A few days ago, Tikva asked a question in the Crunchy Community that I see a lot.
In a nutshell: What do we do with that cabinet full of icky products we no longer want to use on our bodies or in our homes?
This is a question I’ve gotten a lot over the past year and a half, and most of the time I just said, “Eh. I dunno. Whatever.”
Mostly because I still had my very own cabinet full of old products that I didn’t know what to do with. (Really responsible there, Crunchy Betty.)
It’s tricky, because one day you just kind of wake up and go, “I don’t want this in my life anymore,” but you realize you’ve dug a little hole and covered yourself with a whole bunch of bottles of gunk you no longer want, need, or can bring yourself to use.
And the hardest part is reaching that tipping point – and it happens somewhere after you realize that even most “green” cleaners and “natural skincare products” are still unhealthy – where you have a sudden, gripping fear that if you put one more nasty chemical on your skin, you’ll throw up (and probably die of cancer on the spot).
That fear is overblown, by the way. Not unwarranted, but a little irrational.
Now, I’ve done a lot of reading on how to get rid of cleaning products and unwanted personal care items, and the suggestions (from different green and ecoconscious groups) ranges from using them up slowly yourself to taking them to a hazardous waste dump. (Hazardous waste dump? Overreacting, iff’n you ask me.)
I’m not keen on the idea of just pouring things down the sink, though, because our poor water supply is already so mucked up with nasty pollutants (even after it’s treated), I personally don’t want to contribute to more blechy water.
The options I particularly like:
- Use them up and don’t buy more. You’ve already committed to buying it, and you’ve been using them for this long. Just … get it over with. And then you have bottles/containers you can reuse or recycle safely.
- Give unopened items to charity. And then don’t buy more.
- Give opened or unopened products to friends and family who aren’t quite where you are yet in being crunchy and conscious.
- Put an add on Freecycle or Craigslist that you’re giving away a bucket of products (note that they’ve been opened/used if they have) and then just watch someone drive up and take them away.
I’ve done all three of the first ideas. (I actually had to BORROW some of the items in the picture above, because I didn’t have enough store-bought items to pretend to throw in the trash … how awesome is that?)
When I’ve given people stuff that’s in a spray bottle or a container I like, I do ask if they wouldn’t mind giving me back the container, so I can reuse it. Spray bottles, especially, are hard to come by, once you start making your own cleaning supplies.
What Was/Is Your Solution?
So I pose this question to ALL of you:
What do YOU THINK is the best way to ditch your store-bought cleaning/personal care products?
What would you tell someone who was asking YOUR advice on how to do it?