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Here’s a list of nine single-use plastic items you can swap out of your bathroom and replace with zero waste alternatives.
9 Zero waste bathroom single-use plastic swaps
The news is coming at us every day:
OUR PLANET IS DROWNING IN PLASTIC.
So now is the time for all of us to do everything we can to minimise the amount of plastic we use.
Especially single-use plastic.
This is why I’ve started a Zero Waste series on Mums Make Lists.
My first post highlights 7 Single-Use Plastics You Can Ditch Straight Away.
Single-use plastic in your bathroom
This post, my second in the series, focuses on single-use plastic that lurks in your bathroom.
Well, to say it lurks is probably making it sound more durable than it is.
Single-use plastic comes into the bathroom, in the form of toothpaste tubes, dental floss packaging, disposable razors… we use it, we throw it out.
We might put it in the recycling bin.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it gets recycled once it’s been collected.
For example, toothpaste tubes in particular are notoriously difficult to clean out, so they are hard to recycle.
So, what to do?
Swap your single-use bathroom plastics for alternatives that won’t kill our planet.
Here are some single-use plastic swaps that will help you move your bathroom towards zero waste.
9 Zero Waste Bathroom Single-Use Plastic Swaps
Plastic toothbrushes are notorious for their lack of recyclability.
As far as I know there isn’t yet a totally plastic-free toothbrush around that it is advisable to use – natural materials are porous and therefore prone to harbouring bacteria.
But there are alternatives you can go for.
a. Bamboo toothbrush
First up, toothbrushes with bamboo stems.
Bamboo is fast-growing and eco-friendly sustainable material source with the added benefit that it is biodegradable or compostable.
I’d advise looking for a bamboo toothbrush with BPA-Free bristles.
This way you are doing the best for your health as well as the health of the planet.
I like the look of this Coutiver Bamboo toothbrush with BPA-Free bristles that’s available over on Etsy.
b. Sustainable materials toothbrush
This is the option I’ve gone for, my first batch are on order.
RADIUS make toothbrushes from sustainable materials.
The RADIUS Original is an ergonomically designed toothbrush.
The Original toothbrush handle is made from 100% cellulose bio-plastic.
The bristles are made from 100% vegetable oil.
These two facts combined mean that the Original toothbrush is 100% PETROLEUM FREE, BPA Free, Latex Free, Lead Free, Gluten Free, and Phthalates Free.
The toothbrushes come in packs of three or six.
You can choose to go for the lefthand or righthand toothbrush.
The toothbrushes are a little more expensive than ordinary toothbrushes, but alongside their eco-credentials, they also boast a whole array of other benefits, which you can read about on the RADIUS website.
RADIUS Original Toothbrush | Amazon
RADIUS do toothbrushes for all the family, including Pure Baby for babies age 6 months +, Totz Toothbrush for Toddlers age 18 months +, Totz Plus Toothbrush for children age 3 years + and Kidz toothbrush for children age 6+.
c. Electric toothbrush
Of course the other thing to do is to switch from a manual toothbrush to an electric one, which will last much longer.
There is still the issue of the brush heads, but there is LESS plastic waste on them.
2. Dental floss
Keeping in the dental zone, dental floss is another big single-use plastic fiend.
There really is nothing else you can use the plastic casing for once you’ve finished the floss.
So, what to do?
Buy silk floss instead of the usual nylon floss.
Now I’ll admit, this isn’t a cheap swap.
So it maybe something you want to do this some of the time, rather than all of the time.
Every little helps!
RADIUS silk floss
The second silk floss is from RADIUS.
The RADIUS Natural Silk Floss is spun from plant wax, it is 100% biodegradable and is free of any nasties.
RADIUS Natural Silk Floss | Amazon
If the silk floss options aren’t for you, there is another alternative.
c. Waterpik water flosser
You know when you go to the dental hygienist and they use that high pressure water thingie to clean your teeth?
Well, you can get a similar gadget for your bathroom.
It’s called a Waterpik. In essence, it’s a water flosser.
Now, rarely do I see a product on Amazon with over 10,000 reviews and an almost perfect 5 star score (On Amazon.com US).
So this Waterpik ADA Aquarius Water Flosser is clearly a winner.
So much so that I am going to order one.
It isn’t the cheapest, especially when you compare it to the cost of buying a pack of dental floss.
However, when you compare the cost to the amount of money you spend on floss over a few years…
Plus, the great saving for the planet, well then it’s clearly a winner.
Waterpik Water Flosser | Amazon
Some of us use it.
Some of us don’t.
You can simply stop using it.
But what if you’re partial to using it to swill around your mouth after you’ve cleaned your teeth?
It sounds super refreshing.
Make some, pop it in a sterilised glass bottle and there you have a zero waste, single-use plastic free way to get your daily mouthwash fix.
Plastic toothpaste tubes are notoriously difficult / impossible to recycle.
Just think how many you and your family get through in a year.
Time for a change?
There are a few options.
One thing I will say is that you do need to bear in mind your dental hygiene needs before making a swap.
If in doubt, ask your dentist.
a. Homemade dental powder
The lovely lady over at Going Zero Waste has also created a recipe for toothpowder.
What I love most about this toothpowder is that a dentist collaborated on the recipe.
Because it makes me nervous to use a natural product on my teeth that might actually not support them and keep them healthy.
There is a lot I’m willing to do, to help save the planet.
But not at the expense of my teeth 😉
The toothpowder is mild and non-abrasive.
But do bear in mind that if you have soft enamel, you may still need to use a product with fluoride to help prevent cavities.
If you really aren’t into the idea of making your own toothpowder, you could buy one.
b. Branded tooth powder
Etsy has a whole range of them available at really reasonable prices.
