My journey towards a plastic free bathroom   


Amelia Fairgrieve 

July 09, 2024

Since working at Valpak, I have learnt so much about sustainable living. There are some areas of my life where I am already eco-savvy; however, I still encounter some major challenges when it comes to environmentalism. Plastic packaging is everywhere and sometimes avoiding it feels like an impossible mountain to climb. So, I thought why not start small?

My goal over the past few months has been to cut down the amount of plastic I use in the bathroom, through simple changes. I thought I’d share some of my successes, as well as the learning curves I encountered to hopefully inspire others to embark on small challenges like this. If we all try and make small changes the impact would be huge!

Steps I took to cut down on plastic use

The first area I wanted to tackle was toiletries and cosmetics. So many plastic bottles had found a home in my shower, and I wanted this to change. The first switch I made was to a refillable deodorant because refillable products was a circular concept I really wanted to try out. I have to say this is the change I can most strongly recommend because the quality is fantastic! I don’t miss aerosols and their harsh chemicals. I also switched to bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner which I found to be beneficial in many ways. Using bars of soap was cheaper, the shampoo bars created great lather, and this felt like a nice form of self-care. Finally, I said goodbye to disposable razors and their copious packaging! Switching to something rechargeable made a lot of sense and I’ve found it to be much kinder to my skin.

What did and didn't work for me when trying to reduce bathroom plastic 

One thing I noticed when shopping for sustainable toiletries was it took me back to the high street because it was more discerning. Online shopping would have created more packaging, which was counter intuitive to my goals, plus it was also much easier to find sustainable products in-person. I was interacting with retail staff more, who had some fantastic insights and I found myself also making recommendations to other shoppers. Trying new products can feel intimidating, so these conversations can be so helpful and it’s great to feel part of a greater environmental discussion.

However, I must admit that the main barrier to making these changes for me was convenience. When you run out of toiletries it can feel like a very immediate problem and I didn’t always have time to go to the shops. I also found when packing a bag for travelling, items like bars of soap felt inconvenient because I had to find suitable containers and resist the urge to use disposable plastic bags. My main advice to anyone who wants to switch to soap bars is to plan ahead and try to keep any old cosmetics tubs which can come in handy for storing these items.

My main challenge while trying to reduce my bathroom plastic was conditioner. My hair is curly and craves moisture. I found conditioner bars didn’t cut it for me. Of course, the alternative was refillable bottles; however, I struggled to find high street shops which stocked them. I settled for trade in pots but found these to be somewhat expensive given how much I’d get through. I must admit I ended up switching back to an old favourite brand because the tubs can be used for a multitude of purposes (currently I’m using them as soap boxes, dish sponge caddys and Tupperware containers).

I think the lesson here is you can work smarter not harder towards achieving your sustainability goals, plus friendly for the planet shouldn’t mean unfriendly for your bank account.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my journey to a plastic free bathroom! Although the challenge isn’t over, I hope this gives you some ideas and that my personal endeavours show retailers and brands that consumers are keen to explore and purchase sustainable options.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog represent those of the author, Amelia Fairgrieve, and are not those of recycle-more, Valpak Limited or any other organisation.