March 07, 2022 10 min read
The plastic-free movement is sweeping across the media. So many more people are seeing the environmental effects of unnecessary plastic packaging and are making conscious changes to choose plastic-free options.
However, while a growing number of us are becoming more environmentally aware, stats show that we’re more likely to be greener in certain rooms. Findings from Recycle Now reveal that while 90 per cent of packaging is recycled in our kitchens, it’s down to only 50 per cent in our bathrooms.
Making eco-friendly swaps in the bathroom may seem more complicated - the convenience of many of our bathroom essentials can feel seductive and even necessary. But it’s important to remember that plastic is a serious environmental threat because plastic never really does go away. Instead, it sits in landfills, breaking down into smaller pieces until it becomes the microplastic in our ecosystems.
We are so lucky to have fantastic eco-friendly alternatives available for every item you use in the bathroom, and in this blog, we’d like to share how to go plastic-free in the bathroom.
When you look around your bathroom and take stock of all the single-use plastic there, it may feel overwhelming, but we have your back. Follow these easy swaps, maybe choosing one plastic-free option at a time and then make sure to stick to your new zero waste item until you feel confident in the switch you have made. Then add the next swap and the next, and you’ll soon have a plastic-free bathroom without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
A bathroom cabinet is a place where it is very easy to build up a stash of plastics, but it’s an excellent place to start making plastic-free swaps.
A simple place to start your transition phase is by swapping a plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one. Plastic toothbrushes have a significant environmental impact. Most of us use and buy a new plastic toothbrush every three months. We are throwing away approximately 200 million brushes in the UK alone each year. Research has shown that a plastic toothbrush can take 400 years to degrade into microplastics. They invented the first plastic toothbrush in the 1930s, which means every toothbrush ever made is still sitting in landfill.
Our bamboo toothbrushes are completely biodegradable, meaning they can be composted or recycled at the end of their life. The bristles used on our toothbrushes are also made from BPA-free nylon, which is vegan and is also more gentle on the teeth and gums than traditional plastic bristles. Bamboo is also one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, meaning there is a sustainable supply of bamboo to make these plastic-free toothbrushes with.
Why not also switch to a bamboo toothbrush stand or travel case? These will keep your bamboo toothbrush clean, help it dry quicker, and reduce your bathroom clutter.
Once you’ve swapped a bamboo toothbrush, the next plastic-free item to consider is toothpaste. The issue with toothpaste tubes is that they are made up of layers of different types of plastic, most including a metal layer, which is nearly impossible to separate, making them unsuitable for recycling. We discard around 300 million plastic toothpaste tubes annually in the UK, enough to stretch twice worldwide.
Thankfully there are some excellent plastic-free alternatives available. One of our favourites is Truthpaste, which offers natural toothpaste in a jar with no plastic. Harnessing natural botanicals' antibacterial & anti-inflammatory properties for a strong, long-lasting freshness that supports gum health and maintains a healthy pH balance, their unique formula prevents plaque and decay-causing bacteria while removing surface stains.
Ethically sourced, sustainable, cruelty-free, plastic-free, Truthpaste Original's unique formula means a clean, fresh and eco-friendly smile.
It’s also important not to forget to floss, which is one of the worst culprits of plastic waste. While most conventional floss is made from – you guessed it – plastic, the container is usually made of the type of plastic that will end up in landfills taking years to biodegrade, but the actual strings of floss themselves are made of nylon. Floss is so tiny and light that it often avoids landfills and is washed into the oceans. Unfortunately, floss is designed not to break, creating a nightmare situation when it wraps itself around marine life.
Our refillable dental floss is made from a bioplastic made from corn starch that can be composted. It is coated in natural candelilla wax and uses natural mint flavouring. Our containers are made from glass and stainless steel and are intended to be reused. Floss is a great way to take a small step into the world of plastic-free living - making this change makes a huge difference.
