I bought my safety razor around 3 years ago and for the first couple of months it was just sitting on the shelf in my bathroom because I was afraid of using it. When I bought it the lady in the store was super nice and explained to me how to use it. This somehow got me so scared that I needed some time to get accustomed to it and make my inner self ready for its use. Sounds weird, but this really is how I felt.
The only time that I used single use razors was short after I started shaving. Soon after that my dear mum bought me an electric razor. After 15 years it is still working perfectly fine and I still use it for my legs.
Since I never liked single use shavers and thought of them as a waste of money and resources I chose the next best alternative and bought a razor with a changeable head. I used the same one for over ten years. It produced less waste, was cheaper and didn’t take up much space to store. So, I could have stayed with this one, but I decided to change and reduce my amount of waste to a bare minimum, which is when I decided to buy the safety razor. Being afraid of using it was completely unnecessary, because it is the same as any other razor, with a couple of exceptions.
How to use a safety razor?
First of all, there are no differences. The steel razor works great, because it cuts your hair even more precise than a single-use razor.
When buying the shaver also make sure to get some blades.
Depending on how sharp the blades are, I change them around every three months. What is important to know is that you can use both sides of the blade. Just turn them upside down. So you can make them last even longer. This way you can save more money and create even less waste. The blades can then be recycled in the metal bin.
By taking good care of your razor and cleaning it from time to time with a bit of water and a sponge you can make sure that it will last forever.
Why safety razors are great
1.Once in a lifetime investment
A safety razor is a once in a lifetime investment. Buying one might be a bit more expensive than buying a pack of single-use shavers. But counting up all the times you have to buy a pack of single-use shavers, it is way cheaper. The safety razor and blades don’t take up much space to store either.
I think safety razors are extremely stylish. They always remind me of old times when products where still long lasting. Did you know that 80 % of the steel which has ever been produced is still being used today? So, who knows what the past of your razor might be
3.Create no waste
By using a safety razor, you reduce your amount of waste to a bare minimum.
As stated above the razor is a once in a lifetime investment. If you take good care of it, you can use it for the rest of your life. The blades can be recycled in the metal bin.
I am a huge fan of shampoo bars. There are many, many advantages like easy travelling, longer lasting, cheaper to buy, … etc. One of the reasons why I fell in love with them in first place, is because for years I have been trying to wash my hair not every day. By washing it so often my hair became oily, looked frizzy and I also wasted a lot of water.
I bought my first bar a couple of years ago. It was from Dr. Bronner’s and gave my hair a very cool beach look. But the soap was too aggressive for my hair and soon after it didn't look very cool anymore but more like super frizzy. So, I took a break from shampoo bars for a couple of years and started using liquid shampoo again. Which wasn't good either because it made me wash my hair every day again, because it looked oily after a day.
By washing your hair with shampoo, most of
One day I decided to stop this negative feedback loop and wash my hair every second day only, I just needed to find the right product for it. I figured shampoo bars might help.
My next shampoo bar was from LUSH. Their products come package free, they aren’t tested on animals and most of them are vegan and their customer service is excellent. Over the years I tried other shampoo bars as well because I like to support small and local labels, but they made my hair look like Dr. Bronner’s hair again.
The use of shampoo bars came along with some preparation as well. I started brushing my hair extensively from top to hair-ends every day before going to bed. So the oil would not only be at the top.This procedure was very helpful.
The reason for it was to regulate the production of natural oils and to 'show my hair' that it could stop overproducing oil. Whenever you wash your hair with shampoo most of our natural oils are washed out, so your hair will produce even more and your hair will become oily.
How to wash your hair with a shampoo bar
Washing your hair with a shampoo bar is not so much different than washing it with any other shampoo. Just make sure to first wet your shampoo bar. Then create a lather by rubbing the bar between your hands or directly onto your hair. Massage it into your hair to boost your circulation and rinse it off. I love to rinse them off with cold water at the end (but just for a couple of seconds ;) ). It not only closes the hair cuticles and boosts my circulation but also makes me wake up and get ready for the day.
I don’t have a hair dryer at home, so I always let them air dry. This makes them look more natural, is healthier and it also saves energy. Make sure to leave the bar out for air dry.
The advantages of shampoo bars
As stated before I am a huge fan of them. Here are a couple of reasons why:
1.Package Free – 1:3
According to LUSH 1 shampoo bar can do the job of 3 x 250 g shampoo bottles. This means that you can save a lot of plastic from going to landfill or getting burned.
