Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps: Essential Ways to Ditch the Plastic!

1 September 2021  |  Admin

How can I be zero waste in the bathroom?

Sadly most of our bathroom products come in plastic, whether plastic bottles or wrapped in plastic and it's a lot of waste! By making small swaps to avoid plastic and using reusable containers instead we can easily switch to plastic free toiletries and zero waste bathroom essentials. We walk you through your zero waste journey in the bathroom below and show you how you can make some really easy swaps, most of which you will barely notice but will make a huge difference on our planet! Using sustainable bathroom products is an easy step to zero waste living. 

Starting your Zero-waste journey?

Many people consider the bathroom to be a place of refuge and renewal. It is also a great opportunity to practice sustainable living by making small, easy swaps that will have a significant impact on the environment. We'll go through how you can make your bathroom more sustainable and produce less waste with a few adjustments.

In the UK, nearly 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste. The issue with plastic bottles is that they take a long time to decompose and in some cases never do. Plastic also takes up space in landfills and oceans for years. It's not just the bottle either - plastics have been found in almost all levels of the food chain because they're so difficult to break down.

Is having a zero waste bathroom expensive?

Zero waste can be more expensive, but it doesn't have to be. By investing in reusable goods and not disposable products you will cut down on your spending over time. There are some really easy zero waste bathroom swaps you can make and many of them will actually save you money or be cost neutral! For example, switching from liquid soap in a plastic bottle to natural soap bars will save a lot of money!

It's easy to change conventional personal care products from a zero-waste brand to avoid any potential costs. Firstly it's important to use up what you have first and only buy when you need to. Some disposable soap and conditioner tubes and bottles are impossible to recycle. Many of these aren't made for recycling as they are impossible to wash.

Easy zero waste bath swaps include the replacement of shower gel with shower soap. Or choose products without plastic like our bars and tablets. Lotions and potions that come in reusable aluminium tubes can be an excellent choice.

Embrace Natural Soap Bars - Ditch the liquid hand soap

Did you know that switching to a zero waste soap bar instead of liquid hand soaps can save your wallet and our planet? Although we may be in love with those fancy scented bottles, they are expensive for us and harmful to our environment. A bar of soap can also last for a long time which means we don't have to buy new soaps as often.

You may be wondering, how does this save the planet? After all, most plastic bottles say they can be recycled! However, most are thrown into landfills or incinerators. It's a common misconception that recycling is the best way to reduce plastic waste, but in fact, it can often be downcycled which means it can't be used again and just becomes more waste.

Have you ever noticed how your hands feel after using liquid hand soap? Your skin is left feeling dry and tight like it needs more moisture. Switching to a bar instead will make them soft again! Most of our range is vegan and organic whilst 100% cruelty free.

To last longer use an eco-friendly soap dish with your bar soap. Or invest in a saver bag to find uses for those little pieces left after each bar.

Shave off the Plastic Razors and use a Safety Razor

A typical disposable razor is only used a few times before it goes into the trash, where it does not break down for hundreds and hundreds of years. The replaceable head is typically found in high-volume packaging that has difficulty recycling.

Invest in a safety razor, the blades are very durable with proper treatment while the handles should last a lifetime. Safety razors are made of stainless steel which means they can be recycled at the end of their life.

Just because you want to use an ecological razor does not necessarily mean that you have to give up the style! Alternatively, look at the new biodegradable razors made from cornstarch if you are not ready to switch to a stainless steel razor.

Switch from petroleum-based chemical foams to shaving soap or cream instead of foam/gel. For zero waste shaving also consider replacing your can of shaving cream and using a bar of shaving soap instead. You can also get shaving cream in a bar form that comes with its own reusable container, or you could just use coconut oil.

As an alternative, consider using a shaving brush with natural hair bristles that can be used to lather up soap into a rich and creamy consistency for shaving. Shaving brushes are also reusable so you'll get double the benefits and save money too!

Buy an eco-friendly toothbrush - instead of Plastic Toothbrushes

Another easy zero waste bathroom win is swapping from your plastic toothbrushes to an eco-friendly toothbrush. There are lots of options on the market today from wooden toothbrushes to bamboo toothbrushes or even biodegradable cornstarch toothbrushes.

