These simple bathroom swaps will help reduce how much plastic waste you generate
We have a huge plastic problem. Over 40% of plastic comes from product packaging. 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year.The vast majority of fish are thought to have ingested microplastics. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. Only 9% of ALL plastic ever made has been recycled. NINE. PERCENT.
Most of us want to reduce the amount of waste we generate. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, especially if your schedule is already overloaded and you feel pulled in twenty different directions.
There are some simple ways you can make changes though, and even if you only choose one of these bathroom swaps, that is still a step in the right direction.
This swap has really benefited my hair while saving money, making travel easier AND reducing the amount of plastic waste we produce. I started using this shampoo soap bar (which can easily double as a body bar) but began reading about the difference between soap and syndet bars. I was put off by syndet at first (it is short for synthetic detergent), but after doing some research I’ve found there are many made with largely natural ingredients and that are completely biodegradable. I bought this Sweet&Spicy bar from Ethique to give it a try. I may try and make my own at some point, but for now I really like this one.
It’s been estimated that about 80 billion plastic bottles disposed of around the world each year are from shampoo & conditioner alone. Shampoo bars typically prevent about 3-4 shampoo bottles from being made and discarded. Imagine if just a small percentage of the population made the switch??
Refillable products (toner, foaming soap)
Making your own skin toner or foaming hand soap and refilling existing containers saves a lot of waste. Many companies (Grove Collaborative is great about this) offer refills for many of their cleaning products. DIYs are also largely very simple and cost effective. Bathroom swaps like this are oh-so easy.
Two of my favorite bathroom products to DIY are skin toner and foaming hand soap.While I love using bar soap for shower and my face, I prefer the ease of foaming hand soap for hand washing, because Lord knows we’re doing enough of it these days….. Add a few tablespoons of Castile soap, a “glop” of glycerin if you have it, and whatever essential oils you love and water to a foaming soap dispenser and viola! You’ve got foaming hand soap for pennies.
I have several different toner recipes I love. You can check out this post but I’ve also been loving this one from Healthline:
Apple cider vinegar toner
Apple cider vinegar naturally exfoliates your skin, making it look brighter and more even. Chamomile fights bacteria without changing the skin’s pH, and the honey adds hydration.
1 cup water
1 chamomile tea bag
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Brew tea in 1 cup water, remove tea bag and combine remaining ingredients. Store in air tight, reusable container.
Of all the bathroom swaps, this is one of the easiest. Bamboo toothbrushes are less expensive than most plastic brushes and I prefer the feel of the bristles, so to me, it’s a win-win. You can find them on Amazon, at Thrive Market and through Grove Collaborative. Most dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every one to three months. With these biodegradable toothbrushes, you can just toss it in the compost bin.
Another great advantage of bamboo is that it is naturally antimicrobial. There’s a reason cutting boards and kitchen utensils are often made out of bamboo. Properties inside the bamboo can kill bacteria that penetrate it’s surface – definitely unlike plastic!
It’s hard to get away from plastic when your toothpaste comes in a tube. BUT did you know there are some awesome plastic free alternatives? Grove Collaborative sells these amazing toothpaste tabs from Hello. Packed in a handy (and portable) tin, you simply pop a tab in your mouth, chew, brush and smile. Grove carries a Whitening tab with peppermint as well as an activated charcoal version that’s great if you’re dealing with stains on your teeth. If you’re not a Grove shopper, Amazon carries them as well. If you search the web you’ll find an assortment of other brands that make toothpaste tabs as well as tooth powders that are packed in glass jars.
I hope these bathroom swaps inspire you to take a look at your plastic usage in the bath and begin to find ways to reduce waste.
Do you have a bathroom swap that you have used to cut plastic use?