Zero waste bathroom- the simple guide to an easy, toxin free and low waste bathroom make-under
How to achieve a zero waste bathroom– the simple guide
If you have been playing around with the idea of going zero waste (or at least low waste) with your beauty and hygiene routine, I am here to tell you that it is possible to do it with minimal issues. If you just get your mindset right you have already won half the battle. Instead of thinking you need to stop using certain products, or doing certain things, which can make you feel deprived, rather focus on the excitement of trying something new, saving some money, and streamlining not only your life but the planet as well.
When we discuss zero waste, the focus should rest on the word “waste” – the movement is focused on reducing the number of things that end up in a landfill. That reduction should, ideally, come from us acquiring and consuming less, using what we have for longer, donating what we don’t need and fixing or repurposing things instead of simply throwing them away. What we then have to chuck, is done either through recycling, or composting, or only as a very last resort by sending the rubbish to a landfill. Although this is not always possible if you train yourself to always think of the end goal instead of the short term benefits it does become a lot easier. Going zero waste should not be difficult, but we make it difficult because we are so married to our convenience, or what we think should be convenient. Also, too many people give up because they cannot seem to get past the “zero”. For most, it is an all or nothing approach, and if they cannot see how they will get to zero waste they would rather not spend the energy in trying. I prefer to focus on a simple lifestyle, which automatically makes me a bit lesser-wasteful, and makes it easier to attain a low waste lifestyle. The end goal is zero, but for now, I am enjoying this journey of refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling, and rotting.
As I mentioned in my video my zero waste journey started with my beauty products. After reading a bit about the ingredients, and feeling very guilty about the amount of plastic I was sending to the landfill, I started to play around with making my own products. Not always successful, I have achieved a few remarkable victories, and today, almost 8 years on, I make 95% of all my beauty, hygiene, cleaning, and food products using only natural, simple and easily accessible ingredients. And to me that is what embodies the simple lifestyle – minimizing your waste, your exposure to toxins, your senseless spending on things you don’t really need and that simply drains your time, freeing up space, and learning new skills. 8 years on and my skin, body, kids, pets and house are thanking me.
If you would like to start on the zero waste beauty and hygiene journey, here are my pointers:
1. Start making your own
When I started thinking about making my own products, I was amazed at the wealth of info I could find. There were whole communities dedicated to creating and sharing recipes, tips and ideas. I discovered that making my own products was easy, cheap, and so satisfying. Of course, simply buying a product from the shelf is convenient, but if you plan and make a few things at the same time it becomes almost as convenient. And all that you need is a few basic ingredients! See my list of natural DIY must-haves here. For a list of products that you can make, with a few tips and tricks of my own, get my zero waste beauty book at the end of the post. Or go to the DIY section of the blog to see my recipes as I post them.
2. Opt for no-waste or at least less-waste products
If you don’t want to make your own products, or you ran out of something with no time to make yourself, then you can always buy a natural alternative. Remember it is about the waste and the chemicals. Cut down on the waste by either choosing refillable products or if not possible or available, opting for the product with the least amount of packaging. If you know you are definitely not going to make your own, try and buy the products that you use often in bigger volumes, then decant into smaller, usage-friendly containers. This way you have months of stock, but only 1 package to discard. If you simply have no choice but to buy your product in plastic, at least try to repurpose the container once the product is finished. I re-use hand wash soap pumps for years after, small containers become travel companions, and I use an old floss container to store my earrings in when travelling.
Items that you can easily swop for a no-waste, plastic-free alternative include safety razors, sea sponges, menstrual cups, floss in class containers, bamboo toothbrushes, etc. Another easy way of ditching the plastic and packaging is to opt for solid beauty products. Lately, you can get almost everything in bar form, from shampoo and conditioner to lotion, even eye serum and self-tan! These products are usually more concentrated than their liquid cousins, so they last longer. And once done, nothing stays behind.
Another great no-plastic alternative is bamboo. Sustainable and cheap, this strong and sturdy material is now used to make almost anything from brushes to toothbrushes, hair accessories, even washcloths. They are biodegradable and really kind on the environment. So swop your plastic comb for a beautiful bamboo one.
3. Go natural and organic
Because zero waste is about the packaging, we forget that the ultimate aim is to conserve and protect our natural resources, to ensure there is a liveable planet for the next generations. Zero waste is about caring for yourself, and for the environment, and part of the consideration should be on the ingredients in conventional beauty products. Some of the more widely-used ingredients, such as sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium chloride and triclosan are harmful to animals, sea creatures, and plant life, or play a role in the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or contribute to the destruction of natural habitats. The beauty industry has done much harm to the planet and its inhabitants in their quest for ingredients that are effective yet affordable, and we are all going to pay the ultimate price. By choosing natural and/or organic products you are lessening the impact that you have on the environment.
4. Simplify your routine
One of the biggest lies that the beauty industry is blasting out is that you need a dedicated product for almost every part of your body, as well as different scenarios or circumstances. That is a pile of hogwash. You need something to treat, moisturize, clean and disinfect, and if you have one product that ticks all of those boxes, then use it all around. Also, you know your body and you know what it needs. I have a few more products than the average minimalistic zero-waste, and that is because I like pampering myself every now and again. I make them myself, and they last a long long time, so I have nothing to feel guilty about. If you want to have a day cream and a night cream and an eye cream and a foot cream and a body cream and a leg cream then go for it – remember this is not about depriving yourself, only about lessening your impact. So if your products are natural, organic, plastic-free, packaging-free, chemical-free, or any combination of these things, go for it!
So what would a zero waste (or low waste) minimalistic bathroom look like? Well, this is mine:
From left to right:
• In-bath coconut oil moisturizer (home-made)
• Bath salt (home-made)
• Solid lotion bar from Lush
• Bee Natural honey face lotion
• Oil makeup remover (home-made)
• Face oil (home-made)
• Solid shampoo and conditioner bar from Lush
• Bar soap
• Charcoal facial bar from Lush
• Salt scrub (home-made)
• Charcoal toothpaste (home-made)
• Safety razor
• Bamboo toothbrush
Not pictured – my Goddess Mooncup menstrual cup and my Moontime cloth pads. I have cut down on so many other products, including hair treatment, facial masks, anti-frizz serum, eye cream, foot balm, cuticle cream, blemish remover, cellulite cream, and more. Not only do I have more space, but I also have fewer products to replace. This saves me more than just money, it is saving my sanity as well.