Simple Tips for Reducing Plastic Consumption - Starting with the Bathroom Cupboard
Simple Tips for Reducing Plastic in Your Bathroom
— Kat’s step-by-step guide to simplifying your bathroom cupboard and how to practise mindful consumerism for your future spending.
✎ Kat Guerrero
How can we contribute to making the world a bit more beautiful?
By actively reducing our individual plastic use and consumption. Transitioning to a plastic-free lifestyle tends to focus on the kitchen, where packaging and plastic waste is a bit more obvious. But when was the last time you’ve gone through your bathroom cupboard and taken account of how much plastic you’re harbouring?
The answer: likely a lot. Most beauty and cleansing products, regardless of the ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ ingredients, are packaged in single-use vessels. It is so easy to let your inhibitions loose when collecting bathroom products - the more the merrier, right? The beauty world contributes heavily to the global carbon footprint, especially with the use of hard-to-recycle packaging, microplastics and single-use products like face wipes.
Transitioning to earth-friendly products and approaching the bathroom with a plastic-free mindset isn’t a compromise on quality. In fact, being more intentional about the products and practices you bring to the bathroom will likely elevate your experience through natural and plastic-free products. Keep in mind that while some companies like the hike up the price for natural products, transitioning to a plastic-free bathroom tends to be more economical in the long run.
How to Create a Plastic-Free Bathroom
Give Your Bathroom an Overhaul
Take a good hard look at the products you already have. We recommend grabbing a piece of paper and taking notes of the products you gravitate towards and how they are packaged. Are you a sucker for well-designed graphics? A fiend for natural, woo-woo products? Or someone who grabs the cheapest products?
Take your reflection a step further and transition all your products into a glass jar or reusable container. That way you can see can what you have and decide on what you actually need in your bathroom.
Naked products we mean. Products that don’t live in a plastic bottle or tub. Remember - less is more! Pop into your local bulk-shop and fill up on beauty products. Often, bulk-shops provide shampoo, conditioners and soaps - the basics for a clean routine.
Assess Your Razor Situation
In the United States, it’s estimated that 2 billion razors are thrown away each year. Razors are one of most wasteful bathroom products simply because they are so easy to purchase, use and dispose of with little to no end-of-life consideration. Switch to electric shavers (extra points if it’s solar charged), pick up razors created from recycle plastic, buy reusable razors or go au natural and forgo shaving all together.
Some things just seem normal to purchase regularly. Toothbrushes are a necessity for healthy gums and a bright, clean smile. However, the tool to healthy teeth is often at the expense of the environment.
Some facts: a standard toothbrush weighs about 18 grams and comes in 7 grams of packaging - none of this is recyclable. It’s estimated that in New Zealand, people buy and dispose of 8 million+ toothbrushes yearly - upwards of 144 tonnes of plastic that won’t biodegrade. We can hardly imagine what that statistic looks like for Australia.
We won’t forget dental floss. The key to healthy gums is, unfortunately, derived from crude oil. Traditional dental floss is waxed nylon, which takes up to 80 years to decompose. In the zero-waste world, floss is a tricky one because there are no obvious alternatives. The best options? Invest in compostable, nylon and plastic-free silk floss or buy nylon floss without the plastic casing.
Yep - we’re talking about periods. Still think chatting about it is a taboo? Take an hour or so to watch Period.End of Sentence and get back to us.
In the bathroom menstrual products are incredibly wasteful. According to research, women have about 450 periods over their lifetime. Pads, tampons, liners and other period products tend to be single-use….that’s a lot to go through and a big environmental toll. It’s estimated that over 45 billion tampon-related products are disposed of in a yearly basis - products have been found on beaches and in nature. In one large beach clean up, the Nature Conservancy collected 27,938 tampons and applicators worldwide. We’ll let that number sink in.
Technically some period-related products are compostable and biodegradable, like tampons, but they take a long time and the right environment to do so. Period pads aren’t innocent either. It’s been reported that the environmental impact of one pad is comparable to four single-use plastic bags.
The best alternative? Get groovy with your products. Buy products that use cardboard or recyclable packaging or go 100% environmentally-friendly and join the menstrual cup movement. Menstrual cups are made from reusable plastics and can last up to four years.
Why go through all the trouble of sourcing the best pre-made bathroom essentials when you can make your own?
Creating earth-friendly cleansing and beauty products is an easy way to decrease your environmental impact and ensure that what you’re putting on your body is 100% natural. It’s also a fun way to play around with a range of ingredients and learn what works best with your body. Simplifying and creating your own products is a great excuse to up-cycle packaging from the kitchen like glass jars - waste not, want not!
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