Of all the rooms in my home, and probably yours, the bathroom is the least environmentally-friendly and most in need of a little eco love.
The fact is; nearly all of the products used in your bathroom, from shampoo and body wash to floss, are made from and/or packaged with unsustainable materials or made with unsustainable ingredients. Yes, even your floss is naughty.
That’s why I’m going to be focusing the bulk of my efforts on making my bathroom more eco-friendly from here on out.
Here’s my bathroom in its current environmentally-unfriendly state...
As you can see, I’ve got a long road ahead of me and miles of product to use before I sleep.
But, I think it’s doable!
A positive attitude is key when it comes to the daunting task of greenifying your life. At least, in my experience.
For simplicity, I’m going to break down my green bathroom goals into categories:
Step 1: Reduce My Cache of Toiletries
Ok, so, I have a TON of half-used bottles of everything in my bathroom.
The truth is, I have thinning hair and I’ve been scrambling to try everything on the market to stop or reverse the hair loss. Hence, the ridiculous amount of half-used bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
So, this goal is two-fold:
- Use up the existing product.
- Replace with more sustainable products and containers.
What’s the gameplan to use up the existing product?
For starters, I’ve aggregated all of the partially used bottles into a single place and am keeping a running tally of the total number of bottles living in the heap.
Once a bottle has been finished, I’ll cross it off the tally and share milestones with you!
Next comes the fun part: Replacing them with sustainable goodies.
Now, this complete transition to eco-friendly bathroom toiletries may take a bit and will likely be a lot of trial and error, especially if I’m making anything myself. But, I’m hopeful that it will be a positive change.
- Transition to homemade deodorant in a reusable container.
- Transition to homemade lotion/body butters in reused glass jars.
- Transition to homemade lip balm in metal tins vs. plastic tubes.
- Make sure all toiletries are palm oil-free.
- Replace cotton rounds with reusable cotton pads. (Make wash bag to keep pads together.)
- Replace paper tissues with reusable cloth ones. (Make wash bag to keep cloths together.)
Step 2: Make the Move to Plastic-Free Dental Care
Believe it or not, the first dental care product you think of as the least harmful is still harmful to the environment.
Plastic is a big part of dental care because it promotes convenience and ease of use. But, the eco-friendly dental care products out there these days are making big strides toward convenience.
I mean, we aren’t brushing our teeth with our finger or a stick anymore. So, that’s a plus.
In fact, the sustainable options I’ve found seem really awesome and reasonably affordable.
For example; I have a BURST sonic toothbrush that has a subscription-model brush head replacement for $6 sent directly to my home every 3 months.
The initial toothbrush purchase was $69.99, and over the course of the first year, my toothbrush cost me a total of $93.99 (almost $8/month). It actually costs me more because I like to replace my brush heads every 2 months, rather than 3.
On the flip side, sustainable bamboo toothbrushes that biodegrade in a landfill (the bristles don’t) CAN be expensive. But, if you’re thrifty, you can usually find a package of 4-6 brushes for under $10 at T.J. Maxx.
At that price, you can replace your brush every single month for the cost of 4 replacement brush heads for an electric toothbrush.
So, considering this train of thought, my green dental care goals are:
- Replace my electric toothbrush with sustainable bamboo toothbrushes.
- Transition to plastic-free floss.
- Replace traditional toothpaste tubes with toothpaste pellets or powder. Eventually would like to make my own tooth powder.
- Transition to a homemade mouthwash in a reusable container.
I’ve already begun working on this goal by testing out BURST’s activated charcoal floss and some tooth powder. (I originally read that the floss was bamboo fiber and minimally waxed, but I can’t find any confirmation right now.)
Step 3: Maintain a Clutter-Free Sustainable Shower
I’m lucky to have a small shower.
Said no one ever.
Except when it comes to keeping plastic clutter out of the shower.
Fortunately, I have a vintage clawfoot tub that doesn’t allow me to stash bottles in every single corner and forces me to keep the shower caddy clutter-free. But, even with these restrictions, I manage to keep a ton of crap in my shower.
Throughout my mission, and by crushing the above goals, I’m hoping to whittle my shower caddy down to a few key items: soap, razor, scrubby.
- Completely cut out plastic bottles in the shower.
- Transition to bar soap for body + hair.
- Replace my Dollar Shave Club razors with a classic safety razor.
- Replace my pretty colored shower scrubby with a natural loofah shower scrubby.
Step 4: Reduce Water Usage
Reducing water usage is kind of a given when it comes to an eco-friendly bathroom. But, it’s harder than you think, especially for women.
On a normal day, I believe my showers take about 20 minutes (I’ve never actually timed them) and I have short hair. Then you’ve got shaving days, deep conditioning days, and just plain soaking days where the shower is just your happy place.
So, in an effort to reduce my water consumption, I’m going to attempt to cut showers to 15 minutes or less:
- Time normal showers to see how long I usually take, without shaving or deep conditioning treatments.
- Set an egg timer for 2 minutes less than normal shower time.
- Keep using egg timer to reduce time by a few minutes.
- Get down to a consistent shower time of 15 minutes.
Step 5: Adopt A Green Cleaning Regimen
Cleaning your bathroom is not only a crappy task (pun intended), but it often requires some of the harder chemicals to get the job done right.
However, I’ve been seeing DIY bathroom cleansing articles that say otherwise.
So, I’m going to attempt to greenify my bathroom cleaning process.
So far, I’m already using spent kitchen sponges for bathroom cleaning duties but once I completely transition to reusable sponges in the kitchen, that well will dry up.
Here’s the plan:
- Replace spent kitchen sponges with a reusable bathroom-only scrubber.
- Replace toilet cleaner with homemade toilet fizzies.
- Transition to homemade tub scrub rather than Comet or Scrubby Bubbles.
- Use homemade/natural all-purpose cleaners in repurposed bottles.
Step 6: Go for A Tree-Free Potty Experience
Toilet paper. While it’s not quite the most wasteful product in your bathroom, it is the easiest to convert to a low waste state.
There are literally dozens of awesome brands and services that offer tree-free or recycled toilet paper options on the market these days. So, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one that suits your needs.
Personally, I’ll probably split a Who Gives A Crap subscription with someone. Since my bathroom and linen closet are relatively small, I don’t have the space to store 50 rolls of toilet paper at any given time.
- Use recycled or tree-free toilet paper.
- Only buy toilet paper that is wrapped in paper or unwrapped.
- Go with ‘core-free’ toilet paper if possible.
- Use less toilet paper overall.
An Eco-Friendly Bathroom is No Walk in the Park
Converting my bathroom to a low impact, eco-friendly state is going to take some hard work, dedication, and serious DIY skills. But, I’m pretty serious about it, so I’m positive that it will be worth the effort and won’t seem quite as daunting when I get into it.
How’s your bathroom looking? Feel free to follow my lead and work through the eco-friendly bathroom goals as I’ve laid them out. I’ll be marketing them off and adding more as they come up in my Goals.
Think I’ve missed something obvious? Leave me a comment!
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