Sustainability is extremely glamorous for certain people. Those Amazon glass jars that our sustainable influencers are marketing, look so appealing (steer clear of shopping on Amazon, please!). There is nothing wrong in things that look pretty, minimal and clean but being mindful of our consumption as per our needs is the bigger challenge. So, Sustainable Bathroom, huh? Sounds not so glam right? Truth be told, our bathrooms are that neglected corner in the house that we do not like paying attention to. We often fail to notice expired creams and empty bottles lying around in some shelf or an old towel losing its existence in there (relatable? I know). To think about it, our bathrooms are probably the first few rooms that we enter into once we wake up. It is where we must ideally maintain the highest hygiene standard besides the kitchen. A sustainable bathroom is a real determinant of our actions!
So, were bathrooms always supposed to be like this or were they ever sustainable in the past? Formerly, chew sticks and cattle bone handled toothbrushes were in use. (not so vegan, eh?) Perfumes were associated with status and used to come in glass bottles. There was no concept of showers or shower gels, only soap bars and powdered shampoos were used. More or less, people, in particular, did not create much waste in the past but times have changed and we want quick and functional solutions. However, we live in a time where it is the need of the hour to think and work towards a sustainable future and starting that change from our bathrooms might seem like a challenge but honestly, it is a breeze and it is cheap!. Let's look at a few swaps which are definitely worth the effort.
Saying Bye-Bye to single-use bottles and welcoming reusable ones
Our bathrooms are filled with several bottles of shampoos, conditioners, serums, lotions etc. Every year tonnes of such bottles end up in landfills and contribute to plastic pollution. We can switch to steel refillable / reusable containers and bottles which might be priced more than the single-use bottles but refill packs bring down the average cost significantly over a period of time! This sustainable swap not only would help in producing less plastic waste but will also be economical and elegant. FYI, you can also upcycle your existing single use bottles and make them suitable for the long run by buying refill packs. (super cheap!)
Swapping shower gels/ liquid soaps with soap bars
Shower gels bottles are piling up in bathrooms and taking over as a prime household choice. Although, studies have shown that from cradle to gate, liquid soaps have led to more environmental degradation than soap bars. Liquid soaps come in plastic bottles whereas most soap bars are packaged in recyclable paper or cardboard which means that every liquid soap bottle adds 200 more years of plastic waste. In fact, liquid soap uses around 5 times more energy than soap bars from cradle-to-gate, and almost 20 times more energy in the packaging process - emphasizing the fact that this swap would also be a step towards energy conservation. Thus, shifting from shower gels to soap bars might not be a big change but it is an eco-friendly change. Soap bars cost way less than shower gels and are the perfect savings tool.
Choose reusable cloth pads! !
We speak about how the beauty, fashion and food industries create a massive amount of plastic waste but we easily avoid looking at the menstrual waste that is filling up the landfills.
People who menstruate, on an average, menstruate at least 450 times in their lifetime. A single menstruating person is responsible for at least 9000 disposable sanitary napkins or 18000 tampons in their lifetime. FYI, disposable sanitary napkins and tampons contain plastic and are packaged in plastic that takes 500 years to decompose. An eco-friendly alternative to them is menstrual cups and cloth pads. Menstrual cups made of medical-grade silicone, rubber & latex are reusable, durable and can last from 6 months to 10 years. On the other hand, cloth pads are washable, reusable and comfortable. Cloth pads are leak proof as well. One basic pack of cloth pads cost you 1200 INR with about 8 cloth pads. You can use these pads for as long as they last, usually five years.
Let us do the math, on an average person menstruates for about 40 years. The entire menstruating expense comes down to buying reusable cloth pads 8 times in an entire lifetime. Easy on the pocket and the environment, right? Encourage this shift now!
No more plastic toothbrushes, only bamboo toothbrushes!