In our home, the two largest rubbish bins are found – no surprise for guessing – in the bathroom and the kitchen. Today, when we talk about the bathroom, we generally refer to a fairly small space, and that is just perfect because a no-waste bathroom is also a minimalist bathroom.
To take-on long-lasting ecological habits so as to reduce our ecological footprint consists of adopting new habits first and foremost. No matter how small, every effort counts and represents one step forward in the preservation of our environment. Each one of us can, in his/her own way and in his/her own time, adopt ecological alternatives of no-waste and therefore help to protect the planet, its health while at the same time-saving money.
Three main stages need to be followed if one is to create a no-waste bathroom:
1/Sort and buy what you really need
First of all, sort through the contents of your bathroom and discard all those accumulated accessories that have been there for years and only keep the ones that are needed/used and are durable.
In an attempt at eliminating waste, our habits and choices regarding cosmetics, wellbeing and hygiene are essential. Therefore, durable materials such as wood, bamboo, glass, stainless steel, biodegradable tissues and products free of bisphenol A should be chosen, and of course, attempts should be made to be free of all plastics.
2/Find durable alternatives
A second stage, taken one step at the time, allows, in the long run, an effective reduction of accumulated waste: find alternatives to lead a simple and healthy life.
A few suggestions for an ecological/slow no-waste bathroom:
– Change over to lasting and washable products
– Be aware of packaging: try buying products in bulk or products with simple packaging or those that can be composted (biodegradable).
– Use responsible products that are ethical, healthy and environmentally safe.
– Use fewer products (for example, use a product with many uses)
– Select efficient products that contain a minimum of ingredients and in preference the ones that are made of natural ingredients and certified biological.
– Replace one-use-only products.
3/Adopt a no-waste attitude in cosmetics
In order to take care of yourself with a no-waste outlook, buy solid hygiene products for your hair, body and face (soaps, shampoos for all types of hair: oily, dry, normal, toothpaste and deodorant).
Two essential criteria for reducing waste: life-long reusable or biodegradable products. Therefore choose products that are 100% re-usable, 100% compostable, 100% without disposable packaging, 100% vegan…
Options zero waste (zero/minimal waste)
# Soaps (hands, body & face)
=>Replace the shower gel with a solid soap made of natural products and bought in bulk.
In the same way as shampoos, shower gels are very often problematic for your health because of the ingredients used in making them.
Ingredients to avoid:
- « Sodium Tallowate » comes from animal fat and clogs the pores of your skin.
- Palm oil and/or palm saponified « Sodium Palmate », « Sodium Palm Kernelate ») all of which are true ecological catastrophes.
- Controversial additives such as « EDTA », « BHT », « PEG »…
=>Liquid shampoo can be replaced with solid shampoo, made of organic products and bought in bulk.
Forget traditional shampoos, often made of very polluting ingredients and also very dangerous for your care (cancerous, allergenic, disrupting hormones, irritants, … ).
Ingredients to avoid:
EDTA, methyl, buthyl, CI, PEG, PPG, all ingredients often listed as an acronym and/or with numbers, sodium laureth sulfate, all ingredient ending in “one” or “ane” (silicone), etc …
What can we use to replace shampoo if one is attempting a zero waste in the bathroom? First let us be clear: you don’t need to wash your hair daily. The scalp produces a protective sebum so, if washing the hair daily with a toxic shampoo, your hair will be made more fragile.
To help space hair washing times, you can use a dry shampoo. Dry shampoos do not wash the hair but they can capture excess sebum and thus remove the oily appearance of the hair. You could also apply a starch such as corn starch, potato starch … on the top of the head. Follow that with a good brushing.
Beware that there will be no lather. You will have to get used not to equate lather with cleanliness.
These shampoos are 100% natural and are found HERE.
How to use solid shampoos?
- Wet your hair
- Bring up a lather by rubbing the dry shampoo in your hands or directly on the top of your head
- Spread it all over your hair as you would normally do
- Rinse correctly
- Little advice: place the shampoo block on a soap holder, away from the shower splashes. The product melts quickly so you don’t want it bathing in water if you want it to last.
