Plastic Free Living - Bathroom Essentials Edit *

With the surge in effort to reduce plastic waste, I thought it was high time I began a series on minimal waste living!  Over the last few years, I have been slowly tackling various rooms in our house, and making positive eco-friendly habits that really make a difference.  And today I'll be sharing one of the first areas I addressed  -- the bathroom!

Bathrooms are full of items that have to be regularly replaced, from toilet paper to toothpaste.  And guess what the primary material used is?  Plastic.

So how do we go from lives full of this polluter to a routine that doesn't rely on it?

Patience, understanding, and great recommendations!

Plastic Free Bathroom Edit

My advice?  Start with just one or two swaps, make it habit, and then move on to a new goal when you are super comfortable and happy with the initial changes you have made.  That way, you won't get overwhelmed and you can make this a life long journey rather than a one week fad.  Changing things up does take time, but seriously if I can get Tim to accept a bamboo toothbrush and a shampoo bar, you can do it too (and with far less whinging I bet!).

I've rounded up some of the big ticket items in today's post that are the essential swaps to make when starting to minimize plastics in your home.  These are all items I have tried and tested, and each and every one are products that have a place in our home.  All are totally free from plastic unless otherwise stated (ex: the Weleda mouthwash) and almost every single one is vegan friendly!

I also will be gesturing towards a few green goodies I have not yet used myself, but that have caught my interest and I would love to hear from you lovelies if you've had experience with it!



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* This post contains affiliate links and some products have been gifted

No matter how I have received a product, whether it has been purchased with my own money, gifted by a brand, been subsidized by a brand, won, gifted by friends/family, or purchased with a gift voucher, my approach is always the same -- honesty, integrity, and highlighting both the good and the bad.  You can find more information on Disclosures and Privacy here.




Toilet Paper:

Growing up in Western New York, single rolls of paper wrapped TP was super common in shops, but sadly that just doesn't seem to be a thing in the UK.  And for a long while, I struggled to find an alternative to the plastic covered multi-packs that I could feel happy using...  Then I discovered Who Gives A Crap!  Not only are these free from "virgin trees" (meaning that no trees have been cut down specifically to make this toilet paper) and pesky plastic, the company donates 50% of profits to charity to help improve sanitation facilities and build toilets for those without access!

Who Gives A Crap plastic free toilet paper - Plastic Free Bathroom Edit

There are two options available from Who Gives A Crap, both of which are free from inks, dyes, and scents -- their premium variety which is made from bamboo, and their standard option that is made with recycled paper.  We have tried both, and honestly each is great in terms of quality and comfort.  We generally go for the standard just because it's cheaper (18.8p per 100 sheets), plus it is available in our local Norwich shop (YAY for Little Shop of Vegans!) meaning we can easily pick it up whenever we need to restock instead of ordering online.  Though to be fair, the shipping time is super quick, so either way is a great way to experience Who Gives A Crap!

And while I agree with Moral Fibres about the unnecessary amount of paper being used, there just aren't that many options out there.  I adore the charitable aspect of Who Gives A Crap, plus the fact that these are free from bleaching and other potentially toxic chemicals, and overall I find Who Gives A Crap loo roll lasts ages since they are double length.  We buy less, save more, and reduce our plastic footprint all at the same time!

P.s. Haven't tried Who Gives A Crap before?  You can get £5 off your first order by using my referral link.  Or, if you are still unsure and would rather sample first, you can pick up a trial box!


Toothbrush:

This is one of the easier switches to make when it comes to limiting waste in the bathroom, but it can still feel overwhelming since there are so many alternatives popping up on the market now.  Dozens of "plastic free" toothbrushes are available both in store and online, so how do you know which to go for??  Well, first things first.  There are NO 100% plastic free toothbrushes at the moment, at least none that are vegan (and who in the world wants to put animal hair in their mouth anyways??? No thank you!).

