In previous weeks I've I talked about making Straight Swaps to more eco versions of your regular products, that require no change to our routine or our convenience (6 Straight Swaps on your Journey to Zero Waste), and Simple Switch Ups that require small changes or a little extra thought (10 Simple Switch Ups on your Journey to Zero Waste).
This week I want to talk about making 4 Considered Changes.
As you may remember, I have identified three 'levels' of change on a zero waste journey:
- Straight Swap - A change that really requires no change to our routine or our convenience. It is just a straight swap to a more eco friendly, zero waste version of an everyday item.
- Simple Switch-Up - A change that's a little different to what we're used to, using an item in a very similar way, and may need a touch of extra thought or pre-thought - such as using a bar of soap instead of liquid, or remembering to bring a bottle of water or coffee cup with you when you go out.
- Considered Change - These are changes that are an extra step away from our old, convenient life. They make take more time, or feel different, and are not as easy. (But... with each step, we do move further along our zero waste journey.) In particular, with these changes, when we're feeling the weight of that extra effort that's needed, we need to keep our eye on the prize - our planet.
As the name suggests, a considered change is a change that we have to think about fully, and then commit to making that change. These changes aren't as simple or straightforward as the others, but we should just keep in my the benefit of our actions, along with the multiplier effect when we inspire others to make the change too.
4 Considered Changes on your Journey to Zero Waste
1. Make the change from an aerosol or roll-on deodorant to a Solid Deodorant, or a Deodorant in compostable packaging.
I've always had what my friends and I kindly referred to as 'an over-efficient cooling system' aka I can end up being a touch sweaty at times! As a result, throughout my teenage and adult life, I've tended to be a Mitchum girl.
(Let's not forget their pre-rebranding slogan - Mitchum: For Problem Perspiration ;-))
But in recent years, with my move towards reducing the toxins to which I expose mine and my family's bodies, I started to try out deodorants, instead of anti-perspirants. And always looking for less plastic and more natural products, I started off with Neal's Yard, which comes in a glass bottle.
It took a little getting used to, to not be totally dry all day (which I'd been used to for over 20 years!), because after all, I was now using a deodorant, not an anti-perspirant. But I was really pleased I was no longer clogging up my pores and not applying aluminium to my skin daily. I found I didn't sweat that much, and the fragrance covered any that did occur. And if I got extra sweaty, I would just wipe under my arms and re-apply.
However, as this journey to Zero Waste is a journey, I wasn't content to stop there. I have now moved on to a Solid Deodorant, from Lamazuna, which is totally packaging free.
This zero waste, aluminium-free and alcohol-free deodorant bar is made with 100% natural ingredients. It offers effective protection against odours and bacteria through the Palmarosa Essential Oil, and the Bicarbonate of Soda regulates your body's pH balance. So your pores remain unclogged and able to breathe. The packaging is totally plastic-free, coming simply in a recyclable cardboard box.
I apply it by wetting the deodorant slightly under the tap, then rubbing a thin layer under the arms. It is a little rough - not as smooth as a roll-on - but nothing that irritates my underarms or would stop me from using it. And I don't smell.
(I test this by sniffing my t-shirts under the arms every evening - sometimes there is a very vague whiff, but nothing over-powering and would only be noticed if someone had their nose right under my arm-pit, and quite frankly, more fool them.)
The Contented Company is also soon going to be stocking a Natural Deodorant, from Natural Vegan. This all-natural deodorant is packaged in a specially designed push tube, made from recycled paper, and along with its natural ocean friendly ingredients is completely compostable. This is a zero-waste product.
Making a change like this is different from what you've been used to - for years, for decades even. You won't feel the same. It's a bit more work when it gets hot. But for me, the toxin-free product that I apply to my skin, and the plastic-free, compostable packaging that it comes in far outweighs any of the inconveniences of changing.
2. Change from a plastic bottle of shampoo to a Solid Shampoo
Another change that is somewhat different, and perhaps takes a touch more effort to get used to, is using a solid shampoo.
It's not quite the same ease as squirting liquid shampoo into your hand and massaging it in to wet hair, producing a huge lather. It isn't a quick and easy. It takes a bit of getting used to.
