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 plastic that does make it to a recycling facility can't be recycled indefinitely, meaning it's eventually discarded.

The equivalent of a garbage truck of plastic is being dumped into the ocean each minute, and this is ever increasing.

From there it takes plastic about 450 years to degrade, and it can't completely decompose. It instead 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, as this decreases the carbon footprint per product ordered.

Shipping less frequently means less transport emissions and less packaging (even though our box, its tape, and paper are naturally biodegradable (and compostable!)).

If you really only need one item, consider:

  • Connecting with a friend or two who are also interested in transitioning to plastic-free and putting in an order together as a group.
  • Purchasing four items and giving the other three as gifts.
  • urchasing four items and hanging onto the other three until you run out of the plastic versions you are currently using.

If you purchase products individually:

Your products will be shipped immediately following your order.

If you purchase a Green Groomer Subscription:

Your Green Groomer will be shipped according to your chosen subscription interval (every 2, 3, or 4 months).

For all purchases:

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.

The amount of energy needed to produce and transport everything from bathroom products to food to clothing is definitely frustrating.

Shipping is a major carbon contributor and one that unfortunately can’t be avoided whether you are shopping online or in store.

To try and offset this we have a minimum product requirement for shipping. The goal here is to encourage everyone to get into the habit of thinking ahead and ordering everything they need in one go, as this decreases the carbon footprint per product ordered.

We are also in the process of researching options for carbon offsetting to find one that aligns well with our values.

In our ever-increasing "get it tomorrow" world, delivery companies often drive longer distances with half empty trucks to hit customer deadlines. This mentality is rapidly increasing our global CO2 emissions.

With normal shipping, orders can be delivered by carriers the most efficient way possible, maximizing 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 have a minimum number of product requirement for purchase. This decreases the carbon footprint per product ordered.

Shipping less frequently means less transport emissions and less packaging (even though our box, its tape, and paper are naturally biodegradable (and compostable!)).

If your refill purchase meets the minimum spend requirement, your order will be shipped free of charge. If it does not, shipping will be charged with your refill order.

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.

We believe though that you have a lot more power than you think. By searching out alternatives and speaking with you they spend your money, you can make a big difference. This ultimately gets corporations and governments to pay attention and make changes in the right direction.

We completely understand where you're coming from and agree that the current way we consume needs to change.. This is why we started life UNpacked!

There are largely only single-use options out there at the moment for self care products. Refill dispensaries are popping up in certain cities, meaning bottles can now start to be refilled and reused. Unfortunately not everyone has access to these types of stores, leaving the rest of us to purchase single-use products.

Our aim is to provide products that, while they are single-use, are a healthier option for our planet than their plastic counterparts. All our products are either reusable, dissolve to nothing, or can be composted or recycled. While this isn't perfect, we believe it's better than any alternative out there so long as people are still showering :)

We are always open to figuring out ways of reducing single-use products, feel free to drop us a line at info@lifeunpacked.com with any suggestions.

Greenwashing typically refers to a company portraying their organization, product, or service as environmentally friendly only for the sake of marketing when the organization, product, or service has little to no environmental benefit.

This can show up as a company:

  • Emphasizing one tiny green attribute when nothing else is green.
  • Encouraging a non-green habit by masking it with a marketing plan.
  • Changing its logo or packaging to more eco-friendly colours without changing their product offering.

For more information on greenwashing and how to spot companies who are, check out our blog.

With biodegradable and compostable being thrown around so often these days it is easy to misinterpret them as being the same. We were as confused as you at the start and so wanted to set the record straight!

Something that is biodegradable will break down naturally with the help of microorganisms and without oxygen. It will turn into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass, but there is no specification for how long this should take or any end products. Everything is technically biodegradable over time, but plastic takes an extremely long time (at least 450 years), if it completely biodegrades at all.

Something that is compostable will break down naturally with the help of microbes and the right amount of heat, water, and oxygen. It will turn into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass in about 90 days, leaving no toxic residue and usually enhances the soil.

Anything compostable can also be considered biodegradable, but not everything biodegradable can be composted.

Bamboo has a much lower ecological footprint than plastic because less energy is used in its production.

