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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Multi-purpose in the bathroom

Credit: Andres Hernandez via Wikimedia Commons

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So far we’ve looked at clothes and cleaning for our multi-purpose challenge. Today I’m investigating my bathroom and bedroom for cosmetics and personal care items - I think I can find a few doubles to replace.

A lot of people use two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. It’s a good way to cut back on packaging waste, since you’ve halved the plastic involved right away. I only condition my hair monthly, but have got some anyway because I also use it as a shaving gel for my legs. All you need is to soften the skin and give the blade something to glide over, so it does a great job. I’m not sure if this would work for mens’ beards though - let me know if you’ve ever tried!

I’m not much for wearing makeup, but I’ve seen creams that are made to be lipstick, eyeshadow and blush all in one. Or there are eyeshadows that work as eyeliners when you wet them. I used to have those supposedly multi-purpose giant palettes of lipstick and eyeshadow, but I discovered that I was only using two or three colours. So now I’ve cut back to a realistic amount.

I’ve just run out of my two types of moisturiser (face and body). I’ll be on the lookout for a single replacement - if you’ve got any eco-friendly recommendations I’d love to hear them.

Another item I found a good multi-purpose replacement for a while ago is the old-fashioned hot water bottle. I had bought it so I didn’t feel tempted to get a wasteful electric blanket for cold winter nights. But then I found a microwaveable heat pack - it can do the job of a hot water bottle, but also helps with muscle tension and sore backs after a hard day’s work slaving over a computer at the office. The hot water bottle has found a new home, and I’ve got a wheat bag now instead.

What other personal care items can be multi-purpose? I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface here and there are plenty of good ideas lurking out there.

PS: If you do find as part of this challenge that you’ve got a lot of unused cosmetics or hair-care products you no longer need, consider giving them away to a local women’s shelter (look in the White Pages or on government service listings). Often there are women who’ve had to leave their home in a hurry and weren’t able to bring personal care items with them - something that isn't useful to you anymore could make them feel a lot better.