Monthly Archives: December 2016

SHAMPOO SOAP BARS

One of the most enjoyable discoveries I have made since we stopped buying anything packaged in plastic are shampoo soap bars. Unpackaged and made from just a few ingredients, shampoo bars are good for your hair and scalp and so easy to switch to. They can last up to three times as long as a bottle of shampoo and you’ll be amazed at the variety and quantity available. If you are worried that your hair won’t be as soft, manageable and clean, or if you are worried about colour treated hair, dandruff or a build-up of soap in your hair, then let me put your mind at rest. Since using shampoo soap bars which are mild and often hand-made with natural essential oils, I have not needed any conditioner or restorative treatments and my hair is easy to brush and very healthy.

The ordinary bottle of shampoo on the supermarket shelf contains a concoction of 20+ chemical ingredients that have various levels of toxicity. Some strip your hair and scalp of natural oils (detergents SLS and SLES) whilst others coat your hair with silicon-based substances. The ill effects of chemical preservatives called parabens are relatively well known. Many of the ingredients are petroleum based and the by-products from the production of fragrances include dioxin and formaldehyde.

There are many organic shampoos on the market but they all seem to be bottled in plastic. It never seizes to amaze me that the purest of ingredients imaginable are nevertheless packaged in plastic. There is an anti-shampoo movement out there called ‘no poo’  whose members advocate washing hair with bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar. But I love using shampoo bars because it allows me to carry on with the daily ritual of washing my hair with something that smells good and makes lots of bubbles.

Where to buy shampoo bars:

  • Wild Sage – small family-run business near Bristol, hand crafting cold processed soaps and skin-loving balms from natural ingredients. https://www.wild-sage.co.uk/
  • One Village sell a beautiful neem and sandalwood shampoo bars suitable for hair and skin, containing no animal fats. This UK based foundation works directly with community organisations in some of the most economically stretched parts of the world since 1979: http://onevillage.org/#ixzz4TDC7GIgy http://onevillage.org/soap.htm
  • The Natural Soap is a small, ethical company based in Norfolk who sell gorgeous tropical coconut and neem shampoo bars made by a cold-process soap making method with a basic mixture of vegetable oils and fats, sodium hydroxide, water, natural nutrients and essential oils: http://www.naturalsoap.co.uk/
  • Living Naturally – vegan, homemade in the UK, organic and 100% natural, Ayurvedic but a little more expensive: http://www.soapnuts.co.uk/collections/soapnut-soap-and-shampoo/products/ayurvedic-soapnut-shampoo-bar-90g
  • Lush – warning: products contain SLS and other synthetic ingredients. Lush products are somewhat controversial as a lot of the ingredients are not as organic or green as their image and marketing would suggest. However, if you are starting out on the journey of zero-plastic packaging, Lush offer a quick and easy high street solution with some 20 different unpackaged shampoo and conditioning soap bars for different hair types. https://uk.lush.com/products/shampoo-bars

Read more:

What’s really in your shampoo?
http://www.salon.com/2009/08/13/shampoo/

5 Toxic chemicals probably found in your shampoo
http://naturalsociety.com/5-toxic-chemicals-probably-found-shampoo/

Where do all the shampoo bottles go?
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/21/only-a-third-of-uk-consumer-plastic-packaging-is-recycled

The No Shampoo Method
https://www.nopoomethod.com/

Guardian article on Lush
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/12/observer-ethical-awards-2014-winners-lush

Francesca Chalk red coffeee cup hand screen print

TEA BAGS ARE MADE FROM PAPER – AREN’T THEY?

I have always assumed that tea bags are made from paper and that the only plastic is found in the packaging. Not so. The majority of tea bags used in the UK (55 billion a year) are made by adding acrylic polymer emulsions to the plant based materials that the bags are made of and then applying a very thin layer of polypropylene to help heat-seal bags and sachets. I checked this by writing to PG Tips, Tetley’s, Typhoo, Twinings, Taylors and Clipper, all of whom replied with detailed information. You may not like the idea of potentially drinking plastic particles in your tea but also consider that this plastic material falls apart as the tea bag degrades and ends up in the soil and ultimately in the sea. This explains why I keep having to pick’ tea bag skeletons’ off my veggie patch! The damn things just won’t compost and now I know why.

I also contacted Bristol based PUKKA, an eco-friendly company who don’t use plastic in their tea bag production and use vegetable inks on their boxes which are not wrapped in a final outer layer of plastic. However, even Pukka use a polyethylene lamination in the production of the sachets. I was also really pleased to read that Pigtea‘s temple tea bags are made from corn starch rather than nylon.

Our solution at home is to buy loose tea leaves in large paper bags directly from the local health food shop, at the Whole Foods Market, tea shops and indoor markets. We keep the tea leaves in traditional tins and it takes only marginally longer to brew a ‘real’ cuppa than using a tea bag. What’s the rush anyway?

READ MORE:

The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jul/02/teabags-biodegradeable

The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/7865706/Tear-your-tea-bags-before-composting-watchdog-says.html

Great blog entry from Treading My own Path:

The Scandalous Plastic in Tea Bags – Who Knew?