It is one of the fastest growing and most sustainable plants on Earth, requiring very little water and no fertilizer or pesticides.

Bamboo is a plant, meaning it won’t release harmful toxins into the environment as it decomposes the way plastic would.

On average you probably use a whopping 60-120 pieces of plastic in your bathroom each year between bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and shaving cream. On top of this there is also your disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and cotton swabs.

Unfortunately, most of these products aren't recycled (even if you put them in your blue bin!) due to sanitary concerns.

life UNpacked delivers your bathroom products directly to you so you don't have to remember to pick them up, instantly helping you become more eco-friendly.

We believe anyone can become a Green Groomer and love helping people take small steps towards tackling big problems.

Absolutely! By becoming a Green Groomer, not only are you reducing your plastic consumption and waste production, but you’re also keeping money in your wallet.

On average, you probably spend between $170-$230 a year on your self care products (and sometimes way 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 products.

With life UNpacked you can get your bathroom essentials delivered (once or on subscription) right to your door without plastic and without breaking the bank.

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 vision is to eventually bring as much of our production and manufacturing as possible to North America. We simply haven't found suppliers for all our products locally 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.

Shampoo bars eliminate the need for plastic bottles, last longer than your average bottle of shampoo (saving you time and money!), and from life UNpacked are 100% natural and chemical-free. Not to mention this means no more fighting with the pump to get the last drips from the bottom of your bottle!

For those of you adventure seekers out there, they are also much lighter to travel with and liquid-free, meaning no more spills or airport troubles.

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

We haven't received word from anyone that it's been an issue for them, but everyone and every dye colour could be different.

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, eliminating the need for conditioner.

You're now saving another 4-6 plastic bottles from the landfill, and yourself the cash!

Everyone loves a good lather, but did you know that you are likely scrubbing up with bacteria and mold on the loofah you're using with your body wash?

On top of that, body wash often contains chemicals that pull moisture and strip the skin, and of course comes in a plastic bottle which negatively impacts the environment.

Our soap is made with natural ingredients making it less drying than your average body wash, and still provides that same lather that you love.

By using the bar directly on your skin you avoid the breeding ground of the loofah, and because it dissolves completely, you're saving another 4-6 plastic bottles from the landfill.

You'll likely find too that our soap lasts much longer than a bottle of body wash.

A shave bar is a sustainable alternative to using a can of shaving cream, and is much healthier for you.

Shaving cream is packed full of chemicals that leave your skin red, irritated, dried out, and with those annoying, tiny, raised red bumps.

Shave soap has been around for ages, so we invite you to kick it like your ancestors and give it a go. Ours will leave your skin feeling hydrated instead of zapped.

Back in the day (ok, back in the 90's, which really isn't that long ago) aerosol cans contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which played a major role in the depletion of the Ozone layer. CFCs have now been banned in most countries, however, not in all.

Unfortunately, most aerosol cans (including the ones you use for shaving cream) use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to propel their product. Once in the air, VOCs contribute to ground-level Ozone levels, contributing to smog production.

The average person uses approximately 12-24 disposable razor cartridges a year, which 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 means fewer ingrown hairs!

A single blade safety razor can take some getting used to when you're coming from a standard plastic razor. Most of our customers find they get the hang of it after a few shaves and say they wouldn't go back!

On our bamboo razor handle product page you can find some "how to" tips to help you with your transition along with a “how to” video.

It is recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 or so months, and 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 start 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 naturally biodegradable.

The most all natural option for bristles on the market right now is boar hair, and that to us is a bit out there. There is presently no option for biodegradable bristles, however, our bristles are BPA-free meaning they won't leach toxins.

At the end of your toothbrush's life, simply remove and recycle the bristles and toss the handle into your compost.

There are currently no truly biodegradable bristle options available.

Almost all bamboo toothbrushes on the market use Nylon-6, non-biodegradable bristles. You may come across companies claiming to have biodegradable options (Nylon-4), however, our suppliers have tested and confirmed that no major supplier in China produces this type of bristle. As well, Nylon-4 will only biodegrade under very specific lab conditions, not in our environment.

