If you want to reduce your plastic use and become more environmentally conscious, the bathroom is a great place to start. Here are a few must-have eco-friendly products to get started with.
October 9, 2020
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A fellow sustainable lifestyle enthusiast once told me: if you’re looking to start an eco-friendly lifestyle without breaking the bank, the best place to start is in your bathroom. When it comes to self-care, we often find ourselves using a lot of beauty products. But once we’re finished with them – or in my case, discover an abundance of lost or forgotten failed skincare products – we’re left with a huge pile of non-biodegradable and non recyclable plastic containers and unfinished products. If you want to reduce your waste and incorporate more eco-friendly practices into your daily pampering routine, here are five simple and affordable eco-friendly must-haves for your bathroom.
1. Have you tried a bamboo toothbrush?
You’ve probably seen the ads on Facebook or Instagram trying to convince you to swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo version. Well, if you haven’t tried one yet, you totally should! Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three months, which equates to around four toothbrushes per year. If the average life expectancy is 80 years, that adds up to more than 300 toothbrushes in just one person’s lifetime. Now multiply that by a few billion people. All those plastic toothbrushes will take around 400 years to decompose. But a bamboo version will take anywhere from just a few weeks to 10 years. That's definitely something to think about the next time you’re brushing your teeth.
2. Ditch tampons and switch to a menstrual cup
Let’s be honest, while essential, tampons and pads are not the most sustainable items in the world. But when it’s that time of the month, what can you do? – especially when it’s one of those heavier flows. Is there any other option? Turns out, there is! Menstrual cups are far more eco-friendly. Plus, they are safer, more hygienic, and can hold more flow. I’ve been using a menstrual cup for over a year now and it has transformed my monthly periods. I’ll admit, it was a bit of a challenge learning to use one in the beginning. But once you get the hang of it, they are actually much easier than tampons. If you decide to try one, my advice: be patient. It might take some practice. Then, once you get the hang of it, they are more comfortable and more cost efficient in the long run.
3. Opt for roll-on deodorant instead of spray
Two things always stop me from buying spray deodorant: 1) the memory of near-suffocating smells in the girl’s locker room after gym class and 2) the fact that spray deodorants contribute to air pollution. Every time you spray a can of deodorant, you release harmful chemicals into the environment. A 100ml bottle of body spray might seem harmless compared to the fossil fuels emissions from cars and factories. However, one recent study showed that the chemicals used in some deodorants, perfumes, and other products can emit as many volatile organic compounds – which combine with other elements in the air to create smog and air pollution – as motor vehicles. Opt for organic deodorants which are free of chemicals such as parabens and aluminium, which can damage your skin and have been linked to cancer and other diseases. Plus, you can find roll-on deodorants in glass containers, which can further reduce your plastic use. This small change in your lifestyle can make a huge difference to the environment and to your health.
4. Bring back the ‘old-fashioned’ soap/shampoo bar
If you’re looking for alternative products with minimal packaging, consider the good ol’ fashioned soap bar. I know, I know. When I think of soap bars, it immediately conjures up memories of washing my hands with my granny’s sandalwood-scented bar soap while getting ready to tuck into her traditional chicken soup. In recent years, the bar of soap has been making a comeback, resurfacing in all shapes and sizes to become the go-to (not just for grannies) for those practicing a sustainable lifestyle. Liquid hand soaps, shower gels, and shampoos often come in bulky plastic containers that simply contribute to the plastic pollution problem. So, why not go back to basics and pick up a few scented bars of soap. Now, you can even find shampoo bars! Your local health store or pharmacy should stock a few of these. If not, there are plenty of options online.
5. Try reusable makeup pads
Whether you’re into the dolled-up look or more of an au-naturel vibe, removing your make-up – or even just washing the day off your face – is probably part of your nightly routine. Reusable makeup pads are an eco-friendly and cheaper alternative to face wipes and cotton pads, which are usually manufactured using harsh chemicals like bleach that damage the environment. Let’s face it (pun intended), cotton pads are not the most biodegradable option. Instead, cloth makeup pads made from materials like organic cotton or bamboo are gentle on your skin and on the earth. Plus, reusable makeup pads often have a bigger surface area to more efficiently wipe away your makeup and other impurities, so you’ll be extra ready for your beauty sleep.
On a final note, simply be more mindful of the impact of your self-care and beauty routine on the environment and the rest will follow. The best way to minimise your waste is to use less. If you are in need of some new beauty products, keep in mind that being more environmentally conscious doesn’t have to mean spending loads of money on more expensive sustainable beauty products. There is a huge range of accessible and affordable eco-friendly beauty products. Hopefully, some of our bathroom product ideas will help!