By now, we’re hopefully all doing our share to help the natural world thrive under the pressures of human occupancy, but why not take things a step further than adopting a vegetarian diet, recycling, and using public transportion? We use things everyday without considering their individual impacts on the environment, so we’re taking a closer look at three life-changing sustainable products that we could all start using to replace the more harmful ones.
Soap Nut Shells
A natural, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic replacement for your usual supermarket washing detergent, soap nut shells offer the only 100-percent organic way to do your laundry without inputting any harmful chemicals. Derived from the Sapindus Mukorossi, which itself is part of the lychee family, soap nuts are actually berries that can be harvested between September and February, and their trees grow them for as long as 90 years before slowing down production.
Of course, these trees also contribute to converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, which means that even the act of planting and growing soap nuts aids our environment as much as using their shells to wash our clothes does. Add a shell to your compost pile after washing with it to get even more green use from it!
To incorporate soap nut shells into your laundry routine, just pop them into a small fabric bag and throw them into the machine alongside your dirty clothes. Though the soap nuts don’t actually contain any soap, they do contain a surfactant called saponin that is excreted in hot water. Better for your skin, better for the environment, and better for your delicates, these shells are the clear way forward for an eco-warrior like you.
In a bid to eradicate plastic waste, eco-conscious brands are looking to alternative packaging (if any at all) to cut down their carbon footprints. Just think about going to the pharmacy or supermarket to purchase your favorite hair care products: how many of them come in nothing but wasteful plastic bottles and containers? After perhaps a month of using a bottle of shampoo, we throw it away and replace it with another, meaning that in one year alone, a single user throws away 12 more bottles than they need to — and that’s just for one product. Collectively, over 80 billion plastic hair care containers are thrown out across the globe every year.
Shampoo bars are a great way to keep from contributing to that daunting figure. Use organic ingredients to make yourself one of these sustainable replacements to conventional shampoo, and your baths will be that much better with you knowing you’re using something that comes totally plastic and cruelty-free (and that lasts two to three times longer than the average hair care product).
It’s no big secret you have to thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day in order to sustain healthy oral care. Unfortunately, a standard plastic toothbrush only lasts an average of three months, which adds up to four toothbrushes a year. That number doesn’t seem too high for a single user, but multiply it by the number of gnasher-cleaning humans on the planet, and that figure climbs to a gobsmacking 3.5 billion toothbrushes thrown away annually. Next time your bristles are looking a little worse for wear, opt for a sustainable replacement.
Bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable, vegan, organic, cruelty-free, and recyclable. Their wooden handles can be disposed of naturally, and their bristles (made by brands like The Humble Co.) can be made using nylon-6, which has a carbon footprint similar to that of wool while being highly durable and hygienic so that you never have to sacrifice your health for your conscience.