For many people, their daily routine begins in the bathroom. A place where you scrub up, emerge all sparkly, face on, ready to emerge and face the world.
For some, the bathroom is the only true place to be alone, private, isolated, away from kids, husbands, and the demands of daily life.
Many people have embraced the idea of zero waste and plastic free living by turning their backs on plastic bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups. Perhaps some have forgotten the smallest room in the house - the bathroom.
Open your bathroom cabinets, inside your shower, your make up bag...what do you see?
This is not an article against plastic, by all means, but a simple reminder to be more conscious when buying your next bathroom and beauty product (or perhaps making your own).
Lets have a look at the potions, lotions, wipes and gels that modern bathrooms are brimming with.
Shower gels and exfoliating washes
R E W I N D < < < to the bathing rituals of an Ancient Egyptian. They made pastes from ash or clay and perfumed with oils and plant extracts such as henna, cinnamon, turpentine, iris, lillies, roses and bitter almonds, which created a lather on the skin. They would mix animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to form a scrub.
Sounds divine, and also very wholesome and all very natural and biodegradable.
F A S T F O R W A R D > > > to the modern bathroom. In comes marketing, touting the reenergising, revitalising, invigorating properties of your shower gel or scrub. Sadly many still contain microbeads, and there's nothing wholesome about those.
Patents for plastic microbeads in personal care products first came on the market in the 60s. They were put in lotions, face washes, toothpastes, shampoos and exfoliators.
Surely these tiny beads can't be too bad. Exfoliate they do, but harm the environment they also do.
These micro plastic particles are washed down our sinks, and are so tiny they are left unfiltered by our wastewater treatment plants and end up in our seas and rivers, harming wildlife and can even end up in that prawn you ate on the bbq.
Thankfully, many nations are now banning the use of microbeads, with Australia hopefully soon to follow. The Australian Government promised to ban microbeads if the industry didn’t stop using them by July 2018. The nation still waits for the Environment Minister to deliver on the promise.
There are plenty of natural exfoliants we can use instead: salt, sugar, used coffee grounds, oats, ground almond meal and ground apricot pits.
If you prefer using soap, then you're in luck, as there's many available that are natural and plastic free!
Unfortunately, some companies are still choosing to individually package each soap with a bunch of unnecessary plastic - so stay away from those.
Head to your weekend market and there will be an array of beautiful hand-crafted natural and organic soaps for you to choose from. Or...make your own! We have a selection of scrumptious natural recipes on the blog for you to try at home.
Now this category can be a bit scary. Think - shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, dry shampoo, gel, moose, hair masks, you name it...all in once-used-then-thrown-out plastic containers.
The answer to a plastic-free alternative to shiny locks is sometimes making your own and going back to basics...with natural, wholesome, biodegradable ingredients. Otherwise, shampoo bars are a great alternative. There are many available now with a simple Google search.
What about your hairbrush? Plastic? Hey if it's still useable, then keep using it, otherwise that will end up in landfill. Once it's done its time, replace it with a wooden or bamboo comb or brush.
Again, making your own guarantees plastic free, however, if that's not your thing then there's plenty of natural sticks and bars about now, but make sure the packaging is plastic free.
Toothbrushes and pastes
Toothbrushes...the handles of which are made of plastic and according to the dental profession, we should replace every three months. This translates to mounds of plastic toothbrushes amongst the other plastic pile.
Enter the bamboo toothbrush >> YAY! A great alternative to plastic toothbrushes and everyone should get on board.
Most toothpastes are packaged in a plastic tube or a pump-action plastic canister which is then thrown out once used. Try a swap to a toothpowder, just make sure you get once in a tin that you can the reuse, perhaps for your own home-made version.
Must I use words when this viral image says it all...
Where to even begin with this...so many plastic pots, containers, jars, lids and packaging. But good new ladies! Plastic free make-up does exist.
Doing an online search will be an eye opener on the alternatives available.
Stay away from the make-up wipes for one main reason - you use them, then chuck them. Another reason is that it's closely related cousin, the wet wipe, has been making it's way through our wastewater system and clogging it up.
But how else do you remove make-up? Simples.
A flannel, or a little coconut oil and a cotton pad, a konjac sponge, home made cleanser...
Tampons, pads, panty liners, all contain plastic and generate tonnes of waste per year.
I know that 'that time of the month' is an inconvenience enough, but maybe try the alternatives. They are just as easy to find online or on the shop shelf:
> Menstrual cups
> Reusable pads
> Biodegradable cotton tampons
You can get 100% recycled loo rolls NOT wrapped in plastic. Who gives a crap makes super-soft, 100% recycled toilet paper, and donate 50% of profits to build toilets in the developing world. Good for your bum, great for the world! Hoorah!!!
That's a wrap for plastic-free bathroom living. Now it's time to rise and align and start that plastic detox.
Remind the Environment Minister to keep her government’s promise of banning microbeads! Sign the petition.