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.
So, let’s go through a few products that I have tried, am in the process of trying, or intend to try once my current, evil supplies run down.
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!
Unless you have access to a bulk store with vats of shampoo that you can fill your own containers with, the switch here is again from bottle to bar. 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 be reet.
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. No idea why this should work better, again, a sciency person may know…?
I haven’t found any local sources for shampoo bars, but there is a rumour going round that there are two shops down The Shambles in Kendal which sell them. And if you pass a Lush store on your travels, they also sell shampoo bars.
For a conditioner you can make yourself in about 30 seconds click HERE, but it is basically dilited apple cider vinegar. Not tried this yet myself (mainly because my 15 year old daughter insists on pursuing her filthy habits with conditioner in plastic bottles and I usually just end up pilaging hers – obvs I should be leading by example!). I am assured that you don’t go around smelling like a posh chip shop. I’ll try it out and see if the seagulls come flocking.
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 have found a recipe which I am going to try this week:
I am quite excited at the prospect of tapping into my inner chemist with this one, and I will update you on how it goes! Oh yeah and how my two teenagers and two toddlers react to mum’s bicarb homebrew…
I found a website called Ask The Dentist to be quite useful for further information about what each ingredient is for, and more recipes.
I have to confess that I would quite easily be persuaded into using a bit of frayed twig from the privet hedge on my pearly whites. Maybe it’s because I am all consumed by the plastic-free zero-waste save-the-world mentality at the moment. But I don’t think that, added to the toothpaste experiment, it would go down all that well with the rest of the family.
So there are basically two options:
1. 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.
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. I got mine from the Eco stall at the Sedbergh Wednesday Market. I understand though, that sadly it may not be making regular visits to the town, so you may need to go again to Amazon for suppliers.
So there you have some alternatives to plastic in the bathroom cupboard. In The Zero Waste Bathroom Part 2 I will be tackling razors, deodorants, and sanitary products. Hold me back!