Sustainable Living: The Bathroom
Columns / November 25, 2016
How to green your bathroom routine
From using ethically sourced ingredients to picking out bathroom decor, there’s always a way to be a little friendlier to the environment in your life. As with any switch to a new product or routine, work within your means and make choices that reflect your goals as an individual. Here are a few examples of how you can think more sustainably about your bathroom.
Swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one instead. It might feel a little weird at first and you might find yourself missing that bumpy tongue scrubber opposite the bristles, but it’s a simple change that will drastically reduce your impact on the earth over time.
Buying toothpaste is a little more challenging to source out sustainably. While there are a ton of good companies using sustainable ingredients, their toothpaste is often still packaged in plastic tubes. Aluminum tubing is available in some cases, but often companies opt for a plastic tube due to consumer complaints that the aluminum is too tough for children and seniors to use, or complaints of the tube splitting at the crease.
Tooth powders or tabs can often be found in tin or glass jars. Toothpaste in this form is also among the simplest to DIY. If you’ve already delved into the world of DIY body products, you likely already have a few of the necessary items on hand.
Tampons and pads—are they a necessary evil? Buying organic cotton pads are one of the simplest ways to reduce your impact. However, these products are still single-use and produce a ton of waste.
Reusable cloth pads are the next step up in the “green menstruation” chain. Since they are reusable, you’ll produce much less waste using this type of product. Companies such as Lunapads and GladRags sell a variety of reusable products for all flow levels and accessories to keep your supplies fresh and long-lasting.
Menstrual cups—such as The DivaCup—are another common method for a sustainable approach to menstruation. The most important thing to remember when considering switching your menstrual regime is to ultimately find the product that works best for you.
In the Shower
Installing a low-flow shower head is a great way to get your water consumption under control, especially if you pay for your own utilities. If you’re renting and unsure of what kind of shower head you have, consider checking with your landlord and suggesting a low-flow installation.
I’ve recently put up a timer with a suction cup inside my shower to make sure I’m not spending too much extra time with the water running. I know how long the essentials of showering take me, and I make sure I’m not going over that time frame during my time in the shower. If a timer seems too rigid, pick a song or two to play and when those songs are over, so is your shower.
To really keep your bathroom green, consider buying a bamboo, linen, or hemp shower curtain instead of the plastic liners and curtains available in most supermarkets.