12 easy ways to reduce waste in your bathroom
If you have ever decided to clean out your bathroom cupboards you may all of a sudden realize just how many small pieces of plastic and numerous mini bottles you have contained in those two little cupboards where every thing just seems to end up being pushed to the back.Making some simple swaps in your bathroom can make a big difference. In this article I want to take you through 12 simple changes and actions you can make to make your bathroom less wasteful.
1. Use what you have…Stop buying new
Do you have numerous bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap hanging around but you keep buying more, or the latest and greatest?
It is time to STOP and use it up.
Don’t throw out half empty bottles just to make it look tidier, store them somewhere and work through using it up before you start buying ECO products to replace them
2. Get a Bamboo Toothbrush.
Out with the plastic and in with the bamboo!!! Most (you have to check just in case you are being green washed) of the bamboo tooth brushes are compostable.
This doesn’t mean they will compost in landfill, but it does mean it will break down in your compost, but you must remove the bristles first, they are not compostable. Or if you don’t have a compost, just bury it in the garden.
Fact: More than 850 Million plastic toothbrushes are disposed of in landfills every year in the US.
3. Try the tab….Toothpaste Tablets
Nibble, brush and go… Plastic-free, zero-waste, and eco-friendly, toothpaste tablets are the sustainable oral care solution you've been looking for…Toothpaste tablets, are usually sold in glass jars, reusable tins or recyclable plastic bottles.
Where as toothpaste is in a tube Traditionally made of a combo of materials (i.e. aluminum, plastic), that is near impossible to recycle. There are some companies like TerraCycle that offer collection points for some oral care products, but unfortunately most of the toothpaste tubes end up in landfill.
FACT: Americans throw out 400 million tubes annually, according to a report from Recycling International.
4. Don’t toss the floss
Regular dental floss is purely just a waxed nylon that has been flavoured and rolled up into a handy little single use plastic container. Nylon is drived from crude oil and your little piece of daily floss is going to end up in landfill forever.
There are some fantastic alternatives these days like silk floss which comes in a reusable glass tube that can be refilled over and over again and the best part is that the silk floss can go in your compost bin and leave no trace behind.
Or if you want to try something a bit different… grab a water flosser. It shoots out jets of water to clean deep between teeth and below the gumline meaning you eliminate the daily waste of flossing plus get a deeper clean than with traditional flossing.
5. Bring back the handkerchief – no more tissues
Using tissues is such a waste and since I found out that they are not flushable (something about the fact they can hold copious amounts of wets not without falling apart) I have returned to the old Hanky.
The old hanky is nothing to be sneezed at. It is soft, made from 100%cotton, and will never shred or leave embarrassing traces of tissue on your face or nose.When it gets dirty, you can simply toss it in the wash with everything else.
The best news is that the tissue monster that hides in your washing machine will be banished and never to be seen again!
6. Out with the single use make up pads and in with the reusable ones
When going through a skincare routine, it is common to use up to 2-3 single use cotton pads per day, throwing them away after each use. Washable cotton pads are reusable, made from organic cotton or I have seen some woollen ones and the best news is that they can be washed with your normal laundry.
Some brands even come with a handy laundry bag so they won’t get lost in the washing machine. Perfect for makeup removal and any facial or skincare routine, they are actually softer and larger than your standard single-use cotton pads.
7. Use sustainable loo paper
Believe it or not there are still some brands of loo paper that are cutting down forests so you can wipe your bum. There are even still some individually wrapped rolls that are of course then wrapped in a use less piece of plastic to keep them all together.
Make sure you look to buy toilet paper that is made from 100% recycled materials or is tree free and comes in a paper packaging instead of plastic.
Some of my favourite brands are:
Earth Smart – Available in supermarkets
Paseo 360 – available in supermartets
Smart Ass - https://www.smartass.co.nz
8. Avoid Microbead containing products
Fortunately today, there are dozens of brands available that produce all-natural and organic options for personal hygiene and skincare products but there are still a few hanging around.Microbeads are micro plastic pieces found in some exfoliating agents, cleansing products, and even some toothpaste.
They were originally put in these products to create a grainy texture for exfoliation. A single bottle of facial scrub may contain as many as 300,000 microbeads and are present in many personal care products. These tiny beads can cause massive damage within our waterways and are incredibly harmful on our eco system and toxic to our marine life.
