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How to deplastify your bathroom

I just completed #plasticfreeJuly - which aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenge people to do something about it. My challenge was to get plastic out of the bathroom – I’m always horrified at how much plastic is in my bathroom cupboard and around the shower. Seemingly EVERYTHING in Boots and Superdrug is wrapped in some kind of plastic, so trying to ‘deplastify’ your bathroom can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Here are some tactics I have been introducing (or plan to introduce when I next need to replace a product!):

Have a recycling bin in your bathroom. This only occurred to me recently and now I can’t think why I hadn’t thought of it before! I have one bin for plastic, card and paper and the other for everything else – meaning that I don’t have to sort through rubbish when I empty the bathroom bin – one of the less pleasant household chores...

Swap shower gel and hand soap for bar soap. For some reason we have collectively decided over recent years that bar soap is both less hygienic and less convenient than bottled hand wash and – meaning that we’re dumping millions and millions of bottles in landfill. Bar soap is in fact no less hygienic than bottled hand wash, is often gentler on your skin, and the only (minor) inconvenience is having to rinse the soap dish occasionally. The same goes for swapping shower gel for bar soap (although perhaps use a flannel or sponge if you’re sharing it with anyone else!).

Replace shampoo and conditioner with solid forms. Lush sells solid shampoo and conditioner bars which work well and smell great – and you can either buy them wrapped in paper or, if you need to put them in your washbag, in little metal tins which you can reuse.

Consider alternative forms of hair removal. All those disposable razors go straight into landfill, making depilation a really harmful practice. Think about using alternatives – for example waxing, threading or epilating, or even an electric razor. Or you could even embrace your natural body hair in all its glory!

Use conditioner instead of shaving foam. If you really have to shave, then why not use your brand new Lush conditioning bar instead of buying a bottle of shaving foam? I used to do this when I was a student as I was too poor to buy both conditioner and shaving foam, and the result was very smooth!

Think about using alternatives to tampons and pads. Sanitary products have a heavy environmental (as well as financial) cost – while tampons aren’t plastic themselves, the applicators normally are, and the applicators end up in landfill, along with towels and packaging. What’s more, towels and tampons are usually covered in chemicals which really aren’t good for your body. Mooncups (or other brands selling the same product) are chemical free and reusable for up to 10 years, rather than just a couple of hours. You can use washable cloth pads instead of sanitary towels – we all need to be a bit less squeamish about a very natural thing anyway.

Use loo roll that isn’t wrapped in plastic. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to find loo roll that doesn’t come in plastic packaging – and I get it, as we all want to be sure that it’s clean before use!!! Who Gives a Crap’s loo roll is wrapped in paper – and what’s more, it’s made from recycled paper and they give 50% of their profits towards building loos for those who need them.

Use a bamboo toothbrush. As we’ve said before, there’s no need to use a plastic toothbrush when you can buy a environmentally friendly one. Waitrose sells Humble Brushes, which are developed by dentists (so they work) and are made of bamboo so when you’re done with it you can chuck it on the compost heap. They have nylon bristles which sadly aren’t recyclable but the brushes are a very good place to start. Also – Humble Brush operates a ‘one for one’ model, giving a toothbrush to a child in need of oral care for every brush bought.

Find a deodorant that isn’t in a plastic bottle. This is difficult to find and I admit that I hadn’t looked much into it until I saw the brilliant The Zero Waste Shop’s Facebook post about Earth Conscious’ plastic free, vegan deodorant. I’m going to order some, will let you know if it works (if not – I’ll be the one sitting in the empty tube carriage).

It’s not easy to go plastic-free in the bathroom – and obviously this list doesn’t cover things like cleaning products (bleach, bath cleaner etc) but it’s a good start. I still want to find alternatives to toothpaste tubes and contact lens pouches (I hate wearing glasses) – do let us know in the comments if you have any suggestions!

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