eco loofah sponge

This eco-friendly loofah sponge is an ideal alternative to plastic bath sponges or shower puffs or even natural sponges (which are made from sea creatures, cut away with knives by divers). This fibrous skeleton of the loofah plant creates gentle friction, making it perfect to shed dead skin cells and improve circulation. Just soak in water to soften, and lather with your favourite soap. Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and affected medical conditions.

The loofah is sold in two sizes, both are unbleached with cotton string to hang up. Increase lifespan by air-drying between washes, or machine-wash and leave to air-dry. You can also soak it now and then in warm water with a few drops of peppermint oil to help deter bacterial growth. At end of life, just cut up and compost. Loofahs are sent flat, and inflate to full size, on contact with water.

Always brush towards the heart in gentle circular movements (do not use for open/inflamed skin including eczema/psoriasis or contraindicated medical conditions).

Dry-brushing is a great way to remove dead skin cells and encourage skin renewal, for softer skin. It can also unclog pores, even skin tone and stimulate circulation. Sisal is a plant fibre that looks like the top of a pineapple and has sword-like leaves which are often used to make natural carpets. Weeding is done by hand and its durability means this body brush can last you years. Tap the brush after use to remove debris, wash bristles once a week with warm, soapy water, then rinse well and air dry with bristles facing downwards. Do not immerse the brush in water.

choose bath salts in sustainable packaging

Bath salts are popular worldwide, but be careful which ones you choose. Sustainability experts say it’s best to avoid dead sea salts, as they are literally from a sea that is dying. Despite the name, the area supports 500 million birds (300 species) who rest during migration and many plants, fish and mammals (including leopards and ibex).

Avoid aromatherapy oils (and hibiscus) for pregnancy/nursing or affected medical conditions (asthma, epilepsy, high blood pressure). Ask your doctor before using Epsom salts for medical conditions including diabetes, kidney disease, eating disorders and low-magnesium diets.

Chalke Valley Soaps makes nice bath salts in glass jars, scented with essential oils:

  1. Restore is made with sweet coconut milk infused with chamomile flowers, refreshing may chang and grounding myrrh.
  2. Relax is made with homegrowng soothing lavender and calendula with Himalayan pink salts for pure tranquility.
  3. Detox is made with Cambrian blue clay and pure essential oils, to reap the benefits of feeling fresh and purified.
  4. Glow is made with French pink clay and mineral-rich Himalayan salt for glowing skin.

Corinne Taylor is a qualified aromatherapist who offers lovely bath salts in paper packets or glass jars. Made with Himalayan crystal salt (rich in 84 minerals) this is infused with coconut oil and essential oils, depending on for what purpose from aches and pains to relaxing to recharging.

The Natural Beauty Pot’s Bath Salts (Northern Ireland) are sold in biodegradable packaging, and made with natural ingredients of mineral-rich Epsom salts, botanicals and organic essential oils. Epsom salts are a bit like a natural spa spring and can help relax your muscles and good for sleep, due to high magnesium content. Just add a spoon of salts to make a lovely bath, and relax awhile.

The bath salts are sold in several versions:

  1. Lavender (calming for a relaxed bath, and also anti-inflammatory)
  2. Peppermint (fresh and good to relieve nausea and helps tired feet)
  3. Rose (a soft floral scent for a relaxing bath)
  4. Seaweed lime (uplifting to soften skin, smells like the sea!)
  5. Calendula lemongrass (anti-inflammatory and blended with calendula petals and lemongrass oil.

bath mats made from natural stone

Artsy Mats are the future of bath mats. Made from diatomaceous earth from Changbai mountains, this is a soft natural rock that is crumbled into a fine white powder, then moulded to form solid bath mats. The main benefit is that these bath mats dry within 60 seconds, making them safer for wet feet and reduce the risk of slipping. They are also anti-mould and anti-bacterial, so no more smelly damp mouldy mats!

In a range of lovely designs, these hygienic bath mats also save you money, as you don’t have to wash them weekly, with an average saving calculated at £80 on energy and water costs. So at around £30 a mat, you save within a year. Just give them a quick rinse or mop. They are made from millions of micropores, which rapidly absorb water each time you step on them.

shower-friendly exfoliating soaps

kleen exfoliating coffee soap

Kleen exfoliating coffee soap is not just  vegan and free from palm oil, but sold with attached rope. So you don’t have to worry about buying a slatted dish to stop them going soggy, because gravity drains the water. Avoid soaps with Dead Sea mud due to sustainability issues. 

dry-brushing to exfoliate skin on the body

Dry-brushing with a sisal body brush is a great way to remove dead skin cells and encourage skin renewal, for softer skin. It can also unclog pores, even skin tone and stimulate circulation. Sisal is a plant fibre that has sword-like leaves which are often used to make natural carpets. Tap the brush after use to remove debris, wash bristles once a week with warm, soapy water, then rinse well and air dry with bristles facing downwards. Do not immerse the brush in water. Always brush towards the heart in gentle circular movements (do not use for open/inflamed skin including eczema/psoriasis or contraindicated medical conditions).

