Though it may be tempting to pick up a pack of disposable razors because they are cheap and available at any pharmacy, grocery, or convenience store, it's important to remember that they are made of hard to recycle materials that for the most part end up in the landfill. While Terracycle and Gilette have partnered with CVS to offer a mail back program for razors and accessories, the best option would be to purchase a safety razor. Replacement blades are very affordable, and may be stored in a blade bank or used mints tin until full, and can be recycled as metal scrap. Please note that safety razors are more dangerous than disposable blades, and should be stored accordingly, especially if there are children in the house.
Aerosol shaving creams / shaving foams contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to ozone depletion. Instead, we recommend using shaving soaps which can be purchased in recyclable tins, or making your own. Use a shaving brush made of a wood or bamboo base with either badger fur or if you prefer a vegan option, there are brushed with synthetic bristles available. Place the shaving soap in a shaving bowl (or any mug or cup) and wet with warm water. Swirl the wet brush on the soap to create a rich lather and apply to the area you want to shave. Grab your safety razor and happy shaving!
There are a million skin lotions, potions, and serums on the market and most of them contain harmful chemicals and synthetic ingredients and come packaged in containers that are difficult or impossible to recycle. Below are some sustainable skincare brands reviewed by Sustainable Jungle for different sustainability criteria including packaging and shipping materials:
- Washable/reusable makeup remover pads, tissues/hankies, and facecloths are available and recommended to replace single-use options, to reduce waste and save money over time.
From a plastic packaging perspective, bar soap is a better option than liquid soap, and is just as effective at cleaning hands. If you are averse to using hand soap in bar form, consider using a metal grater to grate bar soap into a bowl, and then transfer the flakes into a glass jar with holes poked into the lid, so that bathroom and kitchen visitors can easily sprinkle some flakes into their hands for an easy lather without the gooey mess that can be left in a soapdish.
Again, commercial lip balms are often made with unhealthy chemicals and other unregulated fragrances synthetics. A simple two-ingredient DIY lip balm calls for 3 tablespoons grated cocoa butter and 1 tablespoon of high quality olive oil. Melt the cocoa butter down to a liquid over a double boiler, stir in the olive oil, and pour into tins. Let the mixture cool over night and you'll have some wonderful lip balm. If purchasing cocoa butter in bulk, it is a great ingredient to use for as part of a DIY lotion or even on its own.
Bamboo toothbrushes are becoming widely available. They are low waste alternatives to plastic toothbrushes, and may be composted in your curbside bin after the bristles have been removed. Instead of brushing with toothpaste from a tube which is non-recyclable, you may want to try using toothpaste tablets or baking soda, and natural silk dental floss which is compostable. Products available at Well Earth Goods and other online retailers.