Self-care and environmentalism never felt so good: treating yourself and the planet

Bite toothpaste and bamboo toothbrush plus by Humankind mouthwash tablets (Jessie Titus / McDaniel Free Press).

Did you know that one billion toothpaste tubes are thrown out each year? Or that 100 million animals suffer in cosmetic, drug, and food testing each year? Or that 300 million tons of hair product packaging ends up in landfills each year? Or that two billion disposable razors are thrown out each year in the U.S. alone. Now I don’t know about you, but that seems absurd, and I think it is about time to change.

I started my journey to a zero-waste routine about two years ago – freshman year of college. At first, a zero-waste daily routine seems daunting. Having to research different products, finding what is best for your body, and then of course, the price.

But fear no more, it is easier than ever to make quick and easy switches that will keep you from personally contributing to the thousands of plastic bottles ending up in landfills, in just your lifetime alone. Not only can switching to a zero-waste routine have an immensely positive impact on the planet, but on your body as well. Many zero-waste products have an equal focus on human health and have nixed any harsh chemicals that have lasting effects on your body’s health. 

Starting the day off right is the first step to self-love. Imagine knowing your morning routine had little to no impact on the environment. I can’t wait to show you how to make that dream a reality. My journey went a little like this:

  1. Reinvent your brushing routine with Bite Toothpaste – Bite. Brush. Smile. Repeat.

Bite Toothpaste is cruelty-free, vegan, and all-natural toothpaste that comes in the form of a small bit. These bits come in a compostable pouch and a reusable glass jar and are delivered right to your door in 100% biodegradable packaging (don’t forget your bamboo toothbrushes with your first purchase at a two for $12 deal). Each delivery will last you four months at only $30. Once you run out, they send a refill in, yet again, biodegradable packaging, so you can refill your little jar! Not only does Bite have toothpaste but they have expanded to provide mouthwash and floss as well. All their products come in a variety of flavors like fresh mint, mint charcoal, and berry twist. 

  1. Wash away the waste with by Humankind 

Mouthwash was my next step as a traditional mouthwash like Listerine were too harsh for my mouth. Mouthwash from by Humankind comes in the form of little tablets that are stored in a small reusable container. How it works is you put about 2 oz. of warm water in a glass, drop a tablet in, watch it fizz, and then it is like normal mouthwash! Your first purchase of mouthwash is $15 and comes with a free reusable container. After that, every 8 weeks you pay $15 for a two pack refill. The company has expanded over the years to sell tons of other products like toothpaste, floss, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, body wash, hand sanitizer, and even cotton swabs. All of which are available as subscriptions or one time purchases. I personally have only tried the mouthwash and the deodorant subscriptions (both of which I am very satisfied with). 

  1. Reduce waste and gain volume with HiBar 

Shampoo and conditioner were my next search. I had tried many different brands of shampoo and conditioner bars before finding HiBar. I had found that most of them left my hair feeling rough or like it was coated in plastic, so continued my search until finally finding HiBar. Their bars are absolutely amazing. They come in easy-to-hold shapes that are perfect for rubbing into your hair and they have different types of bars for different types of hair and hair goals. I personally wanted to improve the volume of my hair so I chose to try the volumize bars first. They come in boxes just small enough to fit the little bars and are, of course, biodegradable. A subscription for a shampoo and conditioner set is $26.50. You can customize the frequency of the deliveries if you don’t wash your hair every day. I typically get a delivery every two months, so only $26.50 for 60 days. 

  1. Leaving the waste with LeafShave

Plastic razors have always been hard for me to give up because of the simplicity of just using one for a little while, then throwing it away, and just getting a new one. Then I discovered LeafShave. It is a metal razor that comes with replaceable blades. While a metal razor can be expensive to initially buy, I think it is an amazing investment. At LeafShave, the initial razor is $84 and it comes with a 10-blade starter pack. You can also get the blade recycling tin which you can put your worn razors in and send them back for recycling. These razors have a lifetime warranty, so this is a one-time purchase and then occasional small purchases of blades which is much cheaper than buying plastic razors every month or so. 

Those are all the switches I have made so far! There are countless other small businesses looking to make an impact on the environment. From cleaning supplies to paper towels, someone has thought of a solution for the epidemic of waste. Here is a list of companies and products that I am still waiting to try:

  1. Super Natural – All natural cleaning products

Reusable and refillable cleaning products made from all natural essential oils.

  1. EC30 – Enlightened Clean

Waste-free cleaning products that come in the form of small swatches that, when mixed with water, turn to cleaning supplies, face wash, hair products, and more.

  1. Wild Minimalist – Zero waste kits 

These kits range from beauty to kitchen essential in any home.

  1. Zero Waste Store – Variety of zero waste products

The coolest of their products is reusable paper towels that wrap up like a roll of towels and can be washed and reused. They have anything you could need in your home or travel living a low-to-zero-waste lifestyle.

  1. Earthbreeze – Laundry 

These are zero plastic laundry sheets. The sheets look like dryer sheets but they are actually made of detergent and will dissolve in the washer and turn to soap.

A journey to a zero-waste care routine is not about perfection. Taking action for the planet is never about perfection. It is about doing what you can, with what you have, to make any kind of difference. All it takes is a bit of commitment and a lot of self-love. Together we can make a difference, in our daily lives, for a better future for all.