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Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness - #PlasticLessLent: Week 2

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness - #PlasticLessLent: Week 2

This week St Brdie's Choir are going to take a look at all our common bathroom plastics as their progress through the challenge of #PlasticLessLent continues.

Most of us buy our hair and body products in plastic bottles without thinking about it. But what are the alternatives, and are they as good at keeping us squeaky clean and presentable?


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Hand & Body Soap

There was a time when all soap came in blocks, and it cleaned your skin by dissolving the top couple of epidermal layers with a by-product of the coal industry. OK, maybe they weren't all that bad, but it's easy to see why they were replaced by bottles of more gently-cleansing and sweetly-perfumed liquid soap with anti-bacterial credentials.

Block soap has come a long way since Wright's Coal Tar dominated the market, and there's a plastic-free variety out there for every skin type and budget. Many brands of block soap come in cardboard or paper packaging, and last much longer than their liquid counterparts. takes a look at the pros and cons of block soap:

If block soap still doesn't appeal, there are liquid soap brands that aim to use only glass and metal containers for their soap and body products such as L'Occitane.

Toothbrushes & Paste


Nina Bennet tries out Lush's Charcoal Toothy Tabs

The first plastic toothbrush you ever used will still exist somewhere in landfill, and it will still be there when your great-great-great-grandchildren are teething.

The good news is there are many alternatives on the market, mostly made from sustainable bamboo. Of all the supermarkets, only Waitrose currently sells a bamboo toothbrush (made by Humble Brush), but there are many more brands available online. Here the Guardian explores the options:

With regards to toothpaste, there are some old-fashioned looking tooth powders in metal tins still available online, and Lush sells its own fruit flavoured powder and several types of tablets which you chew just before you brush. Although these items come in plastic, it is 100% recycled, and you can return to the shop for a refill when you have finished the contents. Most toothpaste alternatives don't contain fluoride which will be a relief to some but a concern to others!

Here, American blogger Katheryn makes her own dentist-approved tooth powder:

Shampoo & Conditioner

Most people can entertain the idea of block hand and body soap, but what about shampoo and conditioner? High street chain Lush sells several different types of block haircare, which they simply put in a paper bag when you take it to the till. The shampoo bar foams up like a liquid shampoo, and although the outlay is higher (c. £6.50 per bar), each block is supposed to last the same as three plastic bottles of shampoo. If you can't bear the olfactory overload of Lush, there are many other block shampoo brands available in health food shops and online. And if you're feeling particularly hardcore, you can make your own DIY shampoo like this Australian blogger:

Body Lotion & Face Cream

I promise we're not on commission, but alongside their famous bath bombs and bubble bath bars, Lush also sell solid bars of massage oil, body lotion, face creams and serum. They even have a solid block of deodorant sold by the 100g!

However, for all their claims about using natural ingredients, Lush do use a lot of the chemicals commonly found in standard hair and body products such as SLS and titanium dioxide. So if you have sensitive skin, it might be worth trying the other solid block products on the market which can be found easily online.


Of all the bathroom items explored this week, this has to be the toughest one to find alternatives to. There are brands on the market which use 100% recycled plastic, but there are very few options if you want to avoid plastic altogether, and those that claim to do so are very expensive. American company Fat And The Moon make all their make up from natural ingredients and store them in lightweight tins. But only a small selection of their products have made it over the pond so far.

In her blog, TV presenter Kate Arnell talks us through her findings as she tries to put together a plastic-free make-up kit:


Owing to the regular and guaranteed return custom, the market in plastic disposable razors is worth billions annually. The mark up on disposable razors is so high that some companies have been investigated by government watchdogs in recent years.

Old-school metal razors with replaceable blades are much safer than their ancestors, and although the outlay is more to begin with, you could have your money back within a year whilst using a product which is designed to last a lifetime.

Telegraph journalist Louise Burke makes a compelling argument for going back to metal razors:


Whole areas of the toiletries market are lagging behind in the non-plastic stakes. But, as with our hot beverage challenge in Week 1, there are alternatives to be found if you take the time to search them out.

We'll be trying these out this Lent so keep up with it all at Facebook & Twitter (#PlasticLessLent  #StBrides4Lent).

Week 3: We look at drinks on the go.


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