Reduce Waste, Save Money (Part Two)

Continuing our series of ways to save energy and reduce waste around the home, we look at easy ways to go green in the bathroom
this month. 

Single-use plastic is everywhere in the bathroom: toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, shampoo, shower gel, hand soap bottles, razors – the list is long when it comes to everyday bathroom essentials. Fortunately, the market for alternatives is expanding rapidly; combined with old-fashioned favourites like a bar of soap, the bathroom no longer needs to be a plastic bottle pile-up zone.      

Whatever the product, read the detail when you are choosing; many British independent brands are working hard to minimise waste and packaging throughout their production and shipping process as well as the end product.

Some simple swaps: In our handwash heavy Covid era, go for bars of soap or refill hand soap options by the sink. Equally both shampoo and conditioner are now sold in bar form, great for the gym, swimming pool and travelling; or buy in bulk or refill your bottles locally. Dental options now include toothpaste in glass tubs, biodegradable floss in glass jars, dental tablets, bamboo toothbrushes and biodegradable electric toothbrush heads. 

The average shower pumps out 19 litres of water per minute, so whilst a quick shower uses less water than a bath, anything longer than seven minutes and the average bath would be overflowing. Save water and don’t leave the taps running beyond what’s needed – be it bath, shower or sink when cleaning teeth.  

We’ve all heard about the horror that lies below London, Victorian pipes clogged with giant fatbergs grown out of cooking fat, baby wipes, nappies, cotton buds and anything else that heads into the drains. The argument for reusables rather than single-use makes sense economically and environmentally and for items that can’t be reused, aim for biodegradable and disposing appropriately.  

There is a wealth of good quality, reusable products available in what, until most recently, were seen solely as single-use and throw away areas. Some strong examples include improvements made to cloth nappies, making them now a viable choice for busy parents, whilst reusable sanitary options abound from menstrual cups to period pants. Other swap ideas for the bathroom include biodegradable baby wipes or cotton cloths, washable cotton make-up wipes, old-fashioned safety razors, natural sponges and bamboo or cardboard ear buds.  

Kate Chesshyre 

is the owner of The Refill Larder in Teddington

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