Or use a loofah sponge (made from the fibrous skeleton of the loofah plant creates gentle friction, making it perfect to shed dead skin cells and improve circulation. Just soak in water to soften, and lather with your favourite soap. Sold in two sizes, both are unbleached with cotton string to hang up. Increase lifespan by air-drying between washes, or machine-wash and leave to air-dry. You can also soak it now and then in warm water with a few drops of peppermint oil to help deter bacterial growth. At end of life, just cut up and compost. Loofahs are sent flat, and inflate to full size, on contact with water.

a planet-friendly shower exfoliator

Casamera shower scrubber

The Casamara Scrubber is an innovative double-sided exfoliator for your shower, featuring a double-sided design. One side has a ‘honeycomb’ pattern, and the other is more exfoliating for a deeper clean. In natural or naturally scented versions like peppermint. Choose unscented for pregnancy/nursing and affected medical conditions. Use with biodegradable cleansers and you can then cut it up and compost.

The reason this item is so unusual is that it’s totally planet-friendly. Made from walnut shells, water and konjac root powder (like a Japanese potato), it’s infused with activated charcoal that is good to exfoliate congested skin, and biodegrades at end-of-life. It’s designed for easy handling and has a hanging loop to dry inbetween uses, and is so gentle it can be used on the face and nose, and even to remove cosmetics.

zero waste alternatives to plastic toilet brushes

silicone toilet brushes

Conventional toilet brushes have plastic nylon bristles, which leach microplastics down the bowl and into the sea, each time you use it. Silicone is made partly with oil, but it does not break down into microplastics, and is very hard-wearing and easy to recycle.

Use with unscented biodegradable cleaners for pregnancy/nursing/medical conditions. Also keep essential oils (especially citrus) away from pets. 

This silicone toilet brush gives a 360 degree deep clean to reduce bacteria and odours, and has anti-drip protection. Easy to rinse under the hot toap, the anti-slip handle means your skin never touches areas being cleaned, and the brush remains in one piece during use, and the brush will not wear out. This The inner pocket holds water, to drain from the brush into the outer pockt. Includes a damage-free wall sticker (to mount on tiles or sides of toilet basin, not for painted or wallpaper walls) to tuck out of reach of small hands, and avoid it being knocked over.

Wild & Stone offers plastic-free toilet brushes made from FSC-certified beechwood and a mix of tampico and coconut fibre bristles (at end of life, the whole brush can be cut up and composted). Tampico is a form of cactus that grows in Mexico, and coconut fibre (coir) is so strong that it’s used to make hardwearing carpets. From the outer husk of the coconut, it enriches soil once composted after use. This fibre mix makes a a strong durable brush with tiny hooks to give abrasion, but the fibres don’t lose texture or shape. The perfect combination for a toilet brush.

recycled cotton & linen knitted facecloths

recycled cotton and linen facecloths

These hand-knitted recycled cotton & linen facecloths are ideal to use with your favourite organic cleanser or handmade soap (choose fragrance-free versions for pregnancy/nursing and affected medical conditions). Measuring around 23cm by 23cm, these soft cloths are very strong, made by combining shredded textile waste and linen (from sustainably-grown flax, a plant that needs less water to grow than cotton). Choose from off-white, mid-grey or midnight.

It’s always best to buy organic or recycled cotton, to reduce the market for new conventionally-grown cotton, which is responsible for around a quarter of all the world’s pesticide use. This is not just bad for the planet, water and wildlife – but also for farmers, who have to wear clothing in hot temperatures, to avoid inhaling chemicals. Organic cotton is more expensive but lasts longer (as fibres are not treated with chemicals). But recycled cotton is also a good choice.

An old-fashioned facecloth that can be safely laundered (without leaching microplastics from the washing machine) is better than modern disposable cleansing cloths in plastic packaging. These often contain chemicals that  rinse down sinks and into the sea to pollute the oceans, and are also too harsh for skin. Wet wipes (also used for cleansing) are a common cause of blocked toilets as people (wrongly) flush them down the loo, and this also causes garden floods and sewer fatbergs (which have to be broken down by councils , adding to your tax bill).

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