Archive for the "bathroom" category

How can I reuse or recycle old aftershave/cologne?

We’ve had an email from Bala:

Can an aftershave which is nearly 3 years old be used as a car freshner??

This sent me down two research routes: 1) do aftershaves/colognes/perfumes expire? and 2) how to make a car air freshener. In answer to the first question, general not: they might lose their top notes or the scent distort in other ways after around five years but otherwise the alcohol will preserve it pretty well, especially if the bottle is pretty full (so there has been less exposure to the air). Some might separate slightly but at three years old, it should be fine.

As for making the freshner, Planet Green suggests a dangly scrap fabric/scrap cardboard/fabric sandwich, but I worry about the suggestion to soak the fabric with the scent – I would have though a few spritzes, refreshed regularly, would probably suffice in a closed car (a little scent goes a long way!).

Anyone got any ideas for making other types of freshner?

Or any other ideas for reusing or recycling old aftershave/cologne?

How can I reduce my use of make-up sponges etc?

We’ve had an email from Charley:

I’ve read your pages about reducing toilet paper and sanitary towels. I’m not sure I want to go that far yet but I do want to find an alternative for makeup sponges like for applying liquid foundation. Do you know if there are any recycled sponges on the market or what else can I use?

I’m hoping we’ve got some make-up experts in the Recycle This community — I’ve only worn foundation twice in my entire life so I don’t know much about that sort of thing. It’s an evasive answer but that is one way to reduce using synthetic sponges/foam pads – and other make-up consumables such as packaging: wear less make-up and less regularly. I realise it’s not an answer for everyone but it is something to consider. I think I used to wear make-up out of habit but once I got over the shock of going cosmetically nude, I quickly normalised to not wearing make-up.

Now to Charley’s actual question: with Google, I can find sponge scourers make from recycled but not finer make-up sponges. Anyone got better Google skills or with more cosmetics knowledge, know where/what to look for? You can get natural sponges for applying make-up (which could be composted at the end of the life) but they usually have their own environmental impact. Anyone got any advice on those?

Alternatives: again, possibly not for everyone but switch to a powder foundation that can be applied with a brush – a good quality brush washed regularly will last a long, long time. (On a similar point, I can’t believe I stuck with sponge eye shadow applicators for so long — trained into them by the “free” ones with some shadows I guess — when a shaped brush does a far better job and lasts a lot longer too.)

I know a lot of people make their own make-up removal pads to use instead of cotton wool but has anyone made their own reusable application pads?

Any other suggestions or ideas for Charley to try?

How can I reuse or recycle combs?

Janet has asked us a question on the Suggest an Item page:

I have several combs that I don’t use. Can they be re-used or recycled?

Any unrequired combs found in our house are cleaned then used for cat/dog brushing – they seem to prefer combs to brushes, and their combs go missing with startling regularity (if they were smarter animals, I’d suspect they were hiding them on purpose).

Handle-less combs, the type used for holding hair in place rather than untangling it, can used as the base of a fascinator or decorate it with old jewellery or fabric scraps on a smaller scale for use as a day-to-day hair accessory.

As for actually recycling it, it’ll depend on the material they’re made from. From what I’ve been able to find online, a lot of (modern) plastic combs seem to be made from injection moulded polypropylene (plastic number 5), which can be recycled – but not everywhere collects it and even the places that do often only take it in certain common forms. Most every-day metal ones are steel.

Any other reusing ideas? Or recycling advice?

How can I reuse or recycle lots of hair elastics/bands/scrunchies?

We’ve had an email from Donna:

My 12 year old daughter has just had her long long lovely hair cut off and when we got home from the hairdressers, she cleared out a big box of hair bobbles, loop bands, Alice bands, scrunchies, ribbons, all sorts of things like Claire’s Accessories threw up in a box and told me she’d “never need them again”! They’re all used as far as I know so I don’t think a charity shop would want them. Would anywhere else take them?

(Heh, shop vomit.)

Perhaps Donna’s daughter will be better keeping on top of her new ‘do but I regularly need elastics when my (supposedly short) hair gets a bit long – so if I was her, I wouldn’t throw *everything* away. An alice band and clips/barrettes are always super useful for those days when everything’s pointing in the wrong direction.

If she has a lot of them, chances are most of them will probably be in good condition – how about washing them and encouraging her to sell them at a car boot sale? You could declutter some other stuff at the same time :)

I’d yoink the ribbons for craft stuff and the little elastics that are essentially a fabric covered elastic band as useful as gentler-than-normal elastic bands – I’ve heard them used in place of elastic bands in a number of household applications, but the only one I can think of at the moment is around the bottom of bouquets — the elastic is less likely to damage the stems. Any other suggestions for that?

And what about other ways to pass on or reuse all Donna’s daughter’s hair bobbles?

How can I reuse or recycle hair straighters/flat irons?

Over on the Suggest an Item page, Nicole has said:

I’ve had two straighteners/flat irons (to straighten hair) die on me. Is there a way to recycle these other than tossing them?

As a minimum, they should be collected for electronic/electric waste recycling – either at your local tip/”household waste recycling centre” or through an in-store take-back scheme (they take your old item when you buy something new from them) – all shops which sell small electrical goods (including phone shops & department stores) should in theory have a WEEE recycling scheme. Things taken for WEEE recycling are stripped down and their metals reclaimed, so it is worth doing.

But are there any reuses for them? As anyone who knows me/has seen a photo of me will know, my frizzy head is not exactly familiar with hair straighteners so I’m not sure I know enough about how they work to be able to suggest other reuses. Anyone got any ideas?