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Green Hygiene: 5 ways to make your daily hygiene routine more sustainable

Posted Feb 19, 2019
Sustainable Hygiene

Blog by: Alyssa Zimmer, Environmental Educator

Sustainability is definitely the recent buzzword in environmental circles, but often hygiene practices get left out.  Helping the environment shouldn’t be difficult.  Here are some easy ways to implement green practices in your day to day life:

1. Use a recycled or bamboo toothbrush.  A plastic toothbrush takes over 400 years to break down.  If the average American replaces his toothbrush once a month as dentists recommend, over the course of his lifetime a whopping 945 toothbrushes will go to landfill!  Swapping your plastic toothbrush for a biodegradable choice eliminates all that plastic in the environment.  Bamboo toothbrush handles can even be composted in your backyard or upcycled to make cute vegetable markers for your garden.

2. Use a real wash cloth and towel.  Face wipes, cotton swabs, and disposable towels have gotten increasingly popular because of our on-the-go 21st century lifestyle.  Ditching single-use products not only helps the planet, but saves you money, too!  A pack of face wipes is almost always more expensive than its face wash counterpart, and often lasts for fewer uses.  Reusable cotton rounds are a one-time investment that can be washed and used over and over again.  To save even more money, make your own out of old t-shirts or kitchen towels.

3. Buy in bulk.  Many health food stores (locally the Whole Foods Co-op) stock soaps, shampoos, and conditioners in their bulk section.  Grab a Mason jar or cute glass pump dispenser and fill it up for a zero-waste alternative.  If you can’t buy in bulk, consider the packaging before you purchase your hygiene items.  Shampoo aisles are scattered with pretty bottles and containers, a lot of which must go in the trash.  Buy things that can be recycled after the product is all used up.  When traveling, use small containers that can be refilled instead of continually buying the single-use trial sizes.

4. Switch to an eco-conscious toilet paper.  Bathroom tissue is often overlooked as something that can be sustainable.  Look for unbleached toilet paper that is responsibly sourced from recycled materials or bamboo, and is wrapped in paper instead of plastic.  If you can’t find paper-wrapped tissue in your area remember to recycle the plastic wrap with other #4 plastics (like grocery, produce, and sandwich bags) at your local collection sites.  Grocery stores in the Erie area that participate include Wal-Mart, Giant Eagle, Tops, and Wegmans.  For more information on recycling thin plastics or to find other collection locations visit this website.

5. DIY it.  Do-it-yourself projects are everywhere, but they don’t have to be limited to home improvements and decorating.  Many products on the market from toothpaste to deodorant have hidden toxins that not only disrupt our bodies, but hurt the environment in the process.  Making your own hygiene items allows you the ability to control the ingredients and the packaging.  Join us in March for our sustainable bath and body class.  You’ll learn what ingredients to avoid in commercial products and how to make some of your own right at home!

Being a conscious consumer has never been more important.  I hope our list of green hygienic practices has inspired you to implement a few in your home!


Sustainable Bath and Body

Learn all about the hidden toxins in many bath and body products and how simple it is to make these products at home! Some easy DIYs will be explored such as bath bombs, face scrub, and toothpaste. Each participant will create their own product to take home.

Wednesday, March 13 | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Age: Adults
Location: Nature Center
Member Fee: $16, Non-member Fee: $20