Step one on my zero waste journey was to decide where I wanted to begin. It’s very easy to get caught up in the idea of making everything in your life sustainable and end up struggling to keep it up. I’m a pretty keen cook but don’t currently have the funds or means of getting hold of bulk organic produce, so the kitchen seemed a bit of a reach but I had been doing my research and had seen a lot of zero waste bathroom products that seemed super easy to switch out for. So that’s where I began.
My first purchase was way back in September when I decided to switch to a bamboo toothbrush. This is by far the easiest swap to make in the bathroom because you won’t even notice it! You don’t have to change your routine or worry about ingredients and they’re so easy to get a hold of. You can get them online from specialist stores or even just on Amazon, there are subscription services that will send you a new one whenever you need it and even some high street stores are starting to stock them. A small change that will make a big difference by cutting down on the 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes that are sent to landfill each year worldwide.
By having a selection of zero waste products stored away, I can be ready for when my plastics run out. That way I won’t have to rush out and buy more because I can’t find zero waste alternatives there and then!
Since making my first positive step towards change, I have been slowly building a collection of sustainable bathroom products from anywhere I could find them. As soon as I have a little extra spending money I add to my collection slowly but surely. It’s important to remember that a zero waste lifestyle isn’t something that happens over night. If you have a lot of bath and beauty products in plastic then of course use them before you start switching out as it is more wasteful to try getting everything new than it is to use up what you have! I for one have a large amount of shower gels, creams and hair products waiting to be used before I start digging into my zero waste selection. I also received quite a few toiletries for Christmas from people that didn’t know that I was switching to zero waste which is fine, I can still use them and continue to hunt for more sustainable products as I go along ready to use them once my plastics run out.
I get most of my zero waste goods online, I have found a lot of great UK based retailers stocking sustainable products at good prices. It’s often good to look out for starter packs or something similar which have most of the basics that you need to get you on the right path. Now is a good time to look for these packs on sale as many were sold as gift packs for Christmas! If you’re feeling a little stuck, my online retailer recommendations for getting started are Boobalou, Reef and Leaf, and Zero Waste Shop but have a search yourself and see what you can find. I also recommend checking out Ebay and Etsy for some local retailers of sustainable, handmade and second hand products. It’s also very possible to find zero waste bathroom goods on the high street. You don’t need to go to a specialist retailer to find cotton wash cloths, natural sponges or bar soap and at affordable prices too. It’s a little harder to come across plastic free shampoos and toothpastes but that doesn’t make it impossible. Lush has an excellent selection of shampoo and conditioner bars, moisturiser bars, naked deodorants and even packaging free makeup. There’s also a good chance that somewhere in your local area does refills or sells packaging free products, get on some local forums or check out social media to see what’s available near you!
Currently I have managed to get rid of my plastic toothbrush, and I use a muslin and reusable makeup pads instead of throw away makeup wipes, I’m also down to my last tube of toothpaste and the very end of my moisturiser so I’ll be trying out some new products from my collection soon. My intention is to keep this blog updated with reviews of new products that I try to see how successful they are in comparison to what I was using before. My biggest concern is haircare as I currently have to use rather specific products for my afro hair so it may take a little while to find some zero waste alternatives that work for me. It may not be possible to make 100% of the changes that I want to but we should never let perfect get in the way of being good, and that’s just the reality of zero waste!