You will have heard about the increasing issue of plastic waste. It can take 100s of years for plastic to break down in the environment, all the while releasing microplastics into our natural world. Recycling your plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles is a good start (and all the other plastic waste from the bathroom). However, it’s known that only a small percentage of recycled plastic actually ends up as a recycled product.
The best solution is just to swap the plastic for something more sustainable, biodegradable and eco-friendly. You can make your day-to-day bathroom routine completely plastic free with our list of simple swaps….
Toothbrushes can be entirely made of plastic and have to be replaced after a few months. These can be swapped for a bamboo version. Bamboo has natural antibacterial properties so is an ideal substitute material for a plastic toothbrush. Being a natural material, bamboo is biodegradable meaning it’s eco-friendly when it comes to replacing with a new one.
Toothpaste is water based so a plastic tube is an ideal material for stabilising the paste inside but not so good for the environment. These tubes are difficult to recycle because they are made from multiple materials and different types of plastic – even in a single tube. Toothpaste tablets remove the water so plastic containers are less of a requirement. It’s a good idea to ensure you toothpaste tablets have flouride also.
Recycle your last plastic razor and swap to a double edge safety razor. Many of these are made from metal and sometimes with a wooden or bamboo handle. Not only are they non-plastic they are re-useable - often lasting for years, they are therefore zero waste too.
4. Razor blades
If you’ve decided to go for the double edge safety razor, then you’ll need the blades too. Again these are made of metal (stanless steel) so are a perfect swap for the single-use plastic disposable razor catridges that come with the big brand offerings. Make sure you go for the ones packaged in cardboard and where the blades are individually wrapped in waxed paper. You’ll need to replace these more often so having them packaged in plastic each time would defeat the object. The razor blades are disposable but do ensure you dispose of them carefully. Some people use a razor bank (think piggy bank for razor blades) or you can wrap them in toilet tissue and throw away in the normal rubbish.
5. Shaving soap
Swap the shaving foam with the plastic lids and the shaving gels in plastic tubes for a bar of shaving soap. Again you’ll be replacing this every so often so remember to make sure it comes in plastic free packaging too. Most come in cardboard boxes so look out for these. Having a soap that produces a good creamy lather without the need for a shaving brush is really useful. Not only does it negate the need for buying a shaving brush, it’s also really useful when travelling lite as the shaving soap and razor is all you need.
Most of the big brands have their shampoos in plastic bottles. These products can be swapped really simply for a shampoo bar. Similar to a bar of soap, you just rub the bar onto your hair for a lather as good as your current shampoo - if not better! They come packaged in a cardboard box which is compostable/biodegradable and therefore much better from a sustainable point of view.
Similar to shampoo, a bar of hair conditioning soap works in exactly the same way and keeps your hair in great condition. Again also packaged in cardboard.
You can swap the plastic shower gel bottles for a bar of soap. It’s immensly satisfying to finish a bar of soap and have literally nothing to throw away. As with the shampoo and conditioner these come in 100% recycable cardboard boxes.
There are many types to choose from, but it’s a good idea to select one that's free of all the nasties like animal testing, sulfates, plastic, preservatives and palm oil.
The range of ‘Friendly Soap’ branded soaps are perfect in this respect and the range to covers a wide number of specific needs; be it a general purpose soap like the Orange & Grapefruit, the exfoliating and refreshing Lemongrass & Hemp or a nice Detox bar. The Aloe Vera variety is a perfect soap for washing your hands. It’s minimal ingredients and nourishing natural oils mean you can handwash more frequently safe in the knowledge your hands won’t dry out or be subject to chemical overload.
If you’ve got a hand soap, a soap for the shower, and a shampoo and conditioner bar, you’ll need to get some soap dishes. When using natural soaps, it’s a good tip to keep them in a free draining dish rather than just left on the side of the bath or sink. A natural soap generally needs to stay as dry as possible when not in use unlike those with preservatives. A dish with drainage holes will make your soap last longer. You can find them made from ceramic, wood or bamboo.
A plastic free alternative for deodorant will keep you feeling clean and fresh all day. There are many types out there from creams or balms to stick deodorants. The balms can be less than easy to apply and there are many natural deodorants that contain sodium bicarbonate which can be a skin irritant leaving a rash on the armpits. An effective alternative is the mineral salt crystal deodorant by Salt of the Earth. It’s a simple solid block of mineral salt crystal (potassium alum) that when applied to wet skin will leave an invisible layer that inhibits bacteria that cause armpit odours. It’s fragrance free too so won’t compete with your cologne or perfume. A single block will last for months so is cost effective.
So you’ve brushed your teeth, had a shave, washed your hair, had a shower and deodorised - a final all important touch is combing your hair before you get on with your day! A simple bamboo comb is an inexpensive accessory and will replace your plastic brushes or combs.
You might think that going plastic free will require extra effort. Using all the above products adds no time to your busy daily routine.
At allplasticfree.com we make it easy to go plastic free and have curated what we think are the best and simplest swaps to remove the plastic from your bathroom and importantly, our oceans and natural environment.