Eco swaps can be made everywhere in your house but I believe a huge impact can be made in the bathroom. Therefore I have collated this post to look at zero waste, eco-friendly items in the bathroom. Most bathrooms are full of products and packaging that is harmful to our planet and as these products often get daily use the impact quickly mounts up. This makes it a key place to focus on as part of your zero waste journey and doing more for the environment. The List of eco bathroom changes I have gone through not only aims to reduce your waste but also to reduce or stop the harmful chemical impact many toiletry items also unfortunately contribute to. Here are my top 10 first eco changes to make in your bathroom:
Toothpaste tablets or Powders:
Toothpaste tubes are often made up of different plastics and can have a metal layer, which often makes them non-recyclable. Even though there are some that are recyclable they can be very hard to clean out, allowing them to be recycled. Additionally, as it is an item you use twice a day you quickly go through the tubes, mounting up your waste throughout the year. Therefore, it is a great place to start with your first eco swap. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from, you can get toothpaste tablets, powders or even actual paste in a glass jar. These often come in easily recyclable and reusable containers reducing your waste. Also as they are often made with consideration for the environment they do not typically use harmful chemicals. There are also plenty to try from, so get trying them out and pick the one you like.
To go along with the item above, dental hygiene is incredibly important and I have always been told by my dentist that flossing should be part of your daily teeth clean. Unfortunately, most dental floss is very bad for the environment, as it is made of a nylon coated fibre, which unfortunately is not recyclable or compostable. Further to this, it often comes in a plastic container, again having a greater negative impact. Luckily there is a eco-friendly alternative that I use, which is a charcoal biodegradable dental floss. This, as it says, is biodegradable and often comes in a glass container, which means all you need is the refill and you can be guilt free.
Soap, Shave, Shampoo and Conditioner Bars:
Recently, I have been trying a variety of different bars for a variety of different bathroom needs, including soap, shampoo, shaving and conditioner. I was quite sceptical at first, as I was concerned they would not lather up like typical shampoo or shower gel. However this was quickly squashed when I began to use them and I was pleasantly surprised. If you are destined to get rid of plastic waste you will have to convert to bars in all aspects of your life and I would recommend you do. They don’t use any plastic, the boxes they come in are recyclable or biodegradable or you can pick it up with no packaging at a zero waste store.
Unfortunately, regardless of the advances of razors and how close of a shave they can give they also use a tremendous amount of plastic in their handles and in their heads, which far too often needs to be frequently replaced and costs you a lot of money. Well regardless of what these companies say, they want you to replace them due to them creating an endless supply of money. As safety razors do not contain any plastic and the metal is recyclable you can get rid of a huge amount of the waste you produce. Also, as the blades are incredibly compact you can store a lot more, allowing you to buy in bulk. Look into how your local council recycles these as they are sharp, possibly restricting how they are disposed of. However, with a simple change and a little practice you could pick up these eco-friendly swaps.
I have had people tell me that shampoo and conditioner bars just don’t cut it for them, although I have not had this problem and have enjoyed trying different options I understand it does not work for everyone. Therefore, as a simple alternative eco-friendly option you can get a container and go to an eco-store to fill them up. Eco-stores are popping up everywhere and often have a fairly decent range of shower gels, shampoos and conditioners to select. Make sure your container is durable and try to make it last as long as possible. Remember reducing your waste is a must for anyone who wants to do more for the environment.
You can use these for cleaning all sorts of things but they area also a great green addition to the bathroom. Most sponges sold at your local supermarket are unfortunately made of polyester, polyurethane again contributing to awful micro plastics. Well loofahs grow on a plant and once dried out can be a very useful and durable (I would say more durable than the majority of generic sponges). Even if you do not like Loofahs you can get the one I used, which is 100% cellulose which is a naturally hard-wearing wood fibre. Again this is biodegradable and works great. Due to the fact these sponges can be grown makes them incredibly sustainable and as they can be biodegradable and even compostable they are also waste free.
