FAQ – life UNpacked

FAQ

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Single-use plastics are made from oil, with more being burned during their transportation. Most of this plastic (an estimated 79%!) unfortunately ends up in a landfill or in the environment. The equivalent of a garbage truck of plastic is being dumped into the ocean each minute, and this is ever increasing. The plastic that does make it to a recycling facility can't be recycled indefinitely, meaning it's eventually discarded. From there it takes plastic about 450 years to degrade, and it can't completely decompose. Instead, it becomes microplastics which can't be cleaned up, end up being consumed by marine life, and move up the food chain and onto our dinner plates.

These days, more and more people are ordering products one at a time and having them delivered to their door. This results in delivery companies making multiple deliveries to the same address, rapidly increasing our global CO2 emissions. We want to encourage everyone to get into the practice of thinking ahead and ordering everything they need in one go. This decreases the carbon footprint per product ordered. Shipping less frequently means fewer transport emissions and less packaging (though our box, its tape, and paper are compostable). If you only need one item, please consider connecting with a friend and ordering together, purchasing the other items as gifts, or storing them as extras for later on.

If you purchase items individually, they will ship immediately following your order. If you subscribe to become a green groomer, your items will ship according to your chosen subscription interval (every 2, 3, or 4 months). Within Canada, your order should arrive within 2-6 days, depending on your location. In the USA, your order should arrive within 4-9 days, depending on your location.

We know that shipping is a major carbon contributor and one that unfortunately can’t be avoided whether you are shopping online or in-store. And we agree that the amount of energy needed to produce and transport everything from bathroom products to food and clothing is frustrating. To try to offset our footprint, we have a minimum product requirement for shipping with the goal of encouraging everyone to get into the habit of thinking ahead and ordering everything they need in one go.

In our ever-increasing "get it tomorrow" world, delivery companies often drive longer distances with half-empty trucks to make customer deadlines and this mentality is rapidly increasing our global CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, regular shipping orders allow carriers to maximize trucks and delivery routes. We want to encourage everyone to get into the practice of thinking ahead and ordering everything they need in one go, which is why we also have a minimum number of products required. This decreases the carbon footprint per product ordered by reducing transport emissions and packaging (even though our box, its tape, and paper are compostable).

You only have to pay for shipping if your refill order total is below our minimum spend of $70.

It’s easy to feel like you are too small a part of this big consumption problem to really have much impact. On top of that, it can be frustrating to not see change come from those who make the decisions that affect entire countries. But we believe you have a lot more power than you think. Spending money on products and companies aligned with your values is one of the most effective ways to vote for the type of world you want to see. Ultimately, it guides companies and governments to make changes in the right direction.

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing and most sustainable plants on Earth, requiring very little water and no fertilizer or pesticides. Less energy is used in its production which means it has a much lower ecological footprint than plastic. And because it’s a plant, it doesn’t release harmful toxins into the environment when it decomposes the way plastics do.

Between bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and shaving cream, people use an average of 60-120 pieces of plastic in their bathrooms each year. Not to mention disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and cotton swabs. Unfortunately, many of these products aren't recycled even if you put them in your blue bin. Green grooming is about reducing this waste, inspiring eco-conscious consumption, and belonging to a community taking small steps to put the planet first.

On average, you probably spend between $170-$230 a year on self-care products (and sometimes more, depending on the type and rate of use). While everyone has different product preferences, most of our customers find that over the course of a year, they spend the same or less than they typically would on their current self-care routine.

Check out what each product is made from here.

You bet! We love our furry animal friends :)

Some of our products are hand-made locally in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and others are produced overseas in Korea and China. Our goal is to bring as much of our production and manufacturing as possible to North America. We simply haven't found local suppliers for all our products yet who can deliver the level of quality we expect for our customers.

The average person uses 4-6 bottles of shampoo a year, and that shampoo usually contains ingredients that are harmful to both you and the environment. life UNpacked’s shampoo bars eliminate the need for plastic bottles, last longer than your average bottle of shampoo, and are 100% natural and chemical-free. (Not to mention they’re great travel mates.)

Sulfates are what typically cause coloured hair to fade. Our shampoo bar is not specifically formulated as a colour-safe shampoo but is all-natural and sulfate-free.

The ingredients in regular shampoo tend to strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture which is why most people use conditioner. Our shampoo bars are 100% natural and clean without stripping hair, eliminating the need for conditioner. (Saving landfills an additional 4-6 bottles of plastic per year and yourself the cash.)

Everyone loves a good lather, but did you know that you are likely scrubbing up with bacteria and mold from the loofah you're using with your body wash? Not to mention body wash often contains chemicals that pull moisture and strip the skin. Our soap is made with natural ingredients, meaning it’s less drying than your average body wash but still provides that same lather that you love. By using the bar directly on your skin, you avoid the bacteria breeding ground on the loofah, and because it dissolves completely, you save another 4-6 plastic bottles from the landfill.

A shave bar is a sustainable alternative to using a can of shaving cream. Unfortunately, most aerosol cans (including the ones you use for shaving cream) use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to propel their products. Once in the air, VOCs contribute to ground-level Ozone levels, contributing to smog production. Plus, these shaving creams tend to be packed full of chemicals that leave your skin red, irritated, dried out, and with those annoying, tiny, raised red bumps. But shave bars have been around for ages and when made with all-natural ingredients, they’re healthier for you and the planet.

The average person uses approximately 12-24 disposable razor cartridges a year. These cannot be recycled. By switching to our bamboo razor handle and stainless steel blades, you are no longer contributing to the billions of plastic razors and cartridges that end up in the landfill each year. Our razor blades are cheaper in the long run and provide a closer shave, which also means fewer ingrown hairs.

