A guide to student-friendly toiletries plastic reduction: blog post #4

Guest post by SDG Ambassador Julia Daly

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Welcome to the last blog post of this plastic reduction series. I’ve seen many undergrads already receiving their final results, and many postgrads, myself included, will soon be handing in (or have already handed in) our final dissertations. With this closure to the academic year, I will also be bringing this blog series to an end. But before I go, I would like to share two shampoo bar products that I have tried and loved. Shampoo bars that work for your particular hair type are, in my experience, the most difficult to find when it comes to plastic free alternatives, so I am THRILLED to have found two that both work.

Today’s focus are shampoo bars from two brands: Eco Warrior and Faith in Nature. Both are available from Holland and Barrett and Boots so very accessible. Eco Warrior are a British brand that make soap which is vegan, cruelty free and eco-friendly using recyclable packaging. Similarly, Faith in Nature are also UK based, cruelty free, vegan and reducing plastic use by using recyclable and recycled packaging. Eco Warrior are a purely soap bar company, whereas Faith in Nature provide a plethora of options: soap bars, liquid shampoo in fully recycled plastic bottles, the option of buying 5 litre or 20 litre bottles of liquid product to reduce plastic consumption and refill stations in stores across the country.

Eco Warrior – Shampoo Bar, Orange and Ginger Essential Oils, 100g for £4.00

A good size shampoo bar that lathered well when wet. As I’ve not had a great experience with shampoo bars in the past, I found that this one was the first to lather well and could be used by directly placing the bar onto my hair without leaving clumps of product behind. It does take a while to cover your entire head and get to the roots, I would say about twice as long as with liquid product. My hair didn’t need a lot of time to get used to the new product, perhaps a week or so, and after washing, my hair felt very clean and oil free. The only thing that wasn’t ideal about the product was that it seemed to half in size after every use, meaning that it only lasted about a month and a half. My hair, being thick and long probably expedited the use of the product so someone with thinner, shorter hair would definitely get a lot more use out of one bar.

Faith in Nature – Shampoo Bar, Coconut & Shea Butter, 85g on sale for £4.34, RRP £5.79

I have only just started using this shampoo bar but needed to include it in this post despite not giving it a full trial. Despite being a smaller bar, it doesn’t seem to use as much product per wash compared to the Eco Warrior bar implying it will last longer (picture shows new, unused bar on the left vs bar used for two washes on the right).

The thing I noticed which was consistent between bars is the necessary for patience to get enough product for a good lather. But once this is achieved, the result is squeaky clean. Both products weren’t particularly drying or moisturising, so you just achieve a neutral clean. Both bars had a pleasant, mild scent which does not linger in your hair once it is rinsed and dried which some people prefer. If you do like to have some scent to your hair or require extra moisturiser, I recommend following up with a conditioner but this is by no means necessary!

Shampoo is a product I personally use a lot of due to my hair length and type so it is great to find plastic free alternatives although they are not 100% perfect! These were definitely a step in the right direction and may work better for you than they do for me depending on your hair type.

Thus concludes my student friendly guide to plastic reduction series! I am so grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Sustainability Kent blog as a Sustainability Development Goals Ambassador. Although I will no longer be a student in the very near future, I hope to continue sharing my personal plastic reduction journey perhaps through a newly created blog dedicated to plastic reduction. Thank you to everyone who has given me such wonderful feedback and I hope the series is helpful to students and non-students alike!

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I purchased these items with my own money, they are not a gift nor is this post sponsored.

Check out Eco Warrior and Faith in Nature below:

https://www.ecowarriorsoap.co.uk/

https://www.faithinnature.co.uk/

Increasing recycling rates in the School of Biosciences

The Sustainability Champion for the School of Biosciences has led on a project that has seen recycling rates increase threefold. Alex Moore identified a problem in research labs where the layout of bins and lack of clear information meant that researchers were placing the majority of their recyclable waste into general waste bins (this waste goes to incineration with energy recovery).

