Being zero waste has become trendy but for many reasons we all should adjust some simple things in our lives, learn a bit more on why and most of all to change at least what we really can, instead of focusing that it’s too much and to hard and to expensive!
In fact, here’s 12 simple swaps and a comparation for bathroom essentials with it’s “plastic enemy”. If you don’t want to change because you believe it won’t make a difference, then make it for your wallet long-term as some swaps are actually cheaper!
Razors are made of plastic, and we all know this is the villain of all times, especially when compared to it’s rival – a safety razor!
2 billion razors are tossed EVERY YEAR with at least in Portugal having the average price of 1,93€ for 5 units, and for those who don’t know, each should be disposed after 1 week of use in most cases.
Now let’s check its rival – a safety razor
Highly recyclable, highly durable (easily lasting 10 years or more in made of stainless steel) and you can find at a minimum of 10€ with a cost of 0,89€ per 10 units!
So basically, for a man one blade can last 3-4 up to 7-8 shaves, while for women it may last a bit longer as the hair is not as thick, though might shave more often.
Meaning if a man shaves twice a week (1 to 2 blades per month) he will use between 12 and 24