A single blade safety razor can take some getting used to when you're coming from a standard plastic razor but it’s just as safe. Most of our customers find they get the hang of it after just a few shaves. Find some how-to tips along with a how-to video to help you transition here.

It is recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 or so months. While this is good for your teeth, it's terrible for the environment. Billions of plastic toothbrushes end up in the landfill each year where they take upwards of 450 years to break down. Our toothbrushes are made from bamboo which is far more sustainable. Bamboo grows up to 4 feet per day, doesn't require the use of pesticides, and is compostable. There is presently no option for biodegradable bristles, however, our bristles are BPA-free meaning they won't leak toxins. At the end of your toothbrush's life, simply remove and recycle the bristles and toss the handle into your compost.

At life UNpacked one of our values is progress over perfection, and while a bamboo toothbrush with nylon bristles certainly isn’t perfect, we believe it is the best option out there right now. There is a non-nylon option that uses boar hair to make bristles, but that restricts its use for people who avoid animal products. As such, nearly all bamboo toothbrushes on the market use nylon. You may come across companies claiming to have biodegradable nylon options, however, our suppliers have tested and confirmed that nylon will only biodegrade under very specific lab conditions, not in our environment.

Tooth powder is a plastic-free alternative to toothpaste. Switching to tooth powder means you are saving plastic toothpaste tubes from the landfill. While these can technically be recycled, very few people go to the effort to rinse them out and they almost always end up in the trash. Tooth powder is easy to use; simply dip your dry toothbrush in the powder and brush.

Regular dental floss is made from either nylon (petroleum), teflon (the chemical mouthful polytetrafluoroethylene), or synthetic wax (petroleum). These toxins can be absorbed into your bloodstream during those times that you floss a little too hard, or it's been, say, longer than the dentist recommended since your last floss. And discarded dental floss cannot be recycled. In fact, it takes 30-80 years to break down and can be harmful to wildlife. Our corn fiber dental floss is lightly coated with candelilla wax for slide. It is compostable and can be purchased with a reusable glass vial.

It is not uncommon for people to flush their cotton swabs down the toilet when they're finished using them. Unfortunately, because they are small and often escape waste management systems, this fast tracks these plastic bad boys right into our environment. Plastic cotton swabs may weather, but because they are made of plastic, they won't break down fully. Their small, slim shape makes them easily ingestible by marine animals for which they can cause injury or death. Our cotton swabs are made from bamboo which grows up to 4 feet per day, doesn't require the use of pesticides, and is compostable.

Your initial box will come with travel tins and glass containers, and we recognize that these aren’t required for subsequent orders. Instead you’ll get refills that you can place into your travel tins or pour into your glass containers.

It drives us crazy when we receive a package in a box ten times the size of the product and filled with unnecessary padding. We designed our products to require as little packaging as possible, and many come without wrapping of any kind. Everything in your order has been carefully placed inside to prevent the need for padding and keep your items safe during transport.

The boxes we ship are made from 100% recycled content, with 97% being post-consumer content. They are both biodegradable and compostable.

Our shipping-related paper products are made from 100% recycled content, with 30% being post-consumer content. They are also both biodegradable and compostable.

Our shipping labels and life UNpacked stickers are made from 100% post-consumer content and are both biodegradable and compostable.

Our packing tape is made from renewable resources and is biodegradable.

Throw these items in your compost bin:

  • life UNpacked box
  • life UNpacked logo stickers
  • Paper wrap and sticker around shampoo bar refill
  • Paper wrap and sticker around soap refill
  • Paper wrap and sticker around shave bar refill
  • Bag from tooth powder refill
  • Bag from corn or bamboo floss refill
  • Any paper padding in your life UNpacked box
  • Shipping label

And the rest in your recycling bin:

  • Tape on your life UNpacked box
  • Box from bamboo razor handle
  • Packaging from razor blades
  • Box from bamboo toothbrush
  • Box from corn or bamboo floss
  • Box from bamboo cotton swabs

Reuse (keep these and use them again and again):

  • Travel tins
  • Glass tooth powder container
  • Glass floss container

While it’s not chemically possible to recycle plastic into the same type of product from which it came, each time it’s recycled it is downcycled into a lesser grade plastic product. Glass, however, can be recycled indefinitely without compromising quality. So while nothing is without impact, we believe glass is a more environmentally-friendly way to go.

Check out instructions for each product here.

Check out instructions for each product here.

Unlike bottles, bars don’t come with added water. This makes them a more concentrated product. How long your bars last will vary based on how much you use them, but most people find that bars last longer than bottles. To maximize the life of a bar, make sure you store it in its tin, drain the tin after each use, and allow the bar to dry between uses.

For first-time use, unscrew the razor head from razor handle, place the blade between the two pieces of the razor head, and screw the razor head to the razor handle.

Prep your skin with warm water and lather up with our shave bar. Hold the razor at about 30 degrees and let the weight of the razor do most of the work as you pull in short, straight strokes.

Go with the grain, and don't apply too much pressure. If you are feeling the need to press your razor onto your skin, it's likely time for a new blade.

Remember, our bamboo razor is a single-blade double-edge safety razor, meaning you can use both sides of the blade before replacing it.

If your city specifies they collect scrap metal with curbside recycling, toss them in there (preferably in a small metal container also being recycled so no one gets hurt). Most municipalities, however, collect scrap metal separately. In this case, collect your used blades in a labelled blade bank such as an aluminum can. When the bank is full, tape the opening to seal it and drop it off at your local scrap metal collection site for recycling.