The year is 2116. An archaeologist shouts excitedly to a colleague as she pulls a T-shaped tool from the earth. She brushes it off and sees a faint hint of pink. Her shoulders automatically slump. It’s nothing new, she’s found thousands of these relics of the past. It’s only the disposable razor you tossed in the trash just last Tuesday, still cluttering up the Earth nearly 1,000 years into the future. If only we would have gone plastic-free sooner.
That might seem a little dramatic, but your disposable razor really could be around hundreds of years from now. Along with your plastic toothbrush, your empty shampoo bottles, and all that floss, your dentist keeps harping on you to use.
All these tools of convenience are cheap and easy to use, but at what cost? Most disposable bathroom items end up in sewer systems, landfills, oceans, and rivers where they cause harm to the organisms that live there.
You might be thinking you’re just one person, so how much difference can you really make? By the age of 80, the average person will have thrown out 52,100 bathroom related items. Over half of those will end up in landfills. Take the time to go plastic-free in the bathroom and do your part to decrease plastic pollution.
It’s Easy to Flush and Forget
Wet wipes, tampons, and other toilet-related items are easy to toss in the tank and flush. But, they end up hanging around in the sewer system or making their way out to rivers and oceans to wreak havoc on pipes or ecosystems.
Most wet wipes are made from synthetic materials and plastic, so even though they’re “flushable”, they aren’t biodegradable. They make up about 90% of the material that causes sewer blockages.
Wipes that do make it out of the sewer cause a whole lot of other issues. Wet wipes have literally formed a new riverbed in the Thames river, as well as other rivers around the world. Since they’re not biodegradable, that unsanitary riverbed will be there for a long time to come.
Plastic-Free Wipe Alternatives
Plastic-Free Shower Essentials
Look, I enjoy a nice relaxing bubble bath and calming lavender shampoo as much as the next person. Going plastic-free doesn’t mean giving up on luxury. In fact, most of the companies who offer plastic-free solutions use higher quality ingredients in their products.
While some shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles are recyclable, the pumps, tubes, and trigger heads aren’t. Do a little research and you’ll find a quality, plastic-free product to replace all those bath-time essentials you can’t live without.
Plastic-Free Shower Swaps
- Swap bottles for bars: They take a little getting used to, but the shampoo and conditioner bars are just as effective when it comes to cleaning and moisturizing hair as liquid products are. Just make sure the packaging is plastic-free, too!
- Refillable Glass Dispensers: Recyclable and aesthetically pleasing, glass dispensers can save you cash as well. Bulk refills are often less expensive in the long run.
A Mouth is No Place for Plastic
I’m 95% sure that every person reading this has a tube of toothpaste and a plastic toothbrush sitting on their bathroom vanity right now. Unfortunately, most of those aren’t recyclable. Toothpaste tubes are made of plastic and aluminum, which makes them difficult to recycle. Even worse? They take hundreds of years to decompose.
If you’re following your dentist’s orders, you’re flossing after every brush. Apparently, you’re not alone. Americans toss out 3 million miles of floss every year. That’s a ton of plastic string blowing around landfills and tangling around fish. Not to mention, the plastic containers thrown out each year could fill a six-story football field.
Plastic-Free Oral Hygiene Solutions
- Make your own toothpaste: A quick search online will show you a ton of different DIY toothpaste, most of which have simple ingredients like baking soda and coconut oil.
- Switch to a toothpaste bar: These bars are easy to use and often last longer than a tube of toothpaste. You’ll need to invest in one per person though, as you just rub your wet toothbrush directly across the bar to use.
- Bamboo Toothbrushes: This is probably the easiest switch to make. You won’t even notice the difference. For our favorite bamboo toothbrush see this helpful guide.
- Floss alternatives: There are so many options available for plastic-free floss. Silk-floss is a popular one, but you might want to look into where that silk comes from. If you want to go plastic and cruelty-free, I suggest Bamboo fiber floss. Just make sure the packaging is plastic-free, too.
Just Say No (To Disposable Razors)
The shaving aisle at the store looks like a pretty pastel rainbow. Stop getting sucked in by their shiny plastic packaging and calming colors. Over 2 billion of these disposable pieces of plastic are thrown out every year.
Ditch the Disposables for These Instead
- Swap to a stainless steel safety razor: These are reusable, plastic-free, and will probably give you a cleaner shave, too.
- Sub Shaving Soap for Shaving Cream: Same concept, different delivery. Wet the bar and lather up for a smooth shave.
Other Things to Consider
- Plastic-free feminine hygiene products: Consider swapping sanitary napkins and tampons for a menstrual cup or look for biodegradable applicators.
- Plastic-Free skincare and make-up routine: Look for lines that sell their products in glass containers. Bonus if they’re reusable.
Make the Switch to a Plastic-Free Bathroom
You’ll be doing your part for the environment, and you’ll notice the personal benefits as well. Many companies that offer plastic-free products and packaging also use natural, higher-quality ingredients. Do the research and find what works best for you. No matter which way you do it, you won’t regret going plastic-free in the bathroom.
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