One of the hardest rooms in the home to turn sustainable is the bathroom; with the habitual purchases of body lotions, Q-tips, shampoos, face masks, toothbrushes, and more, the waste produced in this room is continuous. These items are all essential for personal hygiene, as well as self-care; however, their source need not be so destructive. Studies have shown that only 50% of bathroom items end up recycled, whereas the rest are thrown in landfills to stay for hundreds of years. Women alone will produce approximately 52,000 pieces of bathroom waste from make-up and sanitary products in their lifetimes. 52,000 pieces, multiplied by the 3.76 billion women on earth, is a ridiculous amount of waste that can be avoided. Here is a terrific article with more statistics around waste productions from the bathroom.
But how can we tackle this issue? As per usual, start by taking an inventory of what products you have that produce waste. Make sure to track duplicates and get ready to replace them. To help with the replacement process, we have compiled a list of some common items and great replacements for them.
1. Shower Essentials
Plaine Products uses metal packaging on a subscription basis so that you never have to visit the store again. You create a custom bundle and select how often you would like them to send you a refill. When you are finished with a bottle and the refill has arrived, you ship the empty bottle back to them (return shipping paid by Plaine Products). This continuous product life-cycle, in combination with their wide selection of scents and styles, makes this company an easy transition choice.
Another option is The Unwrapped Life. They have everything from shaving cream to shampoos in a variety of scents. All of their products are in bar form and come in paper or cardboard packaging. You can also purchase tin travel containers if you are often on the go.
It is generally recommended that you replace your plastic toothbrush every 3-6 months. For a family, that's a lot of toothbrushes every year. The best alternative is a bamboo toothbrush, our favourite can be found here. Once the lifetime of the toothbrush is used up, you pick out the bristles and compost the handle - reducing your waste significantly. OLA Bamboo also sells eco-friendly dental floss!
3. Feminine Hygiene Products
Did you know that tampons and pads are bleached white with chemicals that actually harm your body? In fact, the bleach in tampons can actually increase your flow. Switching to a menstrual cup and reusable pads or absorbent underwear is the most eco-friendly way to manage this inevitable occurrence. When choosing a menstrual cup, look online for the best size, shape, and material for your body type. Canadian stores only sell the Diva Cup, which although great, can be uncomfortable for young or petite women. Lunette has a variety of shapes, materials, colours, and more. You can pair your menstrual cup with a couple of pairs of Knix leak-proof underwear in your favourite cut and colour to remove the need for liners or back-up pads.
Switching from a disposable razor to a safety razor not only significantly reduces your plastic waste, but it can also save you a lot of money. Rockwell Razors makes adjustable safety razors that eliminate the learning curve and risk of cutting yourself!
What else do you think you should replace? Check your bathroom for any plastic products and consider how to replace it. Can you make it yourself? Can you purchase from a sustainable, zero-waste company? Tag us in your social media posts as you transition your bathroom!