Sustainable Sunday: How to Ditch Single Use Plastic with n4 mummy Karen Maurice

Karen Maurice, founder of the sustainable lifestyle blog n4mummy.com, is a self-confessed lover of fashion, good design and finding achievable sustainable solutions for everyday living. Formerly a buyer for the UK high street, she became disillusioned with the negative impact of fast fashion on people and planet. Her aim is to see beyond the latest high street trend and practise being content with buying less but selecting well.

Her sustainable journey may have started with clothing but has slowly worked its way into every area of life as she seeks to live a lower waste life with her husband and three kids in North London. And she loves nothing better than drinking pink tea and dancing round her kitchen with her family.

You can follow Karens sustainable journey @n4mummy

How to Ditch Single Use Plastic in Your Bathroom

For as long as I can remember, there has always been a plethora of plastic bottles in our bathroom. They drive me nuts, clutter my bathroom and that's before I start thinking about the amount of landfill that's there.

Now, we all know that plastic is an issue. It comes from crude oil, so every virgin piece of plastic made is using our earth's precious resources. Also, the process of doing this releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect. And that's all before we start talking about its effect on sea life and our oceans. But it’s not all doom and gloom. These days there are so many plastic free swaps to make that are equal to, or even better than, what they replace.

So, here’s just a few ideas to get you started:

Bring back old-fashioned soap bars

Most liquid soap is packaged in single use plastic, so ditching shower gel and liquid soap is a really easy way to make your bathroom plastic free. Also, the transportation of bars of soap uses less energy than its liquid counterpart as they are smaller and lighter.

Try toothpaste tablets

Tubes of toothpaste generally can't be recycled due to the complex packaging needed to keep the ingredients fresh. So instead, try toothpaste tablets. They come in a jar for which you can get refills. You pop a tablet in your mouth, crunch and then brush. The tablet gently foams and leaves your mouth feeling minty fresh and clean. I’ve been using Pärla’s toothpaste tablets, but there are other brands such as Georganics or ecoLiving.

Cleanse the green way

I used to get through bottles of face cleanser and makeup remover at a rapid rate, until I switched to using a bar of face cleanser. Eco Warrior’s sensitive facial bar that costs £4 is an inexpensive place to start. It has chamomile and calendula essential oils and so isn’t drying. However, it won’t remove your make up. Ethique’s Superstar bar at £14 cleanses and removes make up and is a more luxurious treat for your skin.

 

Give a crap about your toilet paper

When you buy recycled toilet paper from many supermarkets, it’s still packaged with that flimsy plastic packaging that cannot be recycled. Well if you give a crap about that sort of thing, then Who Gives A Crap is the brand for you. Their toilet paper comes with no plastic packaging and is either 100% recycled paper or 100% bamboo toilet paper. All delivered to your door with a good dollop of humour. My husband loved receiving a box that told him “You’ve got a nice bum.” Plus they give 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in developing countries.

 

Give up the bottle and use bars of shampoo and conditioner

One of the simplest ways to reduce clutter and plastic bottles from your bathroom is by using solid shampoo and conditioner bars. They are basically really concentrated shampoo or conditioner, without water. This means you use less and they last longer than a bottle. Like soap, bars are cheaper to transport and don't come wrapped in plastic. Just make sure your bar of soap is a different colour, otherwise you’ll get very confused. I love Ethique’s hair care range.

Invest in a beautiful razor

Ditch single use plastic razors in favour of a razor for life. I bought this bamboo safety razor from Acala Online years ago. It fits a double-edged recyclable razor blade in it, which comes wrapped in unbleached recycled paper. At the end of its life the bamboo is compostable and the metal recyclable, so all in all a great zero waste product.

 Get yourself a shaving bar

And while we’re on the subject of shaving, I promise you really don’t need to buy shaving foam or gel that comes in, yes, another plastic bottle. Lamazuna have a great solid shaving bar. Handmade in France with fair-trade, organic shea butter, it allows a close shave and leaves legs silky smooth. What a treat.

I have so many other products I’d love to share with you, but sadly there isn’t time now. If you fancy finding out more do head over to my blog where there’s a wealth of suggestions of how to ditch plastic in your bathroom.

 "Test a Vest"

I pretty much wear a vest every day, even in summer months. They keep me warm and disguise my mum tum under clothes. I guess it’s a bit like a comfort blanket for me. Smalls vests are wonderful as the merino fabric is so soft and lightweight and yet keeps me warm in winter and cool in summer. What a genius fabric merino is for being thermoregulating. As we’ve been spending so much time at home recently, I’ve been wearing mine round the house with a big chunky lambswool cardi on top. The fit is brilliant, normally vests fall off my shoulders, but this one fits perfectly. It’s so comfy, but a definite step up from staying in my pjs all day and an outfit I don’t mind opening the door to the postman in 😊