Lifestyle, Plastic Free Challenge
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How To Use Less Plastic in the Bathroom

This post is part of an on-going series about going plastic free one area of your life at a time. See the other posts here and sign-up for Nikkey’s newsletter to recieve new plastic free challenges as they come out. This challenge is inspired by her work with eXXpedition on a microplastic research voyage through the Pacific Ocean. 

The bathroom is probably the sneakiest wasteful area in your home. Think about it, most of us don’t have recycling bins in there so we often end up throwing things out that are perfectly recyclable or compostable. Then, there are all the products and toiletries that come in plastic packaging and small tight tubes or containers that are tough to clean out well enough for recycling! The good news is with a few simple swaps we can drastically cut back on plastic:

Disposable Razors > Stainless Steel Razors

Technically disposable razors can be recycled in some areas but with a lot of effort, I’m guessing if you’re using a disposable item you don’t want to go through all the work of preparing it properly for recycling. Not only will a stainless steel razor save you money in the long run but it will cut down big time on your plastic waste. 

Where to find alternatives:
They’ve become more popular in recent years and now many models are available that are far less intimidating than a straight razor. You can buy them online or in specialty zero waste or apothecary stores. 

Bodywash + Pump Hand Soap > Handmade Soap

Bodywash comes in single use plastic containers. Handmade soap is often less expensive, lasts longer and feels more luxurious with beautiful designs and swoonful scents. Plus you can put it in a super cute ceramic soap dish. 

Where to find alternatives:
Farmers’ markets, craft/maker fairs, apothecary and re-fill stores, Wholefoods and any grocery store with a natural beauty section or you can make it yourself!

Plastic Cotton Swabs > Paper Cotton Swabs

Plastic cotton swabs are not recyclable and end up right in the landfill, or worse – our waterways. You might recall this viral photo of a seahorse swimming with one. 

Where to find alternatives:
This is perhaps the easiest swap on here. Paper cotton swabs are compostable and found at pretty much every drug store or grocery store with a beauty section. 

One step further:
Try a natural DIY remedy like ear candling or olive oil for less waste all together. 

Shampoo + Conditioner in Single Use Bottles >
Shampoo + Condition in Refillable Bottles

The average person will go through hundreds of these single use plastic bottles in their lifetime, you can cut that back to 2.

Where to find alternatives:
At an apothecary or re-fill store. If you’re not the most organized person in the world (speaking from personal experience!) I would suggest getting 2 sets of bottles so that you can re-fill while you’re getting low rather than waiting until you fully run out and having to re-fill immediately.

Plastic Toothbrush > Bamboo or Electric Toothbrush

Over 4.7 billion of these plastic disposable items are produced every year worldwide and go straight in the garbage when we’re done with them. 
Bamboo is a fast growing sustainable resource and depending on the bristles of the toothbrush they can be biodegradable. Electric toothbrushes are still made of plastic but are for long-term use so you’d still be reducing your plastic consumption. 

Where to find alternatives:
Online and in apothecaries and natural food stores with toiletries sections. I have not personally tried this company but they seem to have a lot of options including biodegradable toothbrush refills- The Goodwell Company

Plastic Flossers > Biodegradable Floss or Flossers


More single use items destined for the landfill or ocean. Even most string floss is made of nylon which is a polymer (a plastic). But biodegradable floss does exist!

Where to find alternatives:
Online and in apothecaries and natural food stores with toiletries sections. Again, The Goodwell Company seems to have some great options.

Toothpaste Tubes > Toothpaste in Glass Jars


Toothpaste tubes are incredible hard to clean out for recycling. Even the most committed of us don’t necessarily have the patience or time to cut those suckers open and scrape them out.

Where to find alternatives:
Online, in apothecaries and natural food stores with toiletries sections or make your own at home. Toothpaste clays are becoming more popular and often seen in jars but I would check with your dentist before switching as they can be abrasive.

There you go, the bathroom no longer has to be wasteful! If you have the room, try throwing a small recycling container in there too so that when you do have recyclables they don’t end up in the trash for convenience sake.

Have any questions or other tips and tricks? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

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