Now I do not think I have ever used a toilet brush that lasted a long time, due to it snapping shortly after sitting in a terribly moist condition. Additionally, they are nearly always either completely made of or majority made of plastic. Again, I will not go into why this is obviously a bad thing. Considering all this, why not try an eco-alternative with a coconut toilet brush, wooden handle and stainless steel to connect it all. Most of this will be biodegradable or recyclable at the end of its life and create an eco-friendly rustic vibe to your bathroom.
Wood/ Eco toothbrush or electric heads:
Toothbrushes are another field of plastic, which you might have seen on your newsfeed floating in the ocean or stuck out of the ocean bed. This is because they are a tremendous cause of plastic that causes catastrophic harm to the environment. It is also an item you use daily and when they are disposed of they contribute to a huge amount of waste over your lifetime. Therefore there are a number of eco-toothbrushes that are often made of wood and bamboo fibres, which can be biodegradable and even compostable.
I also understand that many dentists note electric toothbrushes are better for cleaning. Although it is harder to find eco-friendly alternatives there are some out there such as my recent purchase of the Suri electrical toothbrush. Even if you already have an electric toothbrush to mitigate the waste from replacing their heads you can get eco-friendly electric toothbrushes heads. Again these are often made from bamboo and can be compostable. Either way it reduces your waste, whilst allowing you to clean your teeth and be an eco-conscious individual.
Suri Electric Toothbrush: Buy here.
Suri Toothbrush heads: Buy here.
I don’t use these much myself but I understand how useful cotton pads can be but unfortunately they still add to the growing waste we humans create. As a great alternative to the rubbish you contribute too you can get reusable makeup pads. I have seen these made from upcycling old clothes to new fabric, which can be reused. The alternatives often comes with a mesh bag that can be used to store them and put them into the wash to be reused again.
Bamboo appears to be a wonder material, which is growing in popularity (pardon the pun) I believe this is due to its ability to be formed into many things, including a cotton-like material. Therefore, companies are able to make biodegradable cotton buds that are entirely made of bamboo. This is obviously great, as it is biodegradable, comes from a sustainable source and stops you using dreaded single use plastic that is polluting our planet.
The bathroom is another place you can begin to make swaps from your weekly shop and transition to a sustainable lifestyle, lessening your negative impact on the environment. I hope this post will allow you to discover some eco-friendly products that can work better than the typical ones and allow you to use your bathroom guilt free. You don’t need to rush to get these as the items you already have are the most sustainable, so keep using them for now but over time consider some of the eco-changes I recommend above and make them part of your new green life.
Updated: Feb 5
Greenwashing is the disinformation of an organisation so that it presents itself in an environmentally responsible public image. Essentially, companies recognise the climate emergency or at least recognise the incredibly large growing mass of people who do and therefore, listening and ensuring their products are eco-friendly sustainable and have a minimal impact. This is a great marketing point, as it allows people to know they share our ethics and will then buy or use their products or services without jeopardising your own ethics and goals. Then here comes Evil Corp. They don’t want to put money in to actually achieve a green, sustainable and eco-friendly business but want to make you believe they are and willing to spend your money with them. This is where greenwashing appears.
Greenwashing can appear in many aspects and it can be hard to tell the signs. Companies will use a number of tricks to paint a product or service as green, eco or ethical from its image, its words used to the “certification” it acclaims to hold. Though there are many ways greenwashing appears, there are still some companies that are good, you just have to do some research or just think about what they are doing and if this meets a green ethic. Some key ways to do this is just by understanding the company and what they deal in, for example it is quite obvious huge fossil fuel companies aren’t really environmentally friendly, yet there can also be quite niche examples. Here are 8 cases of greenwashing you should be aware off:
Volkswagen and Audi used emission cheating software to deceptively advertise diesel vehicle as clean and environmentally friendly, when the were not.
Kauai coffee pods were advertised as 100% compostable with a fine print detailing this had only been certified at “industrial facilities”. The company agreed that this was misleading, as the coffee pods are not certified for backyard compositing.
Ikea noted as a major sustainable corporation have been linked to illegal logging in Ukraine, which is supposedly linked to the wood certification scheme ‘Forest Stewardship Council’ that has been described as greenwashing the timber industry.
