So often it seems that “going green” is a never-ending journey.
First, we learned to take reusable bags to the grocery store. Then, we started frequenting vendors that sold organic produce. And when the concept of zero-waste started trickling into the collective conscious? We re-evaluated the sustainability of products in our kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.
Ah, the bathroom. In an age when we’re constantly bombarded with advertisements for products we’re told we “need” --- in order to look younger, feel better, smell great, exude radiance --- it’s no wonder our loos are often loaded with products. And many of those seemingly miracles-in-a-jar we purchase first, and think about recycling after.
Time to stop that cycle in its tracks. Going green in the bathroom doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Quite the opposite, actually. Zero-waste often entails investing in products that are more effective, less harmful for your body, and are cheaper (especially in the long run).
The best part? You’ll leave Mother Earth feeling as pampered as you are.
- Switch your shaver
Consider the razor.
First, it comes wrapped in an excessive plastic bubble (which, side note, is almost always a headache to pry open). Then there’s the razor handle, which is made of unrecyclable plastic.
Not to mention the blades. Even if you purchase a razor whose heads are replaceable, the cartridges go straight into the trash when their time is up.
Seems like a lot of waste for a shave that… honestly? Isn’t even that good.
So why not go old school? A safety razor is the green alternative for males and females, providing an anti-waste antidote to a product that contributes approximately 2 billion units to landfills every year. The handle itself will last for years, and the blades are cheaper to replace than purchasing an entire new razor every few weeks or so.
And the shave? So long as you’re agile with the razor (don’t press down too hard!), it’s guaranteed to be a smoother, less-irritating experience.
Don’t forget to lather up, too: Make your own shaving cream with just four nourishing ingredients.
- Brush cleaner and greener
Another common landfill culprit?
The toothbrush --- or rather, the 1 billion brushes that end up in U.S. landfills every year. The non-compostable and -recyclable combination of nylon and plastic means, ironically, the device that works so hard to keep our mouths clean is vastly polluting the earth.
Enter the bamboo-based toothbrush. Bamboo is one of nature’s miracles: It sprouts up about three feet every day, making it one of the most sustainable material alternatives.
Just make sure whatever toothbrush you order also comes in zero-waste packaging.
- Round out your oral hygiene the eco-friendly way
Unless you squeeze your toothpaste out of an aluminum tube, chances are, it’s not recyclable.
If you happen to have purchased Tom’s of Maine or Colgate, good news: You can send it to TerraCycle for free, comprehensive recycling. Otherwise, look for toothpaste that comes in a recyclable glass jar (like the kind sold by Uncle Harry’s).
Finish off your twice-daily dental routine by using a tongue scraper.
- Lather, rinse, repeat, recycle
Image ia Sisoo
When it comes to shower products, soap is arguably the easiest zero-waste switch to make.
Just replace your packaged body wash with loose bars (like the Good Soap Co. sold at Whole Foods, or any comparable brand from your health goods store).
Companies like Plaine Products use aluminum packaging for their products, and you return the bottles by mail when they’re empty, for eco-friendly refills. You can also see if there’s a bulk store in your city that offers beauty product refills.
Or buy loose shampoo bars, like the type sold by Ethique Limited.
- Smell as great as you treat the earth
Image via Instagram
Let’s face it: Plastic waste is the pits. So eliminate the trash generated by non-recyclable deodorant packaging with an eco-alternative.
- Moisturize your skin with eco-goodness
Image via Going Zero Waste
When it comes to ingredients you’re putting on your skin or in your body, you want to be able to pronounce them (with the exception of açai, of course). There are so many additives in the lotions available in your average drugstore, it almost makes them as unappealing as their excessive and unrecyclable plastic packaging.
Say no to both by whipping up your own lotion.
Going green may be an ongoing journey, but these simple swaps will make it an easy and cost-effective one.
This is a guest post from MakeSpace, which offers affordable full-service storage in Los Angeles, Chicago, DC, and NYC.