16 Sep Low Waste: 5 easy eco swaps to make in the bathroom
The bathroom is often a haven for plastic. Where bleach bottles mingle with those bagged hotel mini body wash and three empty shampoos. It’s one of the first places to look to reduce the footprint we all leave behind. There are so many green substitutes to be explored.
The first step of going green in your bathroom is to use up what you already have to avoid wasting products. But when you’re fresh out of shampoo or needing a new shower puff – this is the time to implement change for the better. Here are five swaps to help you on a path to living a little greener.
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#1 BODY WASH – SWITCH TO SOAP BARS
I remember my dad always having a Dove soap bar, but the girls in my house growing up (me, my sister and my mum) all opted for the bottled body wash.
In my mind, the soap bar left a squeaky feeling on my skin and so when I became aware of my plastic consumption I cringed at the thought I’d have to start wincing as I washed. But, I made a swap to soap bars and have not once mourned the loss of my artificially scented shower gel and the whole host of unnecessary chemicals it comes with.
I am by no means advocating the use of Dove here – they’re owned by Unilever who, I feel, have different brand values to the ethics I associate with.
Instead, look for small-scale producers using only natural and, where you can, organic ingredients. Alter/Native by suma are available in most natural health stores and zero waste shops… and there are plenty of independent small-time producers too.
This means you’re not buying any plastic, you’re not putting unneeded chemicals onto your skin and you’re not washing them down the drain either.
#2 SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER – SWITCH TO BARS
When it came to swapping out my shampoo and conditioner bottles, I did so VERY begrudgingly… but bear with me.
When I made the swap, there weren’t many conditioner bars around and so I used a shampoo bar followed by a homemade cider vinegar + water spray. I hated the straw-like feel my hair was left with after shampooing and did not get on well with the vinegar spritz. But, since the ropey start, I’ve found shampoo bars I can get on board with and happily use conditioner bars rather than the vinegar spritz.
It all comes down to finding the right brand for you and persevering! The brands I’m currently using are The Friendly Soap Company for my shampoo (which just needs a little more washing out than I was used to), and a conditioner from The Solid Bar Company (which I’m fully onboard with!)
#3 BATH & SINK CLEANER – SWITCH TO DIY
When it comes to cleaning products, there’s no reason to have ten different bottles all claiming to work wonders in one specific area of your bathroom. There are a few natural cleaning saviours that mean you’ll never have to buy countless products hailing false miracle cures again.
Living on a boat means everything we use washes into the canal – and so ingredient lists are just as important as the lack of plastic bottles. My best pals when it comes to cleaning are white vinegar (which you can buy in bulk size containers or refill shops), lemons (opt for loose-pick not netted), bicarb (again you can get this in refill shops or in bulk in cardboard boxes) and castile soap.
Castile soap is an all-purpose natural cleaner with plant oils at its core. You can buy this in a bulk bottle, and it lasts forever as you dilute a small amount with water or vinegar to create the perfect cleaner. For a general all-around cleaner for the bath and sink, add a small glug of castile soap to a 1-litre bottle and away you go.
For toilet cleaner, I use Jen Chillingsworth’s recipe from her book “Live Green” – spray over white vinegar, leave for 5 minutes and then sprinkle over some bicarb. Scrub with a toilet brush and you’re sparkly clean!
#4 DEODORANT – SWITCH TO DIY OR ECO BUY
Spray cans and the average roll-on are the epitome of single-use – you can’t refill them and as far as I’m aware they have no other purpose in life.
Thankfully, there are a number of natural deodorants with plastic-free packaging on the market which do the job. Currently, I’m using a brand called “Fussy” – one with great branding that appeared on Dragons Den – and I have absolutely no complaints.
A cheaper and even more sustainable option though is making your own which I did before I got sucked into giving Fussy a try. It’s super easy and really works – the instructions are in the reel below. All you need is bicarb, arrowroot powder (or corn flour), coconut oil – and a nice smelling essential oil for the fragrance.
#5 TOILET PAPER – GET PAPER WRAPPED!
In most supermarkets, for every 100 different types of plastic-wrapped toilet roll, there is now usually an “eco” branded option – with the rolls wrapped in paper instead.
We opt for Who Gives A Crap though. For us, one bulk box ordered absolutely yonks ago is still going strong… and we’re never left with having to pick up a plastic-wrapped 4 pack because you’re running scarily low and that’s all that is around!