You’ve greened up your kitchen by switching to Swedish dishcloths, reusable bags and stainless steel kitchen tools. Now, it’s time to tackle an area that is potentially even more daunting: the bathroom. From the toxic chemicals lurking in deodorant to the countless plastic bottles sitting in your bath caddy, your favorite bathroom products probably aren’t as squeaky clean as manufacturers would like you to believe. The good news is that, with a few sustainable swaps, you can make your bathroom a healthier place for both your family and the planet. Read on for eight bathroom products that will make your daily routine more sustainable.
8 Swaps for Your Favorite Bathroom Products
1. Shampoo Bar:
Few things will make you question your reliance on plastic more than the knowledge that scientists have found plastic waste in the Mariana Trench — aka, the deepest location on Earth. Or that we eat 40 pounds of microplastic over the course of our lifetime. Or hundreds of other facts that shine a light on how pervasive plastic is in our throwaway society.
That’s where switching to shampoo bars comes into play. These package-free bars are longer-lasting than bottled shampoo and can divert two to three plastic bottles from the trash. As if that weren’t enough, they’re also travel-friendly, cost-effective and less likely to contain toxic ingredients.
2. Refillable Hand Wash or Solid Bar Soap:
Refillable products are all the rage these days, which is great news for anyone looking to level up their sustainability game. Instead of tossing an empty jar or bottle, you can save the container and refill it repeatedly, helping you cut down on waste and save money in the process. To implement this change in the bathroom, consider swapping your disposable hand wash for a refillable version with biodegradable ingredients. Look for a refillable hand wash subscription online or check out Litterless to locate a zero waste store near you. And remember — if refillables aren’t your thing, there’s always the humble bar of soap!
3. Reusable Razor:
Disposable razors may not be categorized as “single-use,” but that doesn’t stop billions of them from ending up in landfills each year. Most razors only last between three and 10 shaves before they get blunt and no longer glide across the skin — then it’s tossed in the trash. Additionally, disposable razors are usually made from several types of plastic, making them impossible to recycle.
Fortunately, the reusable razor industry is booming, and consumers now have their pick of sustainable shaving tools. Leaf Shave, Hanni and a slew of other companies offer reusable safety razors made from 100 percent recyclable materials, making them solid picks for the planet and your wallet.
4. Plastic-Free Deodorant:
If you’re still using conventional deodorant, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Like disposable razors, most tubes of deodorants and antiperspirants are made from multiple types of plastic, making them difficult to recycle properly. Plus, conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are often loaded with questionable ingredients that you don’t want on your armpits (think parabens and aluminum salts). By switching to a plastic-free deodorant in a compostable container, you can smell good without creating waste or exposing yourself to potentially harmful chemicals.
5. Bamboo Toilet Paper:
Whether you’re not quite ready to upgrade to a bidet, or you’re on the hunt for a non-bidet option for the guest bathroom, you can’t go wrong with bamboo toilet paper. It’s made from highly sustainable materials (e.g., bamboo, the fastest growing plant on Earth) and consumes fewer overall resources than traditional toilet paper made from virgin pulp. Tack on the fact that it’s super-soft, incredibly absorbent and breaks down quickly (read no clogged toilets or pipes) and it’s not difficult to see its appeal.
Just make sure you’re buying bamboo toilet paper from an Earth-friendly brand that uses chlorine alternatives to whiten their products. Chlorine bleaching of pulp can create small quantities of dioxin, a highly toxic and carcinogenic byproduct.
6. Sisal Soap Saver:
Plastic loofahs aren’t necessary for your daily ablutions, but if you feel the need to use something with your bar soap, let it be a sisal soap saver. Made from the sisal plant, a sustainable and renewable resource, these all-natural soap pouches extend the lifespan of your soap and double as an exfoliation tool. Unlike plastic loofahs that need to be tossed every three to four weeks, sisal soap savers can be washed and reused hundreds of times before they need to be composted, making them a more hygienic and sustainable choice. As a bonus, their creamy white hue and rope-like texture is sure to lend itself well to your eco chic bathroom.
7. Reusable Cotton Rounds:
If you’re a diehard makeup or toner user, replacing your single-use cotton rounds with reusable ones is a no-brainer. The truth is, most cotton rounds aren’t made from 100 percent cotton. They’re usually a mix of synthetic fibers, which means they technically count as single-use plastics. Reusable cotton rounds, on the other hand, are just that — reusable. You can use them to wipe away makeup, apply toner, remove nail polish — the list goes on and on. And once you’ve gone through your entire stash, you can pop them in the washing machine and reuse them again and again, reducing waste and saving yourself money in the long run.
8. Zero Waste Period Products:
Periods are frustrating, inconvenient and, at times, painful. And if that weren’t bad enough, they’re also expensive and hard on the planet. The average menstruator spends $9 per month on period products, reports the New York Times. That’s a total of $4,212 over the course of an average woman’s reproductive lifespan (39 years). All those plastic pads and tampon applicators end up in a landfill or the natural environment, where they take forever to break down and are often called “beach whistles” due to how often they wash up on seashores.
Thankfully, reusable menstrual products are here to help save the planet and our wallets from ruin. If you prefer the convenience of tampons, give menstrual cups a try. These small, silicone cups are inserted into the vagina where they collect (rather than absorb) menstrual fluid. If that’s not your thing, try period panties instead. Period panties are usually made from moisture-wicking fabrics that have been coated with a special odor-controlling treatment, allowing you to stay dry and odor-free.
Going green in the bathroom is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and start embracing a more sustainable lifestyle. Some of these sustainable bathroom products may take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of them, you’ll never look back!