People new to the zero waste lifestyle think zero waste in the kitchen is hard enough, let alone in the bathroom. Forget shampoo! What does a person wanting to live this way do about items such as toilet paper, tampons, sanitary napkins, deodorant, shampoo, etc.? What about the personal personal items, like lubricant, (If you’re not allergic to coconut, give coconut oil a shot! Trust me, you’ll thank me later)?
When a person really takes the time to go through his or her bathroom and see how much waste he or she is creating, the person will be literately shocked. A lot of items for the kitchen, (such as food), can be bought in bulk, in limited packaging, and at farmers markets without stickers, (i.e. produce), but it’s super hard to find toiletry items this way, (unless you are lucky to have a bulk store that carries soaps, shampoos, and other items without packaging). Most people that want to begin living zero waste have no clue were to start when it comes to the bathroom.
Below are 8 steps a person can take today to create a zero waste bathroom! While it might seem hard at first, the process is actually quite simple. Making the following adjustments will not only save a bunch of waste from going into the landfill, but money!
- Get rid of the trashcan! I always tell people that the first step to turning your bathroom zero waste is getting rid of temptation: the trashcan. Having a trashcan in the bathroom will just tempt you to throw things away. Without the trashcan, you will actually start to think twice about the items that you purchase for toiletries and ways that things can either be reused or recycled, (recycling being last resort since everyone should be trying to reduce, reuse, and refuse first), or if another alternative can be used. Actually, many shampoo and conditioner bottles are recyclable. Make sure to check your local recycling program to see what is and what isn’t recyclable!
- Get yourself a safety razor! While going without shaving would create the least amount of waste, a lot of people don’t want to do that, (i.e. because of personal preferences). A safety razor creates a lot less waste than the plastic disposables. They might be more costly up front, but in the long run, you will end up saving some cash. As far as when you have to change the razor blade in your safety razor: the blades can be recycled because they’re made out of steel. Just save them in a safe spot until they can be recycled. Recycling is better than throwing them away.
- Check out alternatives for shampoo, conditioner, and soap! There are alternatives for these items that do not come with packaging, or if they do, they come with a lot less. For example; check out your local farmers market for a local business that makes these items. Not only will you be supporting local business, but usually, these local business do not use as much packaging, (this is true in my experience anyway). Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Lush, etc., are stores that actually carry bulk shampoo, soap, conditioner, massage bars, bath bombs, with limited, (if any packaging). Check out shampoo bars! It’s a great alternative! Definitely checking out these stores will give you alternatives to bottled shampoos and soaps. If you are feeling extra crafty, you can make your own! There are loads of recipes on sites, such as Pinterest!
- What about toilet paper?! While this is tricky because obviously there is some sort of waste created, you can choose alternatives to make the situation not as wasteful, (such as buying toilet paper that is made from recycled paper or get tubeless rolls).
- What about Aunt Flow!? Give the Diva cup a shot! It’s way different than sanitary napkins and tampons. This cup is made of 100% healthcare grade silicone and provides 12 hours of leak-free protection, (granted I personally check on it every now and again), and it is reusable, (they recommend replacing it only once a year). Of course you want to wash it every day on your cycle and between uses, but it is a great alternative to tampons and sanitary napkins.
- What about the personal “personal” products?! Unfortunately, condoms are a must when having safe sex. They protect against STDs, STIs, unwanted pregnancy, etc. Do NOT stop using them just because you want to live a waste-free lifestyle. If you want to skip on anything, stop buying lubricant at the store and it will free you from waste! Instead, look in your kitchen, take out the coconut oil and give it a shot! Trust me; you won’t be sorry that you tried it as personal lube! Just make sure that you and your partner are not allergic to coconuts before giving this a whirl!
- What about my make-up!? Lush is amazing and also offers limited packaging or environmentally friendly packaging. Personally, I have found all-natural, organic recipes for makeup, started making my own, and storing the product in my own glass containers. Simple recipes can be found on Pinterest! Check out Gittemary Johansen’s YouTube tutorials on how to make your own makeup!
- Never fear, zero waste deodorant is here! Throw out that crap that comes in plastic and check out this recipe to make your own! If you don’t like the scent of lemon or this recipe, many more can be found on Google, YouTube, or Pinterest!