The new year is often a good time for a spring clean, but why not extend your clear out beyond the wardrobe and take a look at other changes you could make at home to lessen your environmental footprint?
Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, buying foods with less plastic packaging and recycling more in the kitchen – so what swaps can we make in the bathroom?
Toiletries, cleaning products and toilet paper – these products all rack up to a pretty hefty environmental cost. Instead of repurchasing all of those shower gels, shampoos, toothbrushes and deodorants when they run out, there are a number of easy changes you could make.
[Read More: 10 resolutions to help the planet in 2019]
Opt For Shampoo And Conditioner Bars
Shampoo and conditioner bars have become a bit of a thing. HuffPost UK recently tested one of the best-selling versions sold by Lush, and while we found they were pricey – at £15 for the two – our editor’s hair felt the same as it typically did with regular shampoo and conditioner.
There are loads of shampoo and conditioner bars sold online and in high street shops – Boots and Superdrug stock 10 between them, starting at around £5.99. The bars are not only plastic-free, but can last longer than their liquid equivalents, having enough lather for around 80 washes.
If you can’t quite part with liquid shampoo and conditioner, it might be worth buying the largest one you can find to cut back on plastic.
Buy A Bamboo Toothbrush And Powder Toothpaste
You should change your plastic toothbrush every two to three months, which adds up to a lot of single-use plastic waste. This often ends up in landfill because these items contain a complex mix of materials that makes them far harder to recycle, meaning many local councils won’t process them.
Opt for a bamboo toothbrush instead – they’re available at many high street shops and online, can help to cut your plastic footprint.
Ditching traditional tubed toothpaste for an alternative can also make a dent, such as solid toothpastes, toothpaste tabs, or powdered toothpastes instead.
[Read More: Why is there plastic in my tampons?]
Opt For More Environmentally-Friendly Loo Roll
The UK cleans through a lot of toilet roll – millions of the them every year. Switching your regular stuff for a brand made with recycled paper or bamboo fibres could make a difference to your own impact on the environment.
Who Gives A Crap sells rolls made with recycled materials and, even better, the company donates 50% of its profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
Hark Back To The Good Old Days With Bar Soap
According to recent data from Kantar Worldpanel, shoppers are already ditching plastic liquid soaps in favour of the traditional bar, with sales in the past year increasing 3%.
Buy soap bars at the sink for hand washing or naked shower gels (which are basically soaps dressed up with a few more moisturising ingredients).
While bars might bring back memories of strong smelling coal tar soaps and stinging eyes, soaps are a lot more fancy these days – check out Molton Brown and L’Occitane.
Try Good Old Fashioned Lemon And Vinegar
For the bug-conscious among us this may be a bit of a tricky one to swap out, but cleaning products also contribute to plastic waste and can contain lots of chemicals.
Distilled white wine vinegar can be used to remove limescale on taps and clean windows – if you buy it in a glass bottle it’ll last for ages, as well as being more environmentally friendly than a chemical-laden spray. Lemon juice is good for getting rid of stains around the home.
And finally, it’s worth ditching those cleaning wipes – they can’t be recycled and clog up drains, turning into giant fatbergs in sewers. Nice.