FROM THE DESK OF DESESH
Volume I: Is Zero Waste Actually Possible?
The short answer is no. Creating some waste is an inescapable part of life. The long answer is that it depends on how you define Zero Waste. A better answer is that knowing we will all create some waste, we should think more carefully about how to minimize the total quantity of this waste and ensure that the waste created is low impact.
It is important to emphasize there are many different ways to think about the movement, but all center around creating a more sustainable way of living. An important aspect of Zero Waste is that it is not just an ideal expectation of consumers but of society as a whole. To truly limit our waste and seek to create zero waste there must be producer, political, and community responsibility. Working together, all three groups could achieve zero waste.
Why can creating zero waste, realistically, not be achieved? Simply, because society is set up to produce waste, and a lot of it. Plastic is in almost everything. In many cases single use plastic packaging is sometimes the only option provided to people. That is why the goal of zero waste is more helpful as an aspiration to cut out waste where we can. If we can’t get to zero waste hopefully we can at least get to low waste or plastic free.
While achieving zero waste is practically impossible in today’s world, there are many small steps we can take to work towards it. First, we can eliminate waste in our daily lives and routines. Bring your own reusable utensils and water bottle, thrift to get new clothes waste-free, and buy plastic free packaged products whenever possible. We can also advocate for zero waste principles in our friend groups, local government, and local businesses.
Here at Desesh, many of our products are designed to be zero or low waste and we hope this will help you on your journey to a more sustainable routine. A great place to start with limiting your waste is your bathroom products. Our shampoo, conditioner and body bars are all designed to be zero or low waste, our toothpaste tablets eliminate the plastic tube and provide you with a reusable glass jar, and our shave bar and metal razor are much more sustainable than traditional disposable razors. Our bulk powdered face masks eliminate the waste of single-use sheet masks and our packaging is designed to be recycled or composted. These are all simple ways one can make easy switches to lower your environmental impact and work towards being zero waste. We hope our products provide a good starting point for people looking to go green and those beginning their zero waste journey.
Volume II: How Can I Go Plastic Free and Have a More Sustainable Routine?
Going plastic free is a long journey but we believe there are many easy and accessible ways to start. A great place to do so is defining what it means to be plastic free. Going plastic free means not buying plastic products or packaging when there are alternatives and reusing any previously owned or purchased plastic items. An example of this with Desesh would be finishing your current bottle of shampoo, recycling or reusing it for another purpose, and then switching to a shampoo bar and using that in the future. The first step in this process is taking some time to assess where in your life you use plastic, how much of it you throw out, and where you could potentially make your first few plastic-free swaps.
We recommend starting out with a few easy substitutions and focus on reusing things you already own. Starting slow is the easiest way to break the plastic habit and helps you trend in the right direction. Some easy swaps to start with are single use items, plastic water bottles, coffee cups, plastic utensils, and shopping bags. Bringing our own reusable options from home is an easy place to start and helps us get in the habit of going plastic free without taking anything we currently use out of our routines.
Another way to begin is to start engaging with the plastic free community. Going plastic free is a personal journey but one you are not on alone. People everywhere are looking for plastic free alternatives and have a lot of support from online communities. A place to start could be looking up your local plastic free group and see if they have events like beach clean ups or information sessions. You can also find a plastic-free company you trust to follow and buy from as well as get new ideas on new places in your life where you can be plastic free.
There are plenty of ways to start going plastic free but here’s a list of ideas we have complied for how to go plastic free in many of your regular routines.
Bathroom: bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste tablets, biodegradable floss, shampoo and conditioner bars, shave bar, mineral face masks, natural deodorant, natural lip balm, reusable makeup pads, bamboo cotton buds, safety razor, deodorant, unwrapped cleaning tablets
Kitchen: unwrapped dishwashing tablets, hand dish wash soap, bamboo dish scrubber, swedish dishcloths, unpackaged fruits and veggies, refillable glass jars
Clothes: laundry detergent powder or unwrapped tablets, laundry stain remover bars, wool dryer balls, reusable lint roller, thrift/second hand, buy from sustainable brands
Home: trash segmentation, repair things for reuse, garden, grow your own commonly used herbs and vegetables organically and from seeds based on what you know you like and want to eat
To go: cotton mesh produce bags, cotton grocery totes, stainless steel water bottles, reusable straws
Like zero waste, plastic free is an ideal. It is more more achievable than zero waste, but still takes effort and can be challenging at times. But, in an effort to go plastic free, we think our products are a good place to start. Reach out to us if you have any questions or need support in your journey!
Volume III: Why Do Sustainable Products Often Cost More?
Sustainable products are often more expensive due to their production by small businesses, use of higher quality ingredients, and more expensive packaging/production.
Small businesses which are often the ones to create more sustainable products are more likely to pay fair and equitable salaries in an effort to create a holistically sustainable business. Small and sustainable businesses also often are more concerned with ethical practices and safe working conditions. All of these drive up the bottom line meaning these products have higher base costs than the traditional alternatives.
Sustainable products are also produced with higher quality ingredients. Eco-friendly companies don’t use the same chemicals or corner-cutting that other industry giants do and in doing so, this means products take longer to produce and require more financial investment before selling.
Reusable and/or compostable packaging tends to be less cost efficient than plastic because it requires more complex resources to produce. When this packaging is developed, often using plant based or recycled materials, they go through intensive processes that result in a lower yield making them more costly to produce.
