Here at YOKU we’ll be the first to admit that the pressure to live more sustainably can at times be overwhelming - especially when there seem to be endless elements of day to day life that we’re told can be improved. So we decided to start at the bathroom cabinet, where we saw removing plastic as a manageable step that would have a tangible impact on our natural world - only 9% of the plastic ever made has been recycled. Here are our top, simple substitutions for a more sustainable and plastic-free routine.
1 SAFETY RAZORS - as with many green alternatives, the best solution when it comes to shaving involves a return to more traditional methods. It’s estimated that over 2 billion disposable razors make their way to landfill each year in the US alone - they cannot be recycled due to being a combination of materials including plastic, rubber, and embedded blades that risk damaging recycling machinery or harming workers.
Seems like they were already doing it right over 100 years ago - King C Gillette designed the first safety razor in 1901. YOKU’s model is made entirely from eco-friendly chrome, and its disposable blades can be easily recycled (though make sure not to leave them loose in your recycling). Safety razors also give a smoother shave, causing less skin irritation and giving longer lasting effects.
2 TOOTHBRUSHES - globally, we get through 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes per year, with many of them making their way into our seas and oceans. Made from complex plastics, they’re rarely recyclable. YOKU’s toothbrushes are made from 100% biodegradable and organic Mosa bamboo (a panda-friendly variety that the animals do not eat or require in their habitat). As the fastest growing plant on earth that is able to regenerate naturally with minimal water and no harmful pesticides, bamboo is one of the most sustainable alternatives to plastic. Its natural antibacterial qualities also make it ideal for nurturing oral health.
3 SOAP & SHAMPOO BARS - Face, body and even shampoo bars are having a comeback - and not the cracked, forgotten bar of Imperial Leather in your grandparent’s bathroom. Shower gel lids and the pumps of disposable soap dispensers often can’t be recycled, which leaves us wondering why they’re considered necessary in the first place. A bar of soap is more hygienic, lasts longer and uses less water, while most shampoo bars last for up to 50 washes, the equivalent to 2 standard (and plastic) bottles of shampoo.
YOKU soap bars are handmade in the UK using traditional cold press methods and entirely natural ingredients. They come in a recyclable cardboard box, meaning the entire product is plastic free.
4 REUSABLE MAKEUP WIPES - The wet-wipe industry has flourished over the last decade, as our hunger for convenience continues to grow. But the majority are made of polyester and other non-biodegradable materials. Wet wipes are behind 93% of blockages in UK sewers and a key contributor to fatbergs, the masses of waste and fat wreaking havoc with our sewage systems.
Reusable makeup removal pads are an alternative made from a mix of materials such as brushed organic cotton, hemp and bamboo, and most come with a cotton mesh bag for you to easily run them through your washing machine. They can be used again and again, making them a cost-efficient alternative too.
5 SEA SPONGES - most commercial bath sponges are made from plastic, taking hundreds of years to break down and releasing harmful microplastics into our seas as they do. Used since the Roman Empire, sea sponges are an entirely natural, renewable alternative - collected by sponge divers, the tissue-less simple organisms are harvested in a way that enables them to fully grow back and continue to protect the reef round them.
Gently exfoliating on the skin, the sponges are prized for their natural softness and resistance to tearing, and have a longer lifespan than their synthetic counterparts. They also contain minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron, sodium and magnesium, as well as a natural enzyme that blocks the growth of bacteria - minimising odour.
YOKU sea sponges are unbleached and sustainably sourced from Greece. 100% natural, they produce a rich lather and are ideal for soft, sensitive skin. Well cared for, they can last for years. Being a natural product, when done with your sponge it can also be composted.