The Zero Waste Home: 11 Alternatives for Bathroom Essentials
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 makes 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
We’re in love with Plaine Products, a company solely committed to providing zero waste alternatives. All their products are free of nasty chemicals, with ingredients that are run through the Environmental Working Group’s database to make sure they are safe and non-toxic, even for babies. This luscious Rosemary, Mint and Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioner restores dull hair back to life, thanks to its blend of essential oils. Aluminum bottles can be returned back to them to be reused, thanks to a free returns label that they provide!
Body Wash and Moisturizer
For a nourishing shower after a hard day’s work, Plaine Products’ Lavender Body Wash will not only relax, but will also nourish and gently cleanse, with a formula that is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and palm oil. We’re also huge fans of their facial moisturizer and body lotion, which all come in a refillable aluminum bottle to eliminate unnecessary plastic bottles in the bathroom.
Always try and buy local if you can (this saves on transport and packaging). If you’re buying products online, ensure they are eco-friendly and come in plastic-free packaging. If you are unhappy with the packaging, let the company know.
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!
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 nylon floss in 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 still 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! Uncle Harry’s and Truthpaste make natural toothpaste containing antibacterial ingredients in reusable glass jars with a plastic lid. Lush makes toothy tabs (which foam like conventional toothpaste), which I really like but they are sold in recyclable plastic bottles. Aquarian Bath makes tooth powders in metal recyclable tins.
Coconut oil is a fabulous, all-natural makeup remover. Use it with reusable and washable pads that you can make yourself out of old fabric, or you can purchase premade ones.
It is almost impossible to get plastic-free toilet paper! However, Australian company WhoGivesACrap – who make their TP from bamboo and sugarcane – have a US site, and also donate 50 percent of their profits to help build toilets in developing countries.
Seventh Generation is recycled toilet paper wrapped in a recyclable packaging. You can also buy recycled toilet paper wrapped in polythene, which can be recycled in the carrier bag recycling bin at your local supermarket. And if you truly want to be waste-free, try washable cloth wipes.
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.
This is another 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.
OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES:
6 Ways to Reduce Office Waste | A Rubbish-free Bedroom in 7 Easy Steps | 13 Easy Kitchen Swaps | How to be Zero Waste When You're Out and About | The Zero Waste Handbag: How to be Clutter-free on the Go