1 year on: Ecoegg laundry egg

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It’s been a while since I reviewed a green product, and this’ll be the first non-toiletry related ‘1 year on’ I’ve done too! Ecoegg is a replacement for washing detergent, and is a hollow egg shape filled with pellets. As your machine fills with water, the pellets release a natural foam and mild fragrance to make your washing clean and fresh. I bought my Ecoegg just before I moved to France, and it was super useful not to have to worry about buying washing powder/tabs/whatever at all during my time there. Here’s what I think after over a year of using this.

Price:

I bought mine on Ebay for £18, which is more or less retail price. As is the case for many of my other reviewed products, I did have to initially spend more than I usually would in one go, but when you consider that what I bought should last me approx. 720 washes, you can imagine the saving! (Ecoegg calculates their product to cost about 3p per wash)

Durability:

So how it works is that you buy the egg along with refill pellets (I bought 10 refills which you replace every 72 washes, hence it all lasting me 720 washes). The mineral pellets should wear down by 72 washes, so then you just top it up with another refill. After all my pellets have run out I simply have to buy more to refill my egg 🙂 The egg itself will last a lifetime- that’s as reusable as I could hope to be!

Verdict:

I appreciate the simplicity of the Ecoegg; now all I need to remember is that (and the clothes obviously hah) not to mention it makes travelling a doddle.  I can’t imagine having to even think about regularly buying detergent! They both go in the drum and no need to worry about fabric softener either! The pellets are made from natural minerals and are 100% hypoallergenic- so if you have sensitive skin or babies, no problem 🙂 My only gripe is that the pellet refills came portioned out in 10 small plastic wrappers. If it wasn’t for that, they would’ve been completely waste-free! ARGH! Even so, it’s less plastic than individually wrapped tablets or bottles of fabric softener. I will however be shooting them my feedback via email after this to see if something can be done about the wrappers 😉

1 year on: LUSH ‘Right Eyes’ mascara

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I got this mascara from LUSH a few weeks after my arrival in France, and initially it was a purchase I was very sceptical about. Compared to conventional mascaras, this one takes far more application to get the desired results not to mention the short brush which takes a lot of getting used to. On the plus side however, it is one of the few mascaras that comes in an even partially recyclable packaging AND it’s made of mainly natural ingredients- woo!

What I really do love about it is that it doesn’t irritate my eyes (I would often have to clean off my old mascaras in the early evening as it would get in my eyes and start stinging). When I first bought it, the consistency of the mixture was thin. It was like wetting your lashes with a black liquid. It was really easy to smudge onto your lid by accident, especially with the short brush. You had to let it dry then reapply (LUSH advises using several coats). With time the mixture becomes more like conventional mascara, and I tend to only apply 1 or 2 layers nowadays.

Price:

Again, I bought my mascara in France, but in the UK ‘eyes right‘ sells for £12. This is a pretty competitive price for a mascara. Depending on what brand you are used to using, you could be making a saving, or at least paying the same amount as before.

Durability:

You are supposed to replace mascara every 3 months, says a Google search I did just now. I may have hung on to this one 4 times too long, woops. Over time the consistency only got better, and I haven’t had any adverse effects from using it so long. I guess it’s up to you as to how long you keep yours.

Verdict:

Now that I have had a year of using this mascara, I have gotten used to the texture and short brush. If you prefer significantly bolder, thicker lashes, it’s just not gonna give you what you want; thankfully all I want is a mascara that makes my lashes a teeny bit longer and darker. In my opinion it’s a small price to pay for a product that uses significantly more natural ingredients, has a better animal rights and ethical record and comes in a more recyclable bottle than nearly all its peers. As for the future, I plan to wash out the bottle and refill it with a homemade zero-waste mascara. If that fails I will repurchase ‘eyes right’ then recycle the old glass bottle.

1 year on: LUSH shampoo bar

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I have been a little in love with LUSH products for a few years now. When my liquid shampoo from them ran out in September last year, my thoughts turned straight to solid shampoo bars. I’d tried a combined shampoo and conditioner bar previously, and due to a mixture of my laziness and the conditioner in the bar, it turned into a sloppy gloop.

My experience this time around has been quite the opposite. I picked the ‘Jason and the Argon Oil’ bar- I’m going to be honest- just for the name, (I’m a sucker for a pun) but then I smelled it and I knew I definitely needed it in my life! I keep it in an aluminium tin, and rub it against my wet hand in the shower to build up a lather which I then massage into my scalp. Some people like to rub the bar directly onto their heads, but I prefer to use my hands so I can work it through my roots with my fingers.

