Depending on how long your hair is and how many times you bathe, and how liberally you use your toiletries, you could go through as much as one bottle of shampoo every couple of weeks. That adds up to a lot of empty bottles, tubes, and boxes. Luckily there is a wide variety of toiletry and bathroom products available that can help make your bathroom more environmentally friendly, and lots of easy ways to ensure these items have a lesser impact on the environment.
Refill When You Can (Or Bulk Up):
Invest in some nice pump bottles for your hand soap, and use refills where available. For other items like shampoos, conditioners, and body washes, consider buying family-size items or — if space in the shower stall is an issue — refillables that can replenish the smaller bottles regularly. Not only will this save you money, but you'll also cut down on wasteful plastic packaging associated with smaller, convenience-sized versions. Look for larger-sized bottles at warehouse clubs or beauty-supply stores, or seek out natural foods stores or food co-ops, which might even have additional bulk toiletries such as shampoos, conditioners, and liquid soaps, that you can dispense into containers you bring yourself.
Seek Earth-Friendlier Cleaners:
Bathrooms need tough cleaners to take care of things like mildew, soap scum, and rust stains (and more), but you can turn to common kitchen ingredients to avoid potentially harsh chemicals — try scrubbing with baking soda or vinegar
Buy Recycled (or Reduced):
You can cut down on packaging waste by seeking out more-efficiently made containers. Containers that take up less room, are made with recycled materials, or use less plastic can all make a big difference; Suave eliminated the use of almost 150 tons of plastic per year by reducing their packaging weight by 17%
. You could also skip the packaging waste altogether by shopping at stores that sell solid shampoos and unwrapped soaps, like Lush Cosmetics
. And wait! The products themselves could be recycled too: If every household in the U.S. replaced a roll of virgin-fiber toilet paper with a 100 percent recycled roll, we could save more than 423,000 trees
. Recycled bathroom paper products are not difficult to find; even mainstream supermarkets and drugstores typically carry at least one offering, sometimes even under their own brand, and the difference in cost is typically very small.
Recycle And Reuse:
You can further minimize waste by using sponges and microfiber cleaning cloths to clean the bathroom, and your towels will last longer and can go longer between washing if you spread them out on the towel rack or drape them over the shower curtain rod so they can dry properly. Finally, don't forget that most shampoo, lotion, and body wash bottles are recyclable. Check with your local recycling program to see if they're accepted – toiletries are usually made of #2 plastic, although some are #3 or #4. Check Earth911
to see what’s accepted in your area, and to double check that the caps can also be recycled.