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Going Zero Waste In My Bathroom

My Not So Perfect, But Work In Progress Zero Waste/Low Waste Bathroom Routine

The reason for the title of this post is because the bathroom is one area of my life that I have struggled the most to reduce my waste in. There are a few reasons for this, but I will get to those later. As I have shared before, I am currently a junior in college. I am majoring in environmental studies with a minor in education. Living a zero waste lifestyle is not only a passion of mine, but has also became a teaching tool for me. By incorporating these different lifestyle changes into my life I have been able to educate and inform those around me and those who follow my blog on how they can do the same.

Why Zero Waste?

I personally chose to live a lifestyle that is low waste and on the way to zero waste as a way to decrease the amount of waste or trash that I produce. When I think of waste I think of it in two parts. There is the waste that is truly waste that has to be sent to the landfill because I do not have access or the means to dispose of it properly. And then there is the waste that can be recycled or composted. Some people consider recycling and composting to be waste and some do not. I personally live a low waste life because I love the environment and the world around me and I want to do my part to conserve it for future generations. I also want to help provide resources so others can do the same.
But what exactly does living a zero waste lifestyle mean? It means that you change your way of thinking to be cautious of the waste you produce and to think of each items' lifecycle in a loop instead of a straight line. This means that the product can be reused over and over instead of just ending its life in the landfill. Through my studies in college I have had the opportunity to listen and learn from some of the most educated and researched individuals on this topic. The knowledge that I have learned from them and on my own, has led me to believe that living a low waste lifestyle is one practice that will preserve our ever changing environment for generations to come. I also believe that the consumerism change of mind to a more minimalistic way of thinking and living has not only reduced me from stress of needing to conform to society expectations of having everything that I can afford, but also helps to reduce waste. A future blog post is to come on my experience with changing my habits and frame of mind to align with a minimalistic way of living.

For more information on what exactly zero waste is I recommend checking out Going Zero Waste's blog post What Is Zero Waste?

What Zero Waste Changes Have I Made?

I have switched over to a bar of soup instead of body wash and hand soap in plastic bottles. This eliminates the plastic bottle from the equation and is the best zero waste option. I purchase a variety of different soaps and am always being gifted some. Some of my soaps come in cardboard that I recycle. To some people they consider cardboard to be waste, but I don't because I am well aware of the recycling program in my city and am confident that it is being recycled properly.

Another package free switch I have made is to a solid conditioner bar from Lush. I purchased this bar back in October and am still using it. I have short hair and only shower 3 times a week. I love this product. It lasts forever, doesn't cause hair breakage and travels nicely. When first purchasing products from Lush I also bought some of the tin containers and that is what I use to travel. They work amazingly with no leaks.

Switching to a package free natural deodorant was one of the first products I started looking into. At the time I was finishing up a stick of deodorant and knew I wanted to start using a package free option. Again I purchased this product from Lush. I have mixed feelings about it. I don't smell the fragrance on myself but others say they can. This could be a result of my poor sense of smell. FYI this is a deodorant not an antiperspirant so it does not prevent you from sweating it just keeps you from smelling. I find that this product does that, but it also causes me to have irritated underarms because the consistence of the bar is quite rough. Once I finish it I will probably try out a different package free or a deodorant that comes in compostable or recyclable cardboard. Also you can't apply this product to wet underarms and I find that to be an inconvenience for the type of product that it is. 

At the time I made these other Lush purchases I also bought one of their solid or naked lotions. I love the smell of the lotion, but found that it isn't hydrating enough for my skin. I am still in the market for a hydrating lotion that is zero waste, yet affordable. Of the ones that I have seen in zero waste stores that I have visited or online, they are too expensive and not reasonably for me to continue to purchase. If you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment down below letting me know. 

The first zero waste items I purchased were toothpaste, a safety razor and bamboo toothbrushes. I have previously talked about these products in my Favorite Zero Waste Products For Beginners. I love and will continue to purchase both David's Natural Toothpaste and Brush With Bamboo Toothbrushes

As a woman I have this lovely event that happens every month that I have to deal with. What is it you might ask, oh its my menstrual cycle. Over the last couple of years I have had an irregular menstrual cycle due to losing weight and training for a half marathon. If you want to learn more about either of those topics check them out What I Learned From Year 1 of My Weight Loss Journey and My First Half Marathon Experience. Once my menstrual cycle started to return to a more normal cycle I knew I wanted to stop using tampons and start using a menstrual cup. Not only did I want to do this because it was the zero waste option, but I was also tired of buying expensive tampons, worrying about when the last time I changed it was so I didn't get an infection, and thinking about all of the chemicals that I was putting into my body. I went with the menstrual cup as a zero waste option instead of cloth or reusable pads because I was already comfortable with wearing tampons, I workout and I was too nervous to wear a pad and have it leak, I didn't want to have to wash them, and because it was the more economically option. I found it quite easy to adjust to using and haven't had any issues thus far since starting to use it in January of 2019.

A new addition to my zero waste arsenal of bathroom products is my Organic Plastic Free Hair Ties or hair elastics, whatever you prefer to call them. I made this purchased when I visited Tare Market in Minnesota. I love this product. Not only do the hair ties keep my thick hair up in a pony tail, but they don't cause breakage, hurt when you take it out, and they are so stylish to wear on your wrist.

What is Not Zero Waste or Low Waste In My Bathroom?

For starters I still purchase toilet paper that comes in single use plastic wrapping. This is because as a college student it is not in my budget to purchase the zero waste options that are on the market. I also do what I can with the plastic wrapping by taking it to my grocery store and putting it in the plastic recycling bin.

The next set of products that are in my bathroom that are not zero waste or low waste are my makeup. I rarely wear more than BB cream so I don't ever finish a makeup product. With that being said I have makeup that is not plastic free that I am still working to finish up. When I do make a new make-up purchase I go for a product that is mostly packaged in glass so I can wash it out and recycle it. Most of the makeup that I have has been gifted to me by the family that I used to nanny for. 

You might be wondering why I did not mention above that I use a solid shampoo bar. Well the reason for that is because I have psoriasis on my scalp and have to use medicated shampoo and a topical solution to keep it under control. When my flareups returned I tried to use an all natural shampoo bar from Lush, but was unsuccessfully able to keep it under control. So I gave in and use shampoo in a plastic bottle. When I finish a bottle I make sure to properly dispose of the bottle by recycling it. Even with the health of my scalp being the reason I had to compromise and use shampoo in a plastic bottle, it was still a hard pill to swallow because I would much rather use a plastic free option.

I hope that learning more about the zero waste products that I have introduced into my bathroom routine that you are inspired to do the same. I want to make it clear that when going zero waste it is best to start slow and only purchase the zero waste option once you have finished using what you already have, ultimately preventing waste for if a product were to go bad before you were able to use it up.


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