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Tooth tablets, bamboo toothbrushes, safety razor and many others. Plastic-free hygiene and care articles were never more in demand than now. Absolutely right! Plastic waste takes a long time (up to 500 years) to be completely decomposed. Not to mention the fatal effects on animals and oceans in which tons of plastic garbage end up. What does your bathroom have to do with it? And what can you do to reduce your plastic consumption and actively contribute to animal welfare and environmental protection? I will answer these questions in this article. Based on the 20 tips I provide you with, your bathroom will become plastic-free and sustainable.
What do plastics and bathrooms have in common?
In the paragraph above, I asked how your bathroom relates to plastic waste. If you have not yet been able to answer this question yourself, here is a little exercise for you: go to your bathroom, look around and write down everything made of plastic. Do you also come up with a two-digit number? I was shocked when I did this the first time! Shower gel, shampoo, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, toilet paper, body lotion, make-up remover, tampons, bandages, cotton swabs, cotton swab and much more. Either directly made of plastic or packed in it. How many items are there in your bathroom?
Plastic is ubiquitous, so it makes perfect sense to switch to more ecological alternatives. The following 20 tips will show you how this works:
But first I’d like to start by briefly clarifying three basic things: becoming plastic-free is a process, sustainability is conscious consumption, and the longevity of plastic items is crucial. In short, you don’t have to ban all plastic from your bathroom overnight. Use up what you still have and then you replace it. That’s sustainable! Throwing away things that are still usable and buying something new is not sustainable! The more durable a plastic product is, the more acceptable its use is. This topic could fill however a whole blog post. Maybe I’ll write one in addition! Would you like to know more about this?
Here`s a short example: The shower soap in the plastic bottle has a short lifespan. If it is empty, it ends up in the garbage. On contrary you can use the plastic hairbrush for years, there is nothing bad with that (as long as you already have it!). If it is a durable plastic article, but it releases microplastic into the environment, I recommend replacing it (e.g. towels made of synthetic fibres).
20 tips for a plastic-free bathroom
1. Soap bars – plastic-free & healthier for the skin
Say goodbye to liquid shower gels and shampoos. Switch to soap bars. Many brands sell plastic-free products. You can even find them completely without packaging in health food stores or bulk stores. Always pay attention to an organic seal, natural ingredients and whether they are vegan. Honey or animal milk are often added.
And there is much more to the good old soap bar: it`s cheaper, more durable and healthier for the skin, as you automatically need less. There are also great alternatives for your hair, hair soap or shampoo bars. I always buy the products in the bulk shop, but that’s not a must. There are great organic shops, health food stores or other shops with such an assortment. The best thing to do is to inform yourself what`s available in your town.
2. Take care of your skin with oils
Daily showers, frosty temperatures and long baths strain our skin. That’s why applying cream after showering has become a normal thing. Body lotion and body butter are present in almost every bathroom today. Did you know that there is an alternative in your kitchen that is just as, if not better? Which, on top of that, is even cheaper. And that’s vegetable oil. Whether olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, canola oil, etc. all are wonderfully suitable. Just test how you tolerate them and which oil works best for your skin. At the same time you can use it as a face cream as well. If you can`t live without UV protection, try asking for alternatives in a glass bottle at a pharmacy or in a bulk shop.
If you don’t like the characteristic smell of the vegetable oil, just add a few drops of essential oil (please first test for compatibility on your skin!).It`s highly recommended to prefer cold-pressed oils and brands with an organic seal. Like that your skin doesn’t come into contact with unnecessary chemicals and pesticide residues.
3. Refill, refill and refill
Tip no. 1 and 2 are out of the question for you? No problem! You don’t have to live without liquid soap, shampoo and body lotion. Many bulk stores will refill your containers again and again. This prolongs the longevity of your plastic bottles, which is totally justifiable.
4. Metall safetly razor
Disposable plastic razors are an absolute no-go! Because of their short life they have a fatal impact on our environment. Reusable plastic razors are therefore better from an ecological point of view. However, their blades still are made of plastic and have to be replaced on a regular basis.
A metal safety razor is the way to go. The blade as well as the whole razor is plastic-free. For this reason it is right at the top of my wish list!
5. Water & soap to welcome the day
Back in the days running clear water, a piece of soap and a washcloth used to be enough to clean your face and get going in the morning. Today you need cleansing soap, tonic, peeling and what do I know. The way your grandparents used to start the morning is sufficient, cheaper and much more sustainable. If you simply don’t want to live without your fancy products, then see tip no. 17.
6. Bamboo toothbrush stylish & sustainable
Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every month. Considering that practically all of the items available in supermarkets are made of plastic, you quickly realize how much plastic waste is generated with toothbrushes alone.
A better option are bamboo toothbrushes. Bamboo is a fast-growing wood and therefore sustainable. Unfortunately, even bamboo toothbrushes are not completely plastic-free (bristles usually are made of organic nylon or bamboo viscose), but still the better alternative than a complete plastic brush! When buying, make sure that the brush is vegan and does not contain animal bristles!
Personally I can recommend the following brands to you: Bambusliebe, Hydrophil, Humble toothbrush and Bambusliebe.
The adventurous amongst you can try miswak sticks. I’ve never tested it myself, so I can’t make any recommendations.
7. Who needs toothpaste from a tube
Did you know that toothpaste is also available as powder or in tablet form? At the beginning it might take some time to get used to it, but it’s just brilliant. I use tooth powder and I`m very happy with it! Instead of plastic tongue scrapers there are alternatives made of metal.
