So by now you should know that HelmWear is all about removing plastic waste from our oceans and where we can, choosing to purchase ocean-friendly products instead. But we can go one step further. Why not remove unnecessary plastics and chemicals from your basket in the first place, and stop it from entering our waterways in the first place? To do this, we need to purchase from kind brands. By ‘kind’ we mean businesses that have thought about their supply chain and the ingredients in their products. It’s all too easy to head to Boots, scan the shelf and buy the best bargain. Does this product last well, are the ingredients healthy and what about the packaging?
More and more customers are using their purchasing power and finally the cosmetics and skincare industry is waking up and listening - even if it is slow! More change needs to happen – and fast! – to make a real dent and to reduce the amount of plastic production made, contributing to global climate change. Wander into your local supermarket and there are just rows upon rows of perfectly lined-up plastic goods, awaiting their fate. Within a few days or weeks these products will be considered redundant. The contents will have gone and the outer packaging dumped. Hopefully, the plastic bottles, containers and packaging will have ended up in your recycling bin… Fast consumption is now synonymous with disposable consumption. We buy a product, use it and then dispose.
But what if things could be different?
What if we thought of packaging to have a longer lifecycle? What if the outer packaging could be upcycled and re-purposed for other little bits of happiness?
Take, for example, the shampoo range from Conscious Skincare. Yes, the product costs more than your average Elvive purchase but there are advantages that outweigh this cost...
1// In the long run the product lasts a lot longer than your standard, run-of-the-mill haircare brand. So I spend less time replenishing my bathroom cupboards and more time doing the things I love!
2// The product has improved my scalp and strengthened by hair because it only contains natural ingredients. I suffer from really fine hair and over the years, I’ve gone for the cheapest deal going, buying in bulk from brands like Tresemmé. But the harsh chemicals strip the natural oils from my hair, leaving it dry and damaged. Conscious Skincare has revolutionised my haircare routine and now I only wash my hair twice a week!
3// When the contents has gone, I’m left with a beautiful glass bottle. I can peel off the label and re-purpose it with a spring flower for the bathroom, bedroom or kitchen table. The lifecycle of the bottle is extended, meaning less waste.
In the last year, I’ve suffered really badly from mild acne. It was especially bad last summer triggered from stress. I heard of Frank’s Remedies through the grape vine so I tried it out. Previously I used Palmer’s moisturiser all over my body, not realising that the skin on my face was far more sensitive than skin on other parts of my body… It took a few months for my skin to settle but the results are in! Frank’s face moisturiser is not only a ‘tried & tested’ formula concocted by the business owner himself, but is presented in a cute little glass pot and aluminium lid. The perfect size for a toiletry bag or sticking on your bedside cabinet. I apply both morning and night after my skincare routine and it works wonders. It’s cleared my pores and made my skin feel smoother and look brighter! And like all glass products, I intend to re-purpose this too… Watch out friends, you may find a small homemade festive candle coming your way later this year!
Shampoo and shower gel bottles are easier to recycle, but smaller items like toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes contain a complex mix of materials that makes them much harder to recycle. On average, manual toothbrushes made of plastic get replaced every three months – meaning a potential 264 million brushes thrown away every single year in the UK alone. This excludes the toothpaste tubes that follow, which often end up in landfill. It’s also worth mentioning that the foam we are so used to from paste, actually has almost no effect on the cleaning ability of the product. It’s purely for aesthetic and feel. So when I tried tooth-tablets from Georganics, I was taken aback by the ‘matte’ taste. After a while, you get used to it and like anything, you learn what to expect with new habits. I also felt my conscience was clear that instead of disposing of plastic tubes every 3 to 4 weeks, I now purchase 60-day tablets and there is absolutely no wastage in the glass pot. I can visibly see how many tablets are left and order before they run out!
I’ve also transitioned to using bamboo floss to replace the readily-available plastic versions. Ecobrite offer bamboo floss in glass-metal tubes, so once again you can add it to your basket knowing it’s absolutely plastic-free. Once you’re done with your flossing routine, you can chuck the floss, knowing it’ll biodegrade. Unlike other cheap alternatives that end up becoming micro-plastics, this purchase is truly kinder to the environment.
Top Tip: Opt for a reusable electric toothbrush with recyclable heads or better yet buy a bamboo toothbrush!
This one is for the ladies! Make sure your periods are cleaner and safer by searching for subscription period products like Daye. Not only are the tampons sustainable, the organic CBD tampons are clinically validated for vaginal health. This means they are good for your body AND the environment. On average, woman go through 11,000 disposable menstrual products in a lifetime. This includes anything from tampons, pads, liners and all the packaging - which is often made of plastic! 97% of tampons on the market today use rayon (a type of non-biodegradable plastic!) and non-organic cotton, so they’re great at absorbing moisture but they don’t break down in water. Approximately half of woman in the UK flush their tampons down the toilet, contributing to water pollution, sewage blockages and even reshaping the banks of the River Thames. I know, a bit gross! Buying a quick pack of Tampax can actually be more harm than good - both to you and our waterway systems. So make sure your monthly cycle isn’t a burden on the planet, and invest in an eco-period! I’ve been using Daye tampons for a few months now and the CBD infused ones really do work. Each applicator is wrapped in paper (not plastic!) and the applicator is made of sugar cane. The tampons are made of 100% certified, unbleached organic-cotton, which is sustainably sourced. So the actual fiber isn’t treated with pesticides, which we all know can damage top soils and contaminate our waters… So when you subscribe to Daye, you really are subscribing to a healthier planet. Your kind purchasing habit does have powers elsewhere in the world!
And don’t forget, when you purchase any of these products online, the products are delivered direct, straight to your door. You don’t even have to head out and make a dedicated visit to the shops.
Ok, I’m going to stop there. I could spend hours writing about all the advantages of going plastic-free in your basket. But the best thing to do, is to try it out for yourself!
 Elstead Dental Surgery (2019), https://www.elsteaddentalsurgery.co.uk/blog/2019/7/1/recycling-your-toothbrush-or-even-plastic-free-oral-care-products [Online Resource].
 London Government Website, https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/plastics_unflushables_-_submited_evidence.pdf [Online Resource].
 The Guardian (2018), https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2018/feb/04/fatberg-museum-london-display-pickling-age-waste [Online Resource].
 London Government Website, https://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/london-assembly/london-assembly-publications/single-use-plastic-unflushables [Online resources].