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January 21, 2021
As a follow-up to my post on “5 Easy Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen,” let’s move along to the bathroom. Think for a minute about how much waste is generated daily with bathroom products – toilet paper, floss, makeup remover cotton pads, q-tips, plastic hand soap dispensers…the list goes on and on. I polled my green-minded friends and came up with this list for easy, effective sustainable solutions to reducing waste.
According to WWF, it takes 20,000 liters of water to produce ONE cotton t-shirt. At least a t-shirt gets reused whereas single use cotton rounds get thrown away after one use. In addition, cotton production involves a tremendous amount of pesticides which seep into our skin. And don’t forget about the plastic packaging that cotton rounds are wrapped in.
Solution: Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
There are plenty of reusable makeup remover pads on the market. I use Greenzla reusable bamboo makeup pads which are organic, responsibly sourced USDA certified bamboo cotton fabric complying with Oeko-Tek standards. They come with a mesh laundry bag so that you can safely wash them over and over and keep the quality intact. Should you finally be ready to dispose of them after a few years, they are 100% biodegradable and compostable. To use for the first time, simply wash with water and squeeze. I love these and use them to remove my eye-makeup by adding a couple drops of grapeseed oil.
If you really want to minimize your waste, try the Original Makeup Eraser. This hypoallergenic, 100% vegan cloth has one side for exfoliating and one side for “erasing” your makeup. MakeUp Eraser is made up of millions of tiny hairlike fibers that stand straight up and when wet, work together to reach and suction all makeup, dirt, and oil out of each individual pore. All you have to do is add water. The company recommends to use in sections and throw in the washing machine 1-2 times a week along with your regular towel loads.
Another solution is to simply use an organic bamboo washcloth to clean your face. I’ve been doing this for years and I love how soft these cloths from Brooklyn Bamboo Cloths feel on my skin.
Toothpaste tubes are made of plastic and are not recyclable. More than 1 billion toothpaste tubes are thrown out each year. Furthermore, many toothpaste brands include harmful chemicals that can affect the health of your teeth and gums. In addition, over 100 million animals die each year in the US alone due to chemical, food, drug and cosmetic testing.
Solution: Bite Toothpaste Bits
Enter Bite Toothpaste Bits, a plastic-free, toxic-free, animal-cruelty free way to brush your teeth and improve your oral hygiene. The toothpaste arrives in a glass jar filled with individual “bits” that you simply put in your mouth, bite down and activate with a wet toothbrush. The company uses only recyclable, biodegradable or compostable materials. In my previous interview with Lauren Barnett, she vouched for the effectiveness of these “bits” and even said the dentist was impressed with the results when her husband went in for his checkup.
Bite also makes a plastic-free floss which is 100% plant-based and made with vegan candelilla wax. It comes in a refillable glass bottle and compostable refill pouches.
All Bite products are shipped with kraft envelopes padded with post-consumer recycled newspapers.
If you’re not ready to bid adieu to your mainstream brand, Colgate recently launched the first recyclable toothpaste tube called Smile for Good. Colgate claims their mission is to make all their toothpastes recyclable by 2025. The Smile for Good tube is made of recyclable plastic (high-density polyethylene) which can be reprocessed into new packaging and products. The toothpaste is also made with simpler ingredients which include water, fluoride, silica, glycerin, xylitol, aroma, cellulose gum, lauryl glucoside & disodium cocoyl glutamate and baking soda.
Toilet paper is obviously a single-use item but did you know that the process to make ONE roll uses 37 gallons of water, 1.5 lbs of wood and 1/3kWh of electricity?! Americans use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper every year, which is the pulping of 15 million trees. The average American will use 384 trees in one lifetime just for his/her personal toilet paper usage. Globally, 27,000 trees are wiped out every day just from toilet paper use.
Solution: Bamboo Toilet Paper
Bamboo toilet paper is not only soft but also biodegradable and breaks well when flushed down the toilet. Bamboo is one of the fastest, sustainable growing plants on the planet and is used as an eco-alternative for many paper products.
Tushy Bamboo Toilet Paper is 100% sustainable and free of bleach and cancer-causing BPAs. The company delivers the toilet paper to your front door in eco-friendly packaging.
Other bamboo toilet paper brands that come in sustainable packaging include No.2 100% Bamboo Toilet Paper and Smitten Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper.
Especially with the current emphasis on hand-washing and hygiene, washing our hands is something we do perhaps dozens of times a day. That means we go through hand-soap more quickly. Take a look at your bathroom – are you using plastic soap dispensers?
Solution: Glass or Ceramic Dispensers
This is an easy fix. To reduce waste, simply buy a ceramic or recycled glass soap dispenser and refill as needed. If you really want to eliminate all plastic use, look into Blueland’s hand soap starter kit. The set comes with 1 glass dispenser bottle, 3 foaming hand soap tablets and various essential oils. The kit is not only plastic and toxic free, but it’s also a fun and easy way to make your own hand soap. Added bonus: Blueland materials are certified by Cradle to Cradle.
Problem 5: Antiperspirant Deodorant
Many of us know that antiperspirant deodorants contain harmful ingredients that are linked to Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, breast cancer and allergies. According to Dr. Benjamin Chan, “Too much aluminum in your body can cause bone diseases or dementia. Usually, excess aluminum is filtered out of your body by your kidneys. So, people with weakened kidney function can’t filter aluminum fast enough.” In fact, the FDA requires antiperspirant manufacturers to include warnings specifically for people with kidney disease.
In addition to the harmful toxic ingredients, typical deodorants are packaged in plastic.
Solution: Zero-Waste, Natural Deodorant
There are a plethora of natural deodorants on the market today however not many come in sustainable packaging.
Native deodorant comes in plastic-free packaging made from paperboard and ships in a 100% recycled paper mailer.
PiperWai (as seen on Shark Tank) is the first charcoal deodorant and is made without harmful ingredients like triclosan, aluminum, and synthetic fragrances. Most of their products come in glass jars except their Natural Deodorant Stick, which is made of recyclable PET, BPA-free plastic.
Summary: There are so many easy, sustainable ways to reduce bathroom waste. Companies are rolling out new sustainable products to meet today’s consumer demand for responsible products and packaging. Even if you only make one change on this list, it will be a change in the right direction!
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