Exploring Alternatives to Plastic at the Co-op
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Plastic debris in our environment is a huge problem. This has renewed interest in eliminating plastic in all our purchases, including body care products. With increased consumer demand, companies are coming out with innovative options and the co-op is doing our part to bring them to you.
Switching from liquid to solid products, such as from liquid shampoo to a shampoo bar means they can be packaged in recyclable or compostable materials. In solid form, products are lighter and take less energy and space to transport. A shampoo or conditioner bar looks like a bar of soap but is formulated to clean and care for hair. Solid shampoo is much more concentrated without the water of a liquid product, and it can last for as long as several bottles of shampoo.
Soap and shampoo bars are a fantastic starting point for a plastic-free lifestyle!
Eliminating plastic in face care and oral hygiene can be as simple as using something in a glass jar. Made Simple, based in Boston, will accept returned empty jars and bottles to be sanitized and reused, and has the option to buy replacement bottles with recyclable aluminum tops so you only buy the plastic dispenser piece once. Sweet Roots Gardens, Sweet Birch Herbals and Uncle Harry’s Natural Products all have face care products in glass jars as well.
Toothpaste or powder in glass jars is available on our shelves from Uncle Harry’s and Made Simple. For fully plastic-free tooth brushing, try toothpaste tablets. Like a shampoo bar, this cuts out the water. Just chew up the tablets in your mouth and then use your toothbrush to scrub your teeth clean. We have these from a few vendors, including The Humble Co., which packages them in paper. Other notable options for teeth care include biodegradable floss picks, compostable dental floss in refillable glass jars and bamboo toothbrushes.
Check out some of the different biodegradable options now available from MamaP!
We recently added Ethique, which has some facial and body moisturizers in paper tubes, for a compostable option. We also stock deodorants in this kind of package from Ethique as well as from local favorite, Revival Homestead Supply. Body balms and lotion bars in metal or paperboard are another way to go for body moisturizer, and we have some of those arriving this month from Sunleaf and Moon Valley Organics.
Swapping out these products is not the only thing needed to solve the plastics problem. The biggest contributors to pollution are not individual consumers like you and I, but it can still feel good to reduce our participation in the waste stream and support smaller businesses.
Meet our LOCAL Vendors Working to Reduce Plastic!
Sage Meadow Farm • Easthampton, MA
- Owned by Stan and Dr. Joe McCoy, DVM, SAGE MEADOW FARM [PIC], make their goat milk soaps locally right here in Easthampton, MA. The soap bars are made with 25% goat milk, from their own small herd of happy goats, and are wrapped in an environmentally friendly biodegradable plastic-like film. We carry many of their bars as well as their goat milk lotion, which can be excellent for dry and sensitive skin!
- WEBSITE: https://www.sagemeadowfarm.com/
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook – Instagram
- Want to learn more? Click here to read our Vendor Profile on Sage Meadow Farm!
Just Soap • Ashfield, MA
- JUST SOAP is a local soap company owned by biking enthusiast and environmentalist Frederick Breeden. He uses a one-of-a-kind bicycle-powered soap blender to manufacture soaps and shampoo bars in Ashfield, MA, using organic ingredients. Just Soap has been our best-selling soap line since we opened in 2008. In 2021, we sold 4,886 bars of Just Soap at our stores!
- WEBSITE: https://www.justsoap.com/
- EMAIL: email@example.com
- PHONE: (413) 625-6990
Blue Crow Botanicals • Ashfield, MA
- BLUE CROW BOTANICALS is a small herb company located in the fertile Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. They organically grow and harvest wild medicinal herbs and process them into extracts and oils to express their healing power. Blue Crow is intentionally a small, local business aimed at preserving the personal relationship they have with the plants and medicine they make, as well as with their clients and community. It is with profound gratitude to the plants themselves and the desire to work closely with them that Blue Crow Botanicals is able to thrive!
- WEBSITE: https://www.bluecrowbotanicals.com/
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram
Made Simple Skin Care • Prides Crossing, MA
- New to the co-op this month, MADE SIMPLE is a small skincare company based in the Boston area. Founded by JulieAnn Jirousek on the idea that self-care is tantamount to taking care of others and the planet we share together, Made Simple provides high-quality natural and sustainable skin and oral care essentials that you can feel good about using thanks to an abundance of pure and organic ingredients (not to mention care) put into each and every product they sell.
- WEBSITE: https://www.madesimpleskincare.com
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook[nbsp]– Instagram - YouTube - Pintrest
Sweet Birch Herbals • Ashfield, MA
- Founded by holistic health coach and herbalist Hannah Jacobson-Hardy, SWEET BIRCH HERBALS is a community herbal medicine company and herb farm located across three acres nestled in the hills of Ashfield, MA. Their medicinal herbs are grown and processed using organic, no-till practices and sustainably cultivated to ensure abundance for future generations. You can find Sweet Birch Herbals’ beautiful Rose Day Cream, Lavender Night Cream and healing salves on the shelves at the co-op!
- WEBSITE: https://www.sweetbirchherbals.com/
- EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PHONE: (413) 695-5968
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook – Instagram
Sweet Roots Gardens • South Deerfield, MA
- SWEET ROOTS GARDENS provides garden and yoga programs that connect families to food and nature. We celebrate the magic of growing—both agriculturally and personally. Owner and founder Sara Coblyn infuses her herbs into organic oils and uses them to craft all-natural and organic herbal body products, hand-made in small batches. Look for their popular and delightful face cream, bath bombs and room/body mists on our shelves!
- WEBSITE: https://www.sweetrootsgardens.com/
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook
- Want to learn more? Click here to read our Vendor Profile on Sweet Roots Gardens!
Revival Homestead Supply • Northampton, MA
- A Northampton staple and a longtime partner of the co-op, REVIVAL HOMESTEAD SUPPLY provides our Wellness Department with DIY kits ranging from kombucha to candles and beyond, as well as body care essentials like deodorants and lip balms in plastic-free packaging. True to their mission, you can count on Revival to create products that treat the world kindly while helping you to become more self-sufficient!
- WEBSITE: https://www.revivalhomesteadsupply.com/
- EMAIL: email@example.com
- PHONE: (413) 238-1313
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook – Instagram
More Helpful Plastic-Free Resources!
How to use Ethique Shampoo (Video)
How to use Ethique Conditioner (Video)
The Unscented Company:
Leaving a Smaller Footprint (Video)
Moon Valley Organics:
Meet the Founders: Aaron Otto & Kim Denend (Video)
Why Switch to a Shampoo Bar? (Blog)
Introduction: Plastic-Free Soap and Shampoo Bars (Blog)
The Humble Co.:
Your Condensed Guide to a Zero-Waste Lifestyle (Blog)
The Benefits of a Bamboo Toothbrush (Video)
Uncle Harry's Natural Products:
Reducing Plastic on Shelves and Behind the Scenes! (Blog)