Unfortunately, even the most eco friendly options have nylon or plastic infused bristles still, as there just has not been the breakthrough in technology yet.  Nylon-4 is the better option, but there are a lot of companies out there claiming to use this biodegradable material and who are actually using cheaper plastic that does not degrade.  Additionally, Nylon-4 is actually made from petrochemicals, so it's not actually all that eco in reality.  And the other buzzword you will find pretty frequently is bamboo viscose, with slogans that state this is totally free from plastic.  Again, not possible!  There isn't a way of creating bristles from bamboo without adding plastic (at least not yet), so this is another marketing ploy.

So what are your options?  What toothbrush offers the least impact?

Honestly, unless you choose to use a chew stick or pig hair bristle brush, you will be stuck with some small amount of plastic still.  But switching to a bamboo handle is a great step, as it reduces the biggest part of the waste.  Right now, I'm using Organically Epic and Tim is using The Humble Co, both of which have 100% bamboo stems and use Nylon-6 bristles.  And since Nylon-6 can be recycled, you can pull the plastic bits out when you are ready to compost your brush and pop the bristles into the recycling -- just be sure to put them inside something so they don't fly away or fall out in the journey.  Or, you can keep the old one and use it as a cleaning tool for hard to reach places!


plastic free toothpaste toothbrush floss and mouthwash - Plastic Free Bathroom Edit


Toothpaste:

Luckily, toothpaste is much more straightforward than toothbrushes!  There are several options out there, from clay based formulas and traditional pastes to tooth tabs and powders.  I've tried a bit of them all, and I have to say I've got on with pretty much all of them.

One of the most popular brands at the moment seems to be Georganics, and I have to say while I didn't get on with many of their dental hygiene products, I adjusted to their toothpaste more quickly.  It has a bitter taste from the bicarb, but it works well and the glass jar is a decent size meaning it lasts a fair amount of time.  One of the best aspects of their paste is that many of the ingredients are organic, and the list is simple so there isn't any filler or unnecessary additives.  I also like that you can pick up most of your essentials all from one place, plus they are popping up in lots of other retailers and even some local shops making them all the more accessible.

Some of my personal favourites though have to be Truthpaste (left my teeth feeling ultra clean and smooth) and Ben & Anna (which is like traditional toothpaste but better!), both of which are some of the best tasting alternatives I have tried so far.  I love how gentle they both were on my teeth, and how they gave a proper cleaning experience.  Plus, they are pretty well priced compared to other products on the market!

P.s. Haven't shopped with The Cruelty Free Beauty Box before?  You can grab all sorts of plastic free essentials there, including Ben & Anna's goodies, plus get 15% off your first order using my referral link!


Mouth Wash:

I'm going to be quick and to the point for this one...  I've tried a handful of "zero waste" mouth wash options, and there is one clear winner for me, but with one catch.  It has a plastic cap *sobs* so is not actually truly free from plastic.  Weleda's Rathania Mouthwash Concentrate is brilliant in so many ways, from the taste to the deep cleanse it gives, and I feel like it really makes a difference in my oral care routine.  I have sensitive gums and always worry about things like gum disease, but since introducing this into my ritual I've found I've had less bleeding.  Plus, my breath is always fresh for hours after swishing this around my mouth!

If you aren't keen on the cap, Georganics make tablets you can dissolve in water as well as an oil pulling treatment (warning: the oil pulling does not taste nice and the tabs are pretty bicarb forward), or there are more alternatives coming out, and one in particular I've recently discovered that has caught my interest is Ben & Anna's bottle of liquid mouth wash.  Anyone tried this??  I'll hopefully pick up a bottle soon, and I will report back!


Floss:

Floss is another tricky one to resolve, as almost every single product out there uses plastic thread as well as plastic packaging, or it uses silk (not vegan for those looking for products free from animal ingredients, nor is silk always ethically sourced).  However, there are a few brands doing this better, including GeorganicsThe Humble CoOrganically Epic, and Bambaw.  While all of these do still contain plastic polymers, they reduce the amount (some containing only as much as 20% polyester and some using bioplastics based from corn) or cut out packaging (using just a recycled and recyclable cardboard box in some cases!).

Want a truly plastic free option?  There is one that comes out on top in terms of materials, and that is Acala's own corn starch based floss!  It's definitely less durable than the others, but 100% compostable and refillable too.


