For our spring cleaning edition of Sustainable Swaps, we’ve carefully curated some on-topic products for you! So, for the love of nature add something reusable and eco-friendly to your self-care routine whether it’s organic, biodegradable or recycled. There is something for everyone to adopt and become one step closer to going zero waste. So let’s start washing out, scrubbing down and sprucing up with some eco-loving clean!
1. Reusable Soap Refills
Plastic-free cosmetics have become a hot buy recently because they do wonders for both your health and the planet. Let’s face it, we love the convenience purchasing a new bottle of soap every-time we run out, but that creates extra unnecessary plastic waste for the environment. Our advice here is to purchase a soap dispenser you LOVE (treat yourself, why not?) and to simply buy soap refills when it runs dry. Purchasing refillable soap also saves you money in the long run since they come in double or triple the amount as a single-use pump and who doesn’t love saving money? No one. When buying soap brands be wary of toxic chemicals or “surfactants” such as fragrance dyes and SLS (sodium dodecyl sulphate) used as an extremely cheap foaming agent. Also be mindful of parabens which extend the shelf life of health and beauty products by adding preservatives – ew.
“There are five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans – enough to circle the Earth over 400 times.” – Green peace
Our Arbor alternative is one of the best selling ecological soap brand Dr. Bronner’s. They offer the purest of ingredients that are also fair trade certified – talk about a win-win. Best of all there is no use of synthetic preservatives, no detergents or foaming agents whatsoever. They offer a breadth of self-care products including their best-selling 18-in-one Pure Castile Liquid Soap. Grab one today!
2. Reusable Kitchen Linens
By now we hope you know the impact that single-use towels and napkins have on the environment – in case you don’t, it’s not good simply put. Although they are sourced from trees (and at times recycled paper) once they are stained they can no longer be recycled again. Your best bet here is opting for reusable cloth napkins that are made from natural fibre crops such as Cotton, Flax, Hemp. Use them, throw them in the wash (cold setting – save that energy) and use them again! Linen makes for some of the best reusable napkins. Being a natural fibre of the flax plant requires minimal pesticides, herbicides and additive fertilizers during the growth processes and is antibacterial so great for the kitchen and safe for sensitive skin.
“On average, every American uses three rolls of toilet paper each week (28 pounds per year), meaning that just 4 percent of the world’s population is responsible for 20 percent of total tissue consumption” – In Habitat
For our Arbor alternative we are obsessed with the range of cloth napkins offered on Etsy from colourful patterns to unique designs you’re sure to find one (but we’re betting more) that you love. They also offer a good selection of ones made from linen!
3. Reusable Cotton Rounds
Did you know it requires over 20,000 litres of water according to the Water Footprint Network to create just 1 kilogram of cotton!? Cotton rounds are a staple of any decent skincare routine as they are a godsend in removing makeup, nail polish or simply exfoliating your skin before cleansing. But your daily use can pile on the waste – even using a couple every day adds up to 730 tossed out per year. Yikes! Asa an eco-friendly alternative to single-use cotton balls or cotton rounds, reusable rounds are designed to be washed, dried and used again for a long period of time. Simply use, wash and repeat. They are durable, absorbent and super easy to clean – just toss a handful into a laundry mesh bag on the delicate cycle and you’re set. Did we mention is investment now saves you money in the long run? Yup.
“Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops in the world taking around 2,720 litres of water to produce just one t-shirt – the same amount as the average person would drink in three years.” – Environmental Justice Foundation
Our Arbor alternative is set of eco-friendly reusable mini face rounds from Kitsch. They’re a cult classic and encourage you to go minimalist. Made from organic bamboo these soft rounds are gentle on your skin AND the environment and replace those wasteful disposable cotton rounds. Made from highly absorbent 100% natural fibres, chemical-free, fully biodegradable with a reusable waterproof travel pouch, we’re big fans.
4. Reusable Wool Dryer Balls
Use dryer balls instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets. Why? Softener (both in dryer sheets and liquid) contains a toxic soup full of chemicals. Softeners that give that wonderful lemony fresh scent and bright colour contain thousands of fragrance ingredients including phthalates that cause allergies, skin irritations and the disruption of the endocrine system. So why not opt for something au naturel and beneficial for your health? We recommend swapping in 100 percent wool dryer balls made of natural lanolin which speeds up the drying process, softens laundry and reduces static. Sensitive skin? Opt for unscented. Pro tip: if you love scent, but not that fake stuff, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil(s) for the smell and extra freshness!
“The most sustainable way is to not make things. The second most sustainable way is to make something very useful, to solve a problem that hasn’t been solved.” – Thomas Sigsgaard
Our Arbor alternative is made from 100% pure New Zealand all natural wool this set of three hypoallergenic wool dryer balls from Grove Collaborative reduce wrinkles and reduce the drying time by 25% per load and are the ideal eco-friendly alternative to the traditional dryer sheets. As big energy savers they last up to 1000 loads and are 100% biodegradable when being tossed out. You can even add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for more fragrant laundry as a bonus.
5. Reusable Bamboo Toothbrush
Already a hot-trend, bamboo brushes have been all the rage lately as conventional plastic and nylon disposable toothbrushes contain polypropylene for the handle and nylon for the bristles are toxic for you and the environment. And the discarded waste is astounding – nearly 23 billion plastic toothbrushes get tossed in the landfill every year! Bamboo has made a huge splash in so many self-care products lately as it is a natural material and is 100% biodegradable and fully compostable within 6 months. Bamboo is fast-growing, requires very little water, does not require pesticides and is flexible to grow in a variety of environments. And best of all its plastic-free!! Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is a great and simple swap you can make towards becoming more sustainable!
After a short first-use cycle, 95% of plastic packaging material value, or USD 80–120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. – Ellen MacArthur Foundation
For our Arbor alternative we love the bestseller Humble Brush from The Humble Co. as it is 100% biodegradable with sustainably grown bamboo made of natural vegan wax. The packaging is also eco-friendly with the inside wrapper being made from recycled materials. It’s green-approved being both vegan and cruelty-free certified.