SET UP A RECYCLING BIN IN YOUR BATHROOM(S)!
- Only 1 in 5 Americans recycle in the bathroom (Packaging Digest)
- In the UK recyclable bathroom waste accounts for 30% – 40% of total landfill waste (What's your bathroom waste legacy?)
Bathroom waste is often paperboard tubes and boxes; plastic toothbrushes, bottles, tubes and tubs; plus tissue, cotton pads, Q-tips, floss strands and more. It's quite a lot, really! While you might not think to put a recycling bin in the bathroom, you'd be surprised how much of what you toss can be diverted from the landfill. Moreover, much of that waste can be avoided in the first place. Below are some simple swaps you may choose to try.
REDUCE WASTE WITH THESE ALTERNATIVES
Some online retailers that offer products like the ones mentioned below include Clean Refillery (Lansing), Soulful Earth Herbals (Lansing), Package Free Shop (New York), Earth Hero (Colorado), Wild Minimalist (California), Fill and Refill (Colorado), and EcoRoots (Arizona).
Ordering online? Beware of where its shipping from, shop locally/regionally, and don't forget about small businesses. Etsy is a treasure trove of options for sustainably packaged bath and beauty products. To narrow your Etsy search to Michigan retailers, click the magnifying glass on the search bar to enter your location preference. Some items may be best purchased directly from the company, or you may want to get a few things from one shop to cut down on shipments. Feel silly shipping a single bar of soap? Consider asking a local friend if they need something and place your order together for a single shipment.
As always -- remember to use what you have first before buying more!
SHAMPOO, SOAP & LOTION
- Shampoo: Consider a bottle-free shampoo bars (Clean Refillery, Lansing).
- Face soap comes in bottles or tubes, but also good ol' fashioned bar form (Byrdie reviews 11 bar soaps).
- If using body wash from a bottle, make sure you use a washcloth or other "suds-ing" device to make the gel last longer. Consider diluting it, or putting it into a smaller bottle to trick yourself into using less. Refillable body wash is available from select brands and locations.
- Lotion is sold in tubs, pump bottles, and other types of packaging. Can it be reused when empty? How about recycled? How many applications does the packaging contain? Can you make your own?
TOOTHBRUSH, PASTE & FLOSS
- Bamboo brush: Does the same thing as the usual plastic brush, but is made from a renewable resource and is biodegradable when placed in a backyard compost (after removing/cutting off the bristles. (BamBrush is neatly wrapped in paper packaging and available through Green Envy in Windsor, Canada; the Humble Co. brush, available through some retailers; other brands can be found at a nearby pharmacy or grocery store).
- Recycled plastic bush: Help complete the "cycle" in "recycle!" (Preserve)
- For electric toothbrushes, there are some companies that have take-back programs for the used heads, and others have bamboo attachments instead of plastic.
- Paste: Tablets (U.K. based GeoOrganics tablets from Wild Minimalist) or tooth powder packaged in reusable/recyclable jars can replace traditional nonrecyclable tubes. Some paste (GeoOrganics paste) is also offered in a glass jar. Or, a metal tube (David's, $10 for single tube of 5.25 oz.) can be cut open, rinsed and recycled when empty. Prefer to stick with your usual tube of paste? Get crafty with the empty tube, a broom handle, and a precision knife.
- Floss: Do you love tiny things? Then floss in a tiny recyclable glass jar is for you! (Dental Lace, $9 for 33-yard spool). The regular package is not recyclable but can be upcycled into a sewing kit, and is a better choice than single use floss picks.
RAZORS & SHAVING CREAM
- Safety razors with replaceable blades eliminate the excessive plastic waste of disposable razors (Safety razor kit for women from EcoRoots). If you'd rather not go that route, opt for a standard razor with refillable cartridges or try an electric one.
- Shaving soap is available in the form of a bar (Booda Bar multi-use soap, Kansas), which eliminates the nonrecyclable packaging associated with many gels and foams. Shaving oil may be found in bottles that can be recycled. Shaving butters (Coco Cloud, from Truly, Nevada) may come in small tubs that can be reused, but note that the tubs may be made of a hard-to-recycle plastic resin.
- Look for bulk/refill size gel. Here's one from Beast (16 oz. refill for $15, with the bottle it costs $30, ships from U.S.).
- Refillable options for eye shadow, lip tint, foundation, blush, bronzer, etc. (Pure Anada, ships from Manitoba, Canada; Root Pretty, ships from Iowa; various brands at Credo -- no local stores, ships from New Jersey)
- Tubeless lipstick: Axiology ($14 for standard lipstick size, ships from within U.S.)
- Ditch the cotton balls for reusable cloth rounds. Make your own (with a sewing machine or by hand); shop with Michigan retailers on Etsy, or try one of these recommended by Cosmopolitan
MEDICINE CABINET & MISCELLANEOUS
- Sunscreen: Recyclable packaging: Sunscreen in a recyclable tin from All Good (1 oz. travel size). Bulk size: All Good (16 oz.), Supergoop (18 oz.), Landshark (1 gallon)
- Bandages: Biodegradable ($7 for pack of 25) alternative to plastic
- Toilet paper & tissues: Grove Collaborative for alternatives to typical T.P.; reusable tissues from LastTissue, recycled T.P. wrapped in paper instead of plastic film from Who Gives A Crap; and a bidet toilet attachment from Tushy.