As part of our offering of sustainable everyday essentials and eco-tips, we turn our attention to the bathroom.
Here are some easy ways to save money, swap out plastic, and lower your carbon footprint whilst remaining so fresh, so clean.
Showering over bathing
Sometimes a luxurious bath is what’s needed after a long day. But, if you just want to freshen up a bit then showering uses less water and energy to heat it, saving on bills and lowering your carbon footprint. The optimum shower length for your skin, and environment, is five minutes and definitely no more than ten.
If you’re feeling brave, try a cool or cold shower for extra savings. Cooler showers have also been found to be better for your skin to boost circulation.
You could also kill the water between soaping-up and invest in a low-flow showerhead.
The majority of toiletries are by either design or requirement single-use and, unfortunately, sometimes this is quite unavoidable unless you want to rewind back to Tudor England and share toilet paper. That would be quite the commitment! But, by choosing the right products, you can keep your impact to a minimum.
The plethora of soaps, shower gels, shampoos and conditioners that may or may not grace your bathroom all leave an environmental footprint—particularly if they come in plastic packaging. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
You can either trade them out for your own homemade alternatives, such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar, or go for all-natural shampoo, conditioner and shower bars like those made by Lush.
Dentists recommend you replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Toothbrushes are normally made of a combination of plastic and nylon and are not recycled by most municipal recycling schemes. But, once you can no longer clean your teeth with them, you can always use them for cleaning other things like shoes, clothes or bikes.
Or, you can purchase a sustainable alternative such as a bamboo toothbrush that can be composted in your garden after use. Also, remember to turn the tap off whilst you brush!
Toothpaste tubes are one of the most difficult products to recycle in the world as they are generally made from a thin layer of aluminium and plastic. On average, an individual will go through every two months. Times that by 6, and then that number by all the toothpaste users globally, and that’s a lot of waste going to landfill every year. Recognising this as the problem it is, some brands, like Ben & Anna, are now selling toothpaste in glass jars. They also tackle other issues, such as microplastics, too.
Flossing is good, floss made from plastic is bad. Traditionally floss is made from plastic and impossible to recycle. Same with the casing is too. Both will typically wind up in a landfill and probably the food chain (and that means us!). That’s why we developed a new kind of plastic free dental floss using the byproduct of corn farming mixed with candelilla wax and a little oil. It will (quickly) biodegrade in nature.
Disposable razors often go the way of toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes because they are, inconveniently, made from a mix of plastics and their blades make them dangerous. So, to the landfill they go after use. To avoid this, invest in a reusable safety razor made from metal or bamboo.
We’re not here to tell you to quit your beauty regime, not that you need it anyway! But single-use cotton pads are bad for the environment because 1) cotton takes huge quantities of water to grow, as well as pesticides if not organic, and 2) unlike regular cotton they don’t break down quickly because of the bleaching and mixing process used to create them. Then there’s the plastic packaging as well. But there are reusable, sustainably made alternatives out there. We haven’t tested them yet, but here’s a list.
Like many of the above examples, sanitary products have evolved to include a lot of plastic and are typically single-use, and so end up polluting the environment. However, there are reusable sanitary products available on the market, for example Rovtop's reusable sanitary pads made from bamboo .
Colloquially known as 'loo roll' in some parts of the world. We have some beef with the traditional toilet paper industry. It’s pretty messy.
First off, it costs the Earth around 27,000 trees per day; trees that were happily removing carbon from the atmosphere or providing homes for animals. Some were grown for the purpose and will be replaced but many—for example virgin hardwoods—were not. Second, the trees are made into toilet paper in a process that uses lots of energy and water harsh chemicals that pollute the environment.
But, thankfully, there is a natural alternative in the form of bamboo toilet paper that has much reduced environmental impact thanks to the magical properties of bamboo and also the production processes.
You can read more about the traditional vs bamboo toiler paper here.