By now, we’re all doing our best to carry our own water bottles, mugs, and utensils, and to remember our reusable bags when we go to the grocery store. But there’s still so, so, so much waste to cut down on, especially when it comes to single use plastic.
So, in the spirit of Zero Waste Week, here are some oft-overlooked sources of plastic waste, and companies who are innovating ways to make that a thing of the past.
Problem: Plastic Razors and Cartridges
The EPA estimates that 2 billion plastic razors are thrown away every year. Why? Because “disposable” razors have been so much more convenient, less daunting, and “safe” feeling than your average safety razor.
Until now, that is.
The folks at Leaf have painstakingly designed two razors (and a dermaplaner!) to be confidently easy to use and plastic-free. Leaf gifted us the triple-blade, rotating head razor to try, and—tbh, I was a little nervous—but the blades were easy to load (thank you, thank you, for a screw that can’t fall out!), and it’s awesome having the option of using 2 or 3 blades for sensitive skin. Plus, it makes me feel like I’m 13 again, singing “I’m your venus, I’m you’re fire…” in the shower with my new razor—just minus the waste.
Other things we love about Leaf:
- Their single blade razor is super packably small, and single-sided for extra safety.
- They encourage you to ship back used blades (just read the instructions first), and/or teach you how to recycle them locally
- Leaf is 3rd party certified Climate Neutral
- They even did a Razor Study to empirically verify that this isn’t just a plastic-free shave, it’s a better shave.
- You’ll save money while being more sustainable.
Problem: Post-Industrial Scrap Plastic
Solution: Sunski Sunglasses
Have you met Sunski yet? If not, let's introduce you. The Sunski team invented (how we love eco-conscious smarty pants) a material called SuperLight. In their words, it's a "revolutionary recycled polymer that transforms post-industrial scrap plastic into a material that [they] use for all of our sunglasses frames." We’re feeling it.
That’s not all:
- Accessories and carrying cases are made from durable solution-dyed recycled polyester (RPET), which they color by dying thread before weaving, which reduces water waste.
- The packaging is completely free of single use plastic, and the innovative origami-folded recycled cardboard that houses the frames in transit is so cute and so cool.
- They've been members of 1% For the Planet for 10+ years, donating 1% of all sales (not profits!) to environmental charities every year. They've donated more than $250,000 to date.
- They're certified Climate Neutral.
Problem: Plastic in Gum
Solution: Plastic-Free Gum
I was today years old when I learned that—and I quote (BBC Science Focus)—"Chewing gum is basically plastic doped with flavours and colourings." Well, that explains the never-ending-gobstopper aspect of it.
Second fun fact, the "gum base" is considered a trade secret, so they don't have to tell you what it is. However, the gum base often contains fillers like talc and synthetic elastomers like polyvinyl acetate. In fact, a brand manager from Peppersmith says that most gum brands are 80% plastic. Yum.
So let's skip literally chewing on plastic, and try some plastic-free alternatives.
Problem: Toothpaste Tubes
Solution: Huppy Toothpaste Tabs
Toothpaste tubes are the worst, am I right? So many bathroom sink battles over squeeze technique (just us?), and they’re made of sheets of plastic laminate, making them—overwhelmingly—not recyclable.
Banish bathroom sink battles and reduce your plastic footprint by trying Huppy toothpaste bites. They're satisfying, they're easy to use, they're entirely plastic free! Feeling adventurous? Try the mouthwash tabs too!
All of Huppy’s packaging is biodegradable or recyclable, and they even use water-based inks. Plus, we love that you can *just* buy the refill pouch if you have another container you’d like to put your new tabs in.
Huppy currently uses hydroxyapatite to repair and protect teeth, but they're expecting to add a fluoride option later in 2023 if you prefer to stick to that wagon.
Problem: Plastic Sponges
Solution: Sqwishful Plant-Based Sponges
If I never see a blue plastic sponge again, it'll be too soon. Sqwuishful is making that option a distinct possibility, at least for my own kitchen sink. These little babies are 100% plant-based from natural wood pulp, and contain zero plastic or dyes. Plus, they ship compressed (they pop-up in water, fun!), which reduces space and their carbon footprint. So smart.
We love a plastic-free dishes moment.
It’s true that our world’s waste problem can be overwhelming, but it’s heartening to see so many creative alternatives to things that haven’t changed in many decades. While we’re still proponents of the “just buy less” strategy, we do also believe in consuming more consciously to hopefully create less waste in the long run. We hope you find these suggestions as useful as we have!