Take a look below at the plastic free bathroom alternatives that are in easy reach and don’t cost the earth!
‘Who Gives a Crap’ Loo Roll
Who Gives a Crap has a fantastic ethos and if you buy this stuff, then in addition to helping the environment you will also be helping to fund the building of toilets in third world countries. 50% of all profits go towards hygiene and sanitation projects in developing countries because, as hard as it is to believe, roughly one third of the worlds population doesn’t have access to a toilet.
Aside from this humanitarian work, the loo roll itself is made from bamboo, a very fast growing and more sustainable source than the traditional trees used. The company also aims to use manufacturing processes that are much greener to cut down their carbon emissions. Not to mention they get delivered in bulk (24 or 48 rolls), individually wrapped in recyclable paper and housed in a cardboard box.
So how good is it? Well, from personal experience I found it to be pretty great. I bought the 2-ply triple length rolls as these were a bit cheaper and so far I have no complaints. It is soft, it doesn’t fall apart and I haven’t really found it to be all that much different to what I was using before.
As for cost, it isn’t the cheapest thing in the world in that you do have to buy in bulk. But in the long run it works out to be cheaper per sheet and it means you are far less likely to have to make last minute , emergency dash to the supermarket! Plus it looks pretty funky too in its colourful paper packaging!
Bar Soap and Shampoo
SOAP: I have put this in the bathroom section, but it applies for any room with a sink really. Ditch the plastic bottles of liquid hand wash and switch to using bar soaps. You should be able to find them without any plastic packaging and they often come in multi packs too. They are pretty cheap and last for way longer than the liquid stuff, so it is a great money saver too! If you have any issues around hygiene, I have written some info around this which should clear any concerns.
This stuff isn’t just for the sink though, it is for the shower too. Why use bottle after bottle of liquid shower gels when you can use bar soap!? It looks far nicer on the side of the bath, lasts ways longer and is plastic free! There are lots of options out there so give them a try. The only thing you might find is that it leaves your skin feeling drier than the liquid soap when you finish up in the shower. I found this when I first started using, it only lasted for a short while after showering so I didn’t find it a big deal, but now, after some time of using it, I don’t actually find it to be drying at all.
SHAMPOO: This stuff is great, but it has taken a bit of trial and error to find the right one. For me, I was a bit nervous about this at first. I have curly hair that is naturally quite dry and very frizzy if I don’t cake it in a load products (or so I thought). I had been advised already by my hairdresser to use sulfate free shampoo to help improve the condition of my hair, and so when I started to look for bar options I found it really hard. I ended up looking at homemade shampoo options but found that there was a lot of contradiction about what to use and how to maintain the pH for a healthy scalp. So I did a bit of reading on bar soaps that use sulfates. The consensus seems to be that as you only use the foam produced from a bar soap, the sulfates are far less concentrated when on your scalp and hair than they would be in liquid form. As a result they are supposed to be better if sulfates aren’t for you.
In the end I went to lush and tried their honey based bar shampoo, based on the advice that it should be conditioning. I even bought the conditioner version of the bar soap too. Unfortunately I didn’t get on with either of these options very well at all. I think for finer hair it might be better (my friends seem to think so), but for me, it made my unruly and curly hair sticky and even more difficult to run my hands through and sort out. This is especially difficult for me considering I basically only brush my hair in the shower (anyone with curly hair will understand why!). I did not give up though. I have since been back and bought myself the Jason and The Argan Oil bar shampoo, which feels really soft, lathers really easily and is very colourful too. Believe them when they tell you a little goes a long way too. At first I was using way more than I needed to each time, but I have since found I barely have to run it over my head to get a good lather.
Another bonus is that these shampoo bars also last a lot longer than the bottled stuff and I have found my scalp to be a lot healthier too since using them. Plus my hair seems to take longer to go greasy (not sure if this is because of the shampoo or because I have switched my hair products though).
For those who do want to try all natural, I did manage to find a shampoo bar that is all natural and palm oil free but I am yet to try it out. It is called Starry Night and is made by Skipping Stone Soap, but they do have to ship all the way from the US.
DIY Scrubs – simple, cheap and zero micro beads!
Microbeads are on their way out, which is fantastic news! In the case of body and face scrubs though, even with the ban coming into effect, I can’t help but want to share this genius money saving and packaging reducing recipe for beautifully exfoliated skin.
Because even without the microbeads, there is still the packaging that many of these products come in.
So….what is this fantastic recipe?
Olive oil and sugar…and yes, that is it. One part oil to one part sugar and you have an incredibly cheap, natural and effective exfoliant.
It even leaves a lovely moisturising layer on your skin from the oil, which dependent on skin type you can use a flannel to wipe off if you wish.
I have used this on body and face and personally have found it to leave my skin feeling lovely and soft and it even acts as a great primer for make-up on your face.
Give it a try! It’s cheap and easy to at least check it out.
Non Disposable Razors
Razors are a bathroom tool that most of us will own and most are disposable in some way. Personally I have always bought replaceable heads, rather than a whole throw away razor, but it is still plastic waste.
So what can you do instead?
For men, my husband is about to try using a razor blade which is made of metal and which comes with lots of single metal blades which you screw in yourself. It is far better than throwing away plastic razor heads every so often, but I will have to let you know how he finds it after he has used it.
For women, well, there is the option to do the same as above and buy a razor blade that uses replaceable blades, or you could opt for various other options such as waxing or using an epilator.
A friend of mine swears by an epilator, painful at first but manageable after a few uses, so I am thinking of giving that a go. They aren’t cheap though, so you might need to save the pennies for a little while first. The good thing is that once our have bought it, that’s it! No more wasting money on ridiculously overpriced razor blades!
As for waxing, I have another friend that has never used a razor in her life because of waxing. She has way fewer hairs now and is a massive fan. I personally don’t mind getting a wax but for me, the downside of it is cost. There is no one off purchase and so you need to splash out every few weeks and find the time visit a salon too. There is the home waxing option of course, if you are brave enough.
Unfortunately at the moment I still have some razor blades heads to use up so I will be using these before being able to comment on the epilator.
Alternative Toothpastes and Bamboo Toothbrushes
Toothpaste is not sold in recyclable packaging, and some toothpastes actually contain micro-plastics to help with teeth whitening, which then end up in the drain and eventually somewhere out to sea.
Enter Toothy Tabs from Lush.
This is another product I am yet to try for myself, but in the spirit of sharing ideas from fiends that I trust, I have put it on here because it at least provides an option that, despite not being plastic free, is at least recyclable and free of micro-plastics.
Another option is a DIY toothpaste that uses coconut oil, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils. I am excited to give this try, again on the recommendation of a friend, but until I do I won’t comment on its effectiveness. You can buy a range of coconut oil based toothpastes and mouthwashes online however, so there must be something in it!
And finally…bamboo toothbrushes. I have been able to add this to the list after my mum got into the sustainable gift spirit this Christmas and bought be some. I have to be honest and say that I don’t think I will ditch my electric, I have some awkward teeth that I can’t get to properly with a manual, but I am using them in the mornings to help my electric heads go further. These have very nice bristles, feel nice to hold and have the bonus of charcoal for whitening! If you can’t be persuaded over an electric, they at least make a great alternative travel brush.
For even more, take a look at how to have plastic free periods. It really is an issue for everyone to be aware of, so if you aren’t bleeding…read it anyway!