MEMBER CONTRIBUTION: Plastic-free alternatives show promise


Coop members weigh in on plastic-free health and beauty products  

Garbage piled on the sidewalk.

By Jasmine Chiu

We’ve all heard that plastic has become one of the most pressing environmental issues of our lifetime. How pressing? Research has shown that we ingest about a credit card’s worth of plastic every week! In addition, we are seeing massive garbage patches twice the size of Texas in the ocean. And although recycling can give the material a second life, the reality is almost none of the plastic that you put in the recycling bin gets recycled. A recent report from Bennington College puts the percentage of plastic waste that’s actually reused at 5 to 6 percent. Addressing the plastic crisis starts by putting less plastic into the system.

For this year’s Earth Day, the PSFC Health & Beauty Department launched an awareness campaign for plastic-free options in Aisle 5, encouraging members to make plastic-free swaps to their daily routines. In addition to a social media series and an in-store featured endcap, we reached out to member volunteers to sample select health and beauty products and write about their experiences.

Below are some highlights of plastic-free products you will surely grow to love as environmentally-friendly additions to your day-to-day!


A shampoo bar is a plastic-free alternative to liquid shampoo.

J.R. Liggett’s Original Formula Shampoo Bar: I chose this shampoo bar because it’s completely sulfate-free with a very short ingredient list: saponified olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, plus rose, lavender and spearmint essential oils. It builds a nice soapy lather that’s slightly thinner than that of a traditional shampoo. One of the great things about this shampoo is that I’ve found I don’t need conditioner (I have straight hair that’s on the thin and fine side) and I can go longer between washes (with this shampoo bar, I wash 1–2 times per week). It does take your scalp some time to get used to it; I’d estimate a few weeks. —Hannah Bae, Coop member  


Attitude Natural Care Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick: I was pleased to find that this zinc oxide sunscreen stick did not leave a chalky white cast behind on the skin. It blends easily and smoothly into the skin and wasn’t irritating to me at all. It is a pretty heavy moisturizer that leaves a tactile residue on the face, so if you can’t stand that, it’s not the sunscreen for you. But I didn’t mind, and I plan to use up this entire 1 oz. sunscreen stick. So far, I haven’t experienced the bar melting, so this feels like a stable formula, but probably not one you want to accidentally leave in a car. —HB  

Take Haven Rosehip Face Oil: This facial oil feels so nice on the skin. I use it after a shower, so the oil can reach the depths of my skin. It’s a thicker liquid but it goes on easily, and I let it soak in overnight; when I wake up, my skin looks super refreshed and clear! —JC


These deodorant sticks come wrapped in cardboard rather than plastic.

Attitude Leave Bar Paper Packaged Deodorant Stick, Herbal Musk Scent: The earthy and fresh scent smells great and lasts all day long. Also, the packaging is beautiful and a durable cardboard material that can handle a lot of shuffling. My only warning: it’s a little flaky when you first start, so you really want to let it warm up on your skin, and then it’ll apply more easily. —JC

Bar Soap

Body wash bars can replace liquid body wash.

Brixy Solid Body Wash, Mint Eucalyptus: The Brixy solid body wash foams nicely and has a great and mild fragrance. My bar lasted me about a month with regular showering. I think it was a very good deal. I was a little skeptical of labeling of bar soap as solid body wash, but overall really enjoyed the bar. —Alex Walsh, Coop member

Oral Care

Toothpaste tablets offer an alternative to toothpaste in a tube.

Hello Toothpaste Tablet: Loved this toothpaste! It foams just like conventional toothpaste and gives your mouth a nice minty flavor. The supply does run out faster, and they don’t have refill packs, so you would accumulate a lot of metal tins. If you want a toothpaste tablet alternative, I’d recommend Huppy toothpaste—it’s my favorite, and their refills come in compostable packs! —JC