A More Sustainable Bathroom

green leafed plant on brown pot

You might think the bathroom is one of the hardest rooms to keep free of plastic. Shower spray, toilet cleaner, shower gel, shampoo, the list goes on and on. Here are some of the strategies we use to keep as much plastic as we can out of the bathroom and to help us live a “greener” lifestyle.

  1. Cut down on cleaners. I use a home made vinegar and soap solution to keep the shower clean. I use an old trigger spray that I bought about five years ago, I just keep refilling it and it does a great job of keeping mould and mildew at bay. I buy my vinegar in 5l plastic cartons as we use it all around the house. The containers are re used (I’ll write a post about how useful they are soon). To keep the sink and bath clean I use bicarbonate of soda and a soft brush instead of commercial scourers. This method deals with soap scum, bath rings and cleans the tile grout. It is easily rinsed off.
  2. Buy toilet roll wrapped in paper, not plastic. It is possible to buy paper wrapped toilet paper from larger supermarkets, office supply and eco friendly online stores. I tend to buy in bulk as this reduces overall packaging. There is a company called Who Gives a Crap who promote regular offers on Facebook, they wrap each roll in paper, I haven’t used them as I’m happy with my 48 rolls in a cardboard box from an office supply company. I use the cardboard liners to plant seeds or use them as fire lighters.
  3. I buy big. Shampoo and conditioner in 1 litre bottles (my daughter buys 5 litre cans  from Faith in Nature), now there are so many refill stations (try your local market, health food store or plastic free shop) it’s easy to buy a 1 litre bottle and keep taking it back for refills. I’m clumsy, so I prefer not to keep glass bottles around the shower and  bath, but I do have a 1 litre bottle of hand wash by the sink. It’s mostly used by guests as Mr t and I prefer to use soap bars (which I buy unwrapped or wrapped in paper). You can also buy shower gel and shampoos in aluminium bottles – L’Occitane recently started selling their lavender shower gel like this, I hope they extend the range. You can buy solid shampoo bars (or even give up shampoo all together), I’ve tried both and neither really worked for me. Use less shampoo than you think you need. I don’t use styling products, gels or sprays.
  4. I buy cotton buds with cardboard centres, which are easy to find in supermarkets now. Instead of buying bags of cotton wool, I have a jar full of washable pads that I crocheted using 100% cotton. We use cotton facecloths and towels.
  5. We  don’t buy disposable razors, I have an epilator and Mr T uses a razor with replaceable blades. I know “safety razors” are popular with zero waste afficionados, but the blades can’t be placed in household recycling, they need to disposed of as sharps. Opting for an easy life, we have found an option that works for us. I don’t use sanitary products (thank you Menopoause!). When I did I used a combination of washable pads and plastic free pads. There are lots of options if you’re looking for plastic free options, a quick search online will reveal plenty of suppliers and reviews.
  6. The bulk of out bathroom plastic lurks in the bathroom cabinet, medicines in glass bottles with a plastic spoon, tablets in blister packs, inhalers, peak flow meters, first aid supplies and free sample sachets that I save up and donate to our local Food bank and homeless shelters. I wish magazines didn’t include these freebies – although I’ve noticed it happens less these days.
  7. Toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes. I wish I could find a wooden toothbrush with bristles that were firm enough to clean my teeth, but not so hard they make my gums bleed (suggestions / recommendations welcome). For the time being Mr T continues to use his electric toothbrush and I buy decent quality brushes that last well. Once they are no longer fit for teeth cleaning they are used to scrub behind the bath taps, clean small spaces and finally relegated to the greenhouse where I use them as plant markers, writing the names of seeds I’ve planted on the handle with a sharpie. I would love to find a flouride toothpaste suitable for sensitive teeth that’s in a recyclable tube or jar. I have tried several alternatives, but none of them seem to work for me. We don’t buy plastic bottles of breath freshener, instead we use natural remedies or rinse with a solution of bicarbonate of soda. We buy plastic free dental floss, but it’s rarely used.
  8. We replaced our bathroom a couple of years ago and this meant we could plan some decent storage. We have tall cupboards with glass shelves and I use glass bowls, old tumblers and jars to store all my bits and bobs instead of plastic storage baskets. I love having everything hidden away behind closed doors – and it makes dusting easier! We have a wooden bath rack that holds every day essentials and is the perfect place to balance a mug of tea when I have an indulgent bath!

So, that concludes your quick tour of my bathroom. In this series you will also find a tour of my kitchen and bedroom. Laundry, living room and garden will be uploaded soon. I’m always looking for more suggestions and recommendations of things my readers have tried or tested, so do let me know if you have found a replacement for one of my plastic gremlins.

Photo credit: Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

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