The last time we spoke about sustainable hygiene products, we focussed mainly on menstrual products*. Of course, there's far more to hygiene and cleaning than just that, and this time we'll be discussing some of the other products in our homes that can be replaced with sustainable alternatives. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Plastics in the bathroom are everywhere – from lotion containers to the shower brushes – and those products are often not recycled. In fact, the New Zealand Government noted in 2019 that New Zealanders throw away an estimated 159 grams of plastic waste per person, every single day1. And shower puffs – those ubiquitous bundles of plastic netting – can be at the forefront of our minds when we worry about the risks of bathroom-related microplastics making it to landfills and the ocean. For those wanting to make a change, Haakaa’s Sisal Body Brush is made of 100% natural materials, including bristles made from sisal fibres. Sisal is a flowering plant native to Mexico but is now grown worldwide. Our Sisal Body Brush is dual purpose – it works both as a dry brush and a shower brush. To use as a dry brush, simply brush upwards over your body, starting with your feet and moving towards your heart, using long, gentle strokes with light pressure. Its use as a dry brush gently exfoliates while stimulating blood circulation. If dry brushing isn’t your thing, it can also be used as a traditional shower brush! Use your favourite soap or body wash, and gently clean yourself – just make sure you allow the brush to dry completely between uses.
The humble razor is another throwaway plastic product that can fly under the radar. Typically, we'll throw the whole thing away, or use replacement disposable cartridges – either way, that’s a lot of plastic going in the bin. Haakaa has you sorted here, too, with our Copper Safety Razor. Sturdy and durable, this razor is not only stylish, but it also comes complete with five stainless steel double-sided blades to keep you going. To use, apply a good quality shave cream or gel to your skin. Then, with skin taut, hold the razor at an angle of between 30-45 degrees and pull gently in the direction your hair grows (also known as ‘with the grain’) without using pressure. Make sure to apply a good moisturiser afterwards! The safety of recycling workers means razor blades cannot be put into your household recycling bin, but they are still 100% recyclable! Start by upcycling an old tin with a lid – golden syrup tins or old moneyboxes are fantastic for this. Clearly label the tin, cut a slot in the lid if it doesn’t have one, and find somewhere safe and away from children to store it. Carefully rinse each blade once you’re done with it, then pop it through the slot in the lid. Once you’re happy with the number of blades collected, you can take the whole can to a scrap metal dealer.
Skincare for mums and bubs!
Lotions are great, but their plastic bottles are less appealing. Haakaa’s difference? Lotion balms. These lotions come in solid form – warm and soften them with your body heat, then use as usual! The range of lotion balms is made from coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, and a variety of essential oils, giving them a heavenly scent. Belly Bliss is specially made for new mamas and mamas-to-be. Breathe Easy can help ease your little one’s cough and cold symptoms by gently rubbing it onto their chest, back and feet at bedtime. Restore and Adore has been created to help counter inflammation and itching, making it ideal for easing dry skin and eczema. Finally, Sweet Dreams uses lavender and chamomile’s light, soothing fragrances to help settle your child to sleep. These lotions come in a tin, meaning no plastic waste to dispose of! Give our Lotion Balm Samples 4-pack a try, or pick your favourite now!
Baby wipes are a staple – they are used in enormous quantities every year in New Zealand, but what is the environmental cost? Surprisingly, these products may contain plastics, as they are often made from non-woven polyester2. Additionally, if flushed, they can wreak havoc on sewage systems. Watercare stated in 2020 that approximately 700,000kg of wet wipes – about 53 million individual wipes – go through Auckland sewers every year3, resulting in blockages and 'fatbergs'. Reusable wipes, such as Haakaa’s Cotton Cloth Wipes, are not only a more environmentally-friendly option – they’re incredibly versatile. Made of soft, 2-ply 100% cotton, they are great for sensitive skin and can be used for any purpose you would use a wipe for. Once you’re done, they can be thrown in the laundry to be cleaned and used again and again!
Laundry and kitchen
There is a vast range of items to use in place of plastics and chemicals in the laundry and beyond. Washing our clothes often involves using detergents that can be harsh on skin and are frequently stored in plastic bags or bottles. An ideal substitute are Soapberries which, as their name implies, are a natural alternative to soaps and make an excellent laundry detergent! Put 5-8 berries in the washing bag included with the berries then, if doing warm or hot washes, throw the washing bag in the machine. If you’re doing a cold wash, simply soak the bag in warm water for three minutes before adding to the machine. What’s more, these incredible berries are so versatile that they can be used to create an all-purpose cleaner that is gentle enough to be used for everything from dishwashing liquid to hand soap, shampoo, and body wash! Check out the amazingly simple steps to using your soapberries here.
After it’s washed, the laundry needs to be dried. Unfortunately, clothes pegs are usually plastic these days and can end up in pieces in the garden. So why not try some sturdy, long-lasting Stainless Steel Pegs instead? With a smooth design to prevent marks on fabric, these pegs are made to last, meaning they’re also a good alternative for your wallet!
As with its laundry counterpart, dishwashing detergent is usually found in plastic bottles, but there are other options. Soapberries are versatile enough that they can also be used to make dishwashing liquid, or you can use our natural, 100% vegan, palm-oil free solid Dish Soap. First, form the lather by rubbing a brush or sponge against the bar, or pair it with this Stainless Steel Soap Shaker. Just pop the soap in the cage, then give it a vigorous shake in the water until bubbles form!
1Parker, D. (2019). Government takes action on problem plastics [Press Release]. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-takes-action-problem-plastics
2Kleida, D. (2019). Why should we stop using flushable wet wipes? Beat the Micro Bead. https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/why-should-we-stop-using-flushable-wet-wipes/
3Reymer, L. (2020). Wet wipes: The environmental damage Kiwis are being ‘misled’ about. Newshub. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/02/wet-wipes-the-environmental-damage-kiwis-are-being-misled-about.html
*Please Note: as of July 2022, Flow Cups are no longer available.