Plastic Free July is the perfect way to introduce plastic-free lifestyle tips. Going 100% plastic-free or zero waste can be a daunting task. In fact, if it is too hard, you might end up giving up.
To make things easier, we suggest being kind to yourself by trying out some zero waste bathroom swaps that are both easy and accessible. If they work for you, then you can begin to try out other plastic-free additions to your routine. Continue reading or watch the video below to discover some plastic-free alternatives for your bathroom.
Soap: First of all, you may already be using bar soap. If you are, give your self a hand. If not, you will have to swap out your body wash for good old bar soap. In addition to being packaged in plastic, body wash is often filled with chemicals that can be harmful to your health and the health of the environment. Support a local crafter by buying locally made soap that doesn’t require any packaging at all, or you can always purchase a more responsible brand like Dr. Bronner’s. Handmade soaps also makes thoughtful yet practical plastic-free gifts that won’t go to waste. Try swapping out plastic party favors with hand made soaps.
Shampoo & Conditioners bars: You are going to love these plastic-free swaps! Our best recommendation is to always buy local. The reason we suggest this is that there is no shipping required, which further limits the amount of fossil fuels burned and your products won’t need additional packaging. Finally, you will be supporting your local economy. Now, I realize that this isn’t always possible, so if you must order, I have placed some links below to wonderful handmade shampoo bars found on ETSY or by more responsible small businesses like RevivEarth that hand craft their shampoo bars and ship without using plastic. My worst zero-waste failures involve purchasing something that I think is plastic-free only to have it arrive wrapped in bubble wrap.
Toothpaste: For a zero-waste toothpaste swap, I make my own (link to DIY clay toothpaste). If you decide to make your own, please note the plastic-free disclaimer at the end of the article. We also recommend checking out your local pharmacy for mineral toothpaste brands packaged in jars or you might simply try salt and baking soda, both of which you may already have in your kitchen. Finally, you may want to check out BITE toothpaste bits, which come in a jar. (I haven used them so I cant review them, but they were developed as a plastic-free toothpaste option).
Toothbrush Swaps: There are now dozens of bamboo toothbrushes on the market, but the bristles are still made out of nylon. On the plus side, this toothbrush will biodegrade over time (if you remove the bristles). However, this toothbrush is not a perfect swap. If you live in a region with a lot of humidity (not to mention humidity in your bathroom), these toothbrushes are quick to grow mold. You can try leaving them in a window to slow this process down. Additionally, to compost or dispose of properly you must remove the bristles and dispose of them separately which is a lot of extra work.
Floss: We recommend Bambo Earth floss, which is made out of Bamboo. It comes in either a metal tin or glass vial which is refillable. Refills come wrapped in compostable card stock. We chose the glass vial, then realized later that the tin might have been a better choice since the vial has dropped from the medicine cabinet into the sink a few times (but it hasn’t broken yet). Like many zero waste products, the floss just doesn’t perform as well as regular floss. We find that it shreds easily and we often have to tear off another piece to finish flossing. However, We are committed to a making more responsible choices, so we will continue to use it until I find something better.
Moisturizer: Do you think could give up your favorite moisturizer in the name of going plastic-free? We switched to lotion bars. Lotion bars are like little bars of soap that you rub on your body. Similar to bar soap, they don’t require any special packaging. You can buy them at a farmers market or craft fair or make your own.
Deodorant: Many crafters are now making deodorant in kraft paper tubes and sticks. We really love some of the deodorants we have been ordering on Etsy! Our favorites are made by Naturistic Bath and are loaded with all kinds of wonderful natural ingredients. They smell magnificent and work really well! This crafter ships all her handmade products in plastic-free packaging which is a bonus.
Sunscreen: We have been thrilled to see so many reef-friendly sunscreens being packaged in tins or kraft paper tubes. While we haven’t tried them all, we do have a favorite. We have been using Avasol for several years now. It is made with all natural ingredients and non-nano minerals. It is packaged in a kraft paper tube, and has a delicious fragrance. It comes with or without tint and can double as a make-up foundation. We have found it to work well even in the Hawaiian sun.
Refill Store: It is now possible to find an abundance of personal care items at a refill store. Refill stores offer another option if you are especially partial to liquid soap, shampoo, etc. These stores will also offer cleaning supplies like dish soap, laundry detergent, and glass cleaner. Depending on the store, you might be able to bring your own containers or purchase refillable containers that they provide. Many of these options are plastic-free. The best thing about refilling is that you will find that it can also save you a lot of money while reducing your plastic-consumption!
Here’s the most important part of going zero waste! Don’t forget to tell your friends what you learn on your plastic-free journey. Sharing your recommendations and encouraging others to try zero waste products is what matters in the end. Please share this article, or video with someone you think might enjoy using some of the items in their bathroom routine. I find the best way to introduce my friends to plastic-free products is to give them as gifts.
Hope you have enjoyed your Plastic-free July! We will continue to be here for you during you plastic-free journey sharing what we discover during ours.
***DIY Disclaimer: When you make DIY zero-waste products, it is highly likely that you will have to buy your supplies in plastic packaging. So, it is up to you to try to find supplies in a refill store, or in glass, or decide whether it is acceptable to make toothpaste, soap, or lotion bars to share or sell even if some of your supplies came in plastic, which is often inevitable. Your soap maker may encounter the same dilemma. However, figure this: If you use three plastic containers full of supplies to make 100 units of plastic-free products, you have likely saved up to 97 plastic containers from the landfill.
DISCLOSURE: Most of our recommendations are for products or services that we use personally, regularly and would recommend to our friends and family. Occasionally we review or link to products & services we personally use and think that our readers might find helpful. Sometimes we use referral or affiliate links, which means if you click one of the links in this article or video and make a purchase we may receive a small commission or other compensation.