Disposing of cr*p in the bathroom
You’ve used the last square of toilet paper and the inner cardboard roll is in your hand. If you’re under the age of nine, you might consider turning it into a telescope, or a microphone, or a tunnel for a Hotwheels car. We’ve got a lot of circular uses for a toilet paper rolls in my house that are likely not available to you.
I get it. The extra step of walking to the kitchen, roll in hand, is a pain and ‘just this once’ you’ll put it in the standard bathroom bin. The same fate that awaits the recyclable shampoo and conditioner bottles, or the box or bottle your body soap came in, alongside the lotion bottle. ‘Just this once’ adds up pretty fast.
If you need some additional motivation to tackle the plastic waste problem, look at photographs of sea life struggling to survive in the volumes of plastic trash that have ended up in our oceans. Let’s just say, my Instagram feed can be an emotional roller coaster at times. Have you heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, yet? Gross. There are a few simple things we can to reduce waste in the bathroom (pun intended).
1. Reduce the amount of waste going into the bathroom to begin with. A lot more items come in bar form than I previously imagined: shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, deodorant, and face wash, to name a few. Less packaging means less waste and less embodied energy going into making packaging to begin with. You have a lot of brand options. Personally, I love Lush shampoo and conditioner bars because I can refill their reusable metal storage containers, eliminating single use packaging all together. Their shampoo is pretty kind to my hair as well.
I was recently introduced to the founder of Poa Poa, and they tackle waste by making the bottles themselves smaller. They don’t use unnecessary water as fillers to make the volume of their products appear larger (while not actually providing you with any more soap). They are additionally focused on natural ingredients, and proper wages and working conditions for those making their products.
2. Put a second bin in your bathroom. This will be your dedicated bathroom recycling bin. The BBC wrote an article confirming that the average Briton recycles in the kitchen, but is unlikely to do so in the bathroom. I’ve heard people say, recycling is a terrific place to start but a terrible place to end. Let’s at least get started!
3. Recycle a wider range of items. If you’re a particularly keen recycler, there are a few items in the bathroom that need special treatment and may require additional effort to properly dispose of. Local municipal waste recycling shemes can be somewhat limited in scope, so L’Occitane, Colgate, Acuvue, Garnier, and Weleda have partnered with Terracycle to provide free recycling of their packaging at designated locations. If you can’t be bothered to go to the designated drop off points, you can purchase a recycling box directly from Terracycle, specifically for bathroom waste, or for a wider range of items of your choosing.
Resources for curious minds
Should you have two bins in your bathroom? - BBC
Why plastic recycling is so confusing - BBC
Brits Recycle in the Kitchen But Not In The Bathroom, Plus Other Recycling Home Truths - Huffington Post
Plastic Free Ear Buds and other Eco-Friendly Beauty Swaps - EcoAge