We’re using up our planet’s resources at an alarming rate. Some of the things we’re using, we can reduce, reuse, and recycle, but what about hygiene products? You can’t quit bathing and brushing your teeth to save the planet. There’s good news, though: there are a number of hygiene products you may have never heard of that are helping preserve the planet’s valuable resources.
In no particular order, here are 10 particularly impressive ones.
1. Cloth diapers.
If you have a baby, you know that you go through literally thousands of diapers in a year. That’s a massive pile that leaves your house and finds its way to a landfill somewhere. Cloth diapers have come back into vogue in the past decade or so, and there are some really awesome options out there.
The Buttons Diapers system, for instance, is a two-part system. It’s an outer diaper with an insert, which means when it’s wet, only the insert, not the whole diaper, has to be washed. That means not only less waste in your trash can, but a smaller load in your washer.
2. Reusable toothbrush handles, sustainable toothbrushes.
If you get a new toothbrush every three months like most dentists recommend, you’re sending regular plastic donations to the nearest landfill. They’re small, but they add up. You can switch to a bamboo toothbrush, like these from Woo Bamboo, which reduces the disposal of plastic, or, check out the options from the Goodwell Company — a toothbrush handle made from medical grade metals, and a disposable and replaceable head, which reduces the amount you throw away.
3. Reusable feminine products.
Month after month, you make the trek to the store, pick up a package of pads or tampons (or more than one), open your wallet and shell out. Month after month, you send the used product on vie the trash truck. Month after month, bleach, water, cotton, plastic, and other resources are poured into the creation of these.
The Diva Cup is a menstrual cup. You use it, you dump it, you wash it, and you use it. And then you do it again. You save resources — both your own and the Earth’s, because it doesn’t have to be made over and over, and you don’t have to buy it over and over.
Then there are reusable pads. Aside from the fact that they aren’t using up valuable resources in plastic-making and cotton-bleaching for a new pack each month, and the obvious economic benefit to you of not having to buy them on a regular basis, you’ll also benefit from not having scratchy plastic in your pants, irritating your skin. Pink Lemonade Shop has reusable pads in a variety of sizes and styles, and unlike disposables, they’re even pretty.
4. Waterless bathing.
Okay, this one comes out of South Africa, and sounds a bit strange to those of us who have water as easily as turning on the tap. According to Gizmodo, though, it’s making a difference in communities where finding clean water to drink and bathe in is less easy. Dry Bath was invented by a student, and is essentially a gel that works like Purell, but for the whole body (and with, apparently, a less alcohol-y scent.)
5. Biodegradable Cotton Swabs
Did you know some cotton swabs are harder on the planet than others? Plastic sticks sit in landfills longer than cardboard ones, and not all swabs are made with the same chemical processes. Maxim Hygiene advertises that their swabs aren’t bleached, don’t contain any fragrances or synthetics, and are made with methods designed to help protect the environment.
6. Reusable makeup removal pads.
If you’re buying makeup removal pads, you’ve seen how they pile up in your bathroom trash can, and how quickly you can go through a package. A stack of reusable ones can save that space in your trash can and in the local landfill, conserve the resources used to make the disposable pads, and save you a few dollars. We found these really cute ones from Etsy shop Cuteandfunky, where they cost about the same as a package of the disposable type.
7. Reusable baby wipes.
You’re wrinkling your nose, but it’s really not so different from cloth diapers or the washcloths the rest of the family uses on their own bottoms in the shower. Instead of buying box upon box of baby wipes, store these cloths in a wipe warmer, use them, wash them, and use them again. We found cute ones in a variety of fabrics (hemp, organic cotton, flannel and more) at Kelly’s Closet.
8. Eco-friendly diapers and wipes.
If you’re not ready to go wash-and-reuse on baby bottom products, you can choose disposabled that do less harm. The Honest Company sources their materials from sustainable sources, and uses the methods and materials that have the least negative impact on the environment.
9. The shower manager.
The Shower Manager is a device that times your shower, gives a warning beep, and shuts the water down to 1/3 of the normal flow at the preset time. There’s water enough to finish rinsing, but not enough to stand around and relax in the flow for too long. You can adjust it to give 5, 8, or 11 minutes.
10. Soap saver.
All those little slivers of soap you toss out add up — they add up to waste, to more bars being made, more packaging being made, and more of your money being spent. Being a bit frugal with those ends and pieces can save you money, and help conserve the planet’s resources.
Soap savers are little pouches, crocheted, knitted, or sewn of a bath-worthy material. Place your soap slivers inside, and use the bag like a fancy scrubby. We found the cute microfiber ones above at Fresh As A Daisy Soaps, on Etsy.
There are plenty of ways to do your part to conserve the planet’s resources and protect the environment. Reusing when possible, buying recyclable and reusable products when you can, and being aware of your consumption are important parts of an environmentally protective lifestyle. These hygiene products are just one more element that can help.MissMessie, Lazarius, wiccked, cavale, Sunfrog1, maxymedia]