Soap Folk - Plastic Free Bathroom Edit


Hand Soap:

No need for a plastic pump or a disposable bottle anymore -- you can opt for refills or solid soaps!

There are tons of zero waste shops popping up across the country (Norwich luckily has several refill points across the city, including The Green GrocerRainbowRe.Source, and Ernies' Zero Waste Shop), and you can bring your own bottle in and fill it up from the giant containers of soap.  There are also more and more brands offering refills online, including Re-Fill.

Don't have a zero waste shop near your that offers refills, or not happy with the extra packaging that comes with refills online?  Why not just opt for a solid soap?  Soap bars have come a long way lately, offering nourishing formulas that clean your hands and smell gorgeous -- all without any plastic!  I adore Soap FolkKiss the MoonFriendlyMallow + White, and Celtic Herbal, and haven't found bar soap any better than these beauties yet!  The fragrance is all natural, absolutely stunning, and none of them dry out your hands.  In fact, they help add moisture while they clean off germs, dirt, and daily grime!  Can't get better than that, right??


Body Wash:
To be honest, just scrap the shower gel altogether if you want a minimal waste bathroom!  Soap is making a huge comeback in recent years, and for good reason.  The soap bars you find now (at least the good ones!) are anything but the boring bars that dry out your skin and leave you craving your old gels.  These handmade goodies are specially made so that your skip is not stripped of natural oils, plus there are so many varieties you are bound to find something that works for you.

I personally like bars with clay or a bit of gentle exfoliant to them, like Mallow + White's Coffee Scrub and Mint bar or Friendly Soap's Detox Bar.  Both are gorgeous, last a long time, and gently buff away dead cells so my skin is always left radiant, cleansed, and smooth.  I also find these great for multi-tasking, so if I run out of hand soap I can just lift my bar from the shower to use.  Who says you need several different products?  You can use one for many different needs!

However, if you desperately want to keep the liquid gels, you're in luck.  Brands like Flawless have come out with lovely alternatives housed in glass bottles with screw cap lids, so you can keep your more traditional product without the plastic waste.


My.Haircare shampoo bar - Plastic Free Bathroom Edit


Shampoo + Conditioner:

Again, I love how many options there are for shampoo and conditioner in recent years, as it means even more people can successfully make the swap as there is an alternative for everyone.  Powder, liquid, or solid -- it's a matter of experimenting and seeing what you like!

Let's start with shampoo...

Lately I have been playing with My.Haircare and there recently released shampoo bars.  They sent me two to try out based on my hair needs: Hydrate, a bar designed for rejuvenating hair, and Smooth, a formula that is ideal for those with dry hair.  While I did find the aroma a bit too much for me personally (they are pretty heavily fragranced, so if you like a noticeable scent this is definitely one for you), I really like the no-soap approach to their shampoo bars.  Unlike other solid shampoos I have tried out, My.Haircare did not leave my locks heavy or clumping together, nor did these bars make my already stressed out hair feel like straw.  In fact, I found they cleansed really well, produced tons of suds, and were super easy to handle.  I still needed to follow up with a conditioner, but that's typical for shampoo bars I find, plus I don't like skipping that step anyways.

For powder, I adore Beauty Kubes and find them super convenient.  They lather really well, don't weigh down my hair or make them look greasy, and leave your hair super clean without drying out your locks.  And since my hair is pretty thin, I can split a cube and get two uses out of one block!  That means a box lasts ages for me which is fab.  I also love how easy these are to travel with.  I can just pop a few in my carry on (or the whole box for a longer trip) and I'm all set to go!

As for liquids, I've not actually tested many as I prefer the lower packaging footprint of bars and powders.  However, if you want to stick with a traditional formula, I highly rate FreyaLuna.  I found their Gentle Shampoo a great clarifying treatment (a bit drying for regular use for me, but fab as a bi-weekly treatment!) and the Nourishing blend is fabulous for those with dryer hair or who need a gentler approach (works for regular use for my hair).  And the glass bottles are so gorgeous that I find myself repurposing them after they are empty!


