In my previous post about recycling I talked about how I’m trying to do more to live sustainably and live a low waste lifestyle this year. I’ve decided to make some changes around the house room by room and write about it on my blog as an incentive to keep motivated. My first focus is the bathroom.
Chemicals, plastic and wastefulness are rife in there. There are a lot of simple things we can do to make it better though. Here are some quick, easy and cheap things that I’ve been doing to get started.
Shampoo has a load of nasty chemicals in it that can be bad for both you and the environment. Since I’m becoming a bit of a traveler, and have been known to bucket shower at a well for three months, I needed to ditch the old pantene. On top of cruelty and chemicals, those plastic bottles can’t go into your regular recycling unless you’ve cleaned them out, and often end up in landfill (they can be terracylced though!). I am a total Lush shampoo bar convert now. I didn’t believe it would work on my ridiculously thick hair but it has! They come unpackaged, use natural ingredients, and last up to six months. It’s worth noting that Lush is not perfect on the chemical front, but is better than most commercial brands.
For the same reasons as shampoo, I’ve cut out conditioner. Instead, I’ve been using a DIY apple cider vinegar mix which makes me feel like a complete hippy. Just get a reusable bottle, put about ¼ unfiltered apple cider vinegar in and fill the rest up with water. You can also chuck some essential oils in there if you like. Pour a bit into your roots, rub it in and leave it for a few minutes while you do some other washing. Then rinse it out.
Did you know it takes 5 times more energy to produce liquid soap than bars, and 20 times more energy to package them? I find that insane. They’re also a lot more expensive and harder to travel with. Get yourself a bar from a eco-friendly brand instead. If you don’t want to give up liquid soap, try Dr Bronner’s, a natural, ‘all-in-one’ soap that can be used for just about anything. Although it comes in a plastic bottle, it’s super concentrated and will last you ages. Next time I will probably buy it in bulk to reduce plastic waste.
I’ve also seen some people reconstituting bar soap at home which looks like a sure fire way to ruin some kitchen utensils but intriguing nevertheless.
I love dry shampoo, but it’s expensive, comes in a can and leaves my brown hair with weird splotchy bits. Luckily, it’s the easiest thing ever to make at home. Get a container, put some kind of fine powder in it (I used cornflour) and brush some through your hair. If you have brown hair you can adjust the colour using cocoa powder and/or cinnamon.
Deodorant is a pretty big offender when it comes to plastic waste. There’s the outer container, the bit that holds the stuff, the little cap thingy etc. They are also very rarely recycled. There’s 2 options here. One, actually wash out the parts of the container and put it in your recycling. Two, have a go at making a chemical free version at home. This is something that I was extremely skeptical about, but has turned out to be a revelation. Here’s the recipe I’ve used, adapted from here:
1 Tsp Baking Soda
4 Tbs Coconut Oil
3 Tbs Cornflour
2 Tsp Eucalyptus oil (or 20-30 drops of essential oil)
3 Tsp paraffin wax
Melt the coconut oil and paraffin wax together over a bowl of boiling water. Mix in the baking soda, cornflour and eucalyptus oil. Pour into a glass jar or old deodorant container. Keep it in a cool place, or the fridge, as it’s softer than traditional deodorant. Next time I make it I might experiment with more wax. This has worked fantastically for me, but I’ve read that depending on your skin chemistry natural deodorants can be a bit hit or miss, so you check out some alternatives here.
That’s it for this post, I hope I’ve inspired some of you to give these a go!
Stay tuned for part two where I’ll be reporting back on what other bathroom related changes I’m making. In the meantime if you have any ideas or suggestions for me please let me know in the comments 🙂