There are so many who choose to replace cleaning products to a more environmental friendly alternative, but it's sometimes difficult to find products that really are worth paying for. Many products come in plastic bottles, which for me is counterproductive if you try to reduce the plastics in your home. It has also become so trendy to go zero waste that many producers market products that are expensive and they might not always be so necessary. I found a replacement for paper towels made from bamboo that could be used up to 20 times, it's expensive and I still have to buy it again. Then there are more expensive alternatives that really benefit me as a consumer and one example is wooden dish brushes. Sometimes it's worth the investment if you're buying quality.
A couple of months ago I found a small company that sells handmade soap and it's pretty much locally produced for me. The woman produces soaps from rapeseed oil and the soap that caught my attention was a fragrance-free soap for dishes-cleaning-laundry. I decided to give it a try and I also bought some shower and schampoo bars.
It's one of the best things I've ever done.
It has made me think about how much products we are lead to believe that we need. There are so many different products for cleaning and every task requires a special product. Do you really need all of them to keep you and your house clean? It also made me realize that if there's any product I've underestimated, it's regular soap. I have complained about more than one kind of dish detergent because they don't do the job I expect them to do, it has to build up a lather and it should dissolve fat. The dish soap doesn't lather, but it dissolves fat more efficiently than any detergent I've used. Which really shouldn't come as a surprise since I've always washed my hands with soap and it actually dissolves fat better than anything else.
Now I think even more about what I buy and what kind of hygiene products we use. Some of them we need, like toothpaste and toilet paper, but some are just optional. Choosing better products isn't just about caring for the environment, it's also about caring for ourselves. I feel better when I know that the soap I use for both hair and body is both locally produced and friendlier to the environment, but it is also better for me and my health not to wash myself with different kinds of chemicals a couple of times every week. There are so many different hygiene products to choose from, but there's also those who are a little friendlier to use and that's where I choose to put my money.
My purchase alone may not do all that much, but if more people buy more of the friendlier products, we will contribute to a change.
I have to say that it's way to easy to buy rubbish with all the cheap alternatives that are available. I think that is the case with plastic dish brushes. They really don't do the job I expect them to do. That's the reason we bought a very nice wooden dish brush just about a year ago. It is still hanging above the sink and it's used extensively. Occasionally, I rinse the brush part in vinegar and boiling water to refresh it. I also bought another model of wooden dish brush, but the straw is just a tad bit rougher. I also bought a small rubbing brush made of roots, it's really old-fashioned. I know our neighbour always had one to scrub pans and other things. It's superior to the sponges and steelwool pads that I've carried home throughout the years.
I've got a somewhat complicated relationship to plastic. I know for sure that it's completely insane with all the plastic we get with everything we purchase. We recycle huge amounts of plastic every month and I know that recycling is not the answer to the problem. Yet recycling is the best option we have right now. I've come to the conclusion that some things just can't be avoided, but if I get the chance to find another option I will take it. That's probably where most people are today, there are more and more alternatives to plastic, but the world needs time to change.
Sometimes I do get a little angry anyway, that's how I feel when the plastic bag I buy at the store is pointed out to be the biggest threat to our environment, but no one mentions that all the food I carry home in the bag comes in plastic packaging! I use a nice basket and several fabric bags when I go shopping so I do what I can to avoid using the plastic bags. Every little change I make is better than none.
Once you've started to see how much plastic we surround ourselves with, it's way too easy to get the feeling that we have to change the world and we must do it NOW!
Stop. Don't throw out your plastic bowls and lunch boxes just yet. Use what you have first and buy new ones when you need to and especially when you can afford it. I think it's important to think about what we use, but we only contribute to the mountains of trash a little more by replacing everything we already have. Although those stainless steel waterbottles for a small fortune might look very nice. I buy a lot on second hand and that also makes a difference. Reuse is better than just throwing it all away. That's why I have quite a few older kitchen utensils. None of them show any signs of being close to death yet, they've already survived many of the things I've bought since I started gathering things for my first home. Start by replacing desposible items, that's a good way to start.