It’s probably no surprise that the hardest room to “de-trash” is the bathroom. The kitchen is pretty easy – just buy food that comes in zero or recyclable packaging. Cleaning is easy – use natural products like lemon, baking soda, and so on. Even buying home decorating items or souvenirs or the like is easy – if it comes in recyclable packaging, buy it – if not, do without.
The bathroom, on the other hand, contains all sorts of items I find necessary (or at least really difficult to eliminate from our lives). So far, we’re doing pretty well. In fact, we’ve mademajor leaps and bounds in just the past couple weeks as we work to find new solutions to the waste we are producing. If you read my New Year’s post, I talked about a couple of our environmental resolutions, which include reducing our recyclable “trash” to almost zero and working to eliminate plastic from our purchases. We’ve been extra conscientious of this as we’ve been doing our regular shopping. The goal for the bathroom, then, is three-fold: zero trash first, zero plastic next, and finally, zero recyclables, too. Here are some of the steps we are taking:
Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion: We finally made it to Salem’s natural food store Life Source, a little marketplace I was quite happy to find. Finally, I can buy my bathroom items in bulk! Bring your own bottles and pump liquids right into them. We invested in some nice glass bottles to fill with bathroom soaps, and now I’m going to order some cork bottle plugs with lotion pumps on them. Zero waste!
Bar soap: Very easy to find wrapped in recyclable paper or nothing at all. Life Source has soap we can slice off a giant block! You might remember my soap-making adventures back in August, so that’s always an option, too….
Toothpaste:We use Tom’s of Maine paste, which I love. It comes in a recyclable metal tube, and though this is packaging, at least it’s not plastic (except for the lid). I’m stumbling across some people who use plain baking soda to brush – anybody try this? I’m pretty attached to my toothpaste, since it uses all natural ingredients and I can get it with or without fluoride.
Toothbrush:We tried out Preserve toothbrushes earlier in the year. The handles of these brushes are made from recycled yogurt containers, and when you’re finished with the brush, you mail it back to the company to be recycled again into a plastic lumber. While we had some success with these toothbrushes (Adam still uses his), I find I much prefer a battery-operated toothbrush. I use a rechargeable battery in mine and throw away the disposable head every couple of months. I’m interested in the wooden toothbrush option, but I want something that cleans as well as my current toothbrush before I make a permanent switch.
Deodorant: We’re using the Crystal deodorant right now, which I really like. It works great, I swear! I was skeptical at first, but I’m a convert now. While the crystal lasts about a year, it still comes packaged in plastic. Once the crystal is gone, I’ll be making the switch to trying out baking soda on a powder puff, which No Impact Man and Beth from Fake Plastic Fish swear by.
Hair removal/shaving:Finally, we come to the hardest of all bathroom products to eliminate – the razor. Adam’s taken care of, as he uses an electric razor with a rechargeable battery. We’ve only had one razor break, and that’s after it lasted about three years. I don’t use an electric razor, because I love the feel of clean-shaven legs. For most of the year, I’ve been using my old Gillette Sensor Excel razor with disposable razors – I reuse the handle and throw away a razor after every fifth use or so. But – these blades keep piling up in the ol’ garbage shoebox and I needed to find a way to eliminate them. With a new product I tried out a couple weeks ago, I think I’m on track to finding a solution.
Months ago, a reader wrote to me and suggested I try Moom, a natural waxing product. I’ve been on the lookout for this for awhile and finally found it! Moom is pretty neat stuff – it’s a sugar wax that comes in a glass jar. The wax itself if made from only a few ingredients – water, sugar, lemon, chamomile, and tea tree oil. The really neat thing is that Moom comes with reusable muslin waxing strips – wax,wash, and reuse! So I bought some and tried it out.
Overall, I loved the stuff and will definitelykeep using it. The jar did come with a foil-plastic composite seal, so a little bit of garbage. But, weighing this against the option of using a disposable razor blade, I’ll get more hair removal for less garbage from Moom versus a razor. I’ve only had my legs waxed once, and this was in a professional salon. All things considered, I can easily say that the first time I used Moom was much less painful than that professional waxing experience. It took longer than shaving, and was quite a bit messier/stickier, but I loved it. And, I haven’t had to shave for two weeks.
Oh, I know I could not shave, but I really am attached to the clean, fresh feeling of smooth legs. I am also continuously on the lookout for a safety razor handle in antique stores, which would turn my shaving into a completely plastic-free experience, but for now, Moom is a great way for me to reducing shaving-related garbage.