Zero Waste Bathroom - 7 Tips to kick single use plastic out of your bathroom
Look around your bathroom and count the plastic products you can see on first sight:
plastic bottles, plastic toothbrush, plastic hair brush, plastic toothpaste, plastic micro beads in the peeling, disposable plastic razor, etc.
Conventional plastic made out of a nonrenewable material called petroleum/fossile fuel, and the drilling for this material is already harming our environment. Plastic is also a material made to last forever, mostly made for single use products, pollutes our soil and water when it ends up on landfill or the ocean.
Not only the packaging can be harmful, the ingredients can be too.
Did you know that they sometimes use plastic micro beads in tooth paste, soap and peelings? Or have you ever wondered what actually is in your body lotion or make up? How it is produced? Tested on animals?
Our skin is the biggest organ we have. It absorbs everything we put on it quickly and it goes straight into our blood. I heard that a woman nowadays put about 500 chemicals on their skin every day!
Synthetic ingredients can be harmful for the environment.
E.g. a lot of conventional sunscreens are dangerous for coral reefs and ocean wild life. In touristic spots turtles and fish are developing cancer, not only because they are stressed with all the people but also because a lot of ingredients in synthetic sunscreens are harmful!
7 tips for a low waste bathroom
Look around your bathroom….Do you still have a lot of Plastic Bottles standing around? Shampoo, Conditioner, body lotion, toothpaste, make up removal, hand soap……etc…
Single use items
And what about single use items? Make up removal pads, tampons, q-tips with plastic shaft, etc.
Don’t get frustrated, the good news? There are heaps of great Alternatives out there for a Zero Waste/ Plastic Free bathroom.
Don’t get overwhelmed
If you are just starting to reduce waste, to reduce your plastic footprint, it will be just too easy to get overwhelmed by the awareness of all the plastic in our house. But don’t be! Just use everything you have until it is finished and then think about an alternative.
You don’t need to change everything in one day!
Most things come in a plastic wrap (cotton pads), tampons, or is only available in plastic bottles in shops…
Not all of us are living close to a zero waste store, or refill shops, so what do we do? We could make some things ourselves, like a peeling with olive oil and salt. No need for any fancy micro plastic peeling.
We could also look for alternatives online, or on markets, and even some bigger super markets offer soaps in paper wrap already.
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7 tips for a low waste bathroom
1) Use reusables
Use reusables: as always that is the better Alternative to single use. Reusable Make up removal pads, Menstrual cups, even reusable q tips made of stainless steel or wood. This will not only reduce your trash, it will also make you save money on the long run.
2) Use natural and organic materials:
Take a look around in the shops, a lot of stuff is made of plastic, but there are products made with natural materials too. Your brush don’t have to be made of plastic, you can find wooden brushes too. If you buy single use q-tips look for organic cotton and paper shafts. Towels made out of organic cotton. Soap dispenser made of ceramic, glass or stainless steel, or use a mason jar as soap dispenser*. You can refill soap and shampoo in some of the zero waste, bulk stores if you have some around you. Use a wooden nail scrub brush* (or an old bamboo toothbrush) instead of a plastic one. Always try to chose natural beauty products!
4) Use solid Soap and Shampoo:
There are a lot of great products out there already. Try to find some natural cosmetic products.
Try to look for palm oil free (or at least organic and fair trade palm oil) because the huge amount of palm oil requested all over the world is causing that they burn and destroy a lot of rain forest areas, causing death and destroying homes of so many wild animals (like Orangutans), and destroying huge amounts of life important trees.
On markets and in a lot of supermarkets they sell soap bars in paper or unwrapped. If you have a place where you can refill your shampoo bottles, awesome! Use it! Mostly some organic shops or zero waste/bulk stores have this opportunity. Some online shops too.
5) The tiny invisible danger of micro beads/micro plastic:
Besides all the visible plastic in the bathroom we sadly have invisible plastic too.
In a lot of beauty products like peelings or tooth paste the producers add micro plastic called micro beads to get a better cleaning result. They could easily switch to natural materials but plastic is always cheaper!
These tiny plastic bits are getting washed into our water easily because no filter is fine enough to catch them. So the pollute our water and nature and end up in our food chain because fish and mussels digest them and it’s in the salt water so seas salt has it already included too.
They have different names so it is not easy to know if a product has micro plastic. You are safe if you buy real natural-organic products though.
The most common names for micro beads in beauty products are:
Polyethylen (PE), Polypropylen (PP), Polyethylenterephthalat (PET), Nylon-12, Nylon-6, Polyurethan (PUR), Ethylen-Vinylacetat-Copolymere (EVA), Acrylates Copolymer (AC), Acrylates Crosspolymer (ACS), Polyquaternium-7 (P-7)
Watch this video for more informations about micro beads-> Story of stuff.
A great way to avoid these micro beads is buying organic, natural products or making your own DIY beauty products.
6) Make your own Beauty Products.
It is very tough to find affordable beauty products in plastic free packaging. So if you don’t want to refuse make up you could look for the happy choice: Natural and vegan.
Some stuff is easy to make yourself with products you might have in your kitchen already. Some are possible to make at home but might be a little more challenging. Like the mascara.
Stuff like Deodorant, Peeling, Mosquito Repellent are cheaper and healthier if you make them your own.
7) Get a bum gun
If you have been to South East Asia or some Arabic countries you might have used a Bum Gun already. A water shower for your bum 😉 Since I move around a lot, I have a portable one called Happy Po (Happy Bum) thats even available in the German Stores called DM.
You will find a lot of options of portable bides/bum guns* online.
This way you could reduce the amount of toilet-paper to a minimum, or use reusable cotton wipes (make your own from old towels) for a zero waste toilet.
In the linked blog posts below I tried to cover the most common topics of zero waste bathroom/beauty/body care products:
Did you make some changes towards a low waste/plastic free bathroom yet?
Let me know in the comments below…
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