Shampoos bars last between 80 to 100 washes.
3.Cheaper to buy
One bar is around € 5-10,- . Since they last 3 times the amount of liquid shampoos, you can definitely save a lot of money as well.
I love travelling and I love to travel light. First of all, you will never have to worry about travel size shampoo in your carry-on luggage and ask yourself ‘Can I take this on the plane or is it too much?’. It also doesn’t take up much space, you don’t have to be afraid that they will run out and shampoo bars are easy to pack.
Well, perfect that you found this site here already. Zero Waste is a live changing experience and what is a better way to start with it than the beginning of the new year. From now on I will be posting one tip each week, so change will be slowly, and it will be easy to follow. (Don’t get ahead of yourself, there might be some challenges along the way ;) )
The first step is very easy: mentally prepare yourself to buy less products. From now on, most of the products you usually spend some money on will be replaced by longer lasting products. It might be a bit more expensive to buy, but in the end, you will save way more money and do something good for the environment and yourself.
By living a green live style for, I hardly ever go to a supermarket or drug store anymore. I don’t have a waste bin in my bathroom anymore, I don’t own many things, but the ones I do I love. The money I own, I spend on travelling and other relaxing and fun things to do. I found my inner balance and realised that the art of living is not by buying and owing many things and to be materialistic. No, the art of living lies in saying 'No' and overthinking your way of live and figuring out what you really want and need.
Photocredit: The Ethical Adman
For years plastic has been the most successful Invention in the world but now things might change for the first time. Images of birds and fish with cut open stomachs full of plastic waste strikes a chord of despair with many of us. Politicians and the civil society are more aware than ever of the problems plastic causes. In this essay we will have a look at the rise and fall of plastic. The first part will start with a short introduction on the invention of plastic, what the various types of plastic are made of, reasons for its popularity and how it came to conquer the world. The second part deals with the growing concerns about plastics and the effects it has on our environment, especially on our oceans and marine life. The third and final part focuses on a global solution of the plastic problem.
© Chris Jordan
HOW THE STORY OF PLASTIC STARTED
Plastic was first introduced in the 19th century. Around 1980 a ‘US pool and billiard company offered a prize of US$ 10 000 to a person who could design the best substitute for natural ivory.’ (The story of plastic, 2017) John Wesley Hyatt submitted a synthetic polymer which he had developed. He did not win the first price but his invention was to revolutionize our lives forever. For the first time manufacturing was not limited by nature and synthetic polymer was praised as the savior for thousands of elephant and tortoises.
In 1907 the Belgian American Chemist Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite, which was the ‘first fully synthetic plastic, meaning it contained no molecules found in nature.’ (The history and future of plastics, 2018) Bakelite was called the material of a thousand uses. From this time on chemical companies invested in the research and development of new polymers and new plastics entered soon entered the market.
WHAT PLASTIC IS MADE OF
‘Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass and often contain other substances. They are usually synthetic, most commonly derived from petrochemicals.’ (Wikipedia, 2018)
Nowadays, 5000 different kinds of synthetics exist worldwide, 50 of which have commercial relevance. The four most commonly used synthetics are Polyethylene (99.6 million t/y), Polypropylene (55.2 million t/y), Polyvinyl Chloride (38.5 million t/y) and Polystyrene (26.4 million t/y). According to Plastics Europe, the highest demand for plastics is in for packaging with 39.9 %, followed by building and construction with 19.7 %, automotive is in third place with ten percent. The rest is used for electricals and electronics (6.2 %), agriculture (3.3 %), household, leisure and sports (4.2 %) and others (16.7 %).
The reason is not only its multifunctionality, but plastic is also inexpensive to produce, light, easily shaped, durable, and long-lasting. To improve its characteristics additives are added, which will enhance the workability of plastic as well as the mechanical, electrical, thermal and chemical qualities of it. Examples of additives are plasticizers, stabilizers, pigments, and colorants. Plasticizers, for example, are added against brittleness.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MICRO- AND MACROPLASTIC
Plastics can be divided into macro- and microplastics. Macroplastics are classified in three categories: metaplastic (> 1 m), macroplastic (2.5 cm – 1 m), and mesoplastic (5 mm - < 2.5 cm). Microplastics are particles in the size range of 1 nm to < 5 mm. We differentiate between primary and secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics are manufactured as microbeads, capsules, fibers and pellets. Examples include microbeads used in cosmetics and personal care products, microfibers used in textiles, and virgin resin pellets used in plastic manufacturing processes. Secondary microplastics are the result of larger pieces disintegrating into smaller pieces. This occurs when plastic debris is exposed to sunlight, and the plastic begins to weather and fragment.
