I remember the day I discovered Refyll (refyll.com) vividly . I was at the Farmers Market one Sunday, which happens to be conveniently located 3 blocks from my house, gettin the bulk of my weekly produce and other food staples (all waste free of course), when a light shown down from the heavens. Actually, I really just happened to finally notice a booth on my way out that was selling bath and home products despite it having been there for several months. I guess I was so focused on my routine, I wasn't paying close enough attention.
I struck up a conversation with the owner and learned that she too had been inspired by Bea Johnson, the queen/pioneer of the Zero Waste Movement. And so she and her business partner started Refyll whose focus was to provide non-toxic waste-free solutions for consumers. Aside from soap bars that you can get at many natural/health food stores like Whole Foods, I've yet to find most of what Refyll offers anywhere else in LA. So, I had hit the jackpot. I remember telling the owner, "You have no idea how happy you've just made me!" It took everything I had not to embrace this complete stranger!
I realize that many of my followers (at least I hope I still have followers as writing to myself would be very, very strange) are not in the LA area. That said, I am of the opinion that ordering a stash of waste free products in a recyclable cardboard box from Refyll beats (hands down!) buying all the alternatives made in plastic containers that probably are not even recycled once tossed.
With that said, let's get to the good stuff: Waste Free Bath Solutions...
So, what does Refyll offer? All of the below, which come in a variety of scents.
- Shampoo Bars (great for travel too as they don't count as a liquid and you can get a round tin for travel for less than a dollar from specialtybottle.com)
- Conditioner (Just refill your pump top bottle, which you can get either at Refyll's shop or at specialtybottle.com)
- Foaming Face Wash (Just refill your pump top bottle, which you can get either at Refyll's shop or at specialtybottle.com. You will need a foaming pump bottle and I was able to find in a regular size and travel size. I usually take a glass swing top bottle to the store to fill up as opposed to my pump bottles. That way, I can use it to fill up all my pump bottles)
- Soap Bars
- Face Serum (I use this instead as my face moisturizer and have a small glass disc cap bottle like the blue one pictured below. Perfect for travel too.)
- Lip Balm (Comes in a convenient small round tin and refills come in compostable packaging shown below)
- Deoderant (The first time you buy, you will get the plastic dispenser. Thereafter, you get a refill insert in compostable packaging to insert into the dispenser)
- Hand Soap - Castile Soap - available at Refyll.com or you can buy in bulk at Amazon.com. Just make sure to reuse your container.
- Shaving Cream - Castile Soap
- Shaving - Go Electric or get Laser treatments
Refyll covers the main bathroom needs, but not everything. Here's a list of other solutions I have come up with on my own:
- Toothpaste - I make a tooth powder that is comprised of baking soda and Stevia, both of which I get in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods (in Hollywood) and Rainbow Acres (Culver City), respectively. If you aren't in the area, get backing soda in a simple recyclable cardboard box and add Stevia. There are many options out there for packaging, but try to opt for paper if you can as it is biodegradable. This will eliminate all the plastic toothpaste tubes. The best container I have found is a dial top toothpick dispenser like the one pictured below.
- Toothbrushes - Bamboo toothbrushes are an option as they are compostable, but it takes a long time. I opted for a Sonic Care toothbrush and upcycle the heads through TerraCycle.
- Dentil Floss - I use a combination of a gum stimulator and oil pulling with coconut Oil in a glass jar (http://www.earthclinic.com/remedies/oil_pulling.html) instead of dentil floss. I have even tested to see how well it works by flossing with some left over floss we are using up and my teeth were clean as a whistle. It really works!
- Eye Makeup Remover - I took my 4 oz. makeup remover bottle, once completely used, and made my own solution as follows: 1 tablespoon of castile soap, 1 teaspoon of Olive oil and fill the rest of the way with water. Shake well before use. Use a washcloth/small towel instead of a cotton round.
- Makeup - I use only Origins. Not only are their products non-toxic, but they will recycle all the packaging when you bring to a participating store. Note - it has to be an actual Origins store and not a section in a department store.
- Cotton Balls - Use a cloth or rag.
I have to disclose that there are a few things for which I have not found a solution as follows:
- Contact Solution - I tried making my own, but it didn't turn out and stung my eyes. And of course, I can't make my own contacts. So, I have had to suck up and deal with plastic packaging for these 2 items unless and until I get the nerve and cash to do laser eye surgery.
- Razors - I haven't lasered my legs, so I still use disposable razor blades.
One of the things you will notice once you make the switch is how simple and clean your bathroom will look.
P.S. - While Refyll sells more than just bath products, I am focusing today on this category and will revisit their household products in another post down the road. Be on the lookout!