On initial assessment 99% the waste in the general waste bins was recyclable. Due to the nature of the waste produced in a research lab and the lack of space Alex and colleagues from the Estates Department came up with a trial new waste scheme to test what would work for the lab users.

New small desktop bins were installed to help researchers with ease of correct disposal at their fingertips, without taking up precious desk space. The main lab bins were relabelled to ensure they were clear and to reflect how many recycling bins there should be to general waste bins. Clear communications through posters and labelling were designed to showcase the top ten lab recyclables that should be going into the green marked bins. All labelling was checked by the Safety, Health and Environment Unit to ensure that it was clear what to do with hazardous/contaminated waste.

The Kent Fungal Group were the test lab and the results after a month of trialling were extraordinary with recycling rates increasing threefold. Once the trial was successfully completed the project was rolled out throughout the School of Biosciences.

A guide to student-friendly toiletries plastic reduction: blog post #2

Guest post by SDG Ambassador Julia Daly

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Happy August! How was your #PlasticFreeJuly? I’m excited to continue my plastic reduction recommendations! Today’s blog post is all about the amazing Soap Daze. Soap Daze is a soap and skincare brand and all products are vegan and palm oil free. The soaps are handmade and can be purchased in a number of fragrances, textures and sizes. Can I just express how much I love the aesthetic of the brand? Simple and elegant.

When I first checked out the online shop, I was most drawn to the unwrapped soap range that come on a rope. To me, this screams convenience and reduction in wasted packaging. For my first order, I purchased two unwrapped soap on a ropes and received the order with a couple of free small samples which I used as regular hand soaps – very very useful. I should also say that these soaps on a rope are massive and last ages.

I made a second order of soaps during the initial couple of weeks of the pandemic and lockdown. Where I was quarantining, all that was available was regular liquid handwash which quickly dried out my skin. All soaps in Superdrug, Boots and grocery stores were sold out online. I ordered a couple of soaps from Soap Daze and received my order with some more free samples! Hands down, these saved my hands. They are much more nourishing, moisturising and kind to the skin than your average liquid hand soap, and better for the environment.

The owner has recently opened up a physical store in Devon which looks extremely inviting! If you’re in the Exeter area, you can buy products in store and cut both your carbon footprint and plastic consumption! Both the online and physical store sell a lot more than soap and have branched out into makeup, deodorant, skincare and haircare.

Stand-out product: Unwrapped Black Pepper and Ginger Soap on a Rope, Extra Large Soap, Vegan Soap £7.95

This was the one of the first products I tried and loved the light fragrance, pretty swirls and good lather. I used this in the shower and it lasted a good two and half months. The rope lended itself nicely to hang the soap effortlessly in my shower. The photo is of the full-size unwrapped soap and one of the free samples. I have tried two other fragrances of the large soaps but this one was by far my favourite. If you are looking for a soap that exfoliates as you wash, there are a few that have harsher textures.

For the price point, and how long it lasts, I would highly recommend the unwrapped soaps to students looking to reduce their plastic consumption. I personally love trying different fragrances and textures of soaps and like to mix it up. With the huge range of fragrances, you’re spoilt for choice! If you think friends or family would like the products, there is also the option to create your own gift boxes and give someone the opportunity to try a range of products. Another plus!

I hope you enjoyed the second blog post in this series! Stay tuned for the next post coming soon!

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I purchased these items with my own money, they are not a gift nor is this post sponsored.

Soap Daze website: https://soapdaze.com/

A guide to student-friendly toiletries plastic reduction: blog series

A guide to student-friendly toiletries plastic reduction: blog series by SDG Ambassador Julia

It’s #plasticfreeJuly! There are so many reasons to start reducing your plastic consumption and join the plastic-free hype! Reducing your carbon footprint or plastic consumption may not be the first thing on your mind right now with a global pandemic afoot, but if this something you’d like to try out, this series might be of interest!

Having said that, there are many perks to going plastic free specifically with your toiletries at this particular time. I don’t know about you, but I am still finding that the regular pharmacies or drug stores still don’t stock my go-to products. Why not try something new in a time when we are literally washing our hands to save lives.

