Zero Waste Bathroom

Degree of effort: low – Level of impact: medium

Sustainability on a budget

Tasks:

  • Use up your cosmetic products and then replace them with waste-free alternatives
  • Get rid of most of your waste and consider offsetting the rest (into residual waste)
  • Challenge: inspire others!

Background:

By now most of you are already aware of many sustainability issues, I suppose. Most people in Western countries but also in middle to higher classes in other areas of the world produce lots of waste per capita, especially lots of packaging waste. Most waste worldwide is still not properly recycled or even burned for energy generation but sent to landfill or shipped off to other countries that lack recycling facilities even more. Since China has stopped to import European waste, most of it instead is sent to other Asian countries where it finally ends up in rivers and the ocean. You can find an interesting (German) documentary on plastic here: https://www.phoenix.de/sendungen/ereignisse/phoenix-plus/plastik-fluch-oder-segen-a-669819.html?ref=suche

You can easily reduce most single-use plastics – some very easy tips to follow can be found here: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/tips-reduce-plastic/ and after you got rid of most of your waste, you can compensate the rest here: https://repurpose.global/ The low fee you pay is invested in proper waste recycling in India to reduce further environmental pollution.

But next to (plastic) waste, many other issues make your bathroom products unsustainable: microplastics in cosmetic products, use of palm oil and crude oil ingredients, health risks, hormonal manipulation, etc.

So let’s see how to get to a healthy and environmentally friendly bathroom (and how to safe money on the long run).

My experience:

I want to share with you how my bathroom items look like, one year after my first plastic free July and after the beginning of my current Zero Waste/Minimalism action. And I am happy to say that I (nearly) do not need a waste bin in the bathroom anymore!

Metal razor instead of plastic ones (one blade works for about 25 shavings!); I also have a pair of scissors for the nails
Metal ear cleaner instead of cotton buds (one is sufficient for the whole household; just rinse it after use)
Wooden instead of plastic brush or comb
Cup and cotton liners for daily use and period (instead of throw-away items)
Soaps for hair, body, face and hands (in boxes for transport) instead of shampoo, body wash and liquid soap
Solid toothpaste instead of conventional own (or just use natron) and for the tooth brush only the head needs to be replace (there are also plastic ones where you only replace the head or you can use bamboo brushes – all better than normal plastic brushes)
Self-made deo and lip balm (there are also rollers, but I used the firm deo version); also easy and cheap to make oneself: mouth wash and hair spray as well as peeling (e.g. just use coffee ground)
Some items to fix my hair (nowadays also available without plastic); no hair dryer because the hair dries by itself without help – especially in summer
Concealer, Mascara and eye shadow (I am still using them up – very slowly)
Also still using up some body lotion/skin cream and hand cream; the former will then be self-made as well; if anyone knows an alternative to hand cream (have sensitive skin) I am happy to hear it!
Well, I had accumulated some unnecessary things over time – will give them to people that are not going waste free yet

I also got rid of some of my jewellery (donated/sold), because I cannot and do not wear all of it anyways. And I threw away two scrubs directly that contained microplastics (bought some years ago when still ignorant). It’s really very little work to get to a (nearly) zero waste bathroom in no time. Each time I used something up, I replaced it with a more sustainable alternative. Sometimes they cost more in the beginning, but they always pay off after a while. I already reduced about 80-90% of my bath room waste and use much healthier items now. Also I do not need to go to stores such as the above (source of image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/15-03-14-dm-Drogeriemarkt-Berlin-S%C3%BCdkreuz-RalfR-DSCF2769-05.jpg) anymore. My main waste now is toilet paper – I buy the most sustainable version though: loose rolls made of locally recycled paper.

How far are you with your zero waste bathroom? Did I forget any items? Make the small effort and achieve a big difference! (If you do not want to make things yourself, buy natural products or ask Zero Waste friends to make an extra-portion for you ;-))

A nice 15-minute video on Zero Waste bathrooms can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6IEFiuLgzE

I do not advertise for or recommend any of the brands shown in the pictures.

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