We’ve not done brilliantly with our kitchen waste so far but we’ve produced almost no bathroom waste this week: just a few pairs of used contact lenses. I’ve been working on reducing bathroom waste for over a year. We’ve gone from regularly filling the bathroom bin each week to virtually not needing one. Here are the products that have helped make a difference
Who gives a crap loo roll
Who gives a crap are awesome. They sell huge boxes of loo rolls, individually wrapped in paper. Not a scrap of plastic in sight. Impressively, 50% of profits are used to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
We’ve started buying our rolls from Charlotte’s Cupboard. The cost per roll is the same as buying a big box and it means we don’t have to stockpile so many rolls. Plus we can hand the paper wrapping back in our empties box each week for reuse.
Georganics dental hygiene products
If you’re looking for zero waste dental products, look no further than georganics. They sell all the products you could possibly want for clean, fresh teeth. From compostable toothbrushes and tooth powders to flosses and pulling oils. We use their mouthwash tablets and floss (also compostable); they sell refills for the floss bottle. Orders from the web shop are sent in 100% recyclable packaging. Even the receipt is printed on brown recycled paper. The attention to detail is very pleasing and the packaging very cool. They’re currently offering all new customers free floss with other orders using the code: free-floss.
I know it’s a bit gross to talk san-pro on the internet but periods create a lot of waste, not to mention the accumulative expense of buying tampons or pads every month. I’ve used my mooncup for 3 or 4 cycles now. That’s 3 or 4 completely zero waste periods. There are so many benefits to using a menstrual cup, like not leaking and not being at risk of toxic shock syndrome. I’m a complete convert and wish I’d made the switch years ago.
Dr Bronner’s soap is great too. It’s not drying and lathers really nicely. I need to sort out a soap dish but otherwise, we’ve not really noticed any difference to using liquid hand-soap. Dr Bronner’s bars of soap come packaged in a recyclable paper wrapper. No plastic to see here.
Bulk shower gel and shampoo
We buy 1 litre bottles of Neal’s Yard Nurturing Rose Shampoo and 3 litre bottles of House Of Mistry’s Potenised Organic Soap with Vitamin E. We restock about twice a year, which I think is great value. We save using approximately 20 smaller plastic bottles per year by buying in bulk. It’s not as zero waste as solid bars but it’s a good compromise.
Faith In Nature Crystal Stick Deodorant
We’ve used a crystal stick deodorant for about 5 years. They don’t provide the best protection in very hot weather but otherwise they work well. Crystal stick’s last about a year, if they’re not dropped. We have a habit of dropping ours in the sink (as you can see), which is annoying because bits of them smash off and you have to replace them more frequently. I haven’t found a better alternative and I love that they’re so long lasting.
Other ways to reduce bathroom waste
Ask if you really need it before buying
I’ve stopped ordering samples with bigger internet orders. Little sachets and bottles can build up and create a surprising amount of non-recyclable waste. I can’t think of many trial size products that I’ve gone on to buy. Now I’ve worked out which products work on my skin and for us as a family, I’ve stopped buying so many new products to try. Does anyone else get skincare FOMO? Cutting down on waste can be as simple as saying no.
Short sighted waste
Do you know that you can recycle disposable contact lens blister packs? I didn’t until the beginning of this week. Contact lenses can’t be recycled, so will create landfill. I don’t know what the environmental impact of contact lenses going into landfill is, maybe it’s something I should look into (no pun intended). Bea Johnson states that laser eye surgery is the best zero waste option for people who need glasses. I’m too squeamish to have my eyes lasered, although it’s something I’ve briefly considered. I’ve worn my glasses more than usual recently but for some activities, I find contact lenses more convenient. And I prefer to wear contacts if I’m having a vain day.
Keep it clean
Muslin cloths and flannels are just as effective, if not better than cotton wool pads for washing faces and removing make-up. I use a clean cloth each night for my skincare routine; I try to keep a couple in the kitchen for the girls’ grubby faces and hands at mealtimes. We’ve stopped using wet wipes. I really wish we’d stopped sooner; I regret not investing in reusable cloths when the girls were babies. I’ve heard great things about Cheeky Wipes. They’ve recently launched some new products, including eye make-up removing pads, which I fancy trying.
Skincare’s tricky. I haven’t really looked into zero waste solutions because my skincare regime works and I’m loathe to change it. I only use clean beauty products; there are no plastics or microbeads in the products I use. I make a point of looking for products in recyclable packaging but the complicated pumps on some of my bottles don’t look very easy to recycle. I’ve bought a few dry products, such as face masks and an exfoliator but the majority of the products I use are wet. It takes anything from a couple of months to a year to finish each product. Only a very small amount of waste is generated from this corner of the house.
Lou Dartford, green make-up artist and beauty blogger interviewed Kate Arnell on her blog during Plastic Free July. Kate has some fantastic tips for parring down your beauty routine and make-up bag. I’m going to take another look and rethink some of the products I use.
Stop buying mini bottles of your favourite products! They’re so expensive for what you get. Using glass bottles and jars to decant smaller amounts of your regular products into for travelling and the gym is cheaper and kinder to the environment. I bought some fab blue glass bottles with a pump action dispenser for shower gel and shampoo and some clear jars for skincare products last year. When you come home from holiday, you can use any residual product, wash them out and pop them back into your drawer or cabinet with your toiletries bag ready for your next trip.
Have you taken part in Zero Waste Week? Have you cut down bathroom waste? What are your favourite zero waste beauty products? Do you have any tips for using shampoo bars? I’d love to hear from you!