Make sure you check the ingredients of your favourite brand of exfoliating cleanser or personal care products. Stay clear of the following ingredients and if you have products with these ingredients in them, these ones I would dispose of without using them:Polyethylene (PE)Polypropylene (PP)Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)Nylon (PA)
9. Try reusable menstrual products and ditch the disposable
FYI many single-use sanitary pads and tampons contain plastic and will potentially never break down in a landfill.
Menstrual Cups: A menstrual cup is a safe, easy-to-use, and hygienic alternative to pads and tampons. They are essentially a small cup with that you insert into your vagina to collect your menstrual flow requiring emptying (not replacing) every few hours. Most cups are made from medical-grade silicone and are latex-free and odourless.
Pads and underwear Alternatively, you can opt for using reusable cloth pads or period underwear. These are both fantastic options that will contain your flow and then you simply pop them in the wash with everything else.
Read the full article on my BLOG here to learn more….
10. The Safety Razor – out with the old and in with the old
For the guys and some ladies…..there is one manly activity that can create a mountain of waste over the years and that is shaving with disposable shavers and shaving cream.Are disposable razors recyclable? NO.
"Disposable" razor blade cartridges and handles cannot be recycled because they are made of many different materials, including plastic, steel and rubber.Firstly you could just buy an electric shaver which is an upfront cost but will save you money in the long run. It also means that you dispose of the blade only once every 12 – 18 months. Replacement blades are around $50 - $80 each if they are available (make sure you get one you can replace the blades in).
This is an extremely low waste option for shaving as the shavers will generally last 3 – 5 years depending on the quality of the razor and you will have one blade to dispose of every 12 – 18 months.Secondly you could get an old fashioned safety razor. Many fear the old fashioned safety razors but given that this is still the tool of preference for the barbers, who are the shaving experts, it makes you wonder why they ever disappeared out of mainstream supermarket shelves.
There is one main reason…the Safety razors are much cheaper: the stainless steel razor handle lasts a lifetime and blade replacements are available online or in barber shops and cost around $25 for 100 double sided blades (you can pay more for higher quality blades too). With a disposable blade you get around 3 blades for $20, if you are lucky.
It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of the lost art of using a safety razor, but ultimately you have more control in angle and pressure. This way of shaving also reduces skin irritation. The celebrated advantage of multi-blades (the first blade lifts, the second cuts) actually causes ingrown hairs by cutting follicles below the skin line.
You could potentially recycle the blades from the safety razor. If you carefully collect them in a tin can with just a slot in the top, you will generally be able to take them to a scrap metal collection and recycle them that way but you cannot ever put then in a recycle bin.Or you could grow a beard and therefore never have to shave, obviously this is a huge waste reducer, and for the bearded ones, you can buy wooden beard combs and brushes if you want to keep it au natural.Fact: In the US alone, 2 billion razors are thrown away every year.
Check out www.mancave.co.nz and www.3wisemen.co.nz for options
11. Get the foam out of here!
It is time to move back to a shaving brush and soap.The bristle brushes cost anywhere from $25 - $400 (uh huh!!) or you can often get them as part of a shaving kit including the brush, razor, spare blades and soap for as little as $100.
A solid shaving soap is likely to last 6 months or more even if you are using it every day. The soaps also vary in price but you would be looking at anywhere from $30 per soap.Many of the soaps just come in a cardboard box that you then add to your shaving bowl.
You may be able to compost the cardboard the soap come in so it would be zero waste.But by using a bristle brush and shaving soap, you can minimize waste significantly by simply not buying disposable shaving foam containers.
Check out www.mancave.co.nz and www.3wisemen.co.nz for options
12. Ditch the bottle and go solid
The latest trend that has been hitting the shelves is the solid bars for shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser and would you believe it…soap.The funny thing is this is how they used to buy soap in the past, they would buy it by the slice and by weight.
NZ company ethique has been on a mission to ditch the bottle and it is interesting to see so many other companies now following suit.A concentrated block of shampoo replaces 3 bottles of liquid shampoo.
Basically if you look on the label of a shampoo bottle the only ingredient that is not in a bar is aqua, but that is ok because you just jump in the shower and you are surrounded with aqua so you can add it in the shower instead of having it in a bottle.
One of our favourite brands is https://purepeony.com
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