And, yes, you can even swap out those pesky and wasteful single-use plastic mouthwash bottles for a completely recyclable aluminium packaged product like this Oil Pulling Mouthwash from Georganics. This natural mouthwash is based on an Ayurvedic technique of swishing oil through teeth and gums to pull out bacteria and debris and flavoured with organic Peppermint oil for its cooling aroma and antibacterial properties. It's also certified cruelty-free & vegan and arrives in infinitely recyclable aluminium bottles.
Of course, after taking care of our teeth, our bathrooms are filled with other plastic packaging that, again, may seem too overwhelming to take on. But step by step, one swap at a time, you can transform your bathroom into a plastic-free haven.
Although microplastics have been banned in soap in the UK since 2018, companies can still use non-degradable liquid plastic polymers and petroleum-based chemicals in their products. And, of course, plastic packaging is an obvious problem - especially when it comes to liquid soap and shower gel that comes with non-recyclable pumps.
Making the switch to bar soap, which doesn’t need complex synthetic chemicals, plastics, or exotic ingredients grown on deforested land, is a simple choice.
We love Friendly soaps, which use an ancient cold-press method, pouring, cutting, and stamping the soaps by hand. This helps them to maintain a small carbon footprint.
All the ingredients are biodegradable, so there’s no waste, and none of their products or ingredients is tested on animals. Add to this their soaps are vegan certified and contain no palm oil. They even source their Shea butter from a women’s cooperative in Ghana. Arriving in plastic-free, recyclable packaging and made in the UK, Friendly soaps are a great choice.
Shampoo bottles, and often the shampoo itself, are major sources of plastic pollution and environmental damage. Along with the plastic packaging, standard shampoos are known to include various chemicals and ingredients that are released into our waterways.
Shampoo bars are a superb eco-friendly, long-lasting alternative to traditional shampoo bottles. They're not only free of plastic and packed with fantastic natural and vegan ingredients, but they also take up a lot less space in your bathroom and suitcase. They're soft on your hair and scalp because they're made with organic materials and don't contain artificial preservatives or scents.
We love Nuddy shampoo bars. Nuddy is a UK based business that is one of the only 100% plastic-free brands in the beauty and personal care market. Its mission is to provide plastic-free bathroom essentials. Their Daily Shine Treatment Shampoo Bar has natural ingredients concentrated into one performance led bar that works to improve your hair from root to tip minus the excess wasteful water. You won't find any sulfates, parabens, or phthalates that strip your hair, leading to hair loss and damage, and the bar is vegan and cruelty-free.
Nuddy believes their bars are so luscious that you probably won’t need to buy separate conditioner bars. They have a delicious range of shampoo bar choices, definitely worth checking out.
If you struggle with the idea of bar soaps and shampoos, there is another sustainable option available. Refillable shampoo, liquid soap and body washes are a sound alternative.
Our favourite refillables are from Missy and Sissy, who offer a convenient Hair and Body Wash Starter Set. This starter pack contains an aluminium bottle in Blush with a bronzed metal pump giving you durability in the shower and offering you years of use; no need to have plastic in your shower again.
Their beautifully fragranced hair & body wash combined are made from 99% natural ingredients. Once water is added, it will make 500ml, leaving your skin feeling smooth, moisturised and clean and leaving your conscience clear knowing you've made a good choice for the planet. Missy and Sissy products are allergen-free, free from palm oil, parabens & SLS and suitable for vegans and those with sensitive skin. Then, when the bottle is empty, you just order your refill, safe in the knowledge that you have saved at least 60 grams of plastic.
Figures vary, but billions of disposable plastic razors and cartridges are thrown away each year. Due to their mixed materials, they are not recyclable, so they sit in a landfill, pollute our earth, or disrupt our waterways, taking around 1,000 years to decompose. The answer to this waste is the traditional safety razor, the best alternative to plastic razors for men and women alike.
We are proud of our metal safety razors which are cleverly designed to be used over the face and the body, with a grooved edge made for a precision wet shave that not only gives a cleaner shave but is gentle on the skin. We made it with a long handle and textured grip to allow for a safe shave in those hard to reach areas.