The problem with plastic toothbrushes is not only do they come in plastic packaging, but they also don't break down for hundreds of years and we need to swap to new ones every 6-8 weeks. They are one of the biggest waste offenders in the bathroom. They are not usually recyclable and just end up in landfills.

Swap to wooden or bamboo toothbrushes which are biodegradable and compostable. They are also available in children sizes. They're 100% recyclable, biodegradable and sustainable. You'll also love the feel of bamboo bristles on your teeth compared to plastic!

The toothbrush head is usually nylon bristles may be disposed of separate whereas wood fibres may last longer. Some recycling centres can deal with nylon bristles so check them out, you can send many back to be recycled in the post.

The jury is out on using an electric toothbrush but if you must, you could even consider getting one that's made from recycled materials so you can get a double whammy for being eco-friendly in every aspect of life - not just your bathroom!

Use Natural Toothpaste or Toothpaste Tablets vs. Plastic Tube Packaging

Toothpaste is another item that often comes with lots of single-use plastic packaging which can be difficult to recyle and instead goes into landfill where it does not break down for hundreds of years. It is pretty much impossible to recycle plastic toothpaste tubes. Another easy zero waste bathroom win is switching your tubes for some alternative options.

There are many zero waste alternatives available such as mineral toothpaste in a glass jar or toothpaste tablets. These are effectively toothpaste in a tablet form and you just pop them into your mouth and brush your teeth as normal. They usually come in compostable cardboard packaging and are a true zero waste option.

Another great switch is moving to mouthwash tablets or eco friendly dental floss! If you are on your zero waste journey, this is another really easy swap! The benefits of toothpaste and mouthwash are that these are also toxin-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free and most are vegan. Again these come in either a metal tin or a compostable bag so are great low waste alternatives. 

Switch to natural loofahs rather than plastic pouffes!

The problem with plastic pouffes and plastic scrubs are that they actually do not get your body clean. In fact, plastic pouffes are very bad for you because they can harbour bacteria and germs which means that when you use them to scrub yourself down with chemical shower gels or soaps, then these chemicals will be transferred back onto your skin in a worse way than if used without!

So, what are the best zero waste swaps for this? Natural loofahs! These are a great sustainable option and can be reused over time. They're also really good at exfoliating your skin without any chemicals or plastics involved. You can use coconut oil to help cleanse yourself with these natural scrubbers too which is another natural zero waste option.

Plastic Free Deodorant

Deodorants are a tough one as many of them contain aluminium and chemicals that can be harmful to the body. If you're not ready for natural deodorant, it's ok - just try going without! It can take some time but eventually, your body will adjust (if it's really necessary). You can opt for deodorant in reusable tins or in compostable cardboard sticks. Once you have made the transition to zero waste deodorant, we promise you will never go back and your body will thank you for it!

Eco-Friendly Hair Care

One simple plastic-free switch you can make is to ditch the plastic or metal brushes and opt for a sustainable wooden brush for your hair. These are a lot kinder and softer and actually better for your hair. They absorb your natural sebum and oil and they spread your natural oils throughout your hair. At the end of their life, you can simply compost them, but trust us they last generations so little fear of them ending up in landfill. If they do go to landfill they will just break down naturally.

Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

You can now get a really wide range of shampoo bars and solid conditioner bars for your zero waste bathroom haircare. They're no waste but also super compact and perfect for travel and great for sensitive skin. 

Liquid shampoo is very common but have you ever given much thought to what's actually inside it? The liquid shampoo usually contains chemicals that can be harmful to our planet, no matter how natural they may seem. You may think that bars don't lather as well or aren't as effective but luckily that's not the case anymore! There are many sustainable shampoo bars on the market now that will leave your hair feeling clean and fresh and are great for use in hard water. 

Get GLAM with Zero Waste Makeup

The zero-waste makeup sector is on the increase thanks to the demand from consumers. There is everything from Lip balms in compostable cardboard to organic and natural foundations in glass jars. It's also possible to learn how one might like to do something DIY for the creative and daring... Many people use make-up that is less-than-separate from their own make-up.

Eco-friendly makeup includes using refills into the makeup container rather than putting them in the bin. And using coconut oil as a make-up remover is also a great swap. Cloth wipes can also be used to remove makeup instead of single use makeup remover pads. 

