Our lives revolve around convenience and cheap products wrapped in plastic, but at what cost? In this article series, I’ll aim to show that if each of us make small changes in our everyday life, we can make a huge impact on our waste production. Today we’ll be tackling one of the most wasteful areas of the home: the bathroom.
Shampoo and conditioner bars are fantastic. They last longer than bottled products and can be bought naked or in paper or cardboard packaging. I love Lush; they do numerous ‘naked’ bars and try to be as green and zero-waste as they can. Not all of their ingredients are 100 percent natural though. You can have a look at their policies here. You can also try the ‘No-Poo Method.’ There’s loads of information online about this method. You can use water, apple cider vinegar or baking powder. As your hair adjusts it may get greasy, but this will pass!
BuyMeOnce Tip: Shampoo bars will last longer if you do not keep them in the shower.
Body Wash and Moisturiser
All you need is a bar of soap. Dr Bronner’s range are a family run business making pure castile bar soap using natural ingredients that’s completely versatile and can be used on the face, body or hair. They have strong ethical values and environmental initiatives and use recyclable or recycled materials, such as wrapping soap bars up in 100% post-consumer recycled wrapper.
Try some homemade recipes online using baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils such as this Extra Strength or this All-Natural one by Going Zero Waste blogger, Kathryn. You need to experiment to find what works for you. I struggled a bit with deodorant. My underarm skin reacted negatively to baking soda, so I had to try other products. Organic Essence’s Relentless All Day Deodorant comes packaged in a paper tube which you can recycle or compost. It smells great and is gentle on the skin!
You can get a razor to last a lifetime by purchasing a safety razor. Just use normal soap instead of shaving foam! Thomas Clipper make eco-friendly razors, colognes and shaving sets that combine impeccable modern design with the best craftsmanship in the world. They have some gorgeous shaving kits including natural handmade soaps, organic cotton cloths, vegan-friendly colognes and sustainably sourced wooden brushes and bowls for working up an eco-friendly lather.
For your daily brushing, use bamboo. The toothbrush handle can be composted and the bristles can be removed and either composted (depends on the brand) or sent to landfill.
Dental floss is usually made from nylon or silk in plastic spools, but you can get silk floss in glass vials or nylon floss in a cardboard packaging. I use Stim-u-dent – a wooden stick that you slide between your teeth. These dental sticks come in cardboard packaging, but they also come with a plastic hook. It’s not the greatest option but the best I have found so far.
Natural toothpaste does take some time to adjust to because it’s very different from conventional toothpaste. It has a different texture, isn’t sweet and it can be clay-like. Initially I found it to be a difficult transition, but now I prefer them and find ‘normal’ toothpaste too sweet! Truthpaste and Georganics Natural Toothpaste make mineral toothpaste with natural antibacterial ingredients in a reusable glass jar. Lush makes toothy tabs (which foam like conventional toothpaste), which I really like but they are sold in recyclable plastic bottles.
Use reusable pads in combination with a silicone cup, such as this OrganiCup Menstrual Cup, one of the softest cups on the market and can be used for up to 12 hours at a time. It also comes packaged in a recycled, biodegradable carton and a storage pouch made from 100% organic cotton. Once you get used to it, you’ll love it!
Not something we really think about when talking about zero waste but it is important. No contraceptive is zero waste. IUDs and implants are the closest; they last for three to five years and only have the packaging and medical equipment required for insertion, but they are not suitable for everyone. Speak to your doctor about your options. Companies like Glyde, Sustain and Fairsquare make vegan and more ethical condoms. Additionally, these companies either perform HIV/AIDS research or donate condoms to developing countries.
This is one most people forget! Most brushes are made of plastic, but you can buy wooden ones. Redecker is a German company selling many types of wooden brushes and they look great too!
Hopefully this article has inspired you to make some small changes in your bathroom and reduce your waste production. Every little change helps! Next time, we will look at the eco-friendly home office.