That said, it's very doable, and only takes a couple of minutes longer to lather up. The process reminds me a little of dying my roots ;-) I start down my parting, running the bar under the water and then rubbing it on my head, parting my hair further down, wetting the bar again, rubbing again and working my way around my head making sure I've got all areas covered. Once I've done that, I add extra splash of water and give it an extra massage all over to lather up and clean my scalp. It never looks as bubbly as I feel it is, but it certainly feels well lathered-up and gets to all of my head.
I currently use Lamazuna's Chocolate Solid Shampoo for normal hair, but I also love their Lemon for oily hair - to be honest, all of them are delicious!
Lamazuna Solid Shampoos are handmade in France, from natural ingredients and are palm-oil free. They are plastic free (and therefore BPA free) , eco-friendly, sustainable and 100% vegan.
They come in a range of fragrances and for a range of hair-types - you are sure to find the shampoo to suit you. Despite their small size, they are very effective - you will need to wash your hair less, and so they last longer. And remember, about 80% of shampoo in a bottle is water, rather than product.
(Product options available are:
- Dry Hair - Orange
- Dry Hair - Vanilla & Coconut
- Oily Hair - Lemon
- Oily Hair - Wild Herbs
- Normal Hair - Scotch Pine
- Normal Hair - Chocolate
- Normal Hair - Orange, Cinnamon & Star Anise)
The Contented Company will also soon be stocking a Shampoo & Conditioner Bar, from Natural Vegan! This all-natural bar's packaging along with its natural ingredients is completely compostable. This is also a zero-waste product.
It isn't as easy. It isn't as quick. But it's really very doable, and only takes a touch more time. And again, isn't the benefit worth the effort? No nasty chemicals rubbed into your skin, and washed away into our water system. No extra plastic hanging around our planet for many hundreds of years. And all the packaging composting back into organic matter. For me it's always going to be a yes.
3. Change from body lotion in a plastic bottle to a Solid Body Butter
We use Lamazuna's Solid Cocoa Body Butter. My girls LOVE this body butter, happily rubbing it into their skin - even 6YO who suffers from dry skin, but tells me most creams are too 'owwy' or 'wet'.
This solid Cacao Body Butter moisturises without being greasy on your skin, improves skin elasticity and soothes dry skin. The butter forms a protective barrier on the skin, provides a conditioning boost and leaves your skin smelling gorgeous.
The heat of your skin easily starts to melt the solid bar, so after holding it on the skin for a moment, it will slide across your skin, so it can be used as a face cream, body cream or even for massages! We love it.
The packaging is 100% plastic free, simply coming in a recyclable cardboard box.
As with all these changes, it does take a bit more time, but not that much. And it feels so good to be ticking off every plastic bottle that you're able to stop coming into your home.
4. Change from store-bought, chemical laden cleaning products to making your own natural homemade cleaning spray
This is a fairly recent switch for me, but the hassle factor is so low and the cost even lower, that it's a no-brainer for me:
- Citrus fruit peel (essentially zero cost, because all you'd do otherwise is throw it away)
- Soaked in white vinegar for two weeks (10p per 100ml, and I'm sure I could get it cheaper than that if I tried)
- Strained into a spray bottle
- And diluted with water
- (And add some drops of essential oils if you want, but you don't have to)
I've also got some alternative 'recipes' in our Free Guides section of the website: Contented Earth Homemade Cleaning Spray Recipes.
Whilst it's super simple, super easy and super cheap, it is a change. It is an extra thought, something you have to set up and get into the rhythm of doing - you can't just click 'add to basket' with your online grocery shopping.
But again, I just keep coming back to the fact that I don't want toxic chemicals in my house. If it says 'keep out of the reach of children', then should I really be cleaning my house with it? Plus with a glass bottle and fruit peel, I'm cutting back on my plastic bottle quota too.
(Glass Spray Bottles are available on The Contented Company website.)
I hope these past three blogs have helped inspire you as to what changes you'd like to make on your own zero waste journey. And I hope that I've been open and honest about the level of change and effort these swaps are. Embarking on and travelling along a zero waste journey does take some effort and commitment, but there's always a place you can start.
If you feel inspired to make any Considered Changes today, to say Thank You for making this eco change, I'm offering you 10% off all the products on our site with the Discount Code SWAP10 - simply apply it to your online cart.
Any questions at all about the discount or the products, please don't hesitate to ask.
As always, with love from our family to yours,