As a society, we throw away millions of tons of single-use bathroom products every day. Waste accumulates in landfills and decomposes slowly, releasing toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Garbage has a long-lasting impact; it can damage natural habitats and ecosystems, create harmful air pollution, and contaminate drinking water sources. Instead of constantly purchasing new, non-reusable products, many have shifted to sustainable alternatives to reduce the amount of waste they’re creating.
These zero-waste products are game changers and are super easy to swap out from the usual suspects:
- Bamboo Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes are crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, but conventional toothbrushes are often made of non-biodegradable plastic and thrown into the garbage after a few short weeks. Instead, bamboo toothbrushes are organic, compostable, and recyclable. Manufacturers produce the toothbrush handle out of bamboo so you can place the handle in the compost or bury it in the backyard (remove the bristles first). Although some brands might say that the bristles are recyclable, in most cases they are too small to be picked up by sorting machinery at the recycling depot and so are best put in the bin. These toothbrushes last for about 3 months just like any other toothbrush.
- Toothpaste Tabs
To minimize plastic waste from toothpaste tubes, give toothpaste tablets a try. Chew on the tablet before beginning to brush your teeth, and the tablet will transform into a foamy paste when mixed with water. Just make sure the packaging is sustainable, so you’re not swapping one plastic product for another. You can also try making your own tooth powder as a package free alternative.
- Safety Razors
Safety razors are an investment that will last you for a very long time. They are made of durable stainless steel and won’t rust. The steel blades usually come in a pack of 5 and will last you about 10 shaves on each side. Once the blade is spent, collect them in a spare jar, and when you are ready these can be recycled at your nearest drop off point.
Tip: Watch a few online videos before shaving as these require a little more finesse compared to their disposable counterparts!
- Reusable Make-up Wipes
Disposable make up wipes are easily swapped out with fabric wipes that can be hand washed or sanitized with the laundry. These are often shaped like traditional single-use cotton rounds, made from non-toxic materials, such as bamboo, hemp or cotton, and offer a gentle clean for sensitive skin. These can also be composted at the end of their usable life.
- Silicone Ear Swabs
Traditional cotton swabs are used for a few seconds and then tossed after one use, what a waste. You can now buy silicone cotton swabs which can be used closer to 1,000 times. It might take a little to get your head around, but these alternatives are durable and sanitary. The silicone and natural ingredients used to create the swabs have anti-bacterial properties, so the product will not accumulate dirt or pathogens from ear wax. Most reusable cotton swabs have two heads on either side of the swab, one ribbed side for deeper cleaning, and one smooth side for precise wiping. You can easily wash the swabs with soap and warm water.
As with all products, zero-waste items still require materials and resources to produce. Rather than rushing out to buy the latest and greatest, use what you already have for as long as you can. When you are ready to make the swap, do your research to make sure that the product meets all of your practical and ethical needs before buying and try to support local whenever possible!