Yesterday I told you about how I went shampoo-free. Obviously a huge environmental benefit of that is that there’s absolutely no plastic involved.
Now I’m not going to get all preachy about the amount of plastic you may or may not have in your bathroom. This, for me, is the major failing of the zero waste movement. We all know that single-use plastic is awful and we all know why we should cut down. Talking down to people about the choices they make really doesn’t help.
Why We’re Aiming for a Zero Waste Bathroom
I honestly don’t think that achieving perfection with zero waste is achievable. At least for us as a family of four with two young children. If it is for you, then fantastic, that is amazing! For us, a commitment to cut down on our plastic waste as much as we possibly can is enough of a goal. Better that we all do something towards cutting down single-use plastic than just have a few people living perfect waste-free lives!
The bathroom is one room in the house where plastic seems completely unavoidable. Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, the list goes on… And of course, everything we buy comes in single-use plastic containers. Yes, we can all put all of this in the recycling but as War On Plastic uncovered, that’s not really working out how we all think it is.
So what can we, as consumers, do? I’m not suggesting that you all stop buying shampoo and conditioner immediately like I did. What I am suggesting is making a few little changes.
What We Did To Cut Down Our Plastic Waste
As a family, we’ve had plenty of conversations about recycling, plastic waste and the impact on the environment. So when I told the girls that we were going to cut down on plastic in the bathroom, they were totally on board.
Don’t Throw Everything Away!
Now I don’t know about you, but I seem to receive a lot of bubble bath sets for Christmas. The girls and Andy get their fair share too and our bathroom cupboard has been groaning under the weight of our festive spoils. Whilst it’s really tempting to just get rid of it all and start again, it’s totally at odds with cutting down on waste.
Instead, I’ve let our well-meaning relatives know that we’d rather not have toiletries for Christmas this year. In the meantime we’ve been working our way through everything we were bought. Without buying anything new. In the case of anything unopened I’m not going to use, I’ve donated it to a local women’s shelter. I’d rather things were used by someone than thrown away.
Switch To Soap!
The quickest and easiest change we made towards a zero waste bathroom was to ditch the handwash. We went back to bars of soap. It’s worked out cheaper too and so many soaps are available wrapped in paper. We like Faith in Nature soaps and ones from the Body Shop too.
There are solid bars, like soap, available as an alternative to many products too. I bought a Friendly Soap bar for shaving and it’s lasted me five months so far. Andy hasn’t used it for his face yet, but it’s still cut down on the amount of shaving gel being bought.
Shower gel is another thing we ditched. Once we’d used up all of the those well-meant Christmas gifts anyway. I bought a different soap for the shower and everyone has their own scrubbie thing to use it with.
A word of advice with soap bars of any kind: make sure they aren’t left sitting in a pool of water. Get a soap dish that can drain and they’ll last so much longer.
Buy In Bulk
This isn’t for everyone and this isn’t something that we do. If you can afford to buy in bulk though, like these huge containers from Faith In Nature, then do! You’re definitely cutting down on buying small plastic bottles every time you need a new shower gel or whatever. (An alternative to doing this is to find your nearest zero waste shop and refill your small bottles).
In ‘Aiming For A Zero Waste Bathroom: Part Two’ I’ll take through how we’ve almost eliminated the plastic from brushing our teeth and how you can make some more swaps to cut down on your single-use bathroom plastic!