© Macmillan Publishers Limited
PLASTIC ON THE RISE
Since the 1960s plastic production has increased 20-fold. It is expected that the amount of plastic will double within the next years. According to Plastics Europe in 2016, 335 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide. A mere 10 % of this amount was recycled and 90 % ended up in landfills or was littered or burnt.
To reduce the impact of plastics in landfills, ten countries within the European Union have implemented a landfill restriction for recyclable and recoverable waste. Due to this law, these countries automatically have a higher recycling rate of plastic post-consumer waste. In ten years, plastic packaging recycling has increased by almost 75 % within the EU. While the total waste collected increased by 12 %, the recycling rate also increased by 74 %, the energy recovery has increased by 71 %, and the landfill rate has decreased by 53 %.
While the production and consumption of plastic in industrialized countries might rise slowly in the future; it is expected that the use of plastic in African and Asian countries will strongly increase due to their economic growth.
HOW PLASTIC REACHES THE OCEAN
According to a study of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the three main global releases of primary microplastics to the world oceans are synthetic textiles, tires and city dust. ‘Nowadays the majority (62.7 %) of synthetic fibers are consumed in developing economies. In these economies, consumers by a larger proportion (68 %) of synthetic textiles than in developed economies (48.2 %). Tires erode when used. Tire dust is spread by the wind, or washed off the road by rain.’ (Boucher and Friot, 2018)
Other than these three main global releases, there are also different ways plastic makes its way into the oceans, via microbeads in personal care products, transport ships that lose their cargo, plastic pellets or secondary microplastics.
THE HARMS OF PLASTIC
As stated in a study of the UN as of now 18.000 plastic particles are floating on every square kilometer on the ocean surface. Every year ten million tones of waste, mainly plastic waste, lands in the oceans. 80 % of it originates from the land, and 20 % of it enters the sea via ships.
Despite its obvious advantages, plastic has a major disadvantage: its lengthy degradation process. Fishing lines can take up to 600, plastic beverage holders up to 400, styrofoam cups up to 50 and plastic bottles up to 450 years to degrade. After entering the ocean, it floats freely and breaks into smaller pieces. Lately, there are some organizations tackling the problem of marine litter already. Nonetheless, most marine debris is neither collected nor recycled so far. Plastic accumulates and every year the amount of plastic debris increases.
The problem has become so vast that it started to affect marine life; each year hundreds and thousands of animals die from marine debris. Some animals mistakenly think of microplastic as food; others get trapped in ghost nets, many birds make their nests out of it. But it is not only animals affected by the problem; it is humans as well. Nowadays, most fish contain plastic which then enters our food chain.
THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the middle of the northern Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and California. It is ‘the largest of five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans and covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers, an area three times the size of France.’ (The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 2018) More than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic are said to make up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is according to a recently published study by marine scientists ‘a figure four to sixteen times higher than previously reported.’ (Laurent C.M. Lebreton, et all., 2018)
As shown above, the plastic production and consumption is predicted to double within the 20 years. It is believed that the demand of plastic will strongly rise in African and Asian countries while in western countries the growth might slightly increase.
After all, worldwide politicians and human citizens are waking up to the problem of plastic pollution. In four African countries, including Rwanda and Kenya the production, sale, and use of plastic bags is illegal. Ten EU countries have implemented a landfill restriction for recyclable and recoverable waste. Great Britain has banned microbeads in the production of personal care products, recently. More and more supermarkets worldwide stop selling plastic bags in supermarkets. Grassroots movements, environmental organizations such as 2 Minute Beach Clean, Clean Coasts, Take 3 or Just Grabbits as well as single individuals are encouring people worldwide, to rethink their consumption of single-use plastic products. They aim to make society more aware of our environment and help them connect with nature again. Social media is a prominent means to achieve this.
After all, we only have one planet.
Hey there, my name is Fiona. I love travelling and getting to know different cultures. Because of travelling I realised I don't need many things to live a happy life. My transformation started ten years ago with my first big trip to India, since then I live a very minimalistic lifestyle. For a couple of years now, it is not only minimalistic but also zero waste.
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