FACT: Switching your toiletries to plastic free or zero waste will give you more luggage space, AND reduce your suitcase or backpack weight. Great news if you are taking a trip and want to use a small bag, especially if you are travelling by plane.
In future travel, flying under “the new normal” means some airlines (such as British Airways) are only allowing hand luggage which can fit underneath your seat. If you usually take a few toiletries in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage, moving to plastic free options will be perfect for you.
Overhead lockers may be out of use in post-Coronavirus lockdown, minimising touchable surfaces within the plane and reducing unnecessary movement. However, this does mean only essentials can be taken on board such as your passport, mobile phone, hand sanitiser, face mask, pen, small snack etc.
Airlines may also be reducing the weight limit for checked in baggage. The heavier the aircraft, the more it cost to fly and airlines are already struggling after months of being grounded. To keep ticket prices as affordable as possible but still recouping lost revenue, airlines have to reduce costs any way they can.
By switching your toiletries to plastic free or zero waste, you will save valuable weight, save space, the 100ml liquid limit doesn’t apply, and you don’t have to worry about liquids spilling over your clothes.
Moalboal Eco Lodge share how you can make a few easy plastic free and zero waste changes to your toiletries.
If you have reduced your single use plastic in daily life and when you travel, you will know to carry a refillable water bottle, canvas bag, reusable cutlery set and aluminium/bamboo straw, but what about your bathroom toiletries? Have you thought of switching these to reduce your plastic usage?
Liquid toiletries take up quite a bit of space in your luggage, and weigh heavier than plastic free alternatives. Anything you can do to reduce your suitcase weight and give you more space is a bonus, especially if you are flying under new guidelines following COVID-19 lockdown.
This is where switching your toiletries and bathroom items to plastic free or zero waste gives you that edge.
✔ More space in your luggage
✔ Weigh less than liquids
✔ Not subject to 100ml liquid restrictions
✔ No liquids means no spillage over your clothes.
If there was ever a time to make that change, it’s now! The war on plastic is far from over, and with millions of people using disposable face masks, gloves, take-out containers etc, something needs to be done to reduce the amount of plastic used.
Bonus Plastic Free Tip: Wear a washable face mask which can be reused over and over! Don't contribute to the surge in single-use waste pollution following the Coronavirus pandemic.
1. Hand Sanitiser Spray
For health reasons to stop the spread of Coronavirus, an alcohol based hand sanitiser is an essential must-pack item. If you already have a hand sanitising gel in a small plastic bottle, refill it when it's finished with a 70% alcohol solution which can be purchased at a supermarket. By reusing an existing bottle, you are sending less to landfill, and you can buy the alcohol solution in a larger bottle saving you money in the long run.
If you don’t already have an empty sanitising gel bottle, top up any small 30ml spray bottle. As a last resort, buy a new spray bottle, and if you feel happier buying plastic, at least you will be reusing it over and over. The aim is to reduce single use plastics.
An alcohol spray is invaluable, not just for your hands but if you are travelling by taxi, bus, train or plane, it gives you extra peace of mind to spray armrests or trays before sitting down.
2. Shampoo Bar
I’m sure by now everyone has heard about a shampoo bar, but if not, let me break it down. A shampoo bar is a bar of soap AND a bar of shampoo all in one. Instead of taking a bottle of shower gel and a bottle of shampoo into the shower, you only need a solid shampoo bar.
Suitable for both men and women, shampoo bars are the best switch for reducing your plastic usage. If you want more foam (they do foam up anyway), or you want to give your body a scrub, just pop the shampoo bar into a small canvas bag which is suitable as an exfoliator. When dry, the canvas bag doubles up as a carrying pouch for your bar (if you don’t have a tin).
In a nutshell a shampoo bar:
• Reduces your luggage weight
• Reduces the amount of space used
• Is a 2-in-1 product
• Plastic free
• Palm Oil free
• Cruelty free and not tested on animals
3. Shampoo and Conditioner Bar
A shampoo and conditioner bar is a 3-in-1. Use it as a replacement for your shampoo, your conditioner and as soap for your body. They have an extra ingredient to help condition your hair, but if you have long or thick locks you may wish to use a separate conditioner.
I have a combination bar which works, but because my hair is both long and thick, I want to use a separate conditioner (it’s probably psychological!) However, as it’s zero waste, plastic free, palm oil free and vegan, I don’t feel guilty about using separates.
We sell an excellent shampoo and conditioning bar at Moalboal Eco Lodge that is amazing (I can provide a customer review from a dive instructor). It can untangle salty hair after I have been for a scuba dive, been snorkelling with turtles, or if I have gone for dip in the ocean.
4. Conditioning Bar
As mentioned, if you have long or thick hair, you may wish to use a separate conditioner. Instead of a bottle of conditioner, switch to a conditioner bar which you can carry around in a small tin, or use a canvas pouch.
A conditioning bar is simple to use. Wet the bar then rub it through wet hair starting at the ends. I run my fingers all through my hair to remove tangles and knots, and leave the conditioner in for a few minutes whilst I continue to wash the rest of my body. I rinse it out the same time as I rinse myself and voila! Beautiful clean, fresh, untangled, easy to brush hair.
Some conditioners can be left on and not rinsed so choose the one which is right for you. If you don’t find a bar which suits you at first, keep on trying because there are plenty on the market. I was lucky and struck gold first time.
To conserve water wherever you are in the world, please turn off the shower when conditioning your hair because the fresh clean water will literally be wasted down the plug.
