The green life: Sustainable bathroom staples
There is no way around it; trying to lessen the negative impact we have on the planet is critical. No change is too small and even if you are “just one tiny person”, we all need to do our bit to make the Earth a healthier place for us, the natural world and future generations.
On my own sustainability journey, I have made a few easy changes. These extend beyond the bathroom (second hand clothing, recyclable wrapping paper, organic cosmetics) but today I am focussing on quick wash room wins; swapping your everyday plastic-based products for ones that will make you feel, as well as look, good.
1. Bamboo toothbrush
Traditional plastic-handled toothbrushes are difficult, if not impossible, to recycle and can take hundreds of years to break down. With dentists recommending we change our toothbrush every three months, there is a good reason to look at more sustainable options. Bamboo toothbrush handles take up to six months to compost and have a lower carbon footprint as no crude oil has been extracted to make up the handles themselves. Bamboo itself grows really quickly, too. You can go one step further and check the bristles are biodegradable plastic or made of a natural, compostable material.
2. Reusable make up pads
There are many different types but mine are made out of bamboo and are super soft! Although it may be tempting to buy a packet of cotton pads or face wipes for £1, these are great for removing make up, toning and they wash really well; a great investment and an easy way to cut down on your consumables. If you absolutely need wipes for on the go, look for biodegradable options proven to break down in landfill conditions. Never flush wipes down the toilet.
3. Shampoo, conditioner and soap bars
To cut out the plastic packaging from your bathroom look for soap and shampoo bars that come wrapped in card or paper. As well as having more sustainable packaging, these products often last longer than their liquid counterparts due to their lower water content. Make sure the ingredients are natural and free of palm oil to ensure as little environmental impact as possible.
4. Virgin coconut oil
We have a jar of this living in our bathroom at all times. It can be used as a natural hair mask, cleanser, bath oil and moisturiser. A toxic-free, natural beauty staple; just make sure it’s sustainably produced and Fairtrade.
5. Reusable baby wipes
We use Cheeky Wipes and I have to say they are one of the best purchases we made before having our son. When I mentioned to my husband that I’d invested in a set of reusable baby wipes he somewhat balked at the price. But even he now agrees that it was a worthy purchase for the amount we have saved financially and environmentally. On the rare occasion I have had to use disposable (biodegradable) baby wipes, I find they don’t clean that little baby bum half as well or as gently. Don’t be afraid of the poop, they’re not as messy as you might think, I promise!
6. A menstrual cup
Ah, as a woman writing this, there had to be a period product in here. When tampons (along with everything else!) were scarce at the start of lockdown, I did some research and invested in a menstrual cup and, honestly, I’m ashamed I didn’t do it sooner. The average woman is estimated to throw away more than 10,000 menstrual products in her lifetime. With many sanitary pads containing up to 90% plastic, that’s a lot of rubbish that will be persisting in our environment for centuries. A menstrual cup has saved me money and I genuinely feel like I’m doing something good for the planet. They are produced out of medical-grade silicone and last up to 10 years. It took a cycle or two for me to get to grips with it, but now I genuinely couldn’t live without it. I have also seen reusable sanitary pads available; I haven’t tried these yet but definitely need to purchase some soon.