Monthly Archives: April 2014

Experience 6: Nothing but some ‘trashy’ talk about rubbish and worms eating our crap.

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 I had a visit to the hair salon the other day for some much needed maintenance on the golden locks. This was the first  hair cut since being truly plastic free. So i thought it might be time for my blog to move to the discussion of hygiene for the hair and body and extend it even to the walls of my Exercise Physiology & Nutrition Clinic which i had to clean the past few weeks due to changing locations.

Its been a big month for this little plastic-free-dieter. I’ve been busy relocating my business which means moving equipment into storage and then cleaning and fixing the old premises. It was also the month that I made the change from using plastic products in the bathroom.

I guess i should let you know first off that i have a lot of hair (on my head, that is). And i usually don’t mind spending money on good products for my hair to keep it silky smooth and full of as the hairdressers may say ‘body’. My normal regime is to wash it every day with shampoo and conditioner, apply a well-known brand’s product of leave in conditioner to it in the car park before i go surfing and then apply another expensive french treatment to  it after i go surfing so the hair doesnt dry out. (Yeah i can hear you already, way too much care about the hair!). So as i have run out of these products in the last 6 weeks I have been forced to find plastic free replacements.

The shampoo bar. Well I’ve been using this one for a week since my normal shampoo in a big plastic bottle that I’ve had for 6 months has only just ran out. I have to say its a bit of work to shampoo my hair now due to needing to lather up the bar enough to cover my hair (which is down past my bra line and very thick) to clean it properly. I am willing to continue to keep using it though whilst looking out for other options. If you’re not quite as committed to me, there are what i call ‘halfway’ options which is still using plastic but the bottle is from 50% recycled material.  However that doesn’t really cut it for me as I’m attempting completely plastic free. I feel my search for a great plastic free shampoo is still in progress and i will continue to write further in this blog about that as i learn of new options. But for now the bar will have to do. I think my hairdresser felt sorry for my hair whilst at the salon as they gave me an old used plastic container with some Loreal conditioner to use for the next week on my hair as i was leaving….. Is this a nice way to say ease up on the oils? For about one month i was using coconut oil out of a glass jar for my pre and post surf treatments on the hair. I have to say that actually it did stop my hair from matting up like a birds nest which it would of, if i didn’t put anything in it. However apparently this eventually leaves a thick build up on the hair which i now notice too. So i’ve moved from the coconut oil to Argan Oil which is a lighter oil. You would have heard of this already. It’s everywhere! Sometimes called ‘Moroccan Oil’. My hairdresser sells it in glass bottles to i can buy  it!  I think the stylist was happy they had something i could use too after going through all their products and realising everything except this one product was in plastic.  I did get some colour in my hair at this visit as well as a cut and i have decided to work back to my natural colour in stages as i can’t use the treatments in the plastic bottles that keep the colour looked after especially since I’m in the salt water and sun everyday. This is a big step for me i must say. But I must stay true to my plastic freedom and i never said it was all going to be easy.

IMG_4692Is this what your household/office bin  looks like?

I got sick of seeing that most of my bins at work and at home were full of plastic. If we took out the plastic then we can pretty much re-use or compost our other trash. I was at a very interesting flower show with my 71-year-old Mother yesterday where the  well-known Nurseryman who was doing a talk on composting explained that we can actually compost all organic matter. It will all eventually break down and our plants love it.  This guy, Steven Ryan puts his chicken carcasses, his woollen socks, his dog’s poo , his fireplace ash along with the garden scraps and other food scraps all into the compost. He said the birds eat the meat on the top of the compost before it degrades further into the compost and then poo on the top of it to further aid the soil.  This guy Steve even has his own self composting sewerage system where he has worms breaking it down. It further confirmed that i really don’t need to be using what can’t be completely absorbed back into the earth.

There’s nothing funny about plastic, but there’s certain things in Nature that really make me laugh! (see below pic).

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So I’ve been trying integrate plastic free into my toiletries in the last 6 weeks. Long before the shampoo experience. My first change was my toothbrush. Not nearly as difficult as i thought. My local health food shop sells bamboo toothbrushes which are great! I have to say that there is absolutely no difference from this toothbrush to using my normal soft bristled plastic toothbrush . When you think about it we consume a lot of plastic toothbrushes a year which get thrown away and never re-used or recycled. So if there was one thing you could change in the bathroom first, try the bamboo toothbrush.

