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Creating less waste requires changing habits by Cathy Earle

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 1:48 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

Creating less waste requires changing habits

What’s the best way to cut down waste in your home or business? Target the biggest waste area. For businesses the biggest waste area is going to be specific to the type of business you run, however for the average household the two biggest waste areas are the kitchen and the bathroom.

Cutting a major waste stream from the kitchen can often be quickly done by simply composting food scraps. Bathroom waste however is a whole different story and often means a major change of habits in order to turn your high waste bathroom into a zero waste, plastic free zone.

It may come as a surprise to many, but bathrooms are one of the biggest waste producing areas in our homes. It’s also fairly likely the contents of the bathroom garbage bin goes straight to landfill. Sorting out bathroom recycling from bathroom waste, typically not something people give much thought to.

Let’s take a look at a few of these.

The most obvious is the shampoo and conditioner. This is where changing habits comes into play. We have become so “conditioned” to using liquid shampoo and conditioner that it’s seen as a foreign concept to use a shampoo bar instead. I’ll admit it does take some getting used to rubbing a bar of soap on your head. But after a few times, and using the right brand you’ll pick up a new habit in no time!

Liquid soap for washing hands or for washing the body has become extremely popular. The simple bar of soap seems to have been replaced. If you’re still using soap, well done! Does that soap also come packaged in a layer of plastic? If so it’s time to dump that brand and find a plastic free alternative. And don’t forget to check for Palm Oil or RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified brands.

The next biggest offender in the bathroom is the plastic toothbrush and dental floss. Plastic brushes, once worn out are headed straight for landfill.  A bamboo brush on the other hand will break down naturally when placed in your garden. It’s perfect to use as a vegetable or herb marker. Just remember to remove the nylon bristles first.

It’s not only the brush that’s an issue when it comes to waste. That tube of toothpaste is also made of plastic. Although it is possible to recycle toothpaste tubes, it requires sending them off for recycling, and I’m going to wager a guess that 99% of people are not recycling their toothpaste tubes. What’s the alternative? Many prefer to make their own toothpaste, there are plenty of great recipes to be found online. However, purchasing toothpaste in a glass jar is becoming more popular, but it’s definitely difficult to source in Australia. EORTH are now stocking Canadian brand Nelson Naturals, a completely plastic free product. Once again this process requires a change in habits. You’re no longer pushing paste from a tube, but rather dipping the brush into a jar.

A new practice I’ve been noticing lately is the use of small plastic, one time dental floss picks. And where I’ve been noticing them most is on my daily beach walks. Seems like an odd place to find them, but sadly they are commonly found in carparks, and just generally tossed around the street. It’s a terrible practice that needs to end. Unfortunately almost all dental floss on the market is made of nylon, as well the packaging is also made of you guessed it . . . plastic. There are however compostable floss options on the market that are packaged plastic free. A much better alternative.

There are so many other common bathroom items that I haven’t discussed here. I’m sure once you take a look around your bathroom you’ll become aware of just how much single use plastic we use on a day-to-day basis. Think deodorant, facial cleansers, shaving cream, band-aids, cotton wool buds.

There are plastic free alternatives for all these products. We need to start looking for those alternatives and removing plastic products one-by-one from our household (and business) purchases. By doing so you’ll notice a dramatic decrease in your waste.

Take a moment to view your bathroom products — what’s the first thing you can replace to start living a more plastic free life?


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