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By Betsy Dudash, SW board president
If you’re searching for some changes to make in the new year, try switching out some of the products you use every day for low-waste versions. For me, the bathroom was the easiest place to start.
One of our first changes was switching from liquid hand and body washes—which generally come in plastic or glass bottles—to bar soaps. I don’t mean your grandma’s Ivory soap, either. Locally, you can get deliciously-scented, handcrafted soaps from shops like The Bubblery in Leavenworth and Salt Creek Apothecary on Wenatchee Ave., as well as from other local artisans.
I’ve also used bar shampoo for a few years. I had no idea which ones to try, so the first ones were from Lush Cosmetics (via eBay). My hair and scalp felt great, and I quickly realized that I could also conserve water by washing my hair less often. When a friend told me about The Bubblery, I tried their bar shampoos and loved them—plus they keep adding new kinds. Silver Falls Sustainability Company (SFSC) in Oregon also makes their own line of bar shampoos.
I discovered SFSC during my search for an effective natural deodorant to replace aluminum-based antiperspirants in plastic dispensers that can’t be recycled. I had tried several before finding Silver Falls; most “natural” deodorants still came in plastic containers and contained baking soda, which gave me a rash. My husband and I have been using the SFSC deodorants, which come in kraft paper tubes and various scent combinations, ever since.
Brushing your teeth is another necessary task that can create a lot of unnecessary waste. Plastic toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes inevitably end up in landfills. But there are alternatives. Yes, you can find toothpaste in a metal tube, like when I was a kid, but I realized that I really like tooth tablets. They’re small and not nearly as messy as toothpaste. I first found tooth tablets by the brand hello at Target. Natural food stores often carry them, and they’re easy to get from one of the online vendors specializing in sustainable products as well. I use a brand that comes in an envelope of 120 tablets. A friend loves the brand Bite. Try a couple until you find the one that works for you, with or without fluoride. Last year I finally got some bamboo toothbrushes for us; my husband is thrilled with his.
Sometimes products you’d like to try might not yet be available locally. I’m pretty sure this is the case with non-petroleum-based dental floss. Why can’t dental floss be made out of something natural, and why can’t the dispensers be refillable? Well, they are and can be. I’ve tried one brand, Cocofloss, and am now using the refills.
Finally, if you’re wondering how I found some of these companies, the answer is my Facebook feed. The notorious Facebook algorithm knew that I was interested in sustainable products and made sure I saw them. Thanks, Big Brother Tech.