Between used floss strands, empty shampoo bottles, and spent loofahs, the products we all use in our bathrooms create significant waste. Let's talk about eco-friendly bathroom products and how to make our bathrooms and their contents greener.
Monitor Your Waste
It's a great idea to reset the existing waste system in your bathroom if you only have a trash can. Add a recycling bin next to the trash bin so you won't accidentally trash an empty shampoo bottle. While you're at it, add a small compost receptacle. This can be as small as a used and upcycled tissue box. Every time that your trash bin is full, do a mini waste audit and check out what's in the trash. Could you have recycled or composted any of its contents? If you do have items that should be trashed, are there alternatives you can use going forward that could be recycled or composted instead?
Replace Single-Use Products
As you go through your trash during waste audits, note which items can be replaced to help you reduce waste. You don't need to go out and buy an entirely new bathroom full of products all at once. Instead, you can replace items as they are spent or used up. Remember: it's just as wasteful to throw away perfectly good products in the name of buying greener alternatives!
Here are some swaps you can make to reduce your number of single-use bathroom products:
- Replace single-use cotton pads with reusable and washable fabric pads. You can even make your own cleansing pads!
- Swap your Q-tips with a plastic stick with either reusable Q-tips or Q-tips with a paper stick that can be composted.
- Look into natural loofahs that can be composted or silicone scrubbers that can be sanitized and reused (or good old-fashioned reusable washcloths!) instead of plastic mesh poufs that will end up in a landfill.
- Turn to wooden brushes with compostable bristles or recycle your plastic brushes through the Tom's of Maine's TerraCycle program.
- Swap out single-use tampons and feminine pads for zero-waste feminine hygiene options, such as reusable fabric pads, leak-free period panties, or cups.
- Consider trying recycled content toilet paper to reduce the strain on Mother Earth's resources.
Consider Eco-Friendly Products and Their Packaging
As you use up your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and deodorant, choose an eco-friendly alternative instead of opting for the same conventional brand you've been using. When shopping for naturally derived and sustainably produced products, there are two key considerations to keep in mind:
- The ingredients: Are the ingredients naturally sourced or naturally derived? Is the company transparent about the ingredient processing?
- Recyclability: Can you recycle the packaging? Tom's of Maine's new toothpaste tubes are recyclable in some communities in their curbside pick up or drop off programs. Other toothpaste tubes, makeup containers, deodorant tubes, and crimped-end lotion containers are typically not recyclable in such municipal recycling programs, but they can be recycled through the TerraCycle mail-in program.
Sometimes, you will have to choose between a product whose packaging you can recycle or a product that has green ingredients. Making swaps can be a bit overwhelming, but you can start by focusing on the product elements that are most important to you.
More Green Bathroom Upgrades
While you are focusing on eco-friendly bathroom products, also consider some more ways to green your whole bathroom:
- Do you have a low-flow shower head or toilet retrofit? These gadgets are easy to install and will cut down on your water usage.
- Are all the lights in your bathroom powered by LED bulbs? According to ENERGY STAR, LED bulbs are up to 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs!
- What about the cleaners in your bathroom? Just like your personal hygiene products, you can choose cleaning solutions that are made with naturally derived ingredients and have easy to recycle or reuse containers.
Are you inspired to green up some of your bathroom products and waste systems? For more eco-friendly ideas, follow the Thinking Sustainably board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!
The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.
Why It's Good
By making a concerted effort to green your bathroom, you'll feel confident that your personal care routine won't leave a negative mark on Mother Earth.