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Plastic-Free Living

Tips And Swaps For A Low Waste Bathroom

Written By Natalie Henderson, Marketing Associate @Blueland

January 5, 2021

It’s time to talk about bathrooms. Many of us hold our bathroom routines dear, from nighttime skin care to shower thoughts, we spend a lot of time in our bathrooms. And with all that time and our sacred rituals, we create a lot of waste. Though you might not think of it, the small bathroom trash can can get filled pretty quickly with single-use items that end up in landfills and oceans. It’s time to clean up your bathroom clean with these low waste tips!

How Much Plastic Are You Wasting In Your Bathroom?

Surprisingly, more than you think. There are a lot of single-use bathroom items that add up quickly, so we’ll break down some of the dirty details:

  • Toilet Paper: Toilet paper is a necessity, but how much toilet paper is necessary? It turns out that we might like toilet paper a little too much. Each year, toilet paper production can take up to 9 million trees to produce. So before you grab that extra square, think about how much you need.
  • Single-Use Makeup Wipes: Facial and makeup wipes make up an essential part of many bathroom routines, but they also contribute a lot of waste to landfills. Most makeup wipes are made with a mixture of different fibers, which means they aren’t just paper based and can’t be recycled. One study estimates that 20 million pounds of single-use makeup wipes are used in a year. While washing makeup off is important, we’ll share some reusable swaps to keep your skin and the planet feeling fresh.
  • Disposable Razors: Razors have become a staple for many. Smooth skin can be tough to beat, but disposable razors definitely can be. Most disposable razors are made of plastic. The typical drugstore refillable razors have tons of plastic packaging and eventually have to be thrown away. In the U.S. 2 billion razors and razor blades are thrown away each year!
  • Single-Use Menstrual Products: Menstrual products are a necessity, but popular designs also generate a lot of waste. Most products are single-use and are made of plastic or other non-recyclable materials. Every menstruator uses an estimated 5,000-15,000 tampons and pads over their lifetime, and that can really add up!

Though your bathroom can generate a lot of waste, it doesn’t have to! These swaps can help you cut out waste from your bathroom and even help you save space and money.

Swaps For A Low Waste Bathroom

  • Toilet Paper Swaps: Toilet paper is a necessity and reusable toilet paper isn’t feasible for everyone or every situation. Though reusable toilet paper is an option, recycled toilet paper is also a great way to cut down on paper waste. Looking to cut out even more paper? Try a bidet. Bidets are popular in Europe and with companies like Tushy, they’re becoming more popular in the U.S. A little extra washing can you a long way to saving toilet paper, so consider giving a bidet a try!
  • Cotton Swab Swap: You might not think that your tiny cotton swab will make a difference, but according to LastObject, 1.5 million cotton swabs are made every day and those swabs end up in landfills and oceans. LastObject (https://lastobject.com/)has a solution! Their reusable silicon cotton swab can be washed and reused forever so you can have the perfect eyeliner with now waste.
  • Makeup Wipes Swap: A big contributor for bathroom waste are makeup remover wipes. Typically made of a blend of synthetic fibers, these wipes can’t be recycled. Good news! Washable cotton or bamboo makeup pads are the perfect replacement. They’re washable, easy to store and can be reused over and over again. You can pair with your favorite cleanser or makeup remover for a fresh face without plastic-waste!
  • Reusable Razor Swap: Disposable razors are costly and typically made from plastic. An upfront investment for a reusable razor is a great swap to cut out waste. There are tons of options, but OUI and Leaf make chic razors that will give you a close shave and look sleek on your shelf. All you do is change out the individual blades and keep the handle forever!
  • Menstrual Product Swap: In the last few years, we’ve seen new options for menstrual products pop up everywhere with one thing in common, they weren’t made of single-use plastic. Reusable menstrual cups are all the rage, as they can replace tampons completely. Most are made of medical grade silicone and are easily washed between uses. Not sure the cup is right for you? Period underwear was made for you! Companies like Thinx and Rubylove are making washable, reusable period underwear. Instead of using a pad or tampon, this underwear absorbs for you, so you can stay plastic-free!

More Low Waste Bathroom Tips:

  • Recycle and compost: Grab a recycling and compost bin and add it to your bathroom trash can. Makeup and hair care products don’t always come in plastic-free packaging, but they can typically be recycled! Install a recycling bin for your bathroom for easy access. Nail clippings, hair and even most toilet paper is compostable, so adding a bathroom compost bin is great for the organic waste!
  • Start with simple swaps: There are tons more swaps you can use in the bathroom, but start simple and use up what you already have. When you’re ready to buy new products, check out reusables or alternatives to single-use plastics!
  • Learn more about other bathroom products like products for beauty routines and toothbrushes!
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