For the first blog in this series I’d like to introduce Ethique. I tried Ethique mostly because I had been following them on Instagram for a while and was super intrigued by their products (top tip: how do you find ethical/plastic free brands? Instagram). Their tag line is #giveupthebottle and according to their website, claim to be plastic free, cruelty free, palm oil free and vegan which checked all the boxes for my personal preferences. They are also more accessible as they are sold online at Holland & Barrett, both in store and online and are also now sold by Boots online.

My initial thought was that the pricing was way over what I would usually budget for these kinds of products, but I am willing to invest in a product if it lasts longer than something that I paid less for. I tried a bunch of products, purchased their trial pack for oily skin, a moisturiser and a soap container. I also tried to buy most products when they were on sale.

From personal use, I have two stand-products that I can confidently say they worked well for my skin type. This review is based on my personal experience with the products so I can’t speak for all skin or hair types! For reference, my skin and hair are both oily.

Stand-out product 1 – Star of the show

Ethique Gingersnap Face Scrub. Price: £12.99

I purchased the multipack of Gingersnap Face Scrub without realising it was already included in the trial pack that I had also purchased. I was annoyed at this until I tried one and instead, I was delighted. This scrub is very, very good. I used it once a day, in the shower as a precursor to the facewash and have continued to enjoy the multipack after the trial one was used up. It lasts a while as long as you don’t get it too wet in the shower and is very easy to use. I’d say each bar probably lasted about a month making the 4 pack last about 4 months but may not be as cheap. I have tried many an exfoliation product and this has to be one of the best ones. Considering you average about £3.25 for each individual bar in the pack, I’d say this is around the same price as decent scrub you’d get at Boots or Superdrug.

Stand-out product 2 – Honourable mention

Ethique Sweet Orange and Vanilla Butter Block. Price: £11.99

The butter block was the most luxurious product out of all the products. The scent is quite strong but not overpowering but is sweet smelling – definitely a win if you are a fan of sweet and fruity scents. The instructions say to use it right after showering but I found it would kind of slide off my skin a bit too much. If used on dry skin though, it worked much better. Storage-wise it is a bit tricky. Warm surroundings will cause the oils to seep into whatever container you keep it in so be sure to keep it in something substantial. It is very moisturising and I used it every other day or every two days on my arms and legs. I think for the price it is impractical to purchase this on the regular, but as a gift for a friend or if you find it on sale, a gift for yourself.

Overall, I enjoyed the products that I purchased from Ethique but found that some either didn’t work as well as other products I have used or I found them expensive for what they were and therefore haven’t included them in this budget conscious review. Thank you so much for reading this far and I hope you enjoyed the first post of this blog series. I hope to do a couple more brand reviews as part of this series so watch this space!

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I purchased these items with my own money, they are not a gift nor is this post sponsored.

Ethique’s website: https://ethique.co.uk/

Ethique at Boots: https://www.boots.com/sitesearch?searchTerm=Ethique

Ethique at Holland & Barrett: https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/info/ethique/

Sustainable Development Goals Ambassador: Meet Julia

A bit about me: Julia Daly

Trying plastic-free toiletries so you don’t have to

In a simpler time – before the global pandemic – as the new academic year began, I had made it my personal mission to reduce my plastic consumption within the realm of my toiletries. It may seem a trivial place to start but even everyday toiletries such as shower gel can be really harmful to the environment and many are contained in plastic bottles which aren’t often recycled (We Are Drops, 2018). Shower gels can also contain microplastics which can harm marine wildlife (Rosney, 2016). Considering all of this and the nature of plastic itself, taking years to degrade, as a conservation student, I have challenged myself to reduce my plastic consumption.

From my reading of the topic over the last couple of years, from blogs to Instagram and speaking to others, it seems the main reasons that people haven’t already gone for reduced plastic toiletries is 1. the convenience of getting it at the nearest shop or pharmacy 2. the price as plastic free options are often more expensive. These are of course valid points especially for busy students who don’t have the time to be trekking to specialist stores to pay double or tipple what they could get with less hassle. Saving that coin for nights out or textbooks – I totally relate. Being a student ambassador and being part of the sustainability community at Kent provided a platform to feedback on putting these assumptions to the test and trying out some of these alternative products so that you can save your time, money and energy.

