Making eco-friendly swaps in your daily life can be fun! And when they save you money over time AND are usually made with much healthier, natural ingredients… well, that’s even better! Scroll down for easy bathroom swaps that are better for you, your wallet, and the environment!
In the United States alone, 550 million empty shampoo bottles are thrown away each year. That’s right- 550 million plastic bottles, just for shampoo! The easiest solution ever? Shampoo bars!
Shampoo bars have recently been gaining more popularity, and we couldn’t be happier! They are basically the same as liquid shampoo, but without the water content, so it’s a solid concentrate that foams up when used with water, just like a bar of hand soap. There are many shampoo bars on the market now, and most are made to last 2-3x longer than a typical bottle of shampoo. So every time you purchase a shampoo bar, you are saving 2-3 single-use plastic bottles from the environment!
Additionally, most shampoo bars are made to be eco-friendly in every aspect, so it’s hard to find a shampoo bar that’s not made with natural, earth-friendly ingredients, as well as recyclable or compostable packaging.
We like Tangie shampoo bars because they are made with just a few simple, natural ingredients, the packaging is easily compostable, and they foam up REALLY well! The rich lather helps even thick hair get a deep clean.
Reusable Menstrual Pads
Keeping a stash of reusable cloth pads in your bathroom is a great way to be prepared for your period every time, while avoiding spending money on wasteful disposables. Reusable cloth pads last for many years, replacing hundreds of single-use disposable pads and tampons over time! Additionally, they are much more comfortable than plastic and chemical-based disposables.
Menstrual cups are also a wonderful option, and they work well by themselves or with a reusable pad as a backup. Many people will choose menstrual cups for when they’re exercising or swimming, and reusable pads for less active times. While menstrual cups can be really handy, they can be a little difficult to insert and remove, due to the size and the suction created by the seal.
Curious why period underwear isn’t on the list? Some people love ’em, but a lot of people find that they’d rather put a pad into a pair of their own underwear, that they know fit well and are comfortable, rather than buy a whole separate pair of underwear at (usually) about $40/each- without knowing if the actual underwear part will fit well on their body.
Also, it has recently come to light that some larger period underwear companies, such as Thinx, contain toxic chemicals in the absorbent crotch. Yikes! In general, we feel that snapping a simple, easy washable cotton pad into your own underwear is more comfortable, cheaper, and easier to wash. But there are many people that love ’em, so if it calls to you, check them out!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but then again, body wash in squirt bottles is SO common! There’s really no reason for soap to be liquified and put in a plastic bottle. And yet, 1.4 billion empty body wash bottles are disposed of each year! And that’s body wash only- not including shampoo, conditioner, or hand soap bottles.
The solution? A good ‘ol bar of soap. Simple ingredients, and almost no packaging. Find a nice soap dish that drains well, if you’re worried about the bar getting soft if it sits in water.
Typically, soap bars last twice as long as as a bottle of body wash, there is a huge range of styles and ingredients available, and you can often find unique soap handmade by small business, which is a win-win for supporting local crafters!
Zero-waste toothpaste options like tooth powder and bites are becoming more mainstream, and it’s about time!
An estimated 400 million toothpaste tubes are discarded every year in the U.S., and at least 1.5 billion globally. For something that is used multiple times a day for a lifetime, a better option is essential.
One company that’s making a splash in the zero-waste tooth care world is Bite. They offer a delivery subscription of powdered toothpaste in convenient single-portion bites. You get a glass bottle with your first purchase, and 4 months after that, your next package of toothpaste bites is mailed to you with zero-waste packaging.
Many people also make their own healthy toothpaste powder out of simple household ingredients. Toothpaste doesn’t need to be fancy, and there are only a few essential ingredients- many of the extra ingredients in standard toothpaste tubes are just preservatives. Check out this popular, easy recipe by Wellness Mama.
Make Your Own Mouthwash
While we’re getting rid of plastic bottles in the bathroom, did you know how easy and CHEAP it is to make your own mouthwash?
In fact, it has recently come to light that conventional mouthwash actually creates more problems than it claims to solve. In turns out that killing “99.9% of germs in the mouth” (as popular mouthwash brands claim) is actually pretty harmful to your mouth, which needs a healthy micro-biome to protect itself.
The good news? It’s easy to mix your own mouthwash at home, and you’ll save a bottle from the landfill to boot. Try this super simple mouthwash tea using sage, known for its anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.
- Handful of fresh sage, OR
- 1 Tbsp of dried sage
- Boiling water
Instructions: Cover a handful of fresh or tablespoon of dried sage with boiling water, steep for 4 hours (or overnight), then strain into a glass jar to keep in the bathroom. Use as normal, and it lasts for up to two weeks.
Loofah or Sea Sponge
What’s with those plastic-mesh “loofah” thingies? Who really wants to rub their whole body with thin scratchy plastic? Ick! And because they’re made of such thin plastic, they leach micro-plastics into a water supply, an increasingly alarming issue in today’s plastic-saturated society.
The sustainable, eco-friendly, compostable alternative? Use a loofah for all your shower and skin-cleansing needs!
Loofahs grow easily in warm, humid climates, and they are actually considered to be a gourd in the cucumber family. When the loofah gourds are done growing, they are left to harden and dry. Then the shell is cracked off, and the dried inner membrane is what you’ll recognize as a loofah!
When you’re ready to retire your loofah, just toss it in the compost!
You grow can your own, or find lots of options on Etsy.