In Eco-Friendly Bathroom parts one and two we tackled the the easiest and cheapest changes you can make to green up your bathroom including liquid soap swaps, natural deodorant,  toothpaste and DIY skin care products. In the last installment (for now) I’m going to tell you about some of the slightly more difficult changes, and letting you know they are still definitely achievable!

Toothbrushes

Did you know back in the day people chewed on rough sticks to clean their teeth? We’ve definitely changed a lot since then, but not necessarily for the better – Australians throw out a whopping 30 million toothbrushes a year. That’s 1000 tonnes of landfill!

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Every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists (Greenpeace)

Although it’s a bit more expensive, and a bit of a weird mouth feeling at first, bamboo toothbrushes are definitely the way to go here.  The handles are fully biodegradable which means they’re easily composted in about six months. The bristles of most brands are not compostable, so you’ll need to pull them out or chop off the head and recycle them. If bamboo isn’t your thing (or isn’t affordable), make sure you Terracycle your plastic brushes through Colgate’s recycling program.

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Image from Elementum

Hairbrushes

Many hairbrushes are difficult to recycle due to the combination of different types of plastics (or the bristles, pad and handle).  Next time you need a new one, you should consider buying a 100% natural wooden alternative. You can even get vegan ones with vegetable based bristles rather than the traditional boar hair. Or opt for a simple bamboo comb like I have. I had no idea until recently, but wooden combs and brushes are actually really good for your hair!   They help distribute your oils more evenly, can improve scalp health, prevent hair loss, reduce dandruff and more. Who knew?

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Shower Scrubber

If you’re like us then you’ve probably got a variety of those nylon mesh shower puff thingies in your bathroom. These are really great for helping wash, especially if you’ve made the switch to unpackaged bar soap. However, they are not recyclable, and it’s recommended that you ditch them every three weeks. That adds up to a LOT of waste. You can make them last a bit longer by putting them in the washing machine (cold only!), but really the best thing to do is find an alternative such as a biodegradable wooden brush or something made from vegetable fibers. They often last a lot longer and can be composted after use.

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Some alternatives to plastic shower accessories

Periods

I know a lot of you aren’t going to want to hear a lengthy discussion about green periods, so I’ll refer those of you who are interested to my friend Jess’s blog post which goes over all the options.  In summary, disposable period products like sanitary pads are full of plastic, cost you lots of money, aren’t fantastic for your body, and will live in landfill for ages. Consider trying out some alternatives!

Shaving

Disposable razors are the worst kind of unrecyclable. They aren’t used for very long, and even though the plastic is technically recyclable, they can’t go in the recycling bin (without deconstructing them) due to the dangerous razor blades. Some better choices include safety razors, which use blade refills, or razors made from 100% recycled plastics.  You could also try some alternative hair removal methods.

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Toilet Paper

We all need toilet paper, but do we really need it packaged in plastic? Made from brand new tree material? Probably not. There’s a great Australian company called Who Gives A Crap who will deliver 100% recycled, plastic free toilet paper to your door. Half of all proceeds go directly towards building toilet facilities in developing countries. How cool is that?

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What’s not to like?

There you have it! All the things you can start doing today to cut down wastefulness in the bathroom. There are  still a few little things I’ve got on my radar to change sometime in the future, but that’s most of them taken care of.

How do you think I went? Let me know in the comments.