Author: Kristen Summers, Everyday Sustainability Committee
Sustainability Day is celebrated on the fourth Wednesday of October. The bathroom is one of the most wasteful areas of your house. I know I am often suckered into buying an assortment of lotions and potions in different pretty containers. If you are looking for ways to transition to a low or zero waste bathroom, here are some ideas for you to implement this Sustainability Day.
1. Dental care
There are a lot of ways to reduce plastic waste while keeping your teeth clean. There are many low-to-zero waste options for plastic-free toothpaste including tablets in glass jars, recyclable metal tubes and tins, and compostable containers. You can also reduce your plastic use by using bamboo toothbrushes or other alternatives that reduce plastic and packaging. I just bought a tooth brush that has a base with reusable heads.
2. Shower time
The bathtub is culprit for plastic waste. Consider transitioning to bars of soap instead of body wash (I particularly recommend goat milk soap) or shampoo and conditioner bars. If bar soap/shampoo is not for you, more and more stores are offering refillable bottles or bulk soap/shampoo. It is as easy as bringing your own empty and clean container and refilling it at the store. There are also options for returning empty bottles to the manufacturer (but watch out for the hidden energy use that comes from transportation).
Bars of soap can last a long time if cared for properly. Make sure to follow these tips to get the most use out of your soap:
- Keep your soap dry and allow it to dry in between uses.
- Store your soap in a soap saver dish.
- Use a washcloth to suds the soap.
- Make sure your soap is properly cured before use.
3. Toilet paper
Toilet paper is a constant resource drain that just goes down the toilet…literally. It is a wasteful use of virgin trees plus the amount of energy, water, and bleach that goes into producing toilet paper. Instead of using toilet paper made from trees, consider an alternative like bamboo toilet paper, or recycled paper. The even less-wasteful option is to install a bidet to avoid toilet paper waste altogether.
You can also make the switch to reduce your use of tissues by bringing back the handkerchief!
4. Cotton replacements
Cotton is a high-intensity crop that requires a lot of water and chemicals to be produced. Reduce your reliance on cotton balls and q-tips by investing in reusable cotton wipes or cloths. These products are easy to keep in your bathroom and then can be washed after use. I use cotton pads to remove make up and apply products like toner.