Like most of us, I’m concerned about the environment and the way humankind has devasted our planet with our wasteful and lazy ways. On a more personal level too, we are not doing ourselves any favours with our easy, throwaway lifestyle choices. I’m more than a bit worried about the negative impact plastic has on our bodies for instance. We ingest tiny particles of the stuff everyday through the food chain as well as bits that may break loose from our containers and packaging. It has also been suggested that toxins in plastic containers could leech into the food in those containers. See five reasons to avoid plastic containers. Even most teabags are made with plastic and I recently read about a scientific study that was conducted and it showed that tea made with plastic teabags had particles of plastic in it. Yes, you are drinking plastic!
I’ve long been very mindful of what I use in the way of cosmetics, toiletries and some household cleaning products. I always buy cruelty free products and try to avoid those containing parabens and SLS. Some shower gels and shampoos have these and other harmful chemicals in them, all of which we are rubbing over our skin and then washing into our water system. I’ve toyed with various ideas to reduce plastic use, reduce general waste and be a bit more eco-aware over the years and am on a bit of a kick with it again.
My first idea came from seeing some beautiful crochet projects on Ravelry, specifically the Spa bathroom set from Hooked on Patterns. Until a couple of weeks ago, my shower cubicle contained; a nylon shower scrubby and shower gel, shampoo and conditioner all in plastic bottles and I used disposable cotton wool pads to clean off my make up. I made up my mind that I would ditch the plastic from that area at least.
So, I spent a fair few hours crocheting the shower puff in white cotton yarn, King Cole Cottonsoft if you are interested, only to find that it didn’t work with shower gel, I didn’t have a bar of soap to try and having thought about it, that might have been ok. However, it weighed a bloody ton when wet so once it had dried out, I pulled it out to re-use the yarn. That felt like a disappointing fail to be honest.
Next up was the face scrubbies, I used a different pattern, Resuable make-up scrubbies from Stitched Up Craft for these and also experimented with my own patterns. These are ok to use, I use micellar water for cleaning off my make up and you need to be careful that it doesn’t just run off the pad! I think they would be better with a cream/lotion type cleanser really. They are not quite as soft as normal disposable cotton wool pads but you pop them into a mesh bag and in the washing machine rather than in the bin heading for landfill so that’s got to be worth the minor inconveniences surely.
My favourite things from the spa set are the facecloth, which is crocheted in a nice textural stitch and is deliciously soft on my face and the soap scrub, which is a little mesh bag for a bar of soap, I got some handmade soap from Hatton Handmade Soap via a lovely eco webshop called Peace with the Wild. So, the soap scrub or soap sack as they are often called works a bit like the old soap on a rope for those old enough to remember that! The bag has a hanging loop on it and you leave the soap in the bag and lather up and either use your soapy hands to wash yourself or rub the soapy bag over your body. If you love the ease of one of those nylon shower scrubbies with a dollop of shower gel, then you won’t like the extra effort needed to use the soap sack but I think it is worth it both for my well-being and that of the environment.
Also from Peace With the Wild, I bought a solid shampoo bar and a conditioner one too, pictured here. Now these I’m still not sure about. I have read about the transition period where your hair feels waxy and greasy and is difficult to style. This is because for years, your hair has been producing it’s own natural oils to combat the chemicals in the shampoos and conditioners we’ve been using. It takes anything from a few washes to a few months apparently for your hair to get used to the new chemical-free shampoo bar and to stop producing so much oil. The first couple of washes, my hair felt truly dreadful and if we hadn’t been in lockdown so no one sees me anyway, I don’t think I’d have stuck it out. However, three weeks in now and there is a noticeable improvement from how it felt at first. I’ll continue until I’ve used up the whole bar but if I’m stuggling to dry and style my hair, this might just be an eco idea that gets shelved. I hope my hair adapts to it though because like with the soap sack instead of shower gel, I like the knowledge that I’m not washing tons of chemicals into the water system. All of the soap, shampoo and conditioner bars are made from natural ingredients, cruelty free, vegan and come wrapped in paper which is of course recyclable.
Next up, in light of my recent discover about the plastic in teabags we’re in the process of ditching teabags in favour of loose-leaf teas and herbal infusions. I ordered lots of taster packs from The Tea People as well as a metal caddy with my favourite tea, liquorice root and some English breakfast tea for Patrick to try. We use a ball shaped tea infuser for single cups rather than a teapot so it’s a little like a teabag I suppose. Patrick enjoys the Sleep tea which is a blend of some of the common sleep inducing plants such as hops & valerian along with passion flowers and rose petals. I really like the Relax tea which I’ve been drinking as my bedtime drink. It’s made from a blend of tulsi, fennel, camomile, aniseed, linden and sunflower petals and is a lovely, sweet and soothing taste. I’ll definitely be ordering from them again, the tin caddy with my liquorice tea in is really pretty so I’ll probably get our favourite teas in caddies next time.
That’s about it from tree-huggers central for now. Doing our best to make a difference!