Just make sure to go for one in a glass jar, otherwise you’re defeating the object of the exercise!
If you really, really want a toothpaste instead of a tooth powder, I’ve found a couple of great options.
c. Natural toothpaste in a glass jar
UK based Georganics is a plastic-free organic dental healthcare brand.
Georganics’ Natural Toothpaste has been specially developed to cleanse and remineralise teeth naturally.
It containing Calcium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate, a formula high in the essential minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium and natural organic silica.
According to Georganics, this is the safest and mildest toothpaste there is right now.
It is suitable for all ages, so from baby teeth up.
I’ve ordered the Georganics English Peppermint Toothpaste.
I ordered it directly from the Georganics website, but it’s also available on Amazon and I just noticed that it actually works out slightly cheaper on Amazon if you are in the UK.
If you are in the U.S however, I’d suggest sticking with ordering on the Georganics website.
d. Natural toothpaste in a tube
If you’re based in the U.S (shipping is cost prohibitive overseas) then you really like your toothpaste to come in a tube, you should check out the gorgeous Davids Natural Toothpaste.
It’s a fluoride and SLS free toothpaste made with natural mint oil flavouring and it comes in a recyclable metal tube.
Davids also offers a subscribe and save option, which makes it more cost effective.
Davids Natural Toothpaste | Davids
So, that’s it for dental.
Did you ever think we’d get through it?!
So, what next?
Another culprit of single-use plastic overload…
5. Disposable razor
Disposable razors are so NAUGHTY for the environment.
Really, awful, just awful.
So, what’s the switch?
A Safety razor.
Now, first things first.
Using a Safety razor takes practise.
Particularly if you are wanting to use it to shave your legs.
There is a great post on Medium about How To Use A Safety Razor To Shave Your Legs
I’ve also found a brilliant How To video.
So why make the swap?
Safety razors are reusable razors made of stainless steel, which means they can be recycled at the end of their life.
The blades are also stainless steel, so they can be recycled as well, though check with your local recycling info on how and where.
So, switch to a Safety razor and you will be saving the planet from a whole bunch of single-use plastic.
GoBlades stainless steel safety razor | Amazon
6. Body wash
Who perishes the thought of going back to using soap?
Yes, me too.
Whilst I am very happy to swap my liquid hand-soap for a Marseille olive oil soap bar , I am much less happy to use soap in the shower.
Luckily there is an alternative route.
Lush Naked Shower Gel.
Lush have introduced a range called Naked Shower Gel and it turns out it’s quite nice.
It’s essentially a solid shower gel, double the concentration of normal shower gel and with no water.
I do find it slightly bizarre the product is shaped like a bottle, but I guess it’s a good gimmick.
You use it in the shower, then pop it on the side to dry out.
Ready for you to use again.
Click here to read all about Naked Shower Gel over on the Lush UK site.
I’ll also mention that Lush offers plenty of other packaging-free products and has a brilliant in-store recycling service for the small range of its products that do come in bottles and jars (all of which are made from recycled materials).
7. Cotton buds / QTips
A lot of cotton buds / Qtips have plastic stems.
I’ve written about them in my post Plastic free living tips – 7 single use plastics to ditch now
Luckily there are starting to be some brands who have cotton buds with stems made from card.
Boots (UK chemist) is one.
Paper stem cotton buds | Boots
8. Face wipes
I’ve also mentioned face wipes in Plastic free living tips – 7 single use plastics to ditch now .
My mind boggles at how many face wipes I’ve used over the years.
Not to mention baby wipes.
So, what’s the alternative to using disposable face wipes?
9. Shampoo and conditioner
If there is one area of personal care that I am obsessive about, it’s shampoo and conditioner.
I have the kind of in-between hair that can be blow-dried straight or left to go wavy.
Because it’s also the kind of hair that goes frizzy at the first sign of moisture in the air.
Just think Monica in the Barbados episode of Friends
So if there is one thing I need to be prised out of my clammy hands, it’s my preferred brand of haircare.
But there are alternatives… shampoo and conditioner bars.
Now, I’m going to default to Lush again here.
Because I’ve been using the Lush Jason And The Argan Oil shampoo bar happily for the last couple of weeks.
Turns out I love it.
I was so worried it would leave my hair feeling stripped.
But it doesn’t, it actually leaves it feeling super clean and supple.
Jason And The Argan Oil Shampoo Bar | Lush
I’ve also been using the Lush Jungle solid conditioner bar.
This I was super nervous about.
But again, I am SO happy with how it works.
Jungle Solid Conditioner | Lush
I think it helped that I went into my local store and quizzed a sales assistant on which of the products to buy.
But I can wholeheartedly say that I like them and am happy using them.
One other thing I was worried about with them, was that they’d get used up really quickly.
But as long as you let them dry after you’ve used them, I’ve been assured they go for between 40 – 60 washes. So they’re actually really cost effective.
Of course there are other solid shampoo and conditioner options out there.
So there you have it.
Some of the easiest single-use plastic swaps you can do today to help your household take another step towards zero waste and freedom from single-use plastic.
More on zero waste
I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but this post is part of a new Zero Waste series.
The first post in the series is on plastic free living tips, focusing on seven simple things you can do around your house right now to start reducing single-use plastic.
We’ve also got a post on 6 Simple things you can do to reduce YOUR plastic footprint.
Read more on Mums Make Lists:
If, like me, you are keen to do your bit for the environment – and keep nasty chemicals to a minimum in your home for the sake of your family’s health, you might like to read some of my posts on green cleaning:
And our biggie… The ONE day Spring clean that won’t take over your life
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