Since starting at the University of Kent in 2019, I have been purchasing a range of plastic free, or plastic reduced products from many different brands, both online and in store, to try and see if there are any good plastic free alternative toiletry products that are accessible to students and are worth the money. I bought and tried them so you don’t have to. The result of my experience will be a series of blog posts on the stand-out products that I recommend having weighed up their use, convenience, aesthetics, accessibility, and price. If you are looking to start your plastic free journey but have no idea where to start, are well on your journey but are looking to expand your toiletry bag, or are merely interested in the topic then watch this space!

Check these out for further information…

We Are Drops, 2018. Soap vs. shower gel: the final battle. Available from: https://www.wearethedrops.com/blog/en/2018/01/23/soap/ [Accessed 30 May 2020].

Rosney, D., 2016. BBC Newsbeat. Why microbeads in shower gels are bad for marine life. Available from: www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35261018/why-microbeads-in-shower-gels-are-bad-for-marine-life [Accessed 30 May 2020].

 

The Zero-Waste Retail Revolution

Guest Post and infographic by The Cleaning Services Group

What Are Zero-Waste Stores?

A zero-waste store is designed in such a way as to comply with the principles of the zero-waste movement. It achieves this by eliminating as much waste as possible either through lowering the amount of waste produced or by changing how waste is managed.

Zero-waste typically feature bulk-style bins and dispensers. Customers bring their own containers and can select the exact quantities they need. This helps to cut down on unnecessary packaging while also preventing food waste.

The Rise of Zero-Waste Stores Around the World

Over the past few years, the zero-waste movement has become a worldwide phenomenon. According to the Bepakt Index, there are now around 150 packaging-free markets around the world. We are also now beginning to see some major players in the supermarket world, such as Waitrose and Lidl, launch their own waste reduction initiatives.

Zero-Waste: A Response to Customer Demand

On average, England generates 177 million tonnes of waste every year. The rising popularity of zero-waste stores indicate a growing customer interest in eco-friendly alternatives that help to cut down on this number.

The 2015 Nielson Global Corporate Sustainability Report shows that 73% of consumers would switch brands if there was something similar on the market that supports a good cause. Taking a more eco-friendly approach that emphasises sustainability has also been associated with greater transaction spends and increased brand loyalty.

Learn More About the Zero-Waste Retail Revolution

The below infographic from the team at The Cleaning Services Group investigates how these “zero-waste” stores aim to make consumers be more mindful of the environmental impact of their shopping habits. The graphic outlines the many business benefits of going zero-waste and also offers some practical tips to help retailers get started on their own zero-waste journey today.

Resolutions or not…this really is the right time to ditch the plastic in your life!

Is it just me or is there a large amount of news content about plastic recently?

Whether it is the disturbing sight of plastic bottles ruining the immersion of being in the deep blue as David Attenborough lulled you to sleep on a Sunday night with the incredible Blue Planet 2; the news that China will no longer take our recycled plastic due to pollution concerns; or yesterdays ban of Micro-beads coming into full affect; it seems plastic has finally fallen out of favour.

 

So with it being the new year why not add a truely transformative resolution to your list. Ditch the plastic.

A simple way to do this is to start with any single use plastic that is entirely unnecessary. Do you need that straw in your drink? If Weatherspoons and Jamie Oliver can ditch them for good, so can you! Can Tupperware serve you better than clingfilm? Does your coffee really taste as good out of that disposable?

There are so many things in our everyday life that create rubbish after just one use but with a few simple changes you could do away with single use plastic for good. It will definitely save you money, especially if the government decide to tax all single use plastics such as plastic bottles and the so called ‘latte levy’ which could reduce the 2.5 billion coffee cups we get through in the UK, of which only 1% are recycled.

If you would like to be part of the movement to ditch single use plastic head on over to the Global Good Award’s #pointlessplastic on Twitter to get some inspiration.