Hands up who’s vowed to cut down on waste in 2020?

It’s one thing to commit to, but another to carry out. Reducing your environmental footprint can be an overwhelming process. Plastic and single-use items make their way into all areas of our life, from takeaway coffee cups and food packaging to disposable cosmetic, travel and stationary items. I’ll be the first to admit they can be extremely convenient and time-saving, however their impact on the environment will carry on for years, perhaps even decades.

Focusing on one area of your life at a time can help you identify wasteful habits and areas for improvement. Looking at your morning routine is a great place to start. How many single-use products, plastic bottles and disposable items are sitting in your bathroom right now?  Scary, huh?

Don’t panic – here are some easy and affordable swaps you can make today for a eco-friendly morning routine.

Reusable makeup remover pads

Don’t get me wrong, makeup remover wipes are super convenient on the go or if you’re short on time (right before collapsing into bed after a night out am I right?). But just take a moment to think of all the face wipes, not to mention their plastic packaging,  you have used and thrown away over the past few months. They will all still be piling up in landfill somewhere or, even worse, floating onto our beaches. Same goes for those oh-so-cheap-and-easy cotton rounds.

Enter reusable face pads – kinder on your skin and the environment. Once a serial face wipe and cotton pad enthusiast, switching the reusable face cloths and cleansing pads has been a game changer for me and my bathroom bin.  There are so many options on the market you’re guaranteed to find some at your local health food or beauty store. Check out FacehaloEtsy or Amazon for a range of options and designs. Used to using cotton rounds to apply toner? Swap to your good ol’ bare hands!

Shampoo bars

Still relatively new on the beauty scene, shampoo bars tick multiple boxes on the eco-friendly checklist. Requiring less packaging and less space in your shower, shampoo bars can last up to 80 washes, allowing your wallet to also breathe a sigh of relief. The majority of shampoo bars are packed full of all-natural ingredients and divine essential oils, with no scary additives and chemicals to harm your locks. Some can be used on the whole body, making them an even more cost and eco-effective option.

In case you’re not convinced, shampoo bars are also great for travel – no more wasteful travel-size shampoo bottles that can leak in your bag! Lush has a great range of incredible-smelling, package-free bars, with Friendly SoapEthique and Chagrin Valley offering popular options as well.

Deodorant bars, powder and balm

Even sweat gland-friendly, natural deodorants can come in disposable packaging, so for a more environmentally-friendly option, consider making the switch to a deodorant bar or paste.

With brands such as LushKaia NaturalsProcal  and Pit Putty (teehee) offering plastic-free or zero packaging, deodorant bars and pastes are long-lasting and will keep your underarms clean, odourless and chemical free.

Toothpaste tablets

Chances are you’ve heard about or own a recyclable bamboo toothbrush, but what about your toothpaste? If you’ve already made the toothbrush switch you might want to sink your teeth into toothpaste tablets (sorry). Most brands offer minimal, recyclable packaging for delivery, and if you’re lucky enough to live near a store that sells them in bulk, the tablets last nicely in sealed glass jars.

How do they work? Pop a tablet into your mouth, chew until crushed, then add water and brush like normal. Voila! Toothpaste tabs are also a great option for travel – say goodbye to extra liquid containers in your carry on luggage (are you noticing a trend here?). This list is a great resource featuring fluoride and fluoride-free options.

Oils as moisturiser

Navigating the mainstream moisturiser maze can leave you feeling confused, indecisive and pressured into thinking every area of your face needs a different product. The end result? An empty wallet and extra packing in ending up in landfill. A swap that has served me well in the hip pocket and zero-waste department has been switching from conventional moisturises to oils.

I like to ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ whith these products. Coconut oil is a great all-body moisturiser which is cheap and easy to buy in bulk from most supermarkets (and leaves you smelling fab).

For my face I prefer rose-hip oil, which often comes in glass bottles. A little also goes a long way with these so you won’t need to worry about constantly stocking up.

Give these swaps a go and see how easy it can be to incorporate environmentally-friendly products into your every-day life. Remember, small steps are better than none!


Emily is an Australian, Ireland-based digital content creator and social media manager helping vegan and eco-friendly brands grow their online presence and bring their services to life. An amateaur coffee snob, professional dancer and solo travel enthusiast, Emily is passionate about living and promoting a cruelty-free lifestyle and believes you should never underestimate the power of a good story.

Check out her blog and instagram for solo travel and plant-based living tips.