Water is a precious resource, even if you turn on a tap and believe you have an unlimited supply. Here at Moalboal Eco Lodge, there is no mains fed water so when building the resort, we chose to harness what nature provides. All water used in our house and around the Lodge is filtered rainwater.
5. Soap Bar
If you/your partner doesn’t have hair to wash, or if you don’t want to wash your hair every time you are in the shower, switching from a liquid soap to a soap bar is the best option for you. You are still cutting out plastic, and are saving weight and space. At home, I have a soap bar for the shower, combined shampoo and conditioner bar, and a separate conditioning bar.
To travel, I cut my bar of soap into smaller hand size pieces making it easier to carry. I have a different coloured soap to my conditioner bar so I can place both of them in the same tin. That’s the beauty of using bars – you can cut them down to a manageable size, and they work just as well.
We hand out these bars of soaps to guests if they need toiletries during their stay. They are locally made, palm oil free, not wrapped in plastic and zero waste. Guests can choose between orange-coloured papaya, or green coloured calamansi (Philippine limes).
6. Natural Deodorant
There is more than one reason to switch from your shop-bought deodorant or anti-perspirant*. For me it’s the plastic packaging, and use of palm oil derivatives (Steareth, Stearite, Glycerin, Glycerol etc). I do not agree with the unsustainable palm oil used in shop-bought products.
Natural deodorants are made from ingredients which allow your body to work as it should – an effective cooling machine regulating your body temperature when it’s needed. Many natural deodorants are cruelty free (not tested on animals), contain ethically sourced ingredients, and some are vegan (beeswax can be found in some deodorant sticks/bars so look for candelilla wax instead).
There are many non-plastic deodorants on the market, depending on where you live in the world.
When you experiment with the best natural deodorant for you, if you have sensitive skin or are developing a small rash then choose one that doesn’t contain Sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda.
*Aluminium is a controversial ingredient found in most shop bought anti-perspirants, which is used to block pores and stop sweating. Some studies have found links of aluminium with Alzheimers, and for women there are links to breast cancer. There are a group of chemicals within anti-perspirants called parabens which have also been linked to breast cancer. Armpits are in close proximity to the lymph nodes and breast tissue, hence the concerns.
Whilst there are many arguments about whether aluminium contributes to breast cancer or Alzheimer, I personally do not want to take a chance with my health, not when there are plenty of other options on the market. I feel there are too many ingredients used within the industry which are potentially harmful, and have been linked to serious health concerns. There is definitely a shift in consumers being more conscious about what we put onto our skin, and we should be aiming for cleaner, safer products.
7. Solid Moisturiser or Lotion Bar
There are many options for plastic free moisturisers, however there are two main differences you need to be aware of:
Lotions and creams: This is the lightest type of moisturiser for your skin and generally contain water and oil.
Body Butter or Balm: These don’t contain water and are made of oils and waxes. This can make them thicker and heavier, and because they create a barrier on the skin to seal in moisture, it may feel greasy on the skin if applied in a hot country.
I discovered Chin’s Vegan Products, and she is the most amazing soap artisan. She makes an incredible palm oil free, organic, vegan vanilla body lotion, and to help me be zero waste, she lets me take an empty container to her for filling. However not everyone is this lucky, but if you have a zero waste store near you, ask if they sell lotions or moisturiser.
An alternative is to use a moisturiser bar which is a lotion that is solid at room temperature. Glide the bar over your skin and your body heat will warm it enough for you to rub in.
The main ingredients for a solid moisturiser bar tend to be cocoa butter, beeswax and coconut oil, however these all have a slow absorption rate meaning they sit on your skin for longer. If you live in a hot country, this can leave you with a greasy feeling so you may want something lighter such as shea butter or sunflower oil.
8. Tooth Powder or Tooth Tabs
I switched from using toothpaste (which is sold in plastic tubes and contains palm oil) to tooth powder. The beauty of using toothpowder is I can carry it in a small vial just big enough for a long weekend, or for a two week trip. We sell a Peppermint and Eucalyptus Toothpowder in our Eco shop for guests wishing to be plastic free in the Philippines.
If tooth powder is not for you, then try tooth tabs which you pop into your mouth, chew and they foam up to clean your teeth. Take just as many tablets as you need for your trip away in a small tin/pill pot and you will save space in your luggage.
PS Don't forget to switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush instead of using plastic.
9. Bamboo Cotton Buds, Cotton Swabs, Ear Buds, or Q-Tips
Cotton Buds have many uses, but those nasty shop-bought cotton swabs have a plastic stem which doesn’t biodegrade. Banned from being sold in the UK with Europe and New Zealand to follow, plastic cotton buds are the epitome of single-use plastics. They are lightweight so make their way into our waterways and oceans where they are eaten by marine life.
The answer is bamboo cotton buds! Once used just pop them into your composter, or throw them in your bin. Yes we sell bamboo cotton buds in our Eco Shop!
10. Menstrual Cup (this one’s obviously for the ladies)
Tampons and ladies’ sanitary pads are a necessary evil, and until recently, we had no choice but to use single use plastic options. Not any more! Let me introduce you to the Menstrual Cup, also known as the Moon Cup.
Made from silicone, it comes in two sizes and can be used over and over. Not all countries sell sanitary products, so having your own reusable menstrual cup with you ensures you won’t ever be “caught short”.
We sell both sizes of menstrual cup in three different colours in our Eco Shop, which come with a free canvas carry bag for discretion. Once you have made the switch, you will have wished you had done so years ago!
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