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Image / Agenda / Image Writes

5 sustainable subscription services making life a little easier 


by Lucy White
01st Oct 2020
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Let “running low” be a thing of the past, with these eco-friendly mail-order heroes


Climate change is such a big deal that it’s easy to feel impotent. Throw in deforestation, industrial farming, zoonotic diseases, pollution and the minefield that is separating one’s household waste – to name but a few – and any effort at all can feel like the tip of the (melted) iceberg.

But to paraphrase Neil Armstrong, small steps for man can result in giant leaps for humankind, and simply by swapping disposable household products for renewables and recyclables can make a huge difference in the long-term, not least encourage the big brands to step up to the plate. Every little helps when it comes to waste reduction, and eco-friendly subscription services are making it easier than ever to consume with a conscience.

Not only do these products have minimal environmental impact, they ensure you’re never caught short for an organic cotton tampon or bamboo toothbrush again, which is never more real than during pandemic-era travel restrictions and your local corner shop – which, while we love and support for food essentials, ie big bars of Dairy Milk Whole Nut, aren’t the vanguard for environmental activism. 

If you’d rather directly line the pockets of independent businesses than the centi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, consider these game-changing bathroom staples instead

“Subscribe & Save” offers are becoming so ubiquitous they’re even on Amazon, replenishing all sorts, from coffee pods to condoms to cat food, to a timeline of your choosing. But if you’d rather directly line the pockets of independent businesses than the centi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, consider these game-changing bathroom staples instead.

 

FFS razor, €15

If you’re too timid to try a safety razor, FFS is a worthy substitute. Instead of using individual blades, it has refill heads with the usual lubricated strips that we’ve all come to know and love, except – drum roll – these are entirely recyclable, even though they’re made from mixed materials.

Yes, that’s right. Package up to 12 heads into their original trays and send them right back to FFS for recycling. They’ll be ground up in a container, to break the materials apart, before metal and plastic elements are separated and ready for reincarnation.

The attractive rose gold metal handle comes free with a subscription of four refill heads that cost £15 every one or two months, depending on your depilatory diligence. FFS also offers cruelty-free, natural shaving cream and deodorants, that you can add on to your subscription. Or not. The choice is entirely yours, and you can pause or cancel your plan at any point.

PS In case you wondered, FFS is a cheeky acronym for whatever you want it to be, including For Follicle’s Sake, For Future’s Sake and For Feelgood’s Sake.

 

The Humble Co toothbrush, €3.59

Swedish by design and ethos, The Humble Co’s centrepiece is its sleek bamboo toothbrush, whose handle is made from 100 per cent biodegradable, sustainably-grown bamboo. 

The first plastic toothbrush was made in the 1930s so we can only imagine how many are idling away in landfill, releasing their toxins into the earth, and will continue to do so for centuries to come. Bamboo, in contrast, safely returns to the soil within six months of being disposed in a commercial or private composting bin.

Sadly, The Humble Co’s toothbrush bristles are made from nylon, which is a dentist-grade material to help keep teeth and gums squeaky-clean. This means that you’ll need to “de-bristle” your brush with a pair of pliers, disposing of strands into your regular bin. But it’s a small price to pay for being saintly.

Subscription plans are flexible, ranging from one to three months at €3.59, compared to a One Off Purchase of €3.99, and can be modified along the way – including add-ons, such as a tree-based chewing gum, mouthwash and biodegradable cotton buds. Recycled/recyclable packaging is guaranteed.

 

Tongue’s toothpaste tablets, £12

Another orthodontic disrupter: toothpaste tablets by the brand Tongue’s, founded by dentists.

These minty, fluoride lozenges are a smart alternative to single use plastic toothpaste tubes that take several lifetimes to decompose. Instead, these bouche-refreshing morsels are packaged in a biodegradable, resealable bag, and are free of SLS, palm oil, gluten and animal bi-products. To use: simply lightly chew the tablet, clean mouth with a wet toothbrush et voila.

Subscribe & Save is priced at £12 for a three-month supply, otherwise a One Off Purchase costs £16 (+£1.99 P&P to Ireland for either). 

 

Wild natural deodorant, £12

Retiring my beloved Mitchum’s antiperspirant deodorant after nearly two decade’s of keeping my pits dry and fragrant was always going to be a struggle. But its excessive packaging – non-recycled and non-recyclable plastic – had become a deal breaker in 2020.

And now I throw my hands in the air like I just don’t care for Wild, the world’s first zero-plastic deodorant refill, made from plants and delivered in compostable plant-based packaging. It is also a design classic.

First, choose between a silver, aqua, coral and purple reusable aluminium holder, then select one of three options: Subscribe and Save (one case, one refill + flexible subscription plan; £12), One Off Purchase (one case, three refills; £25) and The Full Monty (one case, five refills; £32). All-natural refill sticks are free of aluminium, synthetic chemicals, parabens and sulphates, and include the scents Bergamot Rituals, Rose Blush, Mint Fresh, Orange Zest and Coconut Dreams. They last an average of one month and, within the three-month subscription plan, work out at £5 each, which is not to be sniffed at. Subscriptions can be cancelled or paused at any time.

Long-time devotees of robust antiperspirant deodorant may expect a, er, moist transition period, due to chemicals no longer clogging up sweat glands. But the body will readjust within a week or two, with daisy-fresh dryness remaining the default.

 

DAME organic tampons, £8.40

DAME is the groundbreaking purveyor of the reusable tampon applicator; a natty antimicrobial, medical-grade menstruation maestro, made to last for at least ten years. 

It also has 100 per cent organic, fully biodegradable, chemical- and additive-free tampons, meaning no processed rayon or viscose shedding inside your hoo-ha, making for a precisely plastics-free period.

The starter set – applicator, six organic cotton tampons, travel wallet and storage tin – costs £24.99 + £5 P&P to Ireland, while you’ll need an AddressPal account to avail of DAME’s subscription tampons: 34 pieces that you can skip/cancel at any point, and also tailor to your flow, ie regular, super, super plus, or a mixture. Likewise you can select a frequency of between one and four months, adjusting if  and when required.

Main pic by Pexels


Read more: Do it like a dude: shaving gets a sustainable makeover in this ultimate guide

Read more: Here’s our ULTIMATE guide to sustainable period products (that really work)

Read more: ‘Clean’ is an embarrassingly ignorant marketing term’: the experts weigh in on clean beauty

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