From a production standpoint, sustainable products are still being produced on smaller scales making each individual item more expensive. This also has to do with the demand for sustainable products. Demand is rising but is still not as high as conventional alternatives. That said, eco-friendly and sustainable products are made to be more durable, and this translates into a long-term value rather than simply a low initial price - so people are encouraged to consider the full life of the product rather than just the initial cost.
In the future, sustainable products will become more affordable. With larger scale production brought on by increased demand, the products will become cheaper as the base cost of production would be more spread out and limit the production cost of each individual unit. Our hope is that environmentally friendly products become more mainstream as the world slowly goes greener and not only does that help small businesses like ours grow but also helps conscious consumers to find the same high quality products at lower costs.
While there are many reasons why sustainable products tend to be more expensive, all of them tie into our company and many others’ beliefs that sustainability should be a part of every aspect of a good business. That’s the main takeaway: the price of a sustainable product is not just the cost of the item but also the cost of the impacts from the way it was produced. With sustainable products and packaging as well as sustainable wages and working conditions, Desesh believes in being sustainable in more ways than one.
Volume IV: What Are Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bars and How Do I Use Them?
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are concentrated formulas of your everyday shampoo and conditioner without the same amount of water added.
Benefits of solid shampoo and conditioner bars:
Shampoo bars are highly concentrated and equivalent to 2-3 12oz bottles. The solid nature of the bar eliminates the use of plastic packaging and the unnecessary water content in bottled shampoos (which reduces shipping weight). After sustained shampoo and conditioner bar use, most people find they don’t need to wash their hair as often. Shampoo and conditioner bars are also perfect for travel as they mean no leaking bottles or worrying about liquid size requirements on airlines. They are also often made out of more natural ingredients, free of SLS and silicones, while still having moisturizing oils and gentle cleansers.
How to Use:
Solid Shampoo Bar
1. Wet hair
2. Rotate bar in hands ~2 times
3. Lather suds into hair while massaging
4. After ~1 minute, rinse thoroughly and then use conditioner bar for best results
5. Keep bar stored out of standing water between uses to prolong the bar's life
6. In case of contact with eyes, rinse thoroughly with water; external use only
Solid Conditioner Bar
1. Use immediately after completing shampoo routine for best results
2. Gently rub bar directly onto hair for ~15 seconds or as required to coat hair
3. Massage through hair until an even coverage is achieved
4. After ~1 minute, rinse thoroughly
5. Keep bar stored out of standing water between uses to prolong the bar's life
6. In case of contact with eyes, rinse thoroughly with water; for external use only
Volume V: What Are Safety Razors and How Do I Use Them?
A safety razor is a razor with a guard that reduces the risk of cuts and is one of the oldest and most traditional ways to shave. By being reusable it is also a more sustainable alternative compared to single use disposable plastic razors.
Benefits of Metal Safety Razors:
Safety razors cause less skin irritation from more blades as well as a higher quality shave. They are also cleaner and safer than traditional razors as the multiple blades on traditional razors can accumulate dead skin and this often allows for bacteria to grow. Safety razors are eco-friendly as there is no need to buy disposable plastic razors, simply replace the double-edged metal blade every once in a while. This also means that there is a reduced cost for the consumer over time.
To learn how to use your safety razor, we recommend looking up a YouTube video as it’s the easiest and most accessible way to learn!
If you’re interested in trying one for yourself, then check out our safety razors here and let us know what you think!
Volume VI: What Are Toothpaste Tablets and How Do I Use Them?
Toothpaste tablets are an alternative to traditional toothpaste that allows you to ditch the plastic tubes while still cleaning your teeth (and whitening, depending on which toothpaste tablet you select!).
Benefits of Toothpaste Tablets:
In addition to the sustainability benefits, toothpaste tablets are more hygienic than traditional toothpaste as there are no germs or saliva left on the edge of the toothpaste tube for your next use. This also means they are better for sharing with someone else. Tablets are better for travel as there is no liquid and no mess and you never have to worry about using too much or too little toothpaste. Our toothpaste tablets are also vegan and cruelty free and contain more natural ingredients than traditional toothpaste.
How to Use Toothpaste Tablets:
1. Place one tablet in your mouth
2. Chew tablet for 2-3 seconds
3. Brush normally
4. Spit and rinse
If you're interested in trying for yourself, then check out our toothpaste tablets here and let us know what you think!
Volume VII: What Are The Benefits of Mineral Face Masks and How Do I Apply One?
Mineral face masks are a great way to deep clean your pores and purify your skin using fewer ingredients than traditional face masks, while also avoiding the use of single use disposable mask sheets. Mineral face masks, such as those from Desesh, are offered in powder form allowing you to mix your own mask with water to the desired quantity.
Benefits of Mineral Face Masks:
Mineral face masks help to clean and protect your skin. Our masks contain many ingredients great for the skin including bentonite clay, beetroot powder, dead sea clay, and activated charcoal. All of these naturally occurring materials are eco-friendly and bring various benefits to our masks. They help to absorb excess oil and impurities on the skin’s surface and can have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Use a Mineral Face Mask:
1. Mix 1-2 scoops with equal parts water
2. Apply to face for 5-15 minutes
3. If irritation occurs, wash off promptly
4. Store away from children, pets, and moisture
If you’re interested in trying for yourself, then check out our mineral face mask here and let us know what you think!