Look around your bathroom, what do you see? Your shampoo is packaged in plastic, your toilet rolls are wrapped in plastic, your shower gel is in a plastic bottle, your toothbrush is made from plastic and so is your toothpaste. And when you’re done? It all get thrown in the bin, some of it recycled but most ending up in landfill. In the USA alone, 850 million toothbrushes end up in landfill each year, taking hundreds of years to decompose. There are an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans and I decided that I didn’t want to have anything to do with that number. Something has to change.
The bathroom was the first area that I started making sustainable swaps. The first step was the easiest, as soon as my shower gel ran out, I decided that I would only buy soap bars from now on. The first one I bought was a beautiful seaweed soap bar from Lush, after that I got a cheaper lavender bar from Boots, and sooner or later I loved looking around different shops for different smelling soap bars. After that, as my plastic products started running out, I’d swap them for a plastic-free option and it was surprisingly easy! I’m now more or less plastic free in my bathroom - with just a few extra swaps that still need to be made - and I’m so happy about it. I’m using zero-waste, natural products that leave me feeling cleaner than ever.
Soap Bar - As I already mentioned, one of the easiest things for me to change was switching from shower gel bottles to a soap bar. I really love the soap bars from Lush as they are natural and smell amazing, however they are a little pricey! The one pictured above cost me £5, versus one I can get from Boots for £2. That’s entirely your decision. Make sure that the bar itself isn’t wrapped in plastic, and maybe buy a soap box or bag if you travel a lot.
Shampoo Bar - I initially bought a shampoo bar for travelling, then realised how amazing they are… Shampoo bars are plastic free, lightweight, last for ages and smell amazing. Again, I love the Lush bars but you can also find them in a lot of places online. I got a honey-scented bar that works well on dry hair, and I got a little tin from Lush to store it in.
Deodorant Bar - This is a more recent switch I’ve made, and one that I didn’t really know about until recently. A deodorant bar is completely natural and melts at body temperature when you rub it on your skin. I have a Witch Hazel bar from Lush that smells amazing, and I love the way it feels on my skin. I’d definitely recommend this!
Toothbrush - In the USA, one billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year. That’s completely mind-blowing. Imagine if we all used biodegradable or sustainably sourced toothbrushes instead - it’s completely doable! There are actually quite a few brands making sustainably-sourced bamboo brushes that are biodegradable and completely plastic-free in their packaging. I got a Humble Brush from Boots for £4, but you can find some more options here.
Toothpaste - There has been a lot of controversy around toothpaste recently - both the packaging it comes in and the ingredients it contains. I started buying fluoride-free and natural toothpaste a while ago, and now I also will be striving for plastic free toothpaste as well. My flatmate has a Geoorganics toothpaste that I’ve tried out. The taste might be a little different to what you’re used to, but you’ll get used to it soon enough. In fact, did you know you can also make your own toothpaste? This is definitely something I’m going to try out! Here’s a YouTube video on how to do it in about 2 minutes with three ingredients.
Face Wash - I have sensitive skin and am susceptible to getting spots pretty easily. I’ve tried a lot of different face washes in the last few years, but have found that the best thing for me is something natural and gentle with minimal ingredients. I recently acquired a Lush face wash called ‘Angels on Bare Skin’ that I’ve found to be amazing so far. It comes in a recycled plastic tub that you can return to the shop after use, and the products are all natural, waste free and, of course, not tested on animals. If you can’t already tell, I’m a big fan of Lush! There’s a store just up the road from where I work and I like wandering around on my lunch break, this post in no way sponsored.
Moisturiser - I haven’t fully switched to a plastic-free face moisturiser just yet, as I have really dry skin and haven’t found one that works! Any recommendations please let me know. I do, however, use a really nice Lavender moisturiser from Lush on the rest of my skin, and a beeswax hand cream from Chain Bridge Honey Farm (that my sister and I visited a couple of years ago) packaged in a glass jar that I love. There are loads of zero waste moisturisers available - some options can be found here.
Razor - When I put my new reusable razor on Instagram, so many of you messaged asking to know how I found it. Well, after using the razor a few times now, I can confirm that it’s great! I was worried I’d find the razor too sharp and hard to use, but I really don’t have any issues at all. I’ve used it on my legs, as well as on my armpits and bikini line and haven’t had any cuts whatsoever. My razor is by Naked Necessities, and I also got some shaving soap and extra blades with the razor. You can find the Starter Kit I got from Plastic Freedom here (not sponsored). The handle is wooden so I always dry it off after using it and keep it away from the shower. I’m going to buy or make something simple to transport the razor when travelling, but fingers crossed I’ll never have to use a plastic razor again!
Toilet Roll - When you buy your loo rolls from the supermarket, they’re always wrapped in plastic. I found out about Who Gives A Crap? as we use them at work - we’ve now also started using them at home as well. Who Gives A Crap? are an eco-friendly toilet roll company that deliver recycled toilet rolls to your house. You can either subscribe for a delivery each month, or buy a box one-off. The company also donate 50% of their profits to help built toilets for those in need. That’s the kind of company I like to support.
For the ladies, periods! - You’ve probably heard of a Moon Cup before, but if you haven’t, where have you been?! A Moon Cup is a little rubber cup that you use as a replacement for a tampon. It’s reusable and lasts for years. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a few uses you’ll have no issues. You clean the cup by rinsing it after use and then boiling to sterilise after a few uses. I usually sterilise mine every month at the end of my period. You can also now buy thin cotton pads that act as panty-liners, for sleeping in, or for those days you don’t want to use a Moon Cup. I’m going to buy a set of EcoFemme pads which my sister recommended. The company is based in India and the pads are made from recycled saris. The company also donate a pad to a young girl in India for every one bought. I love their ethos and am super keen to get some of these pads.
I think one of the most important things to note when making zero waste changes is that living sustainably does not mean buying loads of new things and spending lots of money. The idea that zero waste is expensive is, I think, a myth, or an error on the part of people who try. Rather than just buying lots of expensive new products, wait for your old ones to run out, then look around for cheap, zero-waste options. You’ll find that Boots has a lot of cheap options, like soap bars and bamboo toothbrushes. If ordering online, try not to order one item at a time but get a few things in batch to save on shipping. And finally, don’t feel too guilty if now and again you slip up. Take it one step at a time, don’t pressure yourself, and why not impart some knowledge on other people as well.