Sunday, November 29

Lawyer with plastic-free bathroom idea turns environmentalist producing own line of eco-friendly toiletries

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KUANTAN: The dream to have a plastic-free bathroom has turned a lawyer into an environmentalist, producing her own line of environment-friendly toiletries.

Not only environment-friendly soaps, Noor Jehan Abu Bakar, 50, also produces shampoo, face wash, deodorant and lotions in bar forms that do not produce any ‘waste’ when used.

The Kuantan-born lawyer also produces toothpaste, sunblock creams, face serums and body scrubs that are stored in glass containers to complete her zero-plastic policy.

“The bathroom is the best place for us to start the plastic- reduction initiative because there are not many personal care items compared to other locations such as the kitchen, where most cooking items are packed in plastic packages or containers.

“Plastic takes a long time to decompose. If it decomposes in the sea, it will become microplastics and nanoplastics that endanger marine life.

“So even when starting in the bathroom, it opens up opportunities for every individual to participate in caring for the environment,” she told Bernama when met here yesterday.

Noor Jehan admitted that the idea of making plastic-free items had crossed her mind five years ago, but she took almost two years before ‘successfully ‘inding the right recipe’ to produce bath soaps, which later led to the production of other toiletries.

Some of Noor Jehan environment-friendly toiletries that feature creative designs. — Bernama photos

With a smile, the mother of two recalled that there were a number of failed attempts when the soap she produced smelled rancid or received negative comments from her family members, so much so that she herself was not willing to use it.

Reluctant to give up, Noor Jehan took the initiative to learn the art of soap-making more seriously and was even willing to attend classes abroad before she found the courage to ‘share’ the idea of a plastic-free bathroom by introducing her toiletries under the label ‘Le Starry Natural Products’.

“I want to provide an alternative to those who are looking for products (environment-friendly) because many people think that these products are very expensive and that is not true.

“The price of these eco-friendly personal care items starts at RM10 because my intention is to invite more individuals to reduce the use of plastic,” she said.

Noor Jehan produces shampoos, face-wash, deodorants and lotions in bar forms that do not produce any ‘waste’ when used.

What makes her products special was that all the personal care products are made from natural ingredients such as goat’s milk, honey, fragrant lemongrass, ‘telang’ flowers, pandan, coconut oil, aloe vera, coffee beans, lavender, turmeric, loofah, argan oil and a range of spices known for their benefits.

Hence, there is no chemical item in every product and as a bonus, every soap bar is very artsy and luxurious because they are made with love and take days to complete.

This is because Noor Jehan sets an environmental theme for each of her soaps.

For example, marine conservation themed soaps feature starfish decorations, snail shells, seahorses or mermaids which need to be prepared first before they begin producing the soap base.

“Soap-making needs precise calculations, according to the mold, and how the decorative layout is to be designed.

“That’s why I have to first calculate and sketch the soap on a boxed mathematical paper.

“The making starts by mixing the ingredients, which can take between three to four hours and should be left overnight before it can be cut.

“If the soap needs to be carved to improve the finish, it is done using a butter knife or toothpick,” she said.

Each product could last between eight to 12 months, but usually Noor Jehan would ensure that no product sold exceeded three months because everything had been made in small quantities.

Her products are not only suitable for humans, but the homemade and eco-friendly soaps are also suitable for use on pets.

Noor Jehan also produces shampoo bars on request for bathing dogs, besides donating soaps to individuals who take care of cats. — Bernama