The Zero Waste Bathroom

Apart from the kitchen, the average family bathroom is where a lot of plastic sins are committed: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, razors, sanitary products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and deodorants. Most of these for most people will incorporate single use plastic in their packaging or in the product itself. These plastics then find their way yo either landfill or into the world’s oceans, neither of which are what the cool kids are dong. Remember those things that can be recycled should only be done as a last resort: reduce, reuse, recycle, in that order.

plastic is forever


A nice easy one to start with. Simply replace with soap bars in plastic free packaging. Available everywhere from pound shops through to posh shops.

If you want to shop locally for soap, Sedbergh Soap Company products can be bought online and in some local shops. Their soap bars are yummy smelling and good-enough-to-eat (but really don’t). They also do a bundle of five, for those who aren’t quite sure what to pick, and want to try a few out.

For a full list of stockists, including Farfield Mill, Sleepy Elephant, and No. 6 Finkle Street, CLICK HERE.

For flavours such as Juniper Gin, Spanish Fig & Nutmeg, and Patchouli & Black Pepper, have a browse in The Bath House.

They have shops in Sedbergh, Kirkby Lonsdale, Ambleside, and Bowness, or you can shop online. Be prepared to come out with much more than you went in for though!


I’ve been using shampoo bars for over two years now, and I love them. I get mine from FUNKY SOAP

Now a word of warning, the first few goes with the shampoo bar, you may well find your hair feeling waxy and greasy, or like you’ve not rinsed properly… this is normal and is to do with the soap getting rid of the residue that conventional shampoos leave in your hair. A scientist would have described this better, but suffice it to say persist a few days and it’ll hopefully come right.

The instructions suggest creating a lather between your hands and using like a shampoo. I found it more effective to wet hair, and smooth the bar directly over the scalp, front to back, three or four times, then massage this into your scalp and hair.

For a conditioner you can make yourself in about 30 seconds click HERE, but it is basically diluted apple cider vinegar.


Gone are the days of toothpaste in aluminium tubes that used to leak out of the corners. You’d be hard pressed to buy any toothpaste without plastic packaging nowadays. So why not make your own?


I found a website called Ask The Dentist to be quite useful for further information about what each ingredient is for, and more recipes


Here are two options:

1. Bamboo toothbrushes.

bamboo toothbrushes

A couple of years ago, suppliers of these were few and far between. Now however, you really are spoilt for choice. Have a browse on Amazon. I would advise not to over stock on these, until you have tried, tested, and settled on a brand you like. Some bristles are softer than a standard plastic toothbrush, some bristles are prone to falling out more readily than your standard plastic ones, and some are made from, you’ve guessed it, plastic. So read the reviews and just order one or two to begin with. And when its little wooden life is over, just pop it on the compost heap.

2. Wheat Straw toothbrushes.

wheat straw toothbrushes

I have some of these ready to try as soon as my current toothbrushes need replacing. They look and feel just like plastic brushes, there are cute little giraffe designs for the kids, and they have charcoal bristles. These, like the bamboo brushes are completely compostable.

What a Load of Rubbish


Two years ago I gave up single-use plastic for Lent. I had seen an online post about a lady who gathered a whole year’s worth of rubbish and managed to fit it in a jam jar. A big jam jar, granted, but still a jam jar.

That same week I had put our wheelie bin out for collection (every week at the time), stuffed so full it refused to shut. Jam jar lady had highlighted to me my problem with waste. But I had visions of her eating raw kale straight from the plot, and later cleaning it from her teeth with twigs and baking soda. Not that there is anything wrong with kale or twigs of course, but two years ago it wasn’t for me. However, when I actually read the article, a lot of her consumer choices and methods for achieving this low-waste living, seemed pretty possible for “regular” folk, like me.

So I made the decision, did the obligatory post to social media (there’s nothing like being accountable to everyone you’ve ever met to make you stick to a pledge), and embarked on my 40 days and 40 nights of reducing, reusing, recycling, and plastic-free living.

Here are a few of the ways I was able to reduce my waste and in particular, single-use plastic:

  • I arranged doorstep milk delivery in glass bottles
  • I switched our two small girls from disposable to washable nappies.
  • I sourced shampoo bars to replace bottled shampoo.
  • We switched to bamboo toothbrushes.
  • I bought my “Meat for a Week” from a local butchers and asked them to wrap it in greaseproof paper.Greaseproof meat
  • I bought our fruit and veg from the weekly market.
  • I made a lot more food from scratch.
  • I switched to a brand of bread that used paper wrapping instead of plastic.
  • I took a cloth bag with me everywhere.
  • If it was wrapped in plastic and I couldn’t find an alternative, we did without.

My biggest tip for making these relatively easy and small changes, is to be organised. You can’t run out of bananas at 9:30pm on a Tuesday night when you are trying to make the kids’ packed lunches. You need to plan meals in advance, and plan an organised shopping trip. This can be tricky if, like me, it doesn’t come naturally. It takes practice to turn effort into habit. But turn it will!

We cannot change from wheelie bin to jam jar overnight. So my second tip is to lose the guilt and make one change at a time. I am still a long, long way from where I want to be on my Zero Waste adventure. I did a lot of “backsliding” once my 40 days and nights of lent were over. But recently the issue of our overuse and poor disposal of plastics hit the headlines in a major way when a plastic island twice the size of France was discovered floating in the Pacific.

plastic ocean

It is tempting to look at that plastic island and think what on earth good is me changing to a bamboo toothbrush going to do?!

But just think… you perhaps go through 4 toothbrushes a year, multiply that by an average lifespan of 80 years… that is 320 toothbrushes in a lifetime. A family of four will use 1,280 toothbrushes. A street of 30 houses, each with four occupants, would use 38,400 toothbrushes in their lifetime. And that’s just one street! And that’s before we’ve even started to consider the plastic packaging… Thinking in those terms, you begin to get the message that small changes really do make a difference.


If you have found any local sources, or have any top tips for Zero-Waste living, please leave a comment below and I will try to include that in a future post.

Journey to Zero Waste Sedbergh

In an age where our television schedules are saturated with entertainment and information based programmes all vying for our attention, it’s not often something has the power to affect real change in public behaviour. But Blue Planet did exactly that recently, when David Attenborough demonstrated so powerfully how our overuse of single use plastics is having a tragic effect on our oceans and marine life.

But if we are honest with ourselves, wasn’t he simply highlighting what we already knew? There’s nothing like a national treasure saying it out loud though, to make you sit up and take notice.

Zero Waste Sedbergh has been set up to act as a support and information network. It will be a place where people can ask and answer questions, encourage each other, and exchange ideas on the theme of reducing waste, whether as a consumer or as a business.

The title of the group is, admittedly, a tad overwhelming: Sedbergh will almost certainly never achieve Zero Waste. But wouldn’t it be great to be the town to try?

So here is the challenge: in the month of June, make one or two small changes. It could be as simple as remembering to put your re-usable bags in the car before the big shop. It might be choosing to buy your fruit and veg from the Wednesday market, plastic free. Or maybe, when doing the kids’ packed lunches, replace plastic sandwich bags with reusable airtight containers… Our journey has to start somewhere, and as the saying goes: little by little, a little becomes a lot.