A mixture to soften your hair:
- Mix 3 tablespoon of cider vinegar in one litre of water
- Add a few drops of EO depending on its properties (for example: for dull, breaking hair you can add Ylang-Ylang EO. For oily hair you could use lemon EO…).
The vinegar odour will disappear when the hair is dry.
For a 100% natural mask: apply on the entire hair length coconut oil and let it rest for a few hours or overnight, then shampoo your hair. Soft hair guaranteed!
Please note: industrial hair masks will give you a feeling of softness and of hair straightening. It is only a feeling created with silicone and it fills artificially and temporarily hair fissures without treating them.
# Toothbrush & toothpaste
=>Replace your plastic toothbrush with one made of bamboo.
Traditional toothbrushes are one of the most polluting objects on earth: they cannot be recycled, represent a huge quantity of waste each year that end up in landfills or in our oceans.
Two options to replace them:
- Bamboo toothbrushes (rapid growth and compostable)
- Brushes with interchangeable heads: once worn you only need to replace the head and can keep the handle.
=>Replace your toothpaste tube by a solid toothpaste.
Conventional toothpastes are far from being natural: waste, triclosan (possible endocrinal disruptor), BHA (hurtful if ingested and suspected to be cancerous, SLS (irritant), ….
To replace toothpaste you can wet your toothbrush and sprinkle a little bicarbonate of sodium on it. Daily use of it is not recommended because it may cause abrasion and damage the tooth enamel.
The simplest solution is to opt for a natural solid toothpaste.
=>Replace your spray deodorant with a solid one.
To perspire is a good natural thing to do because it helps the body regulate its temperature and it contributes in expulsing toxins through the pores of the skin. Perspiration should therefore not be blocked, only the odour should be removed. Deodorants sold in supermarkets are a real cocktail of noxious chemicals that are harmful to your health (cancerous or hormones disruptors).
Replace your deodorant or your antiperspirant (containing aluminium, which is suspected of increasing the risks, among other things, of contracting breast cancer) by a solid deodorant.
A simple recipe you can try yourself:
- In a little glass bottle: mix 6 tablespoons of organic coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of bicarbonate of sodium.
- Apply with your finger a little of this paste under your armpits in the morning.
An alum stone can be another option if aiming at no-waste in the bathroom. Beware, however, all alum stones are not of good quality. Synthetic alum stones contain aluminium salts suspected to favour the development of certain illnesses such as breast cancer or even Alzheimer.
# Hydration (body & face)
=>Replace hydrating creams with an EO.
A classic face cream (be it a cheap one or a famous brand one) is essentially made of water (for which you pay big money!) and ingredients not so very clean. The water contained in the cream has no effect, only the oily substances do and these are often only present in small amounts. These are the active components on the skin.
On the other hand, a pure EO is filled with excellent substances that will care for your skin and hydrate it more effectively.
The treasure lies in the oils
Be it for the face, the body, the hands or the hair length, EOs produce miracles. They are also entirely natural and very economical. Selecting some basic oils is a choice that will give you healthy skin and you will save heaps!! That’s a good option for a no-waste bathroom
The vital oils
Coconut oil, sweet almond oil for taking off make-up and hydrate the body, hands and hair.
Little daily beauty routine that will make the difference, carried out morning and night.
- Cleanse the face with a neutral oil (coconut, sweet almond, jojoba or apricot, depending on your budget). Take a few drops in the palm of your hand and apply it to the whole face. Go gently around the eyes. Even water-resistant mascara will come off easily.
- Run some hot water over a face washer, wring it out and place it on your face for a few seconds. Wipe the remaining oil and make-up with the damp face washer. Always wipe everywhere and gently.
- Spray a floral water or a simple mineral water.
- Apply a few drops of your VO on the entire face, not forgetting the neck and lips. The choice of oil depends on your skin type or the properties of the product. Find the one that suits you best and read the article HERE.
Please note: applying the oil on a humid skin will allow the skin to retain its hydration.
# Masks & exfoliation
All it takes is to carry out housework using VOs (for your hair for example), EOs or ingredients readily available in your kitchen (honey, coffee grinds, sugar…).
