After giving you tips on how to reduce your exposure to plastic when storing food, when traveling and when grocery shopping, today we want to give you a few tips to achieve a completely plastic-free bathroom! From shampoo refills to stainless steel razors, here is how to eliminate plastic items from one of the most used rooms in your home and substitute them with eco-friendly alternatives.
Basic Must Haves
Whether it be your personal home bathroom or a spare bathroom, the two bathroom essentials are soap and toilet paper. The easiest way to avoid plastic when buying soap would be to switch from liquid soap to a natural bar soap. Find one that is wrapped in recycled paper, or better yet, find a nude option that isn’t wrapped in anything. If, for some reason, you really can’t do without liquid soap, then make your own! Search online for a recipe that has your favorite scents and ingredients and experiment with DIY soap! Don’t have time to make your own liquid soap or are really hung up on a particular brand? Buy in bulk! Buy bigger containers and then transfer the soap to smaller, refillable containers that can easily fit on your sink.
Toilet paper may seem unassuming, and you may already be buying recycled or ‘eco’ toilet paper, but is its packaging also green and ‘eco’ or does it come wrapped up in single-use plastic? Check the packaging labels in-store and opt for the better option before taking it home with you. If you can’t find anything that convinces you, here’s another instance where we suggest looking up online for plastic-free, recycled toilet paper (there are brands out there that can deliver this, you just need to find the one closest to you) or again, buy in bulk. Virgin wood toilet paper is one of the biggest drains on our planet, so this is an item that really doesn’t need to be overlooked when striving for a sustainable home!
As we have previously discussed on this blog, we are in contact with plastic objects from the moment we wake up, to the moment we go to sleep. One of these omnipresent objects is our toothbrush! Made of different materials, as are most toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes are one of the most polluting items that can be found in a bathroom.
Switch to bamboo toothbrushes (Leafico bamboo toothbrushes available for both adults and kids can be found here) and then ditch plastic tubes by taking your pick of plastic-free toothpaste alternatives! You could decide to stick with a tube toothpaste and switch from a plastic tube to an aluminum tube, or, for a lower waste version, you could try tooth tablets where you crunch, foam and use. If you’re not to convinced about tablets then you could also choose to use pastes and powders which can be found in a variety of stores, or again, you can choose to make it yourself, using baking soda as the main ingredient.
Apart from toothbrushes, other items that can be swapped with bamboo alternatives are cotton buds, hairbrushes, and sponges (which can be substituted by antibacterial bamboo body brush or loofahs).
In regards to shampoos and conditioners, the same idea that applies to soaps, also applies to them! Switch to natural, nude shampoo or conditioner bar soaps, or find liquid brands that have set up refills schemes or that sell their products in glass or aluminum containers. Exactly like with soaps though, we encourage you to look up DIY recipes and try making your own products yourself!
Ditch plastic razors and invest in a stainless steel razor. The first one will serve you for just a little way and then spend a lifetime in a landfill. The second one will save you money down the line, will last for years and years, and you can rest easy knowing that it is made of the only material that has a closed recyclable loop.
Ladies have you been unsuccessful in finding plastic-free tampons? Want to know why? They don’t exist! This is because health regulations stipulate that each tampon has to be wrapped in a hygienic wrapper and only the applicators can be wrapped with paper. These regulations though, shouldn’t stop you from having a plastic-free period! Alternatives go from menstrual cups, or period underwear or even reusable, washable pads.
DIY is the answer!
From soaps, to shampoos to toothpaste. There are a lot of things that you can do at home to avoid filling your bathroom with plastic. Deodorant can easily be made at home, homemade sugar wax, face masks, moisturizer and cleaning products can all be made using ingredients straight out of your kitchen! By making things at home you are not only avoiding packaging, you are also creating a product that has not travelled and that has not added to your carbon footprint in order to get to you, as well a product of which you know the full list of ingredients!
Do your research and slowly replace
Achieving a plastic-free bathroom is not something that can be done overnight. We are sure you have plenty more plastic items lying around your sink, your shower/bathtub or your bathroom cabinets which we have not covered. Everything from plastic shower curtains to plastic makeup brushes, to bathrobes made of synthetic materials. Plastic is everywhere and it will take a while for all of us to slowly fade out wasteful habits. Our advice is to take things one step at a time, it makes absolutely no sense throwing away something perfectly functioning to start using something made of more sustainable materials.
Replace items as you run out of them. Look up alternatives before rushing out to buy something new. You may find yourself spending a bit more money upfront, but think about that object’s lifecycle and about how long that item will last compared to its plastic alternative. Don’t just think about how long it will last in your life and in your home, but how long it will ultimately last on the planet we all call home.