Updated: Dec 28, 2018
The Canadian federal government has predicted that by the year 2050 the collected plastic in the earth’s oceans will outweigh its fish. Approximately 3.25 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced each year in Canada alone. As of summer 2018, our government has yet to introduce, let alone implement, any federal policies to curb plastic use in Canada. I think in the end, though, policies won’t be our salvation. In our consumer culture, we vote with our dollar, and it’s in our spending that we confirm our values and ideals. If we truly believe that our plastic waste is hurting our home and our cohabitants, and if we actually care about the damage we are causing, then we need to start making changes to our everyday habits.
This fall I made it my goal to reduce my personal use of single-use plastics. I started by reimagining my toiletries and slowly replacing all the plastic-bottled products I use with eco-friendly counterparts.
Here are a few changes that I have made.
1. Switching to bar soap.
I’m pretty loyal to Olay as a brand for my body-washing needs, not because they are a pillar of eco-friendly values, but because it’s pretty much the only soap/body wash that doesn’t make my skin itchy and dry after a wash. However, I did decide to switch from their bottled body wash to bar soap, which comes in a thin cardboard box. My one issue with its packaging is that it still uses cellophane to wrap the single-boxed bars together, which I think could be done away with entirely (step it up, Olay). What bottled products can you replace with their boxed equals?
2. Switching to shampoo and conditioner bars.
I’ve really appreciated the shampoo and conditioner bars I purchased from Lush. With the addition of their metal tins, there is no need for any packaging when purchasing more. I love the easy lather that the shampoo bar gives, with no worry about over-applying and wasting excess product (I tend to overdo it with liquid shampoo). The conditioner takes a bit more work in applying, but I’ve used both bars about 10 times and the bars have barely even gotten smaller from the use. I’ll let you know how long my first bars last!
3. Switching to cloth pads.
I was pretty disappointed when the Diva Cup didn’t work for me. I would recommend it as an option for serious waste reduction, and they now have 3 models, adding the “0” model for younger (or smaller) girls with lighter flows along with models “1” and “2” for medium and heavier menstrual flows (respectively). There are also other brands of menstrual cups out there, so do some research of your own to find the right fit.
If you’re like me and find a great deal of discomfort (and pain) in using a menstrual cup, fear not! There are other options in waste reduction. I chose to try Hannah Pads, cloth menstrual pads, because I thought they would be more convenient (and slightly more economical) than a product like Thinx, the “period-proof underwear”. This will be my first cycle using Hannah Pads (I was pumped when they arrived before my period started). I absolutely love their cute patterns and I appreciate the size options available. I ordered the “One Week Set” which included 3 large, overnight pads, 3 small pads or liners, and 5 medium pads. I also bought a wet bag and probiotic laundry soap to hand wash them.
Since I just started using them, I'll wait to share my review of them for a later time but I have to say it feels good to not be creating so much plastic waste every month.
Yes, these changes are all small and I am in no way claiming that this will save our environment or our world. But I do hope that maybe I'll reduce the damage my consumption creates. What are some of the changes you have made or want to make? Any suggestions you would add? Leave them in the comments!
PS - Here are some resource to help you on your plastic waste reducing journey.