Ditch and Switch: 10 Easy 'Waste Free' Bathroom Swaps
I think we can all agree that saving the Earth is important. If you didn’t agree, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now. We live here and would like to continue to do so for years to come. Well, a major part of ensuring that happens is reducing our waste footprint. There are currently 2000 landfills just in the U.S. They are the biggest contributor to soil pollution and not to mention an eye sore. Only about a tenth of all solid waste is recycled……a tenth. The rest end up in those landfills, oceans, and destroys habitats. Luckily, we as consumers have the ability to change that. Even if you don’t switch to earth friendly products, the simple act of recycling can make a dent in the crisis we are currently experiencing. I know a lot of people are hesitant to switch to earth friendly products because of cost, but I’m going to share with you 10 easy bathroom switches that won’t cost you anymore than what you’re spending, and can also help switch you over to natural, toxic free products!
For the purpose of this blog, I went shopping at Walmart and Amazon. Those are pretty common places, so I figured that was a good middle ground. I picked the lowest priced items I could find at the time (unless I needed something different to make a more accurate comparison), and added the links to everything at the end of the post.
The American Dental Association recommends to replace your toothbrush every three months. That’s four toothbrushes a year per person in your household. It’s estimated that a BILLION toothbrushes are disposed of every year in the United States alone. If you shop at major stores such as Walmart, a family of four will spend $12 a year on toothbrushes. On Amazon, Kimz offers a 4-pack of toothbrushes for $5. Completely bio-degradable. That’s only $20 a year. Technically it is slightly more expensive, but you produce zero waste since all of the toothbrushes will break down without harming the environment.
Toothpaste tubes are made of a non-recyclable plastic. The easiest way to become waste-free is to simply make your own toothpaste. Stay with me here. Toothpaste is one of the simplest DIYs out there. You probably already have majority of the ingredients in your kitchen. You can use an old glass jar and BAM! You’ve become waste free and switched to a natural alternative. Not only benefiting the environment, but also your health. It’ll probably cost you $1 at most to make this stuff. Which saves you in the long run and makes room in the budget to buy those toothbrushes!
Floss is literally just plastic string. Not to mention it’s also coated with tons of chemicals….and also comes in a plastic container. You can purchase dental floss that is made from silk or other products and come in ecofriendly containers. That’s going to run you about $8 a pack. However, you could make the investment and purchase a water flosser. It doesn’t have to be the brand Waterpik, but just a water flosser in general. I’ve seen portable ones go for as little as $5. That’s not a reoccurring charge either. $5 and that’s it. So, really that’s your best option. You won’t produce any waste, and you save a ton of money!
4. Face Rounds/ Cotton Balls
A lot of people like those face rounds to simply wipe off their face really fast with astringent or whatever. That’s great, but every 100 pack of face rounds you use is 100 more put into the environment. If you’re using 100% cotton rounds or cotton balls that is completely fine. Cotton is bio-degradable. It’s a natural product and won’t hurt the environment. However, they can get costly. To combat that, simply cut your own face rounds out of old towels or clothes. That doesn’t require any extra spending, it reduces waste, and gets rid of some of your closet clutter.
Probably the easiest thing on the list to switch over. Just buy bar soaps. They don’t cost any more (actually a little cheaper) than bottled soaps and they don’t require a plastic bottle. Amazon has shampoo bars for as little as $1.34. Dozens of Etsy sellers make natural bar soaps and shampoos for very reasonable. Whole Foods offers a 3/ $6 deal on certain bar soaps. They have zero packaging which means there’s zero waste and zero environmental impact. You have plenty of options here. You can make your own liquid shampoos and such at home in reusable bottles (which is what I do) as well.
6. Women’s Needs
So, all y’all are about to be completely disgusted because the thought of a reusable menstrual cup or pad is just unfathomable to you. However, from someone who uses a menstrual cup, they are a life changer. They are extremely comfortable and a fraction of the cost. I always say that area of a woman is a delicate ecosystem and it’s hard to make sure it maintains homeostasis. Store bought tampons contain toxins and can damage and dry out the lining of the vaginal canal. Menstrual cups are free of chemicals and don’t disrupt your ecosystem. If you don’t want to use a menstrual cup, there are other options. Reusable pads can easily be washed throughout your cycle. I use Diva Cup which costs $28.98 at Walmart. Seems like a lot, but a single cup can last years. It is recommended to change annually, but it is completely up to you and the condition of your menstrual cup. The average woman spends $150 a year on tampons/pads. So, you’re really saving a lot of money!
7. Lotion Bars/ Jars
Same thing as soaps. Just buy a lotion bar instead of a bottle of lotion. If you just don’t like the idea of bars of lotion, then you can always make your own or purchase lotion in reusable containers. You can find sellers on Etsy with lotion bars, or Amazon has some for about $5. Making your own lotion isn’t hard at all. I have a three-ingredient recipe that takes about 10 minutes. It’s a natural switch and a waste-free switch! There is an initial investment for making your own, but it’s still cheaper in the long run.
Razors are a lot like tooth brushes. You change them out every so often and throw the old ones away. Well the objective here is to have a waste free bathroom. So, you can purchase metal razors on Amazon for around $9. Another really good option is to simply invest in an electric razor. It costs more up front, but it will save you in the long run. They make electric razors for basically every area of the body, so you should be able to find one to fit your needs.
9. Toilet Paper
I know what you’re thinking, “she’s about to tell us to use washable toilet paper!” Absolutely not. There’s just somethings meant for one time uses and this is one of those things. HOWEVER, before all the tree huggers start yelling at me, I have a solution to fit most everyone. Bamboo or recycled toilet paper. You can purchase toilet paper made from bamboo or 100% recycled paper. Technically you are still producing waste, but bamboo is much easier to grow than trees and recycled toilet paper doesn’t require new trees be cut down. It’s going to be a little more expensive, but not by much. In fact, sometimes it’s cheaper! A 24-pack of Charmin is about $25 at Walmart, while a 24-pack of Seventh Generation 100% recycled toilet paper is only $17. Plus, Seventh Generation uses recyclable plastic packaging.
10. Cotton Swab
An after-shower favorite for many people, the beloved Q-tip. This is a really easy swap as well. Cotton swabs from the store are often a plastic piece with cotton on the ends. Well, you can purchase paper cotton swabs that are bio-degradable or recycble. A 200-count plastic bundle is about $1.50 at Walmart and the ecofriendly version is only $3 on Amazon. More expensive, but worth saving a seahorse over. They do the same job, but one doesn’t harm the environment.
So, what’s the verdict?
My cost analysis is based of reoccurring purchases. So, the numbers you see are the costs if you were having to go to the store periodicallyto restock your items.
Original total: $55.98
Waste-free total: $36.84
The only catch….to begin with a waste-free bathroom, there is an initial investment. To replace everything listed here for the first time, it will run about $79.96. Probably still not more expensive than what you’re currently paying since most people have brands they prefer. After the one-time investment, you save yourself $19.14 every shopping trip after. So, in 5 months you’ve already earned your initial investment back. If you decide to make your own products like lotion and toothpaste, you’ll save yourself even more.
Waste free living isn’t inconceivable. It’s actually very realistic. It doesn’t cost huge amounts of money, but it does make a huge impact. You can feel good about using your products and know that you’re helping in the bigger picture. We got the planet to the condition it’s in now, so it’s our job to get it back to the condition it was in before
Eco-Friendly Shopping List
- Face Rounds (DIY)
- Menstrual cup
- Toilet paper
- Cotton swab