Clean your ears? I changed to bamboo cotton tips which are cotton and bamboo. Again absolutely no difference in use from the original plastic with cotton ones except maybe the price. Yes they are a little more expensive but i think if we began buying them over the plastic ones then the demand would increase and the supply would increase in wholesale ordering and the price would then come down. Or maybe the plastic style brand owners would start making plastic free ones too at a matched price? Anyway, i feel better paying three times the price knowing that they are completely degradable and no little turtles are going to eat the brunt of my  waxed cotton tip and choke!

The soap bar is easy of course. There are lots of options for soaps without plastic being covered in plastic but the one i chose is also a gentle facial soap too. Its 100% organic and animal cruelty free like the shampoo bar also. When you think about it most of our facial options are in plastic tubes or pump bottles. I haven’t noticed any big changes yet as I’ve only started using this for the last week but il keep you ‘posted’.

The scrub pad which could be used to either clean the bathroom or use it as just as an exfoliated is 100% compostable which is awesome. When you look in your bathroom and kitchen and think about how many cleaning wipes/ cloths or sponges we throw away its a lot and not many of them are made from cotton or completely compostable materials. Now you can throw this one away with your compostable food scraps! I love this product! It will probably save me a garbage bag size of non biodegradable cleaning sponges a year.

I took a photo of our bathroom bin with its biodegradable recycled plastic bag filled liner and all the products that have been used up and are now being thrown away. I no longer use these biodegradable plastic bags as remember they never actually go away, they just get smaller and smaller for our fish to eat easier. Anyway in this bin, it was all plastic! All of it! Shampoo, soap, facial soap, soap containers, cotton buds, toothbrushes, cleaning cloths, floor cleaning sprays, window sprays… the list goes on.

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I’ve realised that none of this is necessary.

Now that I’m  on the topic of cleaning i thought id share with you something I learnt the last week. My previous clinic was about 54square  metres in size which means i had some pretty large wall space that needed to be cleaned last week. Holes in the walls needed to be patched up and then painted over. I knew i was going to have to buy some supplies to clean it properly in order to get my bond back so i had a quick google search on cleaning in a chemical free way. So i did it! Apparently all i needed was baking soda or ‘bi-carb soda’, white vinegar, water, a sponge and some cotton cloths. Oh, and toothpaste!  I had a large sink in my clinic to fill with water and a waste paper bin i cleaned out and used as a second bucket.

I have to say it put a smile on my face when i realised as i walked into the big supermarket to get these supplies that this was only the second time i had used the supermarket in 9 weeks since going plastic free. The previous time was to buy a light globe (glass globe in a cardboard box and some batteries (cardboard with plastic cover). The globe was for my home and the batteries were for my blood pressure machine at work which at the moment i don’t have another alternative for. But I’m working on it. Can you imagine how much impulse buying i have avoided not going into this supermarket? And how much plastic i have avoided exposing myself to? I was quite pleased. So i could get the vinegar in a glass bottle, the bi-carb soda in a cardboard box and although the cotton cloths were cotton and the sponge not plastic, they both came in plastic wrappers! Every single brand! WHY????! Im not planning on eating them. They are used for cleaning so why cover them in plastic?!  I was really annoyed about this. The other ingredient i needed to clean black stains off the walls from rubber or pens rubbing against them was apparently toothpaste. So far toothpaste comes in a plastic tube and my next blog is actually going to be about toothpaste options but i am going to interview my lovely dentist Mark about this first to get his opinion. Ia leo used newspaper to clean th windows which I’m sure you’ve all done before. It’s the best way to get them squeaky clean.

So off i went with my disappointing cleaning cloths and plastic free cleaning substances. I have to say, they worked fabulously! Really, they did a great job. I just dabbed the toothpaste over any mark on the wall, then rubbed over it with a wet sponge soaked in bicarb soda and water and it came right out! So simple.

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The toothpaste before it being wiped away.

The vinegar was then liberally poured over the wall which doesn’t require you to wipe over it again with water as somehow it leaves no water marks. Excellent! I highly recommend this and will  be using these for cleaning my bathroom from now on too! Oh and also i had no sneezing fits or headaches as i wasn’t using harmful chemicals. Win, win!

Stay tuned for my next blog which will be about weekly cooking with friends, turning your dead body into a tree and being plastic free in the city.

And……. why buy plastic bottles when so many amazing things come in glass! (see below pic).