Going plastic-free would be easy if it weren’t for one inconvenient fact: everything is made of plastic these days. That pair of stretch jeans you bought recently? Plastic. The “paper” coffee cup that holds your morning cup of Joe? It’s lined with plastic. The fruits and vegetables you buy at the grocery store? Yep, you could be munching on microplastics.
No room in the house is safe from the scourge that is plastic, and the bathroom is no exception. From deodorant sticks to liquid shampoo, beauty and personal care products are often housed in wasteful packaging that pollutes our waterways and harms the environment. Thankfully, more and more brands are launching sustainable alternatives to everyday bathroom essentials, making it easier for consumers to reduce their plastic waste. If you want to do your part, here are a few easy ways to go plastic-free in the bathroom.
Ditch plastic shampoo bottles for shampoo bars
If you’re looking for an easy way to make your bathroom more sustainable (aren’t we all?), replacing your liquid shampoo with a plastic-free shampoo bar is a great way to reduce your plastic waste. Unlike traditional shampoos, which often contain nasty ingredients and come packaged in unnecessary plastic, shampoo bars are package-free and boast natural ingredients that are good for your hair, your health and the planet. For soft and silky tresses, follow with a conditioner bar.
It’s worth mentioning that shampoo and conditioner bars aren’t the only beauty products that are available in bar form. You can also buy solid versions of lotions, creams, moisturizers — you name it. By replacing your liquid products with solids, you can help divert more plastic bottles from landfills. (Extra benefit: You’ll sail through airport security faster!)
Seek out refillable products
Beauty companies spend a lot of time and money on the look of their packaging, hoping to attract consumers with their eye-catching boxes and beautiful wrapping paper. But this packaging has a dark side, generating 120 billion packaging units per year.
It’s important to point out that the best way to reduce beauty waste is by cutting back on the number of products you use. That said, maybe you have a product that you’re not willing to give up yet. In that case, try to look for a refillable version instead. Thanks to brands like Kjaer Weis and Blueland, it’s easier than ever to order plastic-free refills online.
Brush your teeth with bamboo
Like most disposable plastics, plastic toothbrushes are often made with materials that come from fossil fuels and end up in landfills or oceans. Why not switch to a bamboo toothbrush? Made from sustainable bamboo, the handle of these eco-friendly toothbrushes is 100 percent biodegradable. Simply remove the nylon bristles with a pair of needle-nose pliers and stick it in the ground. (Another benefit: Bamboo has a way of elevating your bathroom and making it look more serene.)
Swap single-use pads for reusable cotton rounds
Wait, why do you need to give up cotton rounds? Aren’t they made of cotton? You may be surprised to learn that most cotton rounds are made of synthetic fibers, which means that they technically fall into the category of single-use plastics. Not to mention, they also come packaged in unnecessary plastic.
If you’re a makeup user or a toner aficionado, reusable cotton rounds are a must-have. These useful little pads can be washed and reused time and again, reducing strain on the environment and your wallet. Plus, they can be composted at the end of their lifespan.
Make your own deodorant (or choose one that’s plastic-free)
Traditional deodorants come in plastic cases made from several different types of plastic, making them difficult (if not impossible) to recycle. Fortunately, making your own deodorant from scratch is relatively straightforward. In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboard. Try this easy, natural deodorant recipe using coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot starch and essential oils.
Don’t have the time to whip up your own deodorant? You can also buy a plastic-free deodorant that comes in an eco-friendly tube. Plastic-free deodorants are often made from plant-based ingredients that are good for your skin and the planet.
Shave with a reusable razor
Did you know that Americans toss two billion plastic razors in the trash each year? (Yes, that’s billion with a “B”.) If you’re looking for a more eco-conscious shave, try a reusable razor. Old-school safety razors are relatively inexpensive and have been making a huge comeback, thanks to their easy-to-replace blades and durable design. If you’re willing to shell out a bit more money, there are also a variety of reusable razors with useful features, such as pivoting razor heads and antifriction blades.
Embrace the bidet
Traditional toilet paper is incredibly wasteful, from the harvesting of trees to its plastic packaging. Instead, opt for a bidet attachment. You’ve probably heard of them before, but in case you haven’t, a bidet is simply a device that attaches to your toilet and dispenses water to cleanse you.
While bidets might sound strange to Americans, they’re fairly popular in Italy, Portugal and Japan. And really, it’s not difficult to see why — bidets are a great way to reduce your toilet paper usage, helping families save toilet paper, money and time.
Creating a More Sustainable Bathroom
The bathroom can seem like a daunting place to go plastic-free. But as you can see, there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to reduce your waste. Best of all, some of them can save you money in the long-term — and who doesn’t love that? Just remember to use up your current bathroom products before you switch to low-waste alternatives.