My journey into motherhood also sparked my journey into living more sustainably to help preserve Mother Earth for my son and future generations. I've learned so much, and every time I find a new way or product to make our lives more eco-friendly and kinder to our earth, I get excited. So, I thought I'd share a few of the products I've switched out at home, and if you have others, please do share!
Yep, I've hopped on this train! I actually didn't know shampoo bars were a thing until recently and once I started researching, it led down a rabbit hole of bar-everything. You can check out the video I made on the products I've got. So far, I'm loving it. Not that I've tried a bunch of brands, but my favorite brand right now is Ethique, for more than just their bars. They have bar everything, but what really hooked me is their transparency about their sustainable and zero-waste practices. If you'd like to support a small family business, Wind Song Acres Soapery makes BEAUTIFUL bars--like so beautiful they look like pieces of art.
Of course, making the switch to soap bars, also led to a search for more eco-friendly way of storing soap. Ethique has a great compostable soap holder if you have the shower space for it. With baby's bath toys, we don't have enough ledge space for this. So, something else I discovered is a sisal soap bag made from the agave plant, which not only works to hold the soap, but you can keep it in the bag which then allows you to use it in the bag and exfoliate with the bag and you don't have to worry about the bar slipping out of your hands. It's also helpful when soap dwindles down into little pieces so you don't have to worry about losing the tiny pieces. The bag makes small pieces easier to use. Hanging up your soap in the bag keeps the soap dry, which means your soap also lasts longer! There are lots of places to get them, even Amazon, but I got mine from The Earthling Co.
Reusable Bamboo Cotton Rounds
To replace the cotton pads I usually use to remove make-up or nail polish, I bought reusable bamboo pads, and I love them. They're also much larger than the cotton ones. The ones I got from The Earthling Co. come with 20 rounds in a pack and a mesh bag to hold them. I use an empty tea tin to hold the clean ones, and I toss the dirty ones in the mesh bag, which makes laundry easy, because I just toss the bag in the laundry.
I bought reusable paper towels made of bamboo that you can wash in the laundry, but I'm not totally sold on them. I have found that I much prefer using some of the cloth diaper inserts that I don't use as diapers instead for cleaning and wiping up messes. However, I thought I'd still list them here, in case anyone is interested. The ones I have, I think you can wash up to 50 times before they no longer work well.
Wool Dryer Balls
I didn't know these existed until I started cloth diapering, and at first I thought this was just another thing someone was trying to sell me that was not necessary. But replacing your dryer sheets with these makes a huge environmental impact and is good for those with sensitive skin. Also, they save energy because they help get your laundry dryer faster.
Instagram kept targeting me with ads for Boie, and a few months ago I finally caved and decided to check them out. I don't know why, but often times when I see ads on IG or FB I'm very skeptical of them at first. However, this ad was well-targeted. For some time I had been trying to find more eco-friendly versions of loofas with no luck. Enter Boie. Boie makes an antimicrobial body scrubber that gently exfoliates and is 100% recyclable. It resembles a silicone scrub. As we know, not all recyclable items are made equal, so Boie allows you to send the body scrubber (or any of their items) back to them for proper recycling once it's time to switch out for a new one. Whereas loofas should be changed out every 3 months, it's recommended that Boie's body scrubber is changed every 6 months. That all being said, it did take a few tries to get the hang of using it, because at first I couldn't figure out how to get it to lather properly without having to use way more soap than I normally do. Once I got the hang of it though, it worked well. I can't say I LOVE it, but at least I know it's not only eco-friendly, but also isn't collecting germs the way loofas and sponges do. Oh, and it conveniently sticks to your shower wall for easy storage.
I hate sponges. They just gross me out, but no brush has ever wowed me either, and I realized all our dish brushes are made of plastic. So, as I was perusing The Earthling Co's shop, I came across their dish brush. I didn't think much of it at first, but one day I just got tired of the sponge and thought, let's try it out. Their dish brush is made of untreated German beechwood and Mexican Tampico bristles. When the head wears out, you can simply remove it and order a replacement head, which is nice. Not only is it an eco-friendly option, I have been so impressed with how well it works. Soap lathers really well with the brush, and it scrubs really well without scratching your pans. I never thought I'd enjoy a brush so much! Eventually, I will switch to bar dish soap, too, or a concentrated form that can be turned into liquid.
There are a lot of "green" brands out there now, but not all are as eco-friendly or sustainable as they claim to be. Particularly when I became pregnant, I found a need to switch to more eco-friendly products because the smell of the chemicals gave me a headache. I've used brands like Seventh Generation, and during the pandemic it has been impossible to get their cleaning wipes, as well as Puracy which I've really enjoyed. I use a lot of Puracy products now, especially because they offer refills, which cut down a lot on plastic. That being said, I realized that even the refill bags are made of a type of plastic, even if recycled plastic or some type of more eco-friendly plastic. But the plastic used is not something you can typically toss into your regular recycling bin, which means probably a lot of people either improperly recycle it or just toss it. Their other packaging is easily recycled. Still, the solution to our plastic problem is not to recycle more plastic, but to find alternatives. So, the bar soap world introduced me to bar cleaning products, which eventually I will make the switch to, once I've used up all the products I currently have at home. Ethique also makes concentrates, so that no plastic is involved in shipping or packaging, and then you can mix the concentrated product with water to create a liquid form if you like. I've also discovered Blueland, which makes cleaning tablets and sells reusable bottles that are labeled so you know which spray is for the toilet and which for the glass and mirrors. I'm keen to try their tablets when I am in need of restocking on cleaning supplies.
I have reusable snack bags/packs that I love. Some are silicone, and some are basically like mini wet bags. Many cloth diaper companies sell great little pouches, and they're easy to throw in with the laundry.
Plastic Wrap Replacements
I've just bought bee's wax wraps from Abeego and Bee's Wrap, which I'm excited to try out. I've been wanting to make the switch for a while, but was doing my research to see what the best alternatives are. Abeego is a Canadian company and was the first product of its kind. These bee's wax wraps are made with a blend of bee's wax, organic cotton, hemp, jojoba oil, and tree resin. Bee's Wrap is essentially the same, though they don't use a hemp/cotton blend. Their's is made simply with organic cotton muslin, and they are made in Vermont.
These are just a few eco-friendly swaps I've been able to make at home. One I would like to find a replacement for is rubbish bin liners, because otherwise we still rely on plastic grocery bags to line our rubbish bins at home. I know I could probably use things like small wet bags, or large ones for tall kitchen bins, but the thought of cleaning those grosses me out still. So, I don't know. I'll figure it out, but if anyone has any recommendations for this, please do share!