There are plenty of opportunities to reduce our plastic use in the bathroom. Some changes are simple; others take more effort. It’s actually possible to create a bathroom environment that is practically free of plastics if you’re willing to give it a try.
Lotions & Soaps: Many personal hygiene products contain plastic particles. Avoid purchasing products that list polyethylene, nylon and polypropylene in their contents.
Hand Soap: It’s an easy change to switch from liquid hand soap in a plastic bottle to bar soap sold in a paper wrapper. They last longer than liquid soap and take less space in transport, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. Various retailers around the country also offer liquid soap refills from a bulk dispinser into your own container, allowing you to forgo packaging entirely.
Toothbrushes: Bamboo toothbrushes present a good plastic-free alternative, or you can also purchase toothbrushes made from recycled plastic.
Toothpaste: Today’s standard tube of toothpaste is made of plastic, but also contains plastic as an ingredient. A better option is to buy toothpaste tablets, which are most often sold in glass jars or as a packaging-free bulk item.
Toothpicks: Choose toothpicks made of wood or bamboo.
Deodorant: Baking soda is an effective deodorant. You apply it directly to the skin or mix it with an oil, like coconut oil, which makes application a little easier. There are also a few brands of deodorant now available without plastic packaging, including glass jars and paper packaging.
Dental Floss: Standard dental floss is made of plastic and sold in a plastic container. But you can choose to buy silk dental floss as a refill for a glass container.
Shampoo & Conditioner: A good selection of both shampoo and conditioner for a variety of hair types is available in bar form, meaning you can forgo the plastic bottle. Some people take a little time to get used to washing their hair with a shampoo bar instead of liquid shampoo, but it’s worth trying. You can go a step further too and wash your hair with a baking-soda-and-water paste followed by a vinegar mix rinse for conditioner. There is also a growing number of retailers offering shampoo and conditioner from bulk dispensers into your own container.
Cosmetics: The cosmetics market has seen a lot of growth toward plastic-free options. Give these plastic-free and packaging-free alternatives a try.
Wash Cloths: Start by avoiding disposable body wipes. They are made of plastic and sold in plastic packaging. Instead opt for reusable cotton cloths or sew or crochet your own.
Menstrual Pads & Tampons: Most disposable menstrual pads and tampons contain plastic. A better choice is to switch to washable cloth pads, period underwear or menstrual cups. If reusable options don’t work for you, you can find plastic-free, disposable, eco-certified pads and tampons in most grocery stores.
Toilet Paper: When possible, purchase toilet paper in paper packaging. Also try to keep your use of toilet paper at a minimum. When we use less, we buy less.
Razors: Try to avoid disposable razors. Safety razors are a great option for face, underarms and legs and replacing only blades instead of the whole razor saves money.
Do your cosmetics contain microbeads? Check out how your cosmetics rate in terms of microplastics at beatthemicrobead.org. They also offer a smartphone app, which is handy because laptops and bathrooms don’t mix.
And of course, nothing but organic waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet, meaning no wipes (even if the label claims they are “flushable”) or cotton swabs. Instead, put these items in the trash.
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