By the way, dental floss is also a product that comes in plastic packaging on one hand and on the other hand usually consists of plastic (nylon) itself. Up to now I couldn’t find a plastic-free and vegan alternative. There is dental floss in the glass made of beeswax. But this product unfortunately isn`t vegan!
8. Brush your hair with wood
Do you need a new brush or comb? Try a variation made of wood or bamboo. These are not only incredibly beautiful to look at, but also more sustainable than the plastic ones. When buying, however, make sure that no animal bristles were used.
9. Compostable cotton swabs
Per se cotton swabs are an unnecessary construct anyway and aren`t recommended by doctors, since they usually push the earwax further into the ear rather than removing it. If you urgently need these in your live, you should at least use compostable cotton swabs (e.g. from Hydrophil). Otherwise, there are also so-called ear scratchers made of wood.
10 Vegans, plastic-free make-up & cosmetics
This topic is so extensive that it requires its own article (already on my list of to-do blog articles).
Until then, I recommend you to look for vegan cosmetic and make-up brands, which do without silicones and microplastics. The best choice is natural cosmetics.
11. Reusable make-up remover pads
Cotton pads for make-up removal aren`t only packed in plastic, but itself already unnecessary garbage. You can also use a washcloth or reusable make-up remover pads to take off make-up. You can either sew the pads yourself from an old towel or buy them in a bulk shop. After use, you can simply wash them with your laundry and reuse them.
12. Oil – the most sustainable make-up remover
There are no special products needed to remove make-up either. Water and soap or a little bit of oil work wonders and remove make-up perfectly. By the way, I always use coconut oil, which also smells pleasant.
13. Buy packaging-free toilet paper
Unfortunately, conventional toilet paper is often packed in plastic. This can hardly be avoided. However, some bulk stores now offer unpackaged toilet paper. A step towards sustainability! But if you want to go completely eco in terms of toilet paper please have a look at tip. 14.
14. Say goodbye to toilet paper
If you read this, your probably won`t be too excited in the first place. Everything in you will fight back because you will have to completely change your habits. Don’t worry I can totally relate to your feelings. During my visit to Tanzania I was shocked that there was no toilet paper in many places and that I had to wash my butt with water after doing my business. But actually this way is much more hygienic, because you clean yourself every time with water, not only with paper. If you have an open mind, then maybe this electric bidet would be an option for you. I definitely want to get one. With this device you can do without toilet paper for the most part. Unfortunately I haven’t found a plastic-free one yet. Here, however, I evaluate the clear decrease in toilet paper and the use of the plastic bidet as more ecological.
15. Metal instead of plastic
There are great nail scissors, pliers or tweezers made of stainless steel. By the way, they are also much more durable.
16. Plastic-free bathroom utensils
Start replacing your plastic utensils in the bathroom (soap dishes, toilet brush, tooth mug, etc.) step by step with sustainable options. There are incredibly beautiful alternatives made of bamboo, ceramics, glass and wood.
17. Start DIYing
The most sustainable alternative is to make your own hygiene and care products. From mouthwash, peeling to mascara, you can do everything yourself at home. Now you probably think that you have absolutely no time for it. But I assure you, you can do a lot of things by yourself within minutes without much effort. The only condition: you have the necessary ingredients at home.
In the future I would like to share such DIY recipes with you. Just write me what you would be interested in.
18. Menstrual cup instead of tampons & co.
Tampons and sanitary pads, which female doesn’t know them? We practically dependent on them! But haven’t you ever wondered how crazy it is that you use these things once and then they end up in the garbage? Many tampons and pads are bleached and contain lot`s of chemicals and toxins. If you now consider how long these products stay in contact with our mucous membranes, it becomes clear that this isn`t the greatest choice!
There are more sustainable alternatives to tampons and sanitary pads that are healthier as well! How about a menstrual cup? Buy once and reuse every month! Your only task is regular boiling the cup. I myself use the Moon Cup and am super satisfied with it.
In general I recommend you to choose a transparent model without dyes.
If you don’t like this option, you can use reusable tampons or sanitary pads.
19. Only organic textiles made of pure cotton
This point often gets forgotten, because the plastic content in textiles is not as obvious as in other bathroom articles. Towels made of synthetic materials release microplastics into the water every time they are washed. This is absorbed by aquatic organisms, including fish, and is returned to the human body via the food chain. When you buy synthetic textiles you are not only harming the environment, but also yourself indirectly, so you should only buy 100% cotton towels with an organic seal for your bathroom!
20. Ban spray cans
Deodorants, hairsprays or toilet scents usually are packed in spray cans. Such cans always contain a mixture of propellants (butane, isonbutane and propane). And although they are not as harmful as their predecessors the CFCs, they are still harmful to the climate. For some products there are now great sustainable alternatives, such as solid deodorants or deodorants in cream form, fragrance stones or products in pump bottles.
Hopefully these tips will help you step by step to make the switch to plastic-free and give you the necessary insight into the whole jungle of possibilities. If you still have questions, ambiguities or suggestions, simply write me a comment under this contribution. I am happy about every single message. If you are interested in the topic sustainability, then subscribe to my newsletter.
Last but not least, I would like to say that although this is a partially sponsored post, I fully support these products. And would recommend each one of them out of my own conviction.
Read you soon,