– cleansing care of the skin
In the morning you can cleanse your skin by dabbing it with some cotton wool dipped in floral water (rose water, camomile etc.)
– exfoliants for the skin
You can exfoliate your skin without cost! After having soaped your skin (and before rinsing it), apply in your hands some coffee grinds or very fine sugar grains, then exfoliate as you would do normally.
# Removing make-up
=>Replace disposable cotton wool by washable cotton face washers.
Moisture wipes and cotton discs that are thrown out daily are very bad for the environment. To replace these, use washable face cleaners. They can be thrown in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry and are easily cleaned.
Easy version: using wipes with just a little water to cleanse your face at the end of the day.
If you use a lot of make-up, you can carry out your make-up removal with a VO (even for your eyes) and use small washable cotton towels.
# Feminine hygiene
Several studies have shown that the pesticides used in cotton crops and then used in making tampons, can be traced in our vagina. In order to avoid these products and the numerous waste linked to it, you could replace it by a “menstrual cup” (a cup with a stem that collects the menstrual flux by being inserted in the vagina).
You can also replace your disposable sanitary napkins by their washable cousins, much healthier and more ecological. Choose them of good quality, in an organic material. This is an investment because washable sanitary napkins last between 5 and 10 years.
=>Replace your paper tissues by handkerchiefs made of real material.
By using washable handkerchiefs you will avoid a lot of waste and save money. If you have white handkerchiefs, nobody will know that they are made of material! They are not less hygienic than paper tissues because the latter are full of pesticides. And for those of you who find it disgusting to wash them with the rest of the laundry (as for sanitary napkins)… everyone who has had a baby knows that there are worse things than a bit of snot.
# Epilation / Shaving
If you do not use an electric epilating device and that you shave instead (this is true for men as well of course), abandon the use of disposable razors and buy a stainless steel one. Replace your classic shaving foam with a solid shaving soap which results in zero waste.
# Cotton buds
=>Replace cotton buds with the oriculi.
Cotton buds found on the market are often made of plastic with a bud full of pesticides. The oriculi is a small curved stick that allows the cleanse the ear. They can be found in either bamboo or stainless steel.
In practice: the no-waste in the bathroom
# Where to find hygienic products with no waste?
With the growing awareness regarding reducing waste, especially regarding plastic waste, it is becoming easier to find natural options with no waste. They can be found online or in specialised organic shops.
# What to begin with?
Personally, I am on the way to a no-waste bathroom: I began using a face oil and solid soap. I then followed it with toothpaste and a toothbrush, then solid shampoo and deodorant. I now have to turn to handkerchiefs, but I am lucky since I very rarely use them and washable small towels, but there again, I was very little make-up.
If you are just getting started in reducing your ecological footprint and on a way to a no-waste bathroom, replacing your products as the need arises seems the most logical way to go. And if you are dubious, start with solid soap and a toothbrush, these are the two easiest changes in my opinion.
# How much does it cost?
Does changing to a no-waste bathroom cost a lot? This rather widespread belief, because no-waste products are generally of higher quality, organic and locally made… so yes, of course, they will be more expensive when you buy them than a cheaper supermarket product. However, think of how long the product will last. In addition, if you take on a minimalist approach and you only buy the things you really need, you will eventually become aware that you have not spent more.
The final word
No need to burn stages and to want to achieve it all in one go. The risk would be that you become discouraged and give up. The process of reducing the use of plastic containers will not only improve your bathroom, but it will also be your participation in a collective action in attempting to make the world a cleaner place.
Perfection is not the aim, it is better to do a little than to do nothing. So, if your hairbrush is a plastic one, that it is doing a good job, keep it. When the time comes to replace it, you will know where to find one that is ecologically more appropriate.
In conclusion. When a product is empty, take time to think about how you will replace it and try to be more ecologically wise. Everything in your bathroom has a more ecologically acceptable alternative, without petroleum derivatives, without harmful chemicals.
And you, do you have a no-waste bathroom? What products are you using in your bathroom? Have you already started to reduce your ecological footprint?