Breaking it down

The world is currently generating around 1.2 trillion kilos of rubbish per year - that’s the weight of 7,000 Empire State Buildings. Around half of that waste is organic, meaning it could be composted instead of sitting in a landfill.

Every year, Aucklanders are each sending 800 kilos of waste to the landfill

New Zealanders are right up there amongst the worst wasters in the world. Every year, Aucklanders are each sending 800 kilos of waste to the landfill, and half of it could easily break back down into the earth! Here are a few beauty products we love that can be popped into your compost bin once you’ve used them. Let ESH break it down for you...



Konjac sponges are hand-made from the plant fibre of the Konjac Potato or Konnyaku - a sustainable food source native to high-altitude areas of Asia. The sponges are 100% biodegradable, fully sustainable, pH neutral, free from chemicals, colouring, additives and irritants. Konnyaku has been used in Korea, Japan and China for over 1,500 as a medicine, food, beauty product and for use on delicate baby skin. Today they are made on the volcanic plains of UNESCO protected Jeju Island in South Korea.  

The biggest seller is their 100% Pure Konjac Face Sponge, which can be used daily to clean (with our without the addition of a cleanser product), remove blackheads and gently exfoliate. It’s difficult to describe the texture of the net-like vegetable fibres, but it’s far more gentle than commercial facial scrubs and has an almost gelatinous feel.  To use,  just get them wet, squeeze out excess water and gently rub in circular motions on your face. When you’ve finished, rinse well and hang them up in a cool place to air out. Once the sponge starts looking tired or breaking down - around 2 or 3 months - put it out with your veggie scraps, or in the garden to help retain water. I’ve been using mine every day for the past month, and my skin has become super clear.

Facial sponges are available in New Zealand from the Tonic Room in Kingsland, Auckland (NZD $24)

Or you can find stockists worldwide on the Konjac Sponge website



Go Bamboo - biodegradable toothbrushes and cotton buds

Go Bamboo is a New Zealand based company passionate about reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and landfills. They’ve created a range of bamboo based products that can go in the compost bin once you’ve finished with them. For their efforts, Go Bamboo won the waste minimisation award in the 2012 NZ Green Ribbon Awards, which honour outstanding contributions to protecting New Zealand’s environment.

We’ve been using their bamboo toothbrush. To be honest, it starts to feel insane that these things are usually made of plastic once you try them. When you’re done with the toothbrush, you do have to cut off the bristles before composting them. The toothbrushes come in two sizes, adult and child. It’s easy to write names on the bamboo handles to tell whose is who. The handles are sealed with an edible wax, no nasty chemicals anywhere.

Go Bamboo products are stocked in stores throughout New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the UK. You can find stockists here  The toothbrushes are around NZD $4.50 each. We also love their compostable cotton buds which will set you back around NZD $5 for a box of 200.

Bamboo toothbrushes from Go Bamboo

Bamboo toothbrushes from Go Bamboo

Natracare Organic Cotton Wipes

The world is obsessed with wet wipes. Each year people use a staggering 578 billion wipes - or about 80 wipes per year for every human on the planet. The majority of wet wipes aren’t biodegradable, but people are flushing those 578 billion wipes down the toilet. Once in the drains, they wrap around fat deposits (oil and grease that people pour down the drain), and form enormous ‘fat-bergs’. A fat-berg the size of a BOEING 747 was found under Shepard’s Bush in London last year. Sexy stuff.

The people at Natracare have come up with 100% organic cotton cloth wipes which can be put in the compost bin once used. The wipes are made using organic essential oils, natural plant-based ingredients are fully biodegradable and compostable, suitable for vegans and have been dermatologically tested on human volunteers (no animal testing). They contain no parabens, alcohol, sodium lauryl sulphate, synthetic preservatives or chlorine. The Cleansing Make-Up Removal wipes are made from strong organic cotton cloth that is gentle but effective, removing even waterproof mascara and lipstick. They also do baby wipes and intimate wipes for when you’re on your period or travelling. The world has enough fat-bergs people, upgrade yourself!

A pack of 20 make-up wipes costs around NZD $14, a 12 pack of intimate wipes around NZD $8 and a 50 pack of baby wipes is around NZD $13. Stockists can be found at


Do you use any compostable beauty products? We’d love to hear about them.