the switch to DIY cleaning products to use with this kitchen roll. Find tips and DIY products here.
You can find similar cloth products made for makeup removal; which look like the typical single-use cotton pads you can buy, but without the plastic packaging and can come in many colours and designs.
The product Melissa has found most difficult to find a suitable alternative to, is toothpaste. She has struggled to find one that comes in a pot or is in powder form, that still cares for your teeth and contains enough fluoride, without breaking the bank.
The final switch Melissa has made so far, is to eliminate her use of common cotton buds, and has started buying bamboo cotton buds which usually come in paper/cardboard packaging too.
Speaking to Melissa made me aware of how much plastic waste I was contributing, but how easy it can be to find a suitable switch that isn't damaging to the environment. I am going to continue to find the best alternatives for me and my home.
Check out more tips on how you can go plastic free here.