Scrub-a-dub-dub! The bathroom is a place where we spend a lot of time cleaning, prepping and grooming. Here are some of the small eco-friendly changes we can make in the bathroom that can make a BIG impact on our health and environment.
Toilet Paper and Facial Tissue
We all use it, so why not choose a toilet paper that’s sustainable? Most of the toilet paper that is sold in the U.S. is harvested directly from the Canadian boreal forest, which is known as the “Amazon of the north” and covers 14% of the Earth’s land. Switching to a forest friendly toilet paper lowers our dependence on harvesting trees that have been growing for decades or centuries, sustains the climate and ecosystems and also helps keep wildlife safe.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Stand.earth scored and ranked the sustainability of domestic toilet paper brands. See where your toilet paper ranks on the scorecard and see if they get a passing grade. The NRDC and Stand.earth stated that “the United States is a particularly voracious consumer of tissue products. The U.S. tissue market generates $31 billion in revenue every year, second only to China, and Americans, who make up just over 4 percent of the world’s population, account for over 20 percent of global tissue consumption.”
To get an “A”, companies must produce toilet paper using recycled paper content. Some of the companies that scored A’s on their scorecard are Green Forest, Seventh Generation and Natural Value. But wait, did you know toilet paper can be made without trees? Some brands have gone completely paper and plastic free to manufacture toilet paper from alternative fibers such as bamboo. Some of these companies are Who Gives a Crap and Tushy.
We are learning about the harmful impacts of plastic on animals, our environment and aquatic life. Our oral care is no exception to that. We have the choice to purchase environmentally friendly toothbrushes while keeping our teeth healthy and clean. There are many to choose from that are made from bamboo, recycled materials and even low waste electronic options like toothbrushes with head replacements. Here’s a quick guide to “6 toothbrushes to keep your mouth clean and green” to give you an overview before you make a purchase.
Can’t have one without the other! Toothpaste tubes also negatively impact our environment because most are made from plastic combined with aluminum and nylon making it extremely difficult to recycle. In the U.S. alone, over 400 million toothpaste tubes are discarded every year! While it’s difficult to find toothpaste not packaged in a tube at your grocery or retail store, try toothpaste tablets! There are options online that ship directly to you. Here’s an article on the “Best Toothpaste Tablets 2019” with reviews of the products.
We are lucky enough to have local a local organization that can accept your hard to recycle items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes! Learn what Upcycle Treasure Box will accept on their website.
Soap is something we use so often that we don’t think about the enormous waste is causes. If you use liquid soap, buy a bulk soap refill so you aren’t using so many small disposable bottles, plus it never goes bad! Soaps and cleansers with microbeads inside are especially harmful to our environment because they’re so small, they pass through filters and end up in our rivers and oceans. This is how they enter into our food chain where eventually, we end up consuming the microbeads found in fish and other marine life that we eat. If you choose liquid soap in a plastic bottle or container, be sure to reattach the lid and recycle in your Blue Bin once empty.
Bar soap is a great eco-friendly alternative over liquid soap in the plastic pump that we’ve known for so long. Bar soap is usually made from more natural ingredients that make it better for our skin and the environment! You can pick up locally made, handcrafted bar soap at Herbaria on The Hill,Sammy Soap in Kirkwood or your local farmers market!
Shampoo and Conditioner
As we begin to lower our plastic waste, don’t forget about shampoo and conditioner bottles! These bottles are recyclable in our Blue Bin once empty, but have you heard all the new rave? Shampoo bars are becoming more popular because they’re better for the environment and our health. You can find shampoo bars in most retail stores, online or locally. Learn about “6 Plastic Free Alternatives for Shampoo and Conditioner“.
Shaving is not only tedious, it’s quite wasteful over your lifetime. The majority of razors are made from plastics and metals that are too small to be recycled in our Blue Bins, just like toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes. While sustainable razors might cost a little more than disposable razors, the investment is well worth it for the environment in the long run. The article “5 Tips For An Eco-Friendly Shave” has ways we can reduce our waste due to shaving. Another alternative would be to research and choose an electric razor that works for your needs and budget.
Plastic razor vs. low-waste razor, like Preserve, who accepts their products made from recycled content back for recycling
If you’d like to take your sustainability initiatives even further than toothpaste tablets and shampoo bars, explore the world of do-it-yourself (DIY)! DIY projects have been gaining popularity because of Pinterest and they haven’t stopped. There are so many recipes to make your own toothpaste, soaps, shampoo and conditioners, shaving creams, dry shampoo and makeup removers! A great resource for finding recipes to make your own personal care products are at DIY Natural.
With so many options to choose from, it is possible to find a solution that fits your budget. While you’re making the switch to more eco-friendly, low-to-no waste bathroom products, be conscious of the plastic packaging items come in. Check out our blog on “precycling” to learn more about how to reduce non-recyclable packaging waste.