Bathrooms are often one of those places that have a great trash potential: shampoo bottles, after-shampoo bottles, cotton buds, tissues, disposable razors, night-cream container, day-cream container, disposable hygiene products,… If you haven’t started “going zero waste” yet, that room of the house may seem a bit daunting, so the very first step should probably to be tolerant with yourself (and with whoever has the unique chance to live with you).
Here are other steps that can help you get started with reducing waste in your bathroom.
Step 1: get rid of your bathroom general waste bin
Yep, instead of having that as the last step, make it the first one. We, humans, are lazy creatures so GUYS trust me, that’s the key! That way, every time you are tempted to throw something away, you’ll have to get out of your bathroom and walk to the nearest bin in your house. A useful walk to make you think about what you are throwing away instead of doing it obliviously. Is there any durable alternative you could think of for that specific item (spoiler alert: there is always one)? Could there be a compostable version of it?
Step 2: replace packaged items for package-free items
A lot of soaps are available package-free (mostly the hard ones, obviously), the same goes for toothpaste, body lotion, deodorant,… For the liquid products, either try to buy it in bulk or even better, refill your existing container in a package-free store.
Step 3: replace disposable items with reusable ones
The number of things we use once and then throw away in our bathroom is tremendous. It ranges from feminine hygiene protection to cotton pads and razors. Once you find their sustainable alternatives (on the store or elsewhere), if you do not wish to use them up, you can give the remaining ones to charity or leave them in public toilets. Someone will probably be more than happy to find it.
Step 4: create your own products
But keep it simple. That one can sound like the sort of things that would take ages, but it doesn’t have to. You can, of course, create the most sophisticated deodorant in the world, but plain baking powder will do the job just as well. The same thing goes for your body lotion! Either create a fancy one (and spend hours in the kitchen, which can totally be your thing ????), or simply use coconut oil. Looking for a scrub? Plain sugar with some oil will get you covered. I’ll admit, I did both but soon found out that creating my own super fancy products from scratch was producing a lot of garbage too as raw ingredients mostly came packaged. Having your own very simple go-to recipes will also make it a durable solution: you probably don’t want to feel obliged to spend 3 hours cooking every time you need a bit more hand cream.
Step 5: downsize
We tend to have multiple products even when one single product would largely satisfy several of our needs. Do you really need to have a morning face lotion and a night face lotion? Do you really need to have a different toothpaste than you better half? Maybe you do, but maybe you’ve just been fooled into thinking what you need is more than what you actually do.
Image credit: Charles Deluvio — thank you.
Morgane is a London-based writer and the founder of Zero Waste Nest. She’s passionate about sustainable living, ethical fashion and social justice. She also founded the Ethical Fashion Guide, with the firm intention to make ethical fashion the norm. Her retirement plans are to adopt as many stray cats as she’s able to.