There are always alternatives to commonly used everyday household plastics. So, when I started on this journey of plastic free everyday essentials for a minimal waste. plastic free lifestyle, a friend made a very pertinent observation – who wouldn’t want to switch if there’s a viable alternative – something that is easily available and not too expensive either!
Thus, began my quest for such products. And after about 3 yrs of searching, trying, testing, and retrying – I have been able to home on to quite a few alternatives that are easily accessible and also pocket friendly. In fact, the bonus was that most of them are chemical-free too. So, here’s my list of the everyday stuff that will help make the switch – of course, there’s a whole lot out there that google baba can help with – these are just the ones I found great to use (and yes! I’m not getting any commission from the 😉)
- Let’s start the day with the basics – you need to brush. I love bamboo toothbrushes and the metal tongue cleaner from www.brownliving.com. They have bamboo tongue cleaners too. Also, I love their toothpowder. But my favourite is the dental tablets from www.sustainkart.in – highly recommended are the mint ones – 100 tablets in a bottle. There are good options with https://barenecessities.in/ – ‘Dent tabs’ available on Amazon are also good, though more expensive.
- Now, let’s come to your tea. The best bet is, of course, not to use tea bags and go for tea leaves, which can be composted later. But if you must, go in for tea bags which are plastic-free (I had a bad experience here), a lot of sites promising plastic-free bags are heavy on aluminum foil and there’s still some plastic used. I came across tea dips by www.woolahtea.com
An amazing innovation that has compressed tea leaves into a tablet – no ‘bag’ to contain the powder/leaves!
- So, you want to shampoo. A wide range of shampoos and conditioners are available. I’m partial to indigenous brands – you can check out brownliving, sustainkart, etc for the shampoo bar that suits your hair. Like your favourite shampoo, this might take a few trials. I particularly love ‘switch blue-tea-ful’ conditioner and shampoo bars available with https://sublimelife.in/ . This may vary according to your hair/ choice etc
- Ok, let’s come to make-up. This is still quite a quest though I’ve found refuge in homemade kajal, which is also supplied commercially by a lot of women with small-scale businesses. My pick is from Saritha Thalinki, who is based in Bangalore
- Lipsticks – finally got two people who made lovely shades and package them in glass bottles. Bhumika Vithalani and Manoshi Bose ( I can share their nos.). These might not have the sheen of the prominent brands but the herbal ingredients and pure oils are great for your lips – and our Earth!!
- I got a reusable make-up wipe from www.earthrythm.com – another great site for minimal waste products
- There are superb skincare oils and products at all the above sites as also – www.snaana.com
All of them are either in metal or glass bottles.
- Now, away from the make-up and into daily chores – detergents, anyone? Of course, soapnuts are a very viable option but if you want to buy, my choice is www.cococusto.com
In large tin jars, it comes with a great fragrance, and they have a return policy for the jars too!
- We have to do away with the aluminium foils and the cling foils – the biggest culprits! So, there are beeswax wraps and paper roti-wraps easily available on amazon. Of course, good old cotton napkins are a great ‘go-to’ anytime
- Use cloth napkins to reduce paper napkins usage.
- Oh yes! The garbage – compost the wet waste – very easy to do and if you must, corn-starch garbage bags are quite a rage. It’s very easily available online.
- Menstrual cups/ compostable/ cloth sanitary napkins – pee safe, stone soup, safecup, etc.- there are hundreds online – the size of the cup matters – I highly recommend them for cramp-free periods, and of course, each one for saving the disposal of some 10 pads/ month has to make a difference!
- I must mention stores like www.adrish.co. for the supply of household cleaners and usable in zero-waste/plastic packaging within Delhi. Of course, Bio enzyme can easily be made at home too
- Another useful step is to go to local Kirana stores for your grocery/ namkeens – you can carry your containers and get tasty snacks with no (or reduced) dependency of plastic-packaged ones
There are ways, and then there are ways! It all starts with a decision to do whatever is possible and make a conscious choice to look for an alternative before buying. And of course, that water bottle you carried from home and the plate/spoon/mug in your bag are always handy, if you need a bite or a drink 😉
Picture Credit : Payal Talwar
Photo by EcoPanda on Unsplash