12 Sustainable Bathroom Products to Go Green
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Good news: You live in a time when companies and consumers alike are becoming more environmentally conscious. The restroom is a great place to start if you’re looking to buy more eco-friendly products, since there are so many natural options available. Here are twelve sustainable bathroom products to check out when you get a chance.
1. Bamboo Toilet Paper
Bamboo is more sustainable than wood for a few reasons: It requires less water than trees, it grows rapidly, and it grows back after being cut down. Although people can replant trees after logging, they have to be replanted from scratch, and they take much longer to reach maturity.
You can also choose toilet paper made of recycled paper or hemp. Hemp paper can be recycled many more times than wood paper can, and it requires less water than trees.
2. Cloth Shower Curtain
Most shower curtains are made of plastic to help repel water. But this isn’t necessary, since a fabric curtain still prevents water from splashing onto the floor. Rather than a plastic curtain that can’t be recycled, choose a linen, cotton or hemp curtain to line your shower. To clean it, just throw it in the washing machine.
3. Soap Bar
Plastic soap bottles are hard to recycle. Plus, the pumps generally can’t be recycled at all, because they’re made of tiny pieces of several different types of plastic. Recyclers would have to break them down into their individual components, which is difficult and time-consuming.
It’s best to stop buying pump bottles entirely. Instead, buy bar soap that comes in a cardboard box or paper wrapper. You can easily recycle the packaging, and even if you don’t, it will still biodegrade much faster than plastic.
4. Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
If you haven’t heard of shampoo or conditioner bars, you’re not alone — these products are pretty new on the scene. Just like bar soap, they come in a concentrated block, and you activate them by adding water.
In fact, you’ll get more bang for your buck with bar shampoo than if you buy the bottled kind, since you won’t be paying for water weight. Find these bars in paper or cardboard packaging.
5. Refillable Shampoo and Conditioner Bottles
There are companies that sell their hair care products in a glass or metal bottle, and when the container is empty, you simply send it back for them to refill. This becomes more environmentally friendly the closer you live to the company, since the delivery service still has to use fuel to transport it. But it’s a good alternative to plastic bottles if you aren’t quite ready to give up liquid shampoo and conditioner.
6. DIY Body Scrub
Have you heard of microbeads? These are tiny plastic particles added as a form of exfoliant to body scrubs, toothpaste and lotion. Many countries have banned them outright, but there are still numerous places where you can legally buy these unsustainable bathroom products.
The plastic pieces don’t break down in the water. Instead, they travel through the plumbing system, ending up in waterways and eventually food.
As an alternative, make your own body scrub with salt or sugar. Or, look for one made with natural ingredients. There are so many other things you can use to scrub your body besides plastic.
7. Plastic-Free Makeup
Choose lip balm or lipstick that comes in sustainable packaging. You can buy it in a glass jar, metal tin or even a cardboard push tube so you can still carry it in your pocket.
Look for natural makeup that comes in a recyclable container, and check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain plastic. You can buy mascara in a glass bottle that comes with a bamboo applicator rather than a plastic wand. For your eyebrows, you can get tinted wax that comes in a reusable container, or a wooden brow pencil that you sharpen yourself.
If you’re a big fan of eyelash extensions — which is totally understandable — choose extensions made from silk or human hair rather than plastic or fur.
8. Natural Hair Brush
One sustainable bathroom product you might overlook is a longer-lasting, plastic-free brush. People have been using plastic-free brushes and combs for thousands of years, with the earliest products being made of shell or bone. Choose a wooden or metal comb and a boar bristle brush to style your hair.
9. Eco-Friendly Dental Care
Here’s a sobering fact: The first toothbrush you used as a baby still exists. Metal toothbrushes with replaceable heads are a much better alternative to those with plastic handles.
Use mouthwash tablets that you activate by dropping into a cup of water, and purchase toothpaste tablets that come in a glass jar.
Most floss is made of plastic that can’t be recycled. Instead, buy floss made of mulberry silk, corn, cotton or bamboo. You can usually find this sustainable bathroom product in a glass jar.
10. Zero-Waste Lotion
Instead of a plastic pump bottle or tube, try to find lotion that comes in a glass or metal container. Check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain synthetic polymers, which are a type of plastic, or palm oil, which is not a sustainable ingredient.
11. Sustainable Period Products
Menstrual cups, menstrual discs, period underwear and cloth pads are the most environmentally friendly choices because they’re reusable. But if you’re not ready to make the leap, you can also buy applicator-free tampons or those made with cardboard applicators.
12. Reusable Razor
Want to go old school? One way to reduce waste is to use a straight razor. Admittedly, this does take a little more expertise than using a safety razor. As an alternative, buy a single razor handle that you can use for the rest of your life, and simply replace the blades. There are even subscription-based companies that will mail you new razor blades!
Making the Switch
Every sustainable product you buy casts a vote. It tells companies that you care about the environment, and that your values influence your purchasing decisions.
You don’t have to swap out every product in your bathroom right away, but little by little, as you retire your old toothbrush or do a grocery store run to buy toilet paper, you can make better choices. Eventually, being green will just come naturally.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.