First published August 2020
Thanks to dear old David Attenborough, we all know that single-use plastics are the work of the devil. Some single use plastics are pretty easy to ditch - we can all saw no to straws down the pub or pick up loose apples instead of those wrapped in plastic in the supermarket.
Others are rather harder to replace - including those in the bathroom. Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, razors - all of these thing tend to come in plastic.
Of course, one option is just to give up washing entirely, but for the sake of your friends and family, it might be a good idea try to think outside of that particular box.
I decided to aim for a plastic-free bathroom about a year ago. I’m not all the way there yet, but I have made some good discoveries which I shall share with you in this blog.
Switching shower gel for soap is a super-easy first step. You might need to shop around to find a soap that lathers up in the way you want it to, but there are lots out there to choose from. Lots of options are even made right here in Bristol, including Margaret May and Made in Fishponds soaps.
There’s also a wide range of shampoo bars out there these days. I personally love Lush’s Jason and the Argan Oil bar, which lathers up really well and leaves my hair feeling clean and fresh. There’s a Lush shop in Broadmead, so you can cycle down there and browse their range of zero-waste products, many of which are also vegan.
Conditioner is a bit tougher - I’ve tried various conditioner bars which have left my hair pretty crunchy, as if we’re back in the 80s and I’ve piled on the mousse in an attempt to look like Cyndi Lauper - never a bad thing in itself, but not great for clean hair! The two conditioner bars which I’ve found to work fairly well are the Big pressed conditioner from Lush and the Tilly Oak shea butter conditioner bar.
Zero Green, a zero waste shop on North Street (BS3) has several reasonably priced refill options for conditioner. I haven’t tried these yet, but they’re worth checking out if you live nearby. I'm leaning towards this as even the better conditioner bars aren't that satisfying to use.
If you’re going to opt for using bars to wash your hair, you also might find you have to wash it a bit more often.
Razors are tougher still. Despite being an ardent feminist, I have grown up in a world which teaches us that women should be smooth and hairless from the neck down at all times - and it must be said, the fancy-pants, triple-bladed, disposable razors that are readily available in the supermarket make it simple for this dream to become a reality. I tried using an old safety razor that belongs to my partner, but I found it pretty tricky to use. In the end, I took a deep breath and settled for just being hairy for a few months. If this sounds like your idea of hell, check out these zero waste shaving packages, which look pretty good, although I’ve yet to try them: Wearth London; Peace With the Wild; and Mutiny shaving.
There’s lots of choices from Plastic Freedom, who apparently plant a tree for every order made
Photo by Lubomirkin on Unsplash
Finally, if you switch your plastic pouffy scrubber for an organic cotton flannel and try to only have a shower when you really need one, you’ll have made some great steps towards that greener shower. Let us know if you have any more tips in the comments below.
Did you know: Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our oceans on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that are already there?