Sunscreen, toothpaste, tea bags, scrubbing cream, fishes, bottled water, and fleece, all have one thing in common: they contain microplastics and nanoplastics that we end up eating, drinking, rubbing onto our skin, and even inhaling. And more and more people are resisting that idea. Rightly so, because even if plastic pollution may only have simple depressing effects on you, the thought of plastic in food makes me completely nauseous. With total effect.
We amassed recipes for detergents and cosmetics. Actually, you don’t need much stuff to make those. With baking soda you can literally clean half your house, and also wash your hair (unsuccessfully for me), exfoliate your skin, and rinse your mouth. By hand we whisked aloe vera and a little oil into a smooth day cream. Emily-Jane shared how you can overcome your hesitation and go to the grocery store with your own packaging materials. And which zero waste shops and supermarkets exist where. We cooked with leftovers, grew vegetables from kitchen waste and started composting. The more in-depth we went, the more I started to enjoy the processes. It became a sport to outsmart the packaging industry, but what really struck me – apart from the fact that you’re saving money – was the number of entrepreneurs responding to this trend and offering zero waste alternatives for everything you need.
You can brush your teeth with a compostable bamboo toothbrush and purchase toothpaste tablets sold in a glass jar. Just chew on the tablets, then brush as usual; refills are delivered in compostable packaging. You can carry cheese and cold cuts home with you wrapped in a beeswax cloth. Bread in a cotton bag. You can easily buy cleaning products in bulk and mix them to your liking. Washing machine detergent can be replaced by a washing ball, and hair can be washed with a shampoo bar in paper packaging. There are really too many alternatives to mention. The sustainable industry is on the up and up. And I wouldn’t be surprised if companies like Unilever, L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble jump all over this. And that in the end we will all be better off.
Asceline Groot is ondernemer bij hetkanWEL, schrijfster van ‘Het Nieuwe Groen’ en PhD kandidaat aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. In haar columns schrijft zij over (start-up) sociale ondernemingen en trends en ontwikkelingen op het gebied van duurzaamheid.