Believe it or not, if you really put your mind and effort towards it, a zero-waste philosophy can be extended to every part of your day and life. That same theory is applicable to your home and all the rooms in it, bathroom included.
Second to the kitchen, the bathroom is perhaps the place where plastic tends to be most present. There is plastic in pretty much every beauty and hygiene product you can think of—but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Below is a listing of zero-waste alternatives to basic bathroom products that will help you have a more eco-friendly bathroom.
Choose solid over liquid every time when it comes to shower products. Let’s take soap, for instance. Liquid soap requires a lot more energy to produce—about five times more—than solid soap, and can come with up to 20 times more packaging than simple bar soap, which is often sold in minimalist cardboard boxes or wrapper-free. Liquid soap contains a lot of water as well, which makes the plastic bottles heavier and much less efficient to ship—so its carbon footprint from transportation is a lot larger. Moreover, we tend to use much more of it—about seven times more per washing session. The same thinking can be used for shampoos and conditioners. Nowadays, there are a lot of options for solid shampoos and conditioners in the market. If you still feel skeptical about the results, just give it a try. Search for the brand and type of product that suits your hair, and if needed, try several until you find the right one. The bars are more concentrated than traditional shampoos and conditioners, so you can use less per application and they will last longer. If you’re still not convinced, remember that solid products are space savers and are great for traveling.
And if you cannot live without sponges or loofahs in your shower routine, know that you can opt for ones with more sustainable materials, for example, reusable and biodegradable sea sponges and natural loofahs made from the dried fruits of a climbing vine related to gourds and cucumbers.
There are several zero-waste alternatives for body deodorants. You can either purchase natural and free-of-packaging products, make your own deodorant at home, or opt for a potassium crystal deo stick. Conventional deodorants usually come packaged in a plastic container with plastic foil and a plastic lid. You can prevent waste while avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals by opting for one of the above-mentioned alternatives. Find the option that suits your body best and don’t give up too quickly if a method or recipe doesn’t work for you in your first try—all bodies are different.
As for your ears, switch to bamboo cotton buds and forget about the regular single-use plastic ones. It is that easy!
Over 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes that will never biodegrade are dumped in landfills and oceans every year worldwide. Replacing your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo alternative is a vote for nontoxic, sustainable materials. Moreover, bamboo toothbrushes tend to come with less packaging and more sustainable wrapping. You can also purchase bamboo travel cases for your toothbrush and avoid plastic ones. As for toothpaste, sustainable options, which usually come in glass containers and use natural and organic products, are often sold in local shops and markets or online. Also, keep in mind that a DIY toothpaste is always a valid option.
Finally, for a complete dental cleansing routine, don’t forget the use of dental floss! 100% natural dental floss that is made with bamboo charcoal fibre and candelilla wax is now available. With no plastic and no beeswax, bamboo dental floss is a zero-waste and vegan alternative to regular dental floss.
Multi-blade cartridge razors are the most wasteful products that we use in our bathrooms. In fact, the EPA estimated that about 2 billion disposable razors were thrown away in the 90’s, a number that has now risen to over 2 billion razors ending up in landfill each year. This translates to about one million pounds of plastic waste.
You can easily purchase 100% metal razors and blades with no plastic at all, just like the ones our grandparents once used. They will last a lifetime, are way more sustainable, and end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
For hair care, opt for combs and brushes made with more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials like bamboo or wood, and reject anything that has plastic in its constitution.
And if removing makeup is also part of your daily routine before washing your face, know that disposable makeup remover wipes are wasteful, expensive, unnecessary, and often have toxic chemicals. By choosing to use reusable cotton rounds and coconut oil as an alternative, you will eliminate these issues.
Toilet paper and menstrual products
Forget about bleached toilet paper, which is non-recyclable and wasteful, and opt for 100% recycled toilet paper, preferably wrapped in paper instead of plastic. Also, depending on where you live, you may be able to compost the cardboard tube and the paper wrapped around the toilet paper.
As for menstrual products, simply swap out disposable tampons and pads for a menstrual cup and reusable pads. If you wish to read more about how to have a more sustainable period, check out these stories.
Do you think you’d be able to have a 100% zero-waste bathroom? What would be the most extreme routine switch for you?
Growing up surrounded by nature, Maria’s idea of a perfect scenario resumes itself to a green, sunny and quiet one. She loves to cook vegan food (and even more to eat it), long one-on-one chats, to swim in the ocean, live music, to play the ukulele and a good book.
Her life goal is to travel the world, saving wildlife species and habitats.