There are a few spaces in our homes that seem to generate the most single-use and plastic waste, and along with the kitchen and laundry, our bathrooms are a great place to look at ways to reduce waste. Just think of all the plastic and environmentally toxic products lining bathroom shelves including cotton buds, shampoo and soap bottles, deodorants, feminine hygiene products, band-aids and skincare to name a few.
Luckily, we are living in a time when all sorts of eco-friendly options are available which don't have to compromise on convenience, hygiene or effectiveness. So we've compiled a list of some of our favourite, simple swaps which can drastically decrease the amount of plastic waste and toxins in your bathroom.
1. Shampoo & Body Wash
Most of our shampoo, conditioner, body and hand washes come in plastic containers, and we go through heaps of them. Luckily the good old bar of soap has had a bit of a make-over recently, and we're loving it! You can now get natural shampoo and conditioners in bars, which cuts down significantly on waste. They are formulated using nourishing oils, so they don't dry out your hair and they last ages. All you need to do is form a foamy lather in your hands and apply to hair like normal shampoo. The same goes for body and hand wash, there are lots of natural soap bar alternatives so it's just a matter of trying a few to find your favourite. And if you hate gloopy, soggy soap bars, invest in a bamboo soap dish to allow the soap to drain and dry after use.
Deodorants have traditionally been housed in plastic tubes which get tossed as soon as they run dry. Luckily, there is now a great natural alternative which really works in the form of deodorant paste. It may sound a little strange if you haven't used one before, but it's super easy to use, just rub a little pea-sized amount under your arms and it should last all day. You don't need to worry about absorbing all the nasty toxins used in synthetic deodorants, and you won't have to worry about odour either. Some people find the bi-carb based deodorant pastes work best for them, and people with sensitive skin prefer the magnesium based paste. Either way, they are a great way to ditch the old toxic ones.
3. Oral Care
Looking after our teeth has meant throwing away at least 4 plastic toothbrushes a year, metres of plastic floss, plastic tubes and mouthwash bottles. All of that plastic waste can easily be a thing of the past by switching out your toothbrush for a bamboo one instead. Floss made from natural fibres and coated in wax are now available, toothpaste and mouthwash can now be purchased as powders, tablets or pastes in a glass jar. If you're keen to go the extra mile (and save some money too), there are plenty of recipes for making your own at home too.
4. That Time of The Month
Not only do periods use a whole lot of single-use plastic products, but they are also expensive! Fortunately some great alternatives exist to help that time of the month become a little more planet friendly. Menstrual cups are silicone cups which are inserted during your period, and can be washed to use hundreds of times over. There are a couple of different sizes and techniques to finding the best fit for you, but lots of women swear by them. If pads are more your thing, there are now re-usable fabric pads, which come in all sorts of gorgeous patterned fabrics, and can be washed and used again. And if you're really want to talk convenience, there is underwear which has an absorbent layer sewn in so all you have to do is put your undies on and you're good to go. We'd really recommend looking into some of the great options out there to find the best fit for you.
5. Cotton Buds
Cotton buds which are made of plastic suck. They are single use and often end up polluting the ocean. There is a simple switch to bamboo based cotton based. There is also a company, LastSwab, currently developing a re-usable cotton bud made from biodegradable materials that can be washed and used again and again. Keep your eyes on this space!
6. Moisturiser and Skincare
We are all about the oils when it comes to moisturising skincare. The great thing about oil-based products is that don't need to come in plastic dispensers and tubes, and they nourish your skin without stripping out moisture (like many water and alcohol based skincare can). Our range of balms are all deeply moisturising, and come in plastic-free containers which can be re-used and recycled when you finish them. There are plenty of natural skincare brands doing the right thing when it comes to sustainable packaging now, so choose to support them and tell the other brands to do better.
Essential when you need them but unfortunately also single-use plastic. There is a brand now making them from organic bamboo fibre called Patch, and make a great, easy swap.
Whilst this list isn't exhaustive by any means, we hope it gave you some inspiration for simple swaps you can make today to start reducing waste and toxins in your bathroom. I find experimenting with new solutions a lot of fun. Once you begin to notice how much plastic is around your home, finding solutions becomes addictive and it is one of the key ways you can become pro-active in creating a greener, healthier future for us all.