Eco Friendly Makeup Brushes

Eco-friendly makeup brushes are becoming increasingly popular. Why not try using a reusable sponge? These sponges help with reducing waste in plastic packaging, making them a great zero waste alternative!

Biodegradable Buds

Instead of plastic cotton swabs a really simple swap is to use bamboo cotton buds. They are made out of biodegradable and polymer-free bamboo. Please don't pop them in the toilet but you should keep them in your usual bin knowing they will biodegrade themselves. This is probably the easiest swap of all!

Replace Disposable Tissues with Reusable Cotton Ones

This little cloth item is super versatile and can replace paper towels, napkins, cotton balls, baby wipes, and more. And you probably already have an assortment of materials that you can upcycle: old wash clothes, bed linen, scraps from sewing projects... and more! If you must buy you can even pick a pretty set of charming and vivid organic cotton pads which are soft and skin-friendly.

Zero Waste Menstrual products

The average woman uses about 240 tampons each year, or 9,600 over her lifetime. They come wrapped in unnecessary plastic and worse, some come in plastic tubes! A menstruating person will experience thousands of unusable purchases in their lifetime so its time to look at how to have zero waste periods.

Invest in durable reusable materials that match your requirements comfort and budget. Options include menstrual cup or reusable cloth washable pads and panty liners, period wear or any combination of all three.

Not familiar with menstrual cups? They are a sustainable, economical and safe alternative to tampons made of silicone or rubber that you insert into your vagina where it collects the blood instead of absorbing it like traditional tampons. It is a small, flexible cup made of medical-grade silicone or latex which, like a tampon, is inserted into the vaginal canal during your period.

For overnight pairing, your cups with some period pants or reusable pads work well. These are basically just absorbent leak protection underwear that replaces pads. Just clean them and wear them again.

There are two types of menstrual cups, one for women who have never given birth and another that can be used by those who have had children surgically or vaginally.

Zero Waste Bathroom Toilet Paper

Reusable Toilet Roll: Bundle up old rags or towels to use as toilet paper instead of buying rolls from the store. The average American uses 50 pounds of toilet paper a year! It takes trees to make it and chlorine bleach (which is highly toxic) to clean & process it.

At the very least switch out your regular toilet paper for recycled toilet paper which comes in recycled paper packaging. You can also ditch your plastic toilet brush and chemical toilet cleaner and switch to an eco friendly silicone or wooden brush with zero waste toilet cleaning tablets, for a really eco bathroom! We have a great of wooden toilet brush and other natural bathroom accessories. 

How do you deal with pump tops and spray bottles

If you have made the swap to bars instead of bottles you may be left dealing with your empty pump bottles. Most pumps and spray bottles are strong and can be reused for years. We have been reusing these large shampoo and conditioner bottles and the body wash bottles for cleaning bottles. You can get cleaning tablets and just pop them into the bottle with water, and hey presto eco-friendly sustainable cleaning products!

But even after recycling them, you want to waste them. Many firms are well aware of their environmental footprint and are working towards safer solutions. If you need to bin them, then disassemble the top of the pumps you don't need for recycling.

How to take apart a pump top:

First, remove the tube in straw fashion and using pliers or strong scissors, cut through the side until it starts to break away. Once that happens, you can use a butter knife to pry the rest of it off. You will then have access to the pump mechanism and be able to reuse or recycle as much of it as possible.

There's always room for pampering

If you've looked at all the swaps for your essentials above, remember there is always zero waste bathroom pampering products! Not only are these eco friendly, but they are also just utter guilt-free luxury!

Bath bombs - look for ones like we sell with no packaging, full of shea butter and coconut oil and gorgeous moisturising properties. Also, they smell amazing in your bathroom!

Himalayan Bath Salts - we sell some in a glass jar or in compostable paper packaging!

Divine beauty balms in cardboard packaging, we love the Janni face serum!

We hope you have found our plastic-free bathroom swaps for your essentials useful! Remember to look for essentials wrapped in no packaging or recyclable packaging like glass or cardboard. Try and reuse as much as possible and send as little to landfill as possible. If an item is recyclable then consider reusing it for some DIY projects or to fill with refills in the post.

If you want to learn more, read about the cruelty free and vegan : are they the same thing?

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