One of the best ways to transition your home into a zero waste home is to go room to room. Most people start in the bathroom. This is because bamboo toothbrushes are a gateway to sustainability, and have been shown as a quick and easy solution to the mass of trash created due to oral hygiene. Bamboo toothbrushes have the benefits of being eco friendly, compostable, cheap to buy, easy to dispose of and be created from the fastest growing plant in the world. If you want to learn more about the benefits of bamboo or how to properly dispose of your bamboo toothbrushes, check out these other blogs.
Once you have your bamboo toothbrush, and you find yourself squeezing a single-use plastic tube of toothpaste onto the biodegradable bristles, you may look around in dismay. Not only is the toothpaste packaged in large amounts of single-use plastic, but your shampoos, conditioners, loofas, beauty products, razers, and just about everything else in the bathroom. For this reason, we have created a quick list with the top tips to transition your bathroom into a sustainable bathroom.
1. Teeth Hygiene
You have probably already gotten yourself a bamboo toothbrush but just in case you haven't, make sure to check out the Booboo toothbrushes. These toothbrushes can be delivered to your door every couple of months. Depending on how many occupants you have in your home, you can choose the number and frequency of your deliveries. Set up whether you want adult or child size toothbrushes delivered to your home every month, three months, or six months. Dentists recommend that you switch out your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles get frayed. This is to ensure your teeth and gums receive the proper exfoliation.
The next step is your toothpaste and floss. Luckily, toothpaste pellets or toothpaste powders have been developed to minimize the traditional squeezable toothpaste-paste. The toothpaste pellets are stored in a glass jar and are easy to separate and transport. Toothpaste powder requires you to dip your toothpaste into the cleaning agent. Biodegradable floss options have also come onto the market, and are the only way to minimize the microfibres created from petroleum-based floss.
2. Hair Hygiene
The next items most of us use on a daily or weekly basis is our shampoo and conditioners. While a growing number of people have opted for the No-Poo method, using apple cider vinegar, baking soda rinses, or hot water may not be for everyone. Now there is also an abundant amount of shampoo and conditioner bars available to eliminate the plastic bottles for hair care products. Shampoo and conditioner bars may seem pricy, but the 10 dollar bar can easily last 6-12 months. To use them, simply rub them in your palms to create a foam and apply as you normally would on your hair. There are shampoo and conditioner bars created to target specific hair goals and to fit your hair type.
3. Body Lotions and Skincare
While all the moisturizers, serums, and masks all need to come in some form of packaging, an increasing number of companies are choosing the recyclable and sustainable route. Glass containers can be recycled infinitely and other companies offer to refill your containers. Both of these options are significantly better for our planet than non-recyclable skincare containers. To find what works best for you, find out what companies offer in your town. If you live remotely shipping your empty containers back for refilling will make less sense than if you live near the dispensaries. The carbon footprint associated with shipping products also needs to be considered. So if you live in an isolated place, opt to bulk buy and choose products packaged in glass or tin.
4. Bulk Buy
Most towns now have some form of bulk food stores available. What many people do not realize is that there are frequent sections in the store designated to bulk cleaning products. Whether these are particular soaps for laundry or dishwashing detergent, or shampoos and conditioners. Take the time to explore or ask the employees at your local bulk food store. You may be surprised by the number of options you have to bring your own containers to fill up on shampoos, conditioners, lotions, bathroom cleaning products, and more!
Just like toothbrushes, razors are another one of those plastic items that can easily be replaced by a more sustainable alternative. Unfortunately, the price switch is not quite as attractive as with bamboo toothbrushes. Single-use razors are sold for a fraction of the price of higher quality handles with disposable razors. However, even those higher-quality razors encourage consumers to throw out the used heads with plastic and blades attached. There are several alternatives for shaving with the old school safety razors making a sustainable come back. However, many people are scared by the lack of flexibility of the safety razor and the possibility of cuts for the untrained user. Luckily other companies have developed metal alternatives to high-quality plastic razors that move and shave with the fluidity we are used to. Unlike plastic counterparts, they only require changing the steel blade every couple of months. This means there is significantly less waste, and even a possibility to recycle the properly contained metal.
6. Bathroom Cleaning Products
It would not be a sustainable bathroom without keeping it clean and hygienic in a sustainable fashion. There are plenty of DIY recipes for bathroom, sink, and toilet cleaners frequently using vinegar, baking soda, and citrus peel combinations. If you prefer to purchase your cleaning products there are companies who have developed alternatives to the harsh chemical-filled cleaning products available on most supermarket shelves. There are some companies who have also figured out that a dry bar like the concentration of cleaning products can be shipped to customers, to minimize packaging and carbon emissions associated with transport. These concentrated tabs can then be dropped into the water in spray dispensers to produce a fantastic cleaning product for the fraction of the environmental cost. When you are wiping down your bathroom with these sustainable products you can also choose to use old cloths, rags, or clothes instead of sponges. Using old garments or materials can extend the life cycle of textiles and stop unwanted, un-donatable clothes, from heading straight to landfill. Simply clean your bathroom with pieces of an old T-shirt then wash it to reuse next time!
7. Toilet Paper
There are 27,000 trees cut down every day just for the production of toilet paper. For this reason, you cannot have a sustainable bathroom when you're using any old bleached three-ply toilet paper. Most supermarkets will have recycled paper toilet paper available, or even toilet paper that has not been made out of trees. Using virgin trees to wipe just seems unnecessary and destructive. If you wish to eliminate even recycled toilet paper there is an even better alternative. The bidet or bum gum is a backside cleaning system used in many European and Asian countries for decades. The theory of cleaning yourself with water as opposed to simply wiping with a piece of paper proves to be more hygienic and eco friendly. You may use some water, but the water used to spray yourself is significantly smaller than the water required to grow, harvest, and process toilet paper. It may seem strange at first but think of it this way. If you got poop particles on any other part of your body.. would you wipe it down with paper? or use water?
So here you have it, the top 7 tips on how to change your bathroom into a more eco-friendly room in your home. Let us know if you have any tips and tricks we have missed!