If, like me, you worry about the ecological situation but feel powerless to do anything about it, browse through this Eco Sampler Gift Pack I researched, tested, and put together for my peeps for Christmas this year. Maybe you’ll discover new products here. Maybe you’ll be inspired to put together your own sampler gift packs to share with your own family and friends!
Most of us may not individually have much power, but as consumers, especially together at scale, we can make a big difference. Your daily consumables may represent one of the biggest leverages you have. Making these kinds of shifts are a relatively pain-free way to build an ecological conscience that ripples out into all areas of your life.
My criteria were that each item be: 1) affordable, 2) as effective as the item it replaces, and 3) make a big dent in issues like carbon footprint and environmental costs.
1. Earth Breeze Liquidless Laundry Detergent Sheets
Each detergent sheet = a full cap of liquid soap. This stuff works great! It’s safe for HE machines, gray water and septic safe, vegan, cruelty free and very clean (paraben free, hypoallergenic, phthalate free, phosphate free, bleach and dye free), making it safe for sensitive skin. All in an extremely small size, and plastic-free biodegradable packaging! Available in Fragrance Free or Fresh Scent. Dissolves readily (better than pods or powdered soap). A 30-sheet pack should last most two-person households a month.
This pivot from a liquid detergent to a highly concentrated lightweight solid is a theme in the Eco Sampler Pack this year, so I thought I’d say a bit about how it helps:
- Drastically reduces the high carbon footprint associated with shipping liquid soap (or traditional powdered soap, for that matter). Just take a look at the soap aisle, now multiply that by thousands and you start to get a picture of the shipping burden.
- Completely eliminates plastic bottle waste. Think of how big those bottles are and multiply by millions upon millions! To make matters worse, colored laundry detergent stains the bottles and makes them un-recyclable. In the best-case scenario, plastic can only be recycled once anyway, and it endures a long time in the environment. It is ravaging the food chains in the oceans.
Order one at a time for $20/ea, get a monthly subscription for $12/ea, or get your carbon impact done for the year by ordering a full year’s supply for $119/12 packs at earthbreeze.com.
2. Blueland Hand Soap
Like Earth Breeze, Blueland Hand Soap diverts massive volumes of plastic bottles and drastically reduces the carbon footprint for shipping liquid soap. The refill is a tablet that you dissolve in water (takes a few hours to dissolve but does dissolve completely without any special effort).
I think this soap is nice! Even Michael is pleasantly surprised. Comes in a few fragrances that don’t linger too long (a complaint of his about heavy fragrances).
It is also made without parabens, phosphates, ammonia, VOCs, chlorine bleach, or phthalates, Cradle to Cradle Certified™ and cruelty free.
The soap dispenser jar can be used with any foaming hand soap if you decide you don’t like the Blueland soap and is a very heavy duty glass with a good quality pump dispenser. Or you can use the refill pellets with your own foaming hand soap dispenser.
Order refill tablets $2/ea with a small discount on larger quantities at blueland.com.
I am also using their dishwasher pellets and powdered dish soap. The dishwasher pellets are dope! Everything gets SO CLEAN, even cleaner than the Cascade Platinum pods which we were happy with. There is no residue and even the insides of steel water bottles smell clean after one washing with no soapy aftertaste. The powdered dish soap won’t save any on the carbon footprint for shipping because it’s heavy and takes up as much space as liquid dish soap. It’s a little adjustment to get used to using powdered soap, but I really like the way it cleans! It’s mild but feels utterly non-toxic and strong. And both are plastic free.
3. Net Zero Stretch & Seal Silicone Lids
These can replace Ziploc baggies and plastic wrap, even Tupperware, if you’re creative. Plastic film is hard to recycle, though clean, dry plastic film can be recycled with TREX as decking material at your local grocery stores. I like these a lot better than the wax coated fabric wraps. They should last a lot longer and are easy to clean.
This product isn’t perfect. The lids don’t cling to or wrap around things that are outside their size ranges, but they do go through the dishwasher and I’ve stopped using plastic wrap altogether with a little creativity.
Order from Net Zero and check out their other products aimed at limiting waste at netzerocompany.com. One of the great things about this company is how active they are on social media with ideas for getting to a zero waste life. They are very creative! Check them out on Instagram and Facebook.
4. Who Gives A Crap 100% Bamboo Toilet Paper
Every day 27,000 trees are cut down to make toilet paper, most of which is made from virgin softwood pulp with zero recycled content. This is clearcut logging. If trees are replanted, the rich diverse forests that originally grew there are never replaced and trees of comparable size take 100 years or more to grow. Currently, the main supplier of U.S. toilet paper is the Canadian boreal forest, an important global carbon sink. Unfortunately, Canada has a bad track record on environmental practices since at least the 1990’s.
(Don’t get me started on the grisly situation with salmon farming in Canada!) The bottom line is that we are flushing an important carbon sink down the toilet without realizing it.
Bamboo, by contrast, grows very quickly and is a much more renewable source. Who Gives A Crap (a B Corp certified for environmental impact) uses sustainably sourced bamboo from farmers who plant bamboo on the borders of their small family farms. It helps supplement their income and unlike industrial agriculture, it also means no vast areas of land are cleared.
Who Gives A Crap make a carbon neutral shipping promise, and donates 50% of profits to their charity partners who work in water, hygiene and sanitation. Finally, there is no plastic packaging whatsoever, and the paper wrappers are so cute! Also, this toilet paper didn’t sell out when the grocery stores did – something to think about!
The Real Poop: a roll lasts at least twice as long as a typical large roll. It is not quite as soft as many types of t.p., but comparable to two-ply quilted Scotts. It is virtually lint-free and very strong. A box of 48 rolls costs $60. Check it out and see what you think. Compare the price not on a roll to roll basis, but based on how long your regular rolls last. It’s not for everyone, so if you don’t think you’ll use it, please pass it along to someone who might make the switch! I’m trying their paper towels next!
Order Who Gives A Crap Premium 100% Bamboo Toilet Paper at us.whogivesacrap.org.