Hello my home-slices, welcome to another post where I waffle on about how to cut unsustainable packaging and products out of your life. This is the bathroom edition and I’m leaving the door unlocked, so feel free to barge in and have a gander.
Bathrooms are often full of junk-stuff. Hair and body washes, toothpaste and brushes, razors, moisturisers, deodorant, lip balms, make up… All pretty common and useful things to have around and about. What is not so cool about these things is their unrecyclable or unsustainable packaging or contents. Today I want to talk about a few alternatives that lead to less unnecessary bathroom waste (I acknowledge that some is definitely necessary… please do not forget to poop).
Not only are toothbrushes usually packaged in unnecessary and unrecyclable plastic, but the product itself adds to the crazy amount of rubbish in the world! It is recommended that you change your toothbrush every two months or so – those 5-6 toothbrushes a year really start to add up over your lifetime…
Bamboo Freakin’ Toothbrushes. Biodegradable, reusable, and sustainable. I recommend the NZ company Go Bamboo (gobamboo.co.nz) but feel free to shop around! You can buy bamboo toothbrushes online or get them at eco-friendly stores like Piko Wholefoods. The handle is bamboo sealed with edible wax, and the bristles are made from nylon 4, which is biodegradable! They are also packaged in a recycled cardboard. Such a win.
Completely unsustainable packaging, overly flavoured, and some potentially nasty ingredients.
Baking Soda is your friend. I began making a paste recipe with coconut oil and a few drops of essential oil to help with flavour. Now, I just wet my bamboo toothbrush and plunge straight into the soda! The grains scrub away at stains and food build up and my teeth actually feel cleaner than when I use store bought toothpaste. Of course, there is no fluoride in baking soda so you will probably want to find a way to get your intake. I bought a glass bottle of fluoride pills very cheaply from the chemist – I just take these every day or two and all is well.
Disposable Plastic Razor
These don’t last very long and are not recyclable so just end up in the landfill. Usually packaged unsustainably too.
Shaving/hair removal equipment is varied and a bit complicated. Everyone is different so I would suggest doing a little research on this topic. Firstly, you could look into buying a metal safety razor with recyclable blades – these will last longer if they are dried after use. I personally just stick with using an epilator I bought years back. It’s a waxing alternative and it lasts for years, though I will have trouble finding a way to recycle it once it dies. Same deal with electric shavers. Finally, you could always consider just ditching the hair removal entirely, because those bizarre societal standards make zero sense. I went shaving free for six months over winter last year and it was awesome.
While the use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) has been fazed out from aerosol deodorants, they are still harmful to the environment and potentially your body. The recyclability of packaging varies as well depending on your local recycling company and the product you choose.
DIY! None of us like to stink, but you can be pretty odour free with a simple homemade recipe using coconut oil and baking soda. I use an old roll-on bottle to help apply the deodorant, but you could easily keep it in a jar. There are heaps of different recipes out there for you to peruse – just get yo’ Google on.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Often the plastic bottles are recyclable, but I always feel like it’s a waste to buy bottle after bottle without reusing what I have. These products are also fairly expensive, and some people worry about the types of ingredients they contain.
You can take your own bottles to refill at a bulk store like Bin Inn or Piko’s. I know Piko’s has some great environmentally friendly and organic shampoo if that is your jam. I have been using the No ‘Poo method for a few months with great results. Instead of using shampoo, I simply keep an old marmite jar of baking soda in the shower and massage a small handful into my scalp every few days or so. This clears all greasiness away and leaves my hair and scalp feeling very clean. I still have conditioner left over from before my zero waste transition so I use that afterwards, but you can also use coconut oil or even cider vinegar to leave your hair soft and shiny.
Often has the same issues with packaging as shampoo/conditioner. Also microbeads – the worst exfoliant idea ever. Can be harsh on your skin.
Bottles can be refilled when buying bulk. I choose to just use soaps that are either unpackaged or in sustainable paper or cardboard. We recently shared an article about the evils of microbeads so check that out for more information – my alternative is a reusable exfoliating glove. I’m quite keen to start trialling coffee grounds as an exfoliant though – such yummy smells!
I would suggest turning to the internet to find a brand that works for you. If possible, aim for sustainably packed products which are not tested on animals and are free from harsh chemicals. I think this is an area where it is worth investing a little more money for a sustainable and high quality product. It’s also worth looking into DIY options such as making your own lipstick from crayons and oils! When is comes to removing makeup, just use either soap, water and a washcloth, or coconut oil and a reusable cloth if you want to be a little more gentle on your skin. Easy peasy.
I make my own using coconut, tea tree, and essential oils and I store it in an upcycled jar or old moisturiser container. Again, go check out Google for easy recipes and find one that works for you! You know what is going into your homemade products, and it is much cheaper to DIY.
This has been my real trip up. So far I have been unsuccessful in finding a cost effective, recycled, biodegradable, sustainably packaged TP, but please feel free to contact us if you know of one! At this stage I have been trying to buy TP made from recycled paper but packaged in non-recyclable plastic.
I am planning on making a post dedicated solely to this topic, but in the meantime I will suggest doing away with single use, disposable tampons/pads and investing in reusable pads or a menstrual cup. I have a Diva Cup and it is the bomb-diggedy. Easy to buy online or from various shops around and about. Go do some research ❤
When it comes to the stuff in my bathroom, I don’t want to have to compromise on my zero waste goals. I stick to a checklist and ask myself if the product I’m after is:
-Sustainably packaged, sourced, and created
-Gentle on my skin and hair
-Low plastic or plastic free
-Cruelty free and/or vegan
That about wraps it up for this month folks – see you next time!