Our bathrooms are a huge source of unnecessary waste. An overwhelming number of bathroom products and toiletries are packaged in plastic and contain harmful, unregulated toxins – bad for you and the environment.
Although many bathroom items are housed in hard, recyclable plastic – this type of plastic can be recycled, only a limited number of times, before it becomes too soft to repurpose and goes to landfill.
There is no such thing as a better, or good, type of plastic – its manufacture requires nasty chemicals, destined for the atmosphere and your bloodstream, leaching into the products you use and permeating your skin. No matter the type, it will all end up in one of three places – landfill, the environment or inside of you, taking hundreds of years to decompose.
A zero plastic haven is the ultimate goal and, with Plastic Free July about to wrap up, why not keep that momentum going? Build on the changes you have already made and focus on a new area of your home – the bathroom.
Ditch the facial wipes
There’s nothing quite like the convenience of face wipes, when you’re too wrecked after a long day, for the painstaking cleanse-tone-moisturise routine. But there’s no need to clog up landfill with disposable wipes, containing questionable ingredients. Warm water, a reusable sponge, or wipe, and your cream cleanser, are all you need for a clean, fresh face.
At Little Eco Shop, we offer two options for your cleansing needs. Our konjac facial sponge is wonderfully soft, with a gentle exfoliating effect. Made from the powdered root of the Japanese Konnoyuku plant, it is entirely compostable after 2-3 months, once it begins to break down.
Bugsey Bee reusable bamboo wipes are thick, absorbent and machine washable. One side comprises textured terry towelling and the other, a soft fleece, perfect for use with your cleanser, toner or makeup remover. Available in a pack of ten, they will last and last, before enriching your compost heap.
Opt for glass & metal packaging
Products housed in glass and metal lend a luxe look to your bathroom cabinet, and can be recycled over and over, with no compromise to their structural integrity. In our home, we’ve repurposed these lovely jars as pencil tins, vases and candle holders. Even if they go straight into the yellow bin, you can feel good knowing that they’ll be recycled and, that you haven’t rolled the dice with potentially harmful plastic exposure. Georganics’ natural dental floss, comes in the chicest glass casing and uses cruelty-free silk, rather than nylon (a plastic), to keep those chompers gleaming. The best bit? The silk floss can go straight into your home compost, or green bin.
Around 30 million plastic toothbrushes are discarded, each year, amounting to approximately 1000 tonnes of landfill! You can easily reduce this dizzying figure by choosing a bamboo toothbrush, like our Eco Toothbrush. When it’s time to switch brushes, simply snap off the brush head, or pull out the bristles, and the bamboo handle is ready for the compost heap. The bristles on the Eco Toothbrush are enriched with charcoal, which absorbs and neutralises plaque and bacteria, and repels moisture.
Go toxin free
Many of us use five to ten personal care products, every day – shampoo, hand soap, deodorants, cosmetics – and don’t consider that they might be burdening our bodies with upwards of one hundred unique synthetic chemicals.
Throw in your household cleaning products – laundry detergent, dish soap, cleaning spray – and that number explodes. The ingredients in our personal care items and cleaning products are wildly unregulated and few of these chemicals have ever been established as safe for long-term use.
So much greenwashing goes on in these industries, it can be difficult to know which products to choose – companies might use one organic ingredient, amid a host of nasties, to convince you that their product is safer. The term ‘natural’ is a meaningless marketing catchcry, since even naturally-derived ingredients can be harmful. What I like to do is look at a product’s ingredients list – if it has a laundry list of constituents that I don’t recognise, or can’t pronounce, I put it right back on the shelf and say a silent prayer that the manufacturer goes bust.
I’ve begun to carefully curate a selection of toxin-free personal care goodies, which I have tried and vetted myself, because I know it can seem like toxic jungle out there, when you’re trying to do the right thing for your health and the environment.
One of my absolute favourites that we stock, here at Little Eco Shop, is the Woohoo Body Natural Stick Deodorant. My skin is extremely sensitive to sodium bicarbonate, the key pong fighter in many no-tox deodorants and, unfortunately, the bicarb-free stuff just doesn’t always cut it for this sweaty betty, running after two little ones all day and wobbling through Bikram.
When I first heard that Woohoo had pH buffered their bicarb containing deodorant, to reduce the irritation experienced by sensitive souls, like myself, I was sceptical. But, paranoid about feeling whiffy on my more active days, I gave them a shot. Mind. Blown. Each of the three varieties have a delightfully subtle scent and don’t irritate my skin in the least, even directly after shaving. They contain certified organic ingredients, are perfumed only with pure essential oils and housed in cardboard, not plastic, which only ups my adoration!
My other current obsession is bars – and not just of the Pana chocolate variety. Shampoo bars, cleansing bars, dish soap bars, oh my! Why? Cleaning and personal care items in bar form last an obscene amount longer than their liquid, plastic-parcelled counterparts. Just one Shampoo with a Purpose Shampoo and Conditioning Bar, replaces six (SIX!) plastic bottles.
Available in four different formulas, to suit your hair type, they’re so moisturising that you can use them on your body, but not so that your hair is an oil slick one day after washing. I love that I can wash the kids with these because they’re soap free and non-toxic, and won’t irritate eyes, or sensitive skin. Another plus? They’re the perfect multipurpose travel companion, reducing the weight of your luggage, and avoiding those pesky liquid limitations and packaging rules, when you fly abroad.I hope I’ve inspired you to give your bathroom cabinet a green-over and I’d love to hear about your progress through Plastic Free July, and beyond. Perhaps, you have an eco-friendly bathroom favourite that you’d like to see stocked at Little Eco Shop? I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions. Stay green x