Tide purclean detailed their laundry detergent is 100% plant based when it was only 75%, due to this the company agreed to change their packaging to not be so deceptive.
Starbucks released a “straw-less lid” that actually contained more plastic than the old lid and straw combination. Starbucks didn’t even deny this but pressed that it was made from a polypropylene, a commonly-accepted recyclable plastic. However, as only 9% of the world’s plastic is recycled, it is still creating a greater amount of plastic waste.
H&M have used displays and even slogans that are strikingly similar to those used by climate activist, things like “climate crusader”, as well as pictures of eco-activists, which they use as brand ambassadors. This is all to follow the growing sustainability trend. Yet they don’t really practice what they preach. Even their conscious collection, which is marketed as sustainable has higher damaging synthetic material than their main line. Many clothing brands like this also contribute a great amount to textile waste, which often ends in landfill.
BP changed their name to Beyond Petroleum and added solar panels to their gas station, then focused their advertisement on their low-carbon energy products, yet more than 96% of its annual spend is on oil and gas.
Coca-Cola has been ranked the number 1 plastic polluter and with this title they are still currently stating they are not going to abandon their plastic bottles. Yet still advertise that they are sustainable and eco-friendly.
This is just a handful of the greenwashing that goes on every day, there are many more cases of greenwashing, some that are pending, have been settled or dismissed and many more still ongoing. One story I heard detailed a company who produced eco-paint when the only thing eco-friendly about it was that the pot was recyclable. It angers me companies do this, to pray on people good ethics to further line their pockets. It is also annoying that some companies have for years defiled the environment and then switched to eco-friendly alternative or start to and make out like they were green to begin with, again this is misleading and unfair to the companies starting out with the world in mind.
There are many things to look for to find out if a company is guilty of greenwashing and you should be aware of these. Start with a mindset, where you can look at things in the broader sense by questioning a company’s motive, as well as its primary service/product. Also be aware of niche elements of greenwashing for example I am aware how plant based is the future due to often using drastically lest resources and being less harmful to the environment but can actually still contain products that are harmful such as palm oil. Not all palm oil is harmful but it is if done in an unsustainable way. It is also important that greenwashing can appear in all aspects not just when buying something, banks often brand the money you store with them as life changing and help to fund revolutionary (& green) businesses but neglect to mention the life crippling effect they have when invested in fossil fuel conglomerates. Here are some key things to look out for when buying a product or service:
Vague: Often in a companies catchphrase, motto or slogan they will use eco-friendly terminology but that don’t have an actual meaning to how they are green. For example using a broad term like eco-friendly but without noting how.
Imagery: This is used on product labels such as wildlife, trees, nature and the colour green to associate with a green message. Even though this gives the feeling of an eco-friendly products or service this is just a form of green marketing and does not mean anything.
False Certification: Companies use keen catchphrases that make you want to buy their products such as ‘organic, recycled, recyclable, etc. but unfortunately are not. They are just put onto a product or service to get you to buy them. This is often through some self-declaration or certification that has not be vetted. Make sure to check these claims and if it is actually possible for you to achieve e.g. recyclable locally or has to be sent away to the manufacture.
Swindle: Company’s might have a sustainable/eco-friendly product to wave and attract you but then once at their store show numerous other products that don’t meet the environmentally friendly disclaimer of the one that brought you there.
Simply put greenwashing is disgusting and a deceptive act for the rich to get richer with no care for the environment. It is used to trick people who are actually trying to make an active change through conscious decisions with their money, which is plainly upsetting. Therefore, I have tried to shed some light on greenwashing, some cases of it and what to look for, so you do not fall for it. One more part of inspiration that has always stuck with me on greenwashing comes from one of my favourite spoken word artist who gave the following lyrics:
“our revolution is quickly becoming a catchphrase, a colour to paint the walls of our castles, shell corporation the worlds second largest private sector oil company has now marketed itself as a leader in green technology, there new motto ‘we can pass as green if we just put green dye in the gasoline’”