How to Reduce Plastic In Your Bathroom

With so many different products on our bathroom shelves, the smallest room is a big source of plastic waste in the home.

Here are some top tips from blogger The Green Shopper for plastic-free alternatives to common bathroom and beauty products.

Toothbrushes 

Replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo or wood alternative. Most have nylon bristles, but a few brands use biodegradable plant-based plastic for example the Truth Brush.

Repurpose old brushes for cleaning tasks — they make great nailbrushes or can be used to clean tricky areas around taps and plugholes.

If you have a bamboo or wooden one, use pliers to remove the bristles, then compost the wooden handle.     

If you don't like the feeling of a wooden brush in your mouth, try a toothbrush made from recycled plastic or a
toothbrush system with replaceable heads.

Are you feeling adventurous?

Try a miswak (Salvadora Persica) root or olive (Olea Europaea) stick to clean your teeth. These trees products have natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Miswak takes a bit of getting used to, as the cleaning motion is quite different from regular brushing, but it does leave your teeth feeling really clean!     

Both options are available from Natural Spa Supplies.

Interdental Care

To get clean in between your teeth, use natural dental floss in a refillable glass jar. But be aware that some natural dental floss is made from silk, which isn't vegan.

UK brand Georganics use cruelty-free natural silk which is harvested after the silk worms have hatched.

Watch out for floss marketed as being 'plastic-free' and made from 'natural corn' – it is actually made from bio-based plastic, polylactic acid.
    
It's now also possible to buy interdental brushes with bamboo handles. Try WooBamboo for options.

Toothpaste & Oral Hygiene Products

A wide range of natural toothpastes are available in glass jars—some brands also supply a small bamboo spatula to apply it to your brush.    

Toothpaste tablets are another way of saying goodbye to plastic toothpaste tubes, with the advantage of being lightweight which makes them great for travelling     with.

Just pop a toothpaste tablet into your mouth and chew it before brushing  with a moistened toothbrush!    

Mouthwash

For extra fresh breath, concentrated mouthwash drops in a glass bottle are a good alternative to mainstream mouthwash. Check out options from Weleda.          

Mouthwash tablets are another great option for travelling light, just dissolve a tablet in a small amount of water and use in the same way as regular mouthwash.

Oil pulling is a traditional Indian oral health practice which can be used instead of conventional mouthwash.

A tablespoonful of oil (usually coconut) is vigorously 'pulled' around the mouth for up to twenty minutes before being disposed of in a tissue. Studies show that this is an effective way of reducing oral bacteria.

If you suffer from gingivitis or peridontitis, ask your dentist about rinsing with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution instead of medicated mouthwash — it is available in glass bottles at most pharmacies.

Soaps and shampoos

Image: Sabai soaps

Swap shower gel and handwash for a bar of solid soap, but make sure to check the ingredients if you are vegetarian or vegan—solid soaps can contain sodium tallowate, made from rendered animal fat. Stearic acid and glycerin in soap can be animal derived, plant derived or synthetic, so check the label for vegetarian or vegan certification.

If you use solid soap, save the end stubs and pop them into a sisal bag for a natural body scrub!

Another zero-waste option is to choose refillable liquid soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.

Shampoo bars and cubes are a great alternative to liquid shampoo. A moroccan clay powder called rhassoul can be used to replace both soap and shampoo. It's even possible to wash your hair with rye flour! Coconut oil, cider vinegar or a herbal rinse of marshmallow root can be used to condition hair.

Deodorant

Many brands of natural deodorant are available as solid bars, cream, or as push-up sticks in cardboard tubes.

Natural crystals of volcanic potassium alum are another long lasting and effective deodorant choice.    

Plastic-Free Beauty Products and Bathroom Tools

  • Use witch hazel or floral waters as a natural alternative to skin cleanser and toner     
  • Find moisturiser in glass jars, use natural plant oils or solid moisturising bars  
  • Exfoliate with salt/sugar scrubs/used coffee grounds/bran/ground rice  
  • To dye hair, use natural henna, indigo or cassia.      
  • Use refillable make-up palettes, or 'unwrapped' makeup.  
  • Make your own beauty products using essential oils, floral waters  and natural ingredients.
  • use a wooden comb or hairbrush
  • opt for a stainless steel safety razor + shaving oil or solid soap and a traditional shaving brush
  • Try a Konjak sponge,  Natural sea sponge (not vegan), Loofah (vegan)         
  • Organic cotton  flannel and washable makeup wipes 
  • Buy recycled toilet paper wrapped in paper/home compostable plant plastic.
  • Try out reusable or plastic free menstrual products.

Bathroom Cleaning Swaps

  • Remove limescale with white vinegar or a citric acid solution
  • Replace cream   cleaner with bicarbonate of soda on a natural cellulose sponge
  • Use a UK-made refillable brand for spray cleaners and toilet cleaner