Only a few years ago it was completely normal to see an array of shampoos, conditioners, leave in conditioners, shower gels etc in our bathroom. I didn’t think twice about trying new products, and I had a cupboard full of half used bottles. I’d always recycled, but hadn’t really thought about cutting out the plastic in the first place.
So how do you make your bathroom essentials more eco?
Firstly, finish using the products that you already have, there’s nothing eco about throwing out perfectly good products just because they are in a plastic bottle.
Next, when you are ready to buy new products, consider what products you actually need. Are all those different lotions and potions necessary or can you cut it down to a few essential products?
Whats in my bathroom?
- Toilet roll – We used Who Gives A Crap toilet roll. They use environmentally friendly materials and donate half of their profits to help build toilets for those in need.
- Shampoo bar – I first tried shampoo bars years ago and they had no lather and just seemed leave my hair knotty and squeaky. Shampoo bars have come a long way! I find they lather just as much as liquid shampoo and the bars seem to last forever. The Friendly Soap shampoo bar is one of my favourites, but I’ve tried and liked lots of others too. We keep ours in a tin, which saves it from sitting in water and getting soggy.
- Conditioner – I have long, thick, curly hair, and so far I haven’t found a conditioner bar that can tame my crazy frizz (please comment below if you have the conditioner bar answer!) But all is not lost, if a conditioner bar isn’t for you try your local health food store. Mine offers refills of Faith in Nature shampoos and conditioners, so I take my bottles there to be refilled. There are other brands that offer similar refill options, and you can buy Faith in Nature in 5litre tubs if you wish.
- Safety razor – This one is a bit of an initial investment (approx £20-25) but since buying my Naked Necessities safety razor kit I have never looked back! The kit comes with a shaving soap and a pack of blades. I also invested in a blade bank, which is effectively a piggy bank for your used blades. This way your used blades can be safely recycled when the tin is full (which will take a loooong time – years in fact).
- Body wash – I don’t know when the supposed need for shower gels came in to play, but there really is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned bar of soap! We like to put ours in a soap pouch, which doubles as an exfoliator and is compostable at home. Win win.
Shower gel – I don’t expect guests to use our soap pouch, so we do have a small shower gel for any family or friends who stay over. This is a great way of using all of those Christmas gift sets that sit in the back of the cupboard!
- Flannels/cloth wipes – Forget baby wipes, they are super wasteful and are clogging up our sewers. One of the most simple swaps you can make as a family is to use a good old fashioned flannel. Dirty faces – use a flannel. Washing in the shower – flannel. Sticky fingers – flannel. You get the idea. It’ll save money in the long run and you’ll find they are much kinder to the skin. They don’t need to be confined to the bathroom either, cloth wipes are great for using when out and about.
- Toothpaste – There are lots of different eco friendly toothpaste options out there, from toothpaste tabs to powder, toothpaste to toothsoap, coming in a range of glass jars and foil tubes. We are currently giving the Waleda toothpaste a go. And if you really can’t bear to give up your standard toothpaste brand, then check out terracycle for ways to recycle household products.
- Toothbrushes – It is recommended that you change your toothbrush approximately every 3-4 months, with a family of 4 that’s around 16 toothbrushes a year going to landfill. Bamboo toothbrushes are compostables at home and are therefore a much more eco friendly alternative. Just be aware that most brush heads are not compostable and may have to be removed and recycled prior to composting.
- Sanitary products – I use a I Mooncup, which is a reusable menstrual cup, but there are plenty of products out there. From cloth sanitary pads to period underwear, the choice in eco sanitary products is enough for anyone to ditch the disposables.
- Cleaning products – We started using Splosh cleaning products around 9 months ago and since then have saved 20 plastic bottles from going to waste. They use natural ingredients wherever possible and their products smell great too!
“Zero waste” is unachievable for most people, and although there is still plastic in our bathroom these simple swaps have made such a difference to the amount of plastic that we do use. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and it doesn’t have to be difficult.
I’d love to hear about your favourite eco bathroom products, and what swaps you have found to be the most simple!