There is a non-nylon option that uses boar hair to make bristles, but that restricts people from using it who are vegan or avoid animal products for religious reasons.

At life UNpacked one of our values is progress over perfection, and while a bamboo toothbrush with Nylon-6 bristles certainly isn’t perfect, we believe it is the best option out there right now.

We will likely end up engineering our own solution for non-plastic and animal-free bristles, we are unfortunately just not there quite yet. In the meantime we believe that having people use a fraction of the amount of plastic they normally would to brush their teeth is better than everyone continuing to use all plastic toothbrushes where no portion of them will break down.

Tooth powder is a plastic-free alternative to toothpaste. It's easy to use, you simply dip your dry toothbrush in the powder and brush like normal!

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 so they almost always end up in the trash.

Plus, now you'll never have to engage in the debate of whether to squeeze from the middle or the end!

At the moment we don’t have immediate plans to formulate a tooth powder with fluoride as most of our customers prefer it without.

Baking soda is certainly something that can be used to clean your teeth, however by itself likely wouldn't be overly tasty.. Check out our tooth powder for a minty fresh option!

Traditional dental floss is usually made from either nylon (petroleum), teflon (the chemical mouthful polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)), 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 three times a day since your last floss.

Discarded dental floss cannot be recycled, takes 30-80 years to break down, and can be harmful to wildlife.

Our dental floss is made from corn fiber and is lightly coated with candelilla wax for slide. It is compostable and is can be purchased with a reusable glass vial. 

It is not uncommon for many people to flush their cotton swabs down the toilet when they're finished with them. Unfortunately, this fast tracks these plastic bad boys right into our environment because they are small and often escape waste management systems.

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, which 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 naturally biodegradable.

Nope!

Your initial box will come with storage 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 tins or pour into your glass container.

It drives us crazy receiving a package where the box is full of unnecessary padding and ten times larger than the product in it. 

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 (hello grown up Tetris!) to prevent the need for padding and to keep your items safe during transport.

The boxes we ship in 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. It is 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.

This means you can feel good about leaving no trace as you become a Green Groomer.

We are doing our best to provide high quality plastic-free products to you with the least possible impact on our Earth.

100% Compostable (throw these 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 floss refill
  • Any paper padding in your life UNpacked box
  • Shipping label

100% Biodegradable (throw these in your recycle bin):

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

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

  • Storage tins
  • Glass tooth powder container
  • Glass corn floss container

Garbage (throw this out):

  • Nothing :)

Glass can be made from several natural substances, including sand. One of the benefits of glass is that it can be recycled indefinitely without compromising quality.

It is not chemically possible to recycle plastic into the same type of product from which it came. This means it can only be downcycled each time into a different (lesser) grade of plastic product.

After enough cycles, this plastic cannot be used any further at which point it is left in our environment as micro-plastic.

So while nothing is without impact, we believe glass is a more environmentally friendly way to go.

Check out instructions for each product here.

How long your bars last will vary based on how much you use them, but most people find that by using bars instead of bottles, their products last a lot longer.

Our bars contain high quality ingredients, and are more concentrated than what you find in your typical bottle because they have no unnecessary water added.

To maximize the life of a bar, make sure you store it in its case (be sure to drain the case after each shower to prevent your bar from sitting in a puddle!) and allow it to breathe to dry out between uses.

Our bamboo razor is a single blade double edge safety razor. The name is a mouthful, we know. To make it simple, think one blade, two edges. This means you can use one side of the blade, the other side of the blade, and then replace the entire thing.

Switching from a plastic razor to our bamboo razor does require a little bit of learning (but hey, we all like a challenge right?).

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

Start by prepping your skin as you normally would with warm water and lather up with our shave bar.

To shave, 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 into your skin, it's likely time for a new blade.

If your city specifies they collect scrap metal with curbside recycling, you can toss them in there. We recommend putting them in a small metal container also being recycled to make sure no one is injured accidentally. Most municipalities however, collect scrap metal separately.

If not, collect your used blades in a blade bank made from an aluminum can or other small container. Be sure it is clearly labelled and keep it away from children and pets.

When the can is close to full, tape the opening to seal it and drop it off at your local scrap metal collection site for recycling.