Bath and beauty packaging can be the hardest to recycle. It is also an area where between ‘miracle products’, gifts and products that don’t work for you, it is easy to accumulate a lot of crap. There are now schemes out there such as Terracycle, who recycle items that your local council won’t take such as beauty product containers. Please check them out to find out what options are available in your area here: https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/. However, we all know that continuing to consume at this level is not sustainable for our planet so we need to change the way we consume not just the way we dispose of the packaging. Yet in this modern world, we still want to look and feel good. The face of hippy has changed, So without further ado, here is my list of bathroom swaps:
Stuff for in the shower (because we know how much water bathing uses!)
Loofah – this is an ideal scrubby for any dry areas. They are cheap and can either be composted or thrown in the fire if you have one. Loofahs are also great in the kitchen as a scourer.
Soap – I found my skin felt dry for the first few washes but it adapted quickly. One bar of soap seems to last for at least a month, making it a much cheaper option than shower gel.
Shampoo & conditioner bar – Many people have reported that their hair took a while to adjust to this. I have not found that. My hair has been soft, shiny and very manageable since changing. I use the Lush shampoo and conditioner bars, the staff there are really helpful when it comes to choosing the one for your hair type. I would recommend a tin to keep them in, to prevent them melting onto everything. The tin is also really useful for travelling. As with the shower gel, the shampoo bars work out much cheaper.
Reusuable razor – I am adding this one in but I have to admit I have not yet tried one. Pre my zero waste journey I had stocked up on blades which I am still working my way through. I think it is important that we don’t dispose of still useful things for a greener option, it is kind of counter productive to produce waste to ummm….save waste!
Stuff for after the shower (or before if we are being picky!)
Bamboo toothbrush – These come with different bristles, from soft to firm. They are similar to a plastic toothbrush to use. An easy swap that I just pop in the fire/compost bin when finished with.
Toothpaste – I have tried toothy tabs but they weren’t for me. I am looking into making my own toothpaste but I must admit, this area makes me nervous. You only have one set of teeth and I want to do my best by them. In the meantime, I use a cruelty free, suitable for vegans toothpaste from Superdrug. When the tube is empty, I clean it and send it to my local Terracycle collection. Please see my link to Terracycle above to find out what is happening in your area.
Cleanser – I love The Body Shop camomile cleanser that comes in a tin. You rub it into your face and use a warm cloth/reusable make up pad/flannel to remove. It leaves my skin feeling moisturised and removes even waterproof mascara. You can take the tin back to The Body Shop to recycle, pop it in your recycling box or reuse it.
Make up wipes – With a teenager in the house, we were going through so many packets of these a month! I mean mountains of them! For Christmas, she got a bag of reusable make up pads and we haven’t looked back. They are fantastic, I use them with The Body Shop cleanser, swill them under the tap and dry on radiator. Once used a few times, I put them all back in their bag and pop through the wash. They really are worth their weight in gold.
Moisturiser – I have very dry skin. At the moment I use The Body Shop hemp mask on my skin overnight once or twice a week. The jar is glass but it does have a plastic lid. It is a solid jar so I intend to use it, once well washed, to store my homemade toothpaste in but The Body Shop do also accept the jars back. In addition, I use almond oil in a glass bottle.
Body lotion – I haven’t had to buy this. Every Christmas I get at least two sets with body lotion in, usually more. For the amount I use it, once or twice a week, this lasts. If you don’t have any, before buying some it might be worth asking family or friends. Most people have lots of it from various gift sets and may be glad to rehome it.
Sanitary wear – This month I am changing over to reusable. I know I am late to the party! The initial outlay has put me off making the switch up until now but I can no longer ignore it. The thought of millions of used sanitary towels sitting in landfill and worse, making their way into the oceans, is enough to convince me I need to change. I have never liked tampons so I am not attracted to any of the sponge/mooncup methods but there are plenty of alternatives to pads out there. Obviously, when I use them will be dictated by nature(!) but I will put a separate post up to let you all know how I got on. The pads are designed to last a minimum of three years so with a cost of under £10 per pad, I think over time they will also work out a lot cheaper than disposable sanitary wear.
Overall this has been an easy area of zero waste to tackle. My bathroom is more streamlined and looks more natural and less cluttered than it used to. I have found that the smell of body wash and shampoo is slightly overwhelming to me now. The smell too strong and too artificial. It is important to me to be clean, to take good care of my skin and to reduce waste. The kit above works well on all scores. I have found that because I am no longer sucked into marketing ploys I save a lot of money. Also, the solid versions of products are definitely longer lasting than their plastic packaged alternatives so whilst they are usually more expensive to buy they are definitely considerably cheaper over all. They are more space saving so storage is more streamlined. There is always room for improvement, I am just beginning with the reusable sanitary wear and I haven’t switched to a reusable razor or toothpaste. There are some things I haven’t yet run out of such as deodorant, hairspray, sun cream etc. But I am pleased with the swaps I have made and know that my bathroom waste has dramatically reduced. My beauty routine has always been simple but you will notice there are lots of things not listed, earbuds, nail vanish remover etc. That is largely because I have cut a lot of things out and stripped things back.
Step by step, swap by swap, my zero waste bathroom is shaping up. I am doing my bit for the planet, not compromising on my beauty routine, saving money and decluttering my bathroom. If there is a downside, I haven’t found it.
What swaps have you made? How can you #SAVEONEPIECE in your day to day beauty routine? Start with the next thing you run out of – just one swap.