Eco-bathroom

31 October 2020

One of the rooms in our house which we’ve worked hard to make eco-friendly is our bathroom, and we’re pleased to report we’re (almost) there. The way we see an eco-friendly bathroom is free of plastics and toxic chemicals, and with minimal water and energy use. These are some of the changes we made to get us there:

  1. Using bars of soap (including shampoo soap for hair) to avoid consuming plastic bottles of shampoo and shower gel. To our good fortune, we live very close to someone who produces handmade soap, so we’re buying local and supporting our neighbours too. (Tip: the Hebridean Soap Company does lovely gift sets via mail order).
  2. Installing a timer in the shower (and placing an additional notice in the guest bathroom) to help keep shower time under 4 minutes.
  3. Switching to homemade toothpaste. This was a difficult one for us because most of the recipes we found contained baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) which we found to be too abrasive on our teeth. At the moment we’re back to using regular toothpaste in a tube, but we’ll try an alternative recipe without baking soda, such as this one, soon.
  4. Switching from a plastic to a bamboo toothbrush and from a plastic to a metal razor.
  5. Using deodorant from a bottle, face cream from a tin and bamboo cotton buds from a cardboard box.
  6. Buying recycled toilet paper in compostable packaging.
  7. Buying reusable cleaning cloths instead of single-use wet wipes (which are really bad for the environment).
  8. We previously used Ecover cleaning products but were aware that we were still buying (and therefore discarding) plastic bottles each time. So when our toilet cleaner last ran out, we refilled it with white vinegar (from a glass bottle) plus a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and that seems to be doing the trick.
  9. Upcycling old furniture, so that we didn’t have to buy new cupboards.
  10. (Almost) eliminating waste. We have a very small bin in our bathroom and it rarely gets used. In the guest bathroom we separate compostables (clean paper towels) from non-recyclable waste.
  11. [This final one by Helen is for women and girls who are menstruating.] One of the biggest switches I made was to a silicone menstrual cup. I found out about them in 2005, shortly after they first appeared on the market, and I can only begin to imagine how much money I’ve saved on sanitary products since then, not to mention how many tampons and towels I’ve saved from ending up in landfills and other waste disposal sites. I’m sure we could end period poverty by distributing menstrual cups to all girls of school age and to women with low income, if only the sanitary product manufacturers would be willing to re-think their business model and embrace the opportunity (the idea is not even mentioned on the charity website periodpoverty.uk).
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For more eco-friendly bathroom ideas, take a look at the products at Non Plastic Beach. And for books on the subject, try Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson or Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth.

What steps can you take now?

    • Choose one of the steps above that you are not yet taking and do it.
    • Set yourself targets to start making your bathroom more eco-friendly.
    • Gift a menstrual cup to someone who would appreciate it.

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