When it comes to conditioner, the options are just as numerous, though I have found fewer brands who have perfected plastic free moisture treatments.  Many of the bars and powders I have tried have been oil heavy and don't do any favours for the look of my hair.  Also, so many rely on coconut oil which breaks my scalp out!  However, there has been one success so far.

One of the bars I have been using lately is from Funky Soap, and I'm enjoying it so far!  It's free from coconut oil, so no painful lumps or bumps have popped up, and it doesn't load up the hair with butters and leave it heavy and greasy like a few other alternatives I have attempted.  I also find it lasts ages since you only need to apply a tiny bit, making this a great money saving option.

For those out for anything other than a bar, there are a few products I've come across that have caught my interest and that I will hopefully be trialing soon.  Beauty Kubes, for one -- they created a conditioner mask cube, and I can't wait to see how it fairs!  Also, Wild Sage & Co do a big glass jar of liquid conditioner that contains broccoli seed oil, and it is free from pesky coconut oil so I am so keen to see how my hair gets on with it!  Anyone try either of these out yet??  I would love to hear your thoughts before I pick them up!


ReCo safety razor - Plastic Free Bathroom Edit


Shaving:

Wanting to reduce waste by switching up your shaving ritual?  Awesome!

You can ease into it by picking up a recycled (and recyclable) razor like those from Preserve (who do 3 blade and 5 blade options), get a reusable handle that requires just the blade being replaced, or go totally plastic free from the start by grabbing a safety razor.

I'll be honest, I held onto my Preserve razors for ages because I was super nervous about making the transition to a safety razor.  I feared slicing my legs open accidentally, or ending up looking like I had tons of battle scars...  So when Reco reached out to me about testing their Plastic Free Shaving Starter Box, I was nervous but also really excited to finally take the plunge.  Not only because it's a way more eco friendly option, but because it's super cost effective (costing as little as 30p per blade) and can save you over £400 in just the first five years.

I'll be sharing my full experience soon, but for now just know this: it's not as scary as it first seems!

Sure, it takes a bit of practice.  You need to learn the weight of the razor and figure out how much pressure to put (tip - not much, though more than you would first think!), but you quickly get the hang of it and then can enjoy the fact that you've reduced your plastic impact a lot by making a lifelong habit!

Their shaving bar is great too, as it is 100% plastic free and suds up well so you can have a smooth, clean shave.  Plus it smells lovely - uplifting, with notes of sweet citrus and calming lavender.  A great combo, and one I've very much been enjoying while I use my new safety razor.


Period Products:

Again, keeping it short and sweet here as I have actually done an entire post on the alternatives available for that time of the month!  You can choose from a cup, reusable pads/tampons, organic disposables, or period pants depending on what your needs are and what you find most comfortable.  For me, I find myself using primarily reusables, opting for organic disposables when in a pinch on the go.  What is your favourite option??


Plastic Free Bathroom Edit


I could go on and on, talking about bath salts, scrubs, and more, but I think I've given a lot of food for thought already!  I hope you find this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions are aren't sure about something!

And if you would like to have more installments featuring plastic free living essentials, or perhaps even more ideas for beauty, personal care, and wellbeing, let me know.  I'm happy to make this a more regular feature here on The ecoLogical!

For now, I would love to hear about your experience going plastic free.  Have you found it tricky?  What swaps have been easiest for you so far?  Is there anything you are really struggling with, and why?  Share your thoughts in the comments!  I'm sure we can help each other with this journey xx

3 comments

  1. We have been looking at making changes to the things we purchase for the bathroom. The Who Gives A Crap toilet paper is something we had looked at but weren't happy about having it delivered (all those extra carbon miles). It's good to know that it's available in Norwich, I'll have to pop in and give it a try

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    1. yes definitely worth seeing if it's available locally! or if there's another brand you can pick up in shops nearby :) I love that we found it in Norwich as we can buy smaller quantities instead of a massive box as well as reducing footprint x

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  2. I am must admit, I have not made as many changes in my bathroom as I should have so thanks for these recommendations.

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