We also offer a plastic-free safety razor stand to help your metal safety razor last a lifetime by keeping it dry and outside of water. The stand will keep the blade sharp for a smooth shave. Featuring a small ventilation hole in the base, this will make sure your razor is well ventilated between uses, lengthening the life of your razor by preventing water damage.
Another easy swap that will save a lot of plastic pollution is to choose bamboo cotton buds. Cotton buds, cotton swabs, q-tips, whatever you call them, are ever so convenient, so much so that they get used almost every day. It is estimated we use 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds a year in the UK, a pretty shocking statistic. What’s worse is that the usual plastic cotton buds on the market cannot be recycled and are often flushed down the toilet ending up in waterways; they find themselves in the bellies of aquatic animals and birds, and even on the tails of seahorses.
Wild & Stone’s Cotton Buds are 100% biodegradable, meaning you will not be causing any plastic waste by using them. From the packaging, which is entirely plastic-free and fully recyclable, to the sticks made from bamboo, a fast-growing grass, it requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots, so it doesn't need to be replanted. Simply chuck them away in your organic waste or compost to dispose of them. They are 100% biodegradable as they’re made from bamboo and soft cotton.
We all know that using makeup wipes is bad for the environment, but because they’re an incredibly convenient way to remove makeup, it’s easy to convince yourself that one wipe a day won’t cause too much damage. Despite looking like cotton, they contain a mix of plastic fibres such as polyester and polypropylene, preventing them from biodegrading. They break down into microplastics and smaller fibres, which pollute the oceans and enter the food chain.
The best simple swap is to start using reusable makeup pads, like ours. Kind to your skin and truly soft to the touch, these reusable cotton pads are perfect for your everyday beauty regime. They're soft but durable and can be used with your choice of cleanser/toner or simply wet with warm water.
These reusable cotton rounds are great for removing everyday makeup and sensitive areas like the eyes. Scrub pads are used to remove stubborn products while also exfoliating the skin. Our 16 reusable cotton pads are made from 100% organic cotton, which hasn’t been chemically treated or bleached. These makeup remover pads come with a mesh bag for storage and washing. They arrive in a fully recyclable Kraft envelope to ensure they are a truly low waste product.
Unfortunately, periods can end up creating a lot of waste, so if you're looking for ways to be plastic-free in the bathroom, you may want to reconsider using single-use period products. Every year in the UK, the disposal of single-use menstrual products – pads, tampons and their applicators create more than 200,000 tonnes of waste. In particular, when it comes to single-use period products, that’s not the only shocking stat, as 90 per cent of a menstrual pad is made of plastic and menstrual products can take up to 500 years to break down in a landfill.
Regular commercial tampons and pads are not only wrapped in a lot of plastic, but they're also usually treated with chlorine and other chemicals that can irritate and dry out your skin. Plastic-free and zero-waste items are the way to go for your health and the environment.
There are several alternatives to single-use period products, including the soft menstrual cups, often called moon cups, which have been massively rising in popularity, especially with tampon users – you only need one for years to come, which also saves you a lot of money.
The next option, great for pad users, is period underwear. It comes in various styles accounting for different body types and flows so that you can choose what works best for you. You could also try reusable pads, which are another great alternative to single-use pads.
If you’re not ready to make the switch to reusable period products just yet, a good compromise is biodegradable pads of eco-friendly tampons. Widely commercially available these days, These aren’t just more eco-friendly than conventional tampons and pads – they’re also better for your health since they aren’t treated with all the toxic chemicals.
We love the fact that you are reading this figuring out how to go plastic-free in the bathroom, but don’t be tempted to throw away all the plastic items you already own. Although we know it will be so satisfying to have no plastic in your bathroom, it’s far more wasteful throwing away all these products before they have been used to the fullest. Keep the plastic items you already own and maintain them to extend their lifespan as much as possible.
Wild & Stone's mission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our wide range today.
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