One of the number one rooms in the home that contributes to waste is the bathroom. The kitchen, is number one. So many food items come in packaging, paper napkins, bottles of soap, etc. take the cake.
But the bathroom is an area that has so many throw aways but, in my opinion, the bathroom is the easiest room to make low or zero waste. (Remember folks: progress, not perfection.)
I have a few things in our shower:
A compostable sponge
A stainless steal safety razor
Apple Cider Vinegar for a hair rinse (conditioner)
A shampoo bar
All those items fit on a small metal shelf I secured under our shower head. I also use a bamboo toothbrush, make my own toothpaste and deodorant, make my own lotions, etc.
There are some items that will either be a costly investment (like a hemp shower curtain) and other items are the same price as their wasteful alternative (like a bamboo toothbrush). And yet, some items will save you money in the end. Introducing: my stainless steal razor! (Cue angel sounds.)
I remember running to the store and looking at all the disposable razor options. I knew the cheap $2 bag of orange ones will not work well. It’s like they are made with a dull razor. But the other options were for different blades (two, three, etc.), different handles, etc. And not to mention all the shaving creams made out of who-knows-what, that I felt I needed.
Now, I may mention here, I did try to not shave. I mean, that is probably the most zero waste way to go. I wanted to see if I shaved “for society” or for myself. After a week, I found it was for me. I shave for me. I just can’t stand the feeling of hair on my legs and such. And I try every now and again to go without shaving as a personal experiment. I would love to one day not need to shave. But for now, I “need” to. For me. So, that being said, I am very happy with my razor!
I purchased one that had a longer handle and I got one for R that had a shorter handle. I have been using mine for three years, and R has had his for two. We purchase blades maybe twice a year. So needless to say, I believe the blades last longer. And I shave every other day.
What I like best about having a low waste bathroom, is the minimalist effect. In college, I had a basket filled with brightly colored shampoo bottles and even a tote under my bed filled with lotions I never used, extra bottles of things, etc. I really enjoy having fewer, healthier options.
For a while, we had a compost bucket under the sink instead of a wastebasket. But now we just use the compost bucket under the sink in the kitchen. We currently have silk dental floss, but after learning about silk, I am not sure I want to continue to purchase this, so we may look into other options.
We don’t use Q-Tips anymore. I purchase a mental ear pick a year ago. We do use toilet paper (hence why I use the term low waste a lot). I have heard of families using “family cloth”–an unfortunate name. But R would have nothing of it. I have, however, looked into bidet options!
I try to be conscious of what I am purchasing. Sometimes, there are no options. Plenty of places have access to bulk options. I see a lot of bloggers fill up their shampoo bottles from a bulk bin at a co-op or Wholefoods. The co-op near me does not have those options and Wholefoods seems like it’s a lifetime away (3 1/2 hour drive to be exact).
So some ideas are: if you’re going to purchase shampoo in plastic and don’t care about the toxins, get a large container. Better to have one larger plastic bottle than three. If you can purchase something in a cardboard box, go for that. Our razors come in a small cardboard box inside a larger one. (Inception: Shaving Style)
I would also suggest asking around, looking for DIY recipes, and a good ‘ol Google search. I can’t tell you how many customers a day come into the co-op and are surprised to find we’ve been in town since 1973! They had no idea we had all these bulk options! So it never hurts to ask around!