Price:

I got mine in France, but I just checked the LUSH website and it sells for £6 in the UK. This is maybe double the price of conventional bottled shampoo in the supermarkets but surprise surprise, it lasts waaayyy longer!

Durability:

A year on from the purchase date, my bar is still 3/4 its original size. I always leave it out to dry after I shower before closing the tin and putting it away which helps it to last.

Verdict:

This bar smells great, lathers up well and does the job of leaving my hair clean. It is made from vegan-friendly, mostly natural ingredients which is good enough for me at the minute. I would purchase this bar again, but I am interested in forgoing shampoo altogether in the future, so we’ll see what happens when this runs out.

1 year on: Salt of the Earth deodorant

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I bought this alum stone deodorant in the summer of 2015 from Holland and Barrett, very soon after I discovered the zero waste movement. I was super eager to stock up on supplies for my ‘new life’ and did research into waste-free deodorants. Of all the alternatives I found, I thought this one seemed pretty easy; all I had to do was buy it and use it, just like I did before. Only this time, I would be using a completely natural product that created no waste!

To use an alum stone as a deodorant, all you need to do is wet it underneath the tap then rub it over your armpits. It doesn’t soften, nor does a load of liquid come off it, it just feels like you are rubbing a wet stone on your skin (funnily enough!) But it works- it does an amazing job of keeping you odour-free all day long, plus if you’re already a little smelly it ERASES IT INSTANTLY. Can you tell I’m impressed?

I would say the difference between this and a conventional roll-on is that it doesn’t actually smell of anything. It prevents or removes smell, but doesn’t add anything else. No perfumes, no chemicals, no colour, yay! Another thing I only discovered in the last few weeks is that alum stones can be used after shaving to stem and close any nicks or cuts or settle any redness or inflammation.

Price:

I paid £3-ish for mine (the smaller travel size version) which is about double what a conventional roll-on costs, but this lasts wayyyy longer so I’ve definitely saved.

Durability:

As I said, I bought the deodorant stone a year ago, and it has only shrunk by about a 1/4 or a 1/3. If you make sure to dry the stone after use- which I have done with the exception of a couple of times when travelling-  it will last a crazy long time. It’ll no doubt still be going in another year!

Verdict:

My review of this product is near-on flawless. The stone is lightweight and small enough to travel with, it keeps you fresh, it lasts a billion years, literally what more do you need? My only regret is the packaging. In my hurry to stock up on all things zero waste I neglected to notice that it comes in a plastic screw-on cover (pictured). When my stone eventually runs out I am going to try and source the bare stone. If you fail to find one package-free, this is a good compromise.

1 year on: Diva Cup

So I had an idea to start a new series. I’m just about reaching a point where I have been using certain green products for a year. As I get to that point with each of them, I’ll stick up a review. That way I know I won’t be recommending anything that I haven’t thoroughly tried. It might be that I think I’m going to continue using it for years to come, or I think I’d rather try something else- we’ll see!

The first thing I’m gonna review is actually something I started using about 4 years ago now, although it doesn’t feel like it! Funnily enough I bought one completely unaware that 3 years down the line I would be actively trying to avoid waste, I think I was attracted to the ease and savings.

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The Diva Cup is a menstrual cup, meaning that rather than using tampons or sanitary towels on my period, I simply insert this cup. For average flows you only have to empty twice a day (morning and evening). It took quite a few cycles to get used to exactly how to insert it properly and I had a few mishaps, but now I’ve got it down I’ll never go back!

Price:

I think I paid around £20 for my cup, which at the time was quite an expense. However, it pretty much pays for itself in a few months. I can’t even imagine how much money I’ve saved in 4 years- I actually don’t even remember how much pads cost!

Durability:

On their website, Diva Cup advise that you inspect your cup for signs of wear and assess for yourself when to replace it. I have had mine for pretty much bang on 4 years and I know plenty of people who’ve been using theirs for years as well. I do plan on replacing mine soon though.

Verdict (keep or move on?):

I would thoroughly recommend the Diva Cup as it is a perfect solution for waste-free periods. Even aside from the eco credentials, it has transformed the time of the month from having to be careful where I go and what I do to carrying on as normal, even swimming and playing vigorous sport. I don’t suffer from major pain generally on my period, but my level of discomfort has dramatically reduced since I stopped using toxic sanitary towels.

I am firmly committed to menstrual cups, but I plan on trying out another cup for a few reasons. 1) aspects of the design make it harder to keep clean than other cups 2) I want to find out if another shape/texture would suit me better. Basically I would go back to the Diva Cup, and use it for years to come, but I want to try other things.