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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Zero Waste Week - 2018 - Day Two

Today's #ZeroWasteWeek challenge is all about the bathroom.

The recycling team that I do events for from time to time, tell me they think many people overlook plastic in the bathroom as an important thing to recycle. Years ago I used to find it an annoying task going through the bin in the bathroom to pick out what's recyclable.  So I added a recycling bin and my problem was largely solved.
Image: 101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener for Free
Largely? Well Yes. You have to accept there are some people who are never going to get it! They see a bin and it is just a bin - I hear Junior Daughter's voice echoing: "Why would you put a beer can in the bin that says Food Waste on it?" Sometimes I join in with that despair.  I walk past a bin with a clear plastic bag at the station that says "recyclables" and there's an apple core in it. Yet right next to it is a clear plastic bag for food waste. Is there no hope?

Well I say there is. To me, #ZeroWasteWeek is a great time for raising awareness and being hopeful that just one more person (or more likely several thousand more people, given the huge impact #ZeroWasteWeek now has around the world) is going to think about one more thing that they hadn't thought about before.  And it all helps.

Although my family are now really good at recycling all those plastic items from our bathroom, what we are really not good at is limiting the amount of them that we buy or accumulate in other ways.

It was many years ago now that I had the conversation with Mr Pitt (who travels a lot for his work) about what we think happens to all those miniature plastic bottles from hotel rooms that you've used it bit of and left the rest. Same for those brand new bars of soap.
Well they are clearly going to be thrown away. What a waste!

So we decided to bring them home with us. But then added to all those bottles and boxes of medicinal potions and lotions and things you need just occasionally or keep 'just in case' you need them, it amounts to something like this!

I can definitely see a few duplicates and "nearly finished but not quite" bottles 
The drawer beneath the basin
The box of stuff under my bed from probably before our
 "single-use plastic free year"
that I didn't manage to use up before switching to plastic-free alternatives.
Surely that means I was never going to use them anyway.

So much plastic. Aaahhh!! And this is despite having made the decision in 2015 to switch to unpackaged e.g. solid bar soap and shampoos or refills.  What I didn't do was stop using hotel products at all and I clearly didn't use up everything I already had! Many other things have been either left behind or gifted to us, but ... wow! what a lot of plastic!

What to do? Well I'm open to suggestions but here's my plan:

This evening I'm starting a "Make-up Exchange" and here's how:

1. Separate everything into four boxes:

  • unopened
  • barely used
  • almost empty
  • too old to use

2. Find a home for each box

  • the unopened and barely used will become my "Make-up Exchange" box. I'll clean any eyeshadows that I still have lurking around but won't ever use. I will invite friends and family to take anything they want and anything left will go to a Women's Refuge that has been set up locally. 
  • the almost empty will be the only things available in the bathroom so they get used up.
  • the too old to use will be emptied and and recycled though kerbside collection where possible or else through the Terracycle recycling program which I'm setting up for my local community
3. Use up the stuff to use up and find suitable refillable miniature bottles to take with me when I travel.

4. Return to my solid / refill system at a later date and only buy make-up from brands with a recycling programme such as Lush. 

Here's a bit more about make-up exchanges on another blog post that I wrote and it gives you how to clean makeup too.  

This is another blog post with information about cleaning and extending the use of make-up.

I hope that by this time next year (or even sooner) I will have seriously cleaned up my personal hygiene act. My bathroom will be a properly plastic free zone of peace and tranquility and much quicker to clean - I think that's probably the best bit!

1 comment:

T said...

Hi Rosie, Never commented before but just to say that locally here in Warwickshire the women's hostels are always grateful to receive unopened bath/hygiene products - sometimes via Adult social care or community workers- as you can imagine these usually aren't a priority for women fleeing difficult home situations but can make such a difference to how they feel once they are safe. Just an idea..