Take a look in your bathroom cabinet. Chances are, you're staring at a lot of plastic bottles. Our bathrooms are unfortunately one of the places where plastic seems to abound in all of our everyday products.
If you're wondering how to be more sustainable in the bathroom, we've found that a good place to start is the reduction of plastic products, and the best way to reduce the level of plastic in your bathroom is to tackle one product group at a time. Here are some of the best eco friendly and plastic free alternatives to standard bathroom products that we have come across.
TIP 1: Switch to reusable swabs
Did you know that every day, around 1.5 BILLION single-use cotton buds/swabs are produced? Sadly, single-use swabs and buds are a massive source of pollution in our oceans. Thankfully, there is a solution.
Reusable silicone 'cotton swabs' are a sustainable and sanitary alternative to standard single-use cotton swabs, cotton buds and Q-tips, with the added bonus that they can be used again and again (they are designed to last more than 1000+ uses)! What's more, cleaning reusable silicone swabs is quick and easy using just soap and water.
While reusable silicone swabs are the best sustainable solution to this issue, we get that they aren't everyone's cup of tea. If you fall into this category, biodegradable bamboo swabs are also a good alternative to standard plastic swabs for those needing a single-use option.
Make sure you choose 100% biodegradable bamboo cotton swabs which have a stick made from sustainable bamboo, and ends made from natural cotton.
TIP 2: Revolutionise your beauty routine with reusable makeup remover pads
Ditch the single use makeup wipes and invest in a set of reusable cotton makeup remover pads - a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to single use cotton rounds and makeup wipes.
Reusable makeup remover pads are super handy for removing foundation, eye makeup and face masks, and for applying skin cleansers, treatments and toners. Just one reusable pad saves hundreds of single use wipes.
Once a week, pop your reusable makeup pads into the washing machine on a gentle, cold wash. Afterwards, hang your sustainable makeup pads to dry in your bathroom and they'll be ready to use again!
TIP 3: Turn to tree-friendly toilet paper
Did you know that most regular toilet paper is made by cutting down trees? The average Australian household (ie 2.6 people) uses around 409 rolls of toilet paper each year. That's a lot of trees for a product that is literally flushed down the toilet!
Do the planet a favour and try using recycled toilet paper in your home bathroom. Apart from felling less trees, recycled toilet paper also uses less energy and water in the manufacturing process than standard toilet paper, What's more, the quality of recycled toilet paper has increased dramatically in recent years as it has increased in popularity.
Some of our favourite sustainable toilet paper providers are below:
- Wipe That: this brand is 100% Australian owned and operated. All of their toilet paper products are made to be environmentally friendly, plastic free and vegan.
- Who Gives a Crap: WGAC are basically the OGs of recycled toilet paper delivery - they've been gracing our bathrooms with sustainable toilet paper since 2013! What's more, WGAC donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
- No Issues: the name of this brand had us sold. All of their toilet paper products are made from 100% bamboo rather than from trees.
- Eco Cheeks: another Australian owned and operated company, Eco Cheeks delivers a completely bleach-free option for those wanting to reduce the impact on the environment of chemicals used in the bleaching process. Eco Cheeks toilet paper is made from bamboo and strives to be plastic free.
Image source: Who Gives A Crap
TIP 4: Give up the bottle - switch to bar soap, shampoo and conditioner
Did you know that 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are thrown out globally every year? What's worse, the majority of these bottles are made from materials that can't be recycled.
Try making the switch to bar shampoo, conditioner and soap!
Liquid shampoo and conditioner is typically made up of active ingredients, filled out with water. Solid/bar shampoo and conditioner contains the active ingredient with no added water, letting the water you are already using in your shower (or bath) do the work! These bars are typically packaged in recyclable or compostable boxes, meaning that they are truly zero-waste.
Solid bars are also really economical - they can last up to six times longer than bottled products (depending on the product) because they’re super-concentrated.
We have tried and tested bars from a number of different brands - our favourite brands at the moment are:
- Ethique: this company started as a small one-person operation in New Zealand and is now delivering eco friendly bar shampoo and conditioner into bathrooms all over the globe! So far, Ethique have saved over 20 million plastic bottles from entering landfill, and they have a goal to reach half a billion by 2030. Our favourite sustainable shampoo bar from the Ethique range is the Pinkalicious bar - it has a super sweet grapefruit and vanilla scent that smells good enough to eat!
- The Australian Natural Soap Company: ANSC is based in Melbourne, Australia and focuses on making sustainable hair and body products inspired by Australian botanicals. Fun fact - they also make solid beard shampoo! Enough said!
Image Source: The Australian Natural Soap Company
TIP 5: Brush with a bamboo toothbrush
Here's a scary fact - every toothbrush you have ever used in your life is still out there somewhere. Given the fact that we are meant to replace our toothbrushes every three months, you can bet that there are a LOT of old toothbrushes lying around in landfill, where they will remain for around 400 years.
Banish the plastic brush and switch to a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo toothbrushes have a handle made from 100% biodegradable, sustainably-grown bamboo. This means that once it is time to replace your toothbrush, all you need to do is snap off the head or remove the bristles (these are not biodegradable and will need to be thrown in the bin) and you can then bury the handle in the garden or in your compost where it will safely break down in the soil within 6 months. Simple and sustainable!
Why aren't the bristles on a bamboo toothbrush recyclable, you ask? Toothbrush bristles are typically made from Nylon-6, which is free from the toxin BPA (Bisphenol A) but which is sadly not biodegradable. The reason for this is that unfortunately there aren’t any good quality plastic-free alternatives on the market. Currently, the only natural material which has the same properties as nylon is either pig or badger hair - materials which do not meet the health and safety standards required for correct oral care.
Wondering how to store your bamboo toothbrush? As the handle is made from bamboo, we wouldn't recommend storing your bamboo toothbrush in a cup, as the bottom of the cup may gather excess water from your toothbrush and cause the end of your toothbrush to grow mould. Instead, try to find a wall-mounted toothbrush holder, or a toothbrush stand with a hole in the bottom, like this nifty little bamboo toothbrush stand pictured below:
TIP 6: Try plastic-free deodorant
Deodorant - the majority of us can't live without it, but unfortunately this has led to a massive landfill issue, particularly with respect to roll-on deodorant, which is generally packaged in thick plastic packaging which is not recyclable. Looking to reduce your contribution to landfill? Opt for aerosol cans which are generally recyclable in your kerbside recycling bin.
However an even better option would be to try out plastic free deodorant. Woohoo Body offer a range of fun natural deodorant sticks that are packaged in a recyclable cardboard tube - so when the stick runs out, you can just throw the tube in your kerbside recycling bin!
Ethique also offer a plastic-free deodorant stick in a range of scents. Like the Woohoo deodorant range, these are also packaged in a cardboard tube. Botanica (pictured below) is our favourite scent from the Ethique range of deodorants.
We hope our little guide has been helpful in introducing you to some eco friendly alternatives to standard bathroom products. If you have any other sustainable bathroom product alternatives or ideas to share on how to be more sustainable in the bathroom, please leave us a comment below - we would love to hear all of your ideas for the perfect eco friendly and sustainable bathroom.
Until next time,
The Simple Sustainable Store xx