It’s cold outside – and the perfect time to get crafty!

There are some plastics that seem unavoidable. There are those insidious plastics that carry the products we can’t live without and use everyday. They are the ones sitting on the shelf of the supermarket or chemist that we’ve been lead to believe are the only way to get toothpaste, deodorant or lip balm home into the bathroom cupboard. What if the ingredients were so magically simple that…..you could make them yourself? Winter is the perfect time for getting creative in the kitchen, trying different recipes and working out which one is best for you. Add some peppermint oil, or clove oil, depending on the smell and taste you prefer. Make a little or a lot, and gift the rest so your friends and family can reap the plastic-free rewards!

There are SO many benefits to making these products yourself:

  • The nasty chemicals just aren’t needed! — Additives that are put into the mix so products will last longer or travel further aren’t needed when you’re making batches at home. You don’t need your toothpaste to be blue or red or green (!!) so added colours and synthetics (polyethylene, polypropylene, or nylon are used to make microbeads) are out of the equation!
  • Most of the ingredients for these products are cheap — Baking soda, coconut oil, cornflour can all be found in your kitchen cupboard and are cheap to buy. If you’re concerned about the quality of the ingredients, look for organic and locally produced options.
  • Choosing a little glass jar to store your products in looks so much better on your shelf — Find a decorative glass jar in a second hand store, or buy a product that comes in a cute jar that you can reuse! When you are aware of the whole life-cycle of your purchase, you will begin to think differently about where everything ends up. Remember, there is no throwing a product “away”, there is only giving it to someone else to deal with.
  • No plastic! — The detrimental impacts of plastic on wildlife, humans and waterways is undisputed. While glass can be used over and over again, plastic changes its shape and becomes integrated into the environment, finding its way into the organs of fish and seabirds, and eventually humans. Any plastic you buy now, will still be present in the environment for decades to come (and most will outlive you).

Here are just a few quick recipes for the essentials, but there are plenty more – also check plasticfreejuly.org for more inspiration.

Toothpaste
Ingredients

  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • enough coconut oil to bind into a paste
  • pinch natural salt
  • ground dried sage/essential oil to taste www.earthcarers.org.au

Instructions: Mix all ingredients to make a paste. Store in airtight glass jar. Scoop out mixture with your toothbrush and get scrubbing!

Deodorant
Ingredients

  • 1 part cornflour
  • 1 part baking soda
  • Coconut oil

Instructions: Combine cornflour and baking soda (start with ¼ cup of each). Then as as much coconut oil as necessary to get the substance you desire. It is best to heat the coconut oil a bit first. Add your preferred essential oil. Store in an airtight glass jar, scoop mixture onto fingers and rub into skin.

Lip balm
Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of beeswax pellets
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2-3 drops of essential oil

Instructions: Microwave beeswax or heat gently in saucepan until melted. Add coconut oil and heat until melted. Add drops of essential oil, working quickly to avoid the mixture cooling. Pour into small glass jars. Scoop with your finger and enjoy!