What's in our Zero Waste Bathroom
in Sustainability on Plastic Free
The bathroom was actually the first room where I managed to reduce our plastic waste almost entirely, with the one exception of kids toothpaste. We still buy toothpaste for Roscoe in a plastic tube as I have not yet found a suitable alternative for him and would obviously never want to risk his oral health. Other than that everything we use in the bathroom now is plastic free, though its taken a few trials and tribulations testing various different products to get to this stage.
One revelation for me was discovering whilst we were travelling that we didn't need all the bathroom products we had accumulated at home. We travelled for 14 weeks with just soap, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste, cloth nappies and cloth wipes. Now we are back in the UK I have started shaving and wearing deodorant again (not really sure why I feel happier when I do these things now we're back, but that's a whole post to itself). We also have toilet paper and cleaning products to source now we're staying in one place for a while. Here is a summary of everything we use at the moment, do let me know what you use or what you've found to work for you, sharing experiences and ideas is the way forward. I am loving how much momentum this zero waste movement has gained recently.
1. Shampoos and Soap Bars
Switching to a shampoo bar was one of the best changes I've made, my hair feels so much healthier, can last longer between washes and the bars are really great for travelling. I'm aware they don't always work for everyone though and it takes a while to figure out what might work for you. At the moment I get our bars from a mixture of sources. I will always love LUSH , particularly their shampoo bars, but I also like to buy soaps from small, independent businesses whenever I see them. Currently in love with this woodland scented soap from Eco Soaps,which smells absolutely divine, like taking a wander through the woods in the sunshine after heavy rainfall. I'm also currently trialling Emma's Complete Bar as a slightly cheaper alternative to LUSH shampoo bars. Both of which I bought from a local, independent shop. Other brands to mention are Friendly Soap, which are particularly good for travelling and Nurturing Soul Handmade Soaps. Ecotots always have a good range of vegan, handmade soaps in stock.
2. Plastic-free toilet paper
I used to feel so guilty buying toilet paper wrapped in plastic, most of it couldn't be recycled and it just seemed so utterly ridiculous to throw packaging away that was never really required in the first place. We now have 3-monthly deliveries from Who Gives a Crap, the main reasons I love them are not only that their toilet paper is made of 100% recycled office paper but also that they seem really committed to making a difference and donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets. There are other plastic/packaging free toilet paper delivery services though, so it's worth looking around. The rolls generally work out to be a little more expensive that what you would pay per roll for the cheapest option in a supermarket, but I honestly prefer the paper itself and because they deliver, you don't have to remember to buy toilet paper on your weekly shop.
3. Bamboo Toothbrush and Plastic-Free Toothpaste
Switching from plastic to a bamboo toothbrush is another one of my favourite switches, they seem to clean my teeth better than their plastic counterparts and can easily be composted/used as a spare washing up brush once we've finished with them. However I did struggle with getting a plastic free toothpaste which worked for me. I am keen to still use one containing fluoride and I need to be careful with the ingredients as I have rather sensitive teeth. At the moment I use fluoride-containing DentTabs, which I store in a jar and fill up at my local zero waste store. They appear to be doing the job so far and my dentist couldn't see any difference when I went for my last check up. I have struggled getting a plastic-free toothpaste alternative for kids though, currently researching that one.
4. Plastic Free Deodorant
It took me a while to find one of these that actually does the job, and I mean really works, not just in a 'smell OK for a hippy kinda way'. Many soap/shampoo bar brands do their own version of deodorant, usually in the form of a bar which resembles a soap bar in many ways. However I am currently loving these earth conscious deodorants, they smell amazing and work all day for me. Of course, the better alternative would be to just not wear any deodorant. Like most ecofriendly lifestyle changes, there is a drop of standards involved and it's about determining how far, as an individual, you are comfortable letting those standards go.
5. Safety Razor
I tend to go through phases with shaving, sometimes I shave my legs everyday and sometimes I go for weeks fully embracing my inner hairy hippy. Basically, I have a very complex relationship with shaving, a confliction between my feminist values, a dedication to smashing the patriarchy, saving time in the shower and that amazing super smooth feeling when you get in bed after a hot shower and shave. However, at least with a safety razor my shaving produces zero waste and although a greater initial investment, I actually gained my money back pretty quickly as the blades only need replacing every few months.
6. Cloth Nappies and Wipes
I always keep a small pile of cloth nappies and wipes in the bathroom for changing. I find changing nappies in the bathroom the best way as that is where we keep the potty and where I will wash down soiled nappies before storing them in the nappy bucket. You can read about our cloth nappy routine here and why we made the switch to cloth nappies and wipes here. For more information and advice The Nappy Lady is a great place to start. Our cloth wipe collection is mostly made up of cheeky wipes plus random old bits of cut up cloth from around the house, both are very versatile and work much better than flimsy disposable wipes. Our favourite cloth nappy brands are Bambino Mio, TotsBots and Baba and Boo. It's worth checking out any local nappy libraries near you where you can try a few different ones to see what might work for you and your baby. Many councils run incentive schemes to encourage parents with babies under 12 months to give cloth nappies a go, these schemes are often under advertised though, so give them a research. The cloth nappy community on instragram is also a great place to find advice and source cloth nappies second hand, at least half of our collection are hand me downs.
I shall finish this post with a couple of wonderful sites where you can source items similar to those above, plus many more - EcoTots and Babipur.
And remember it's not a few people in the world doing this whole zero waste thing perfectly that will help solve current global problems, but lots of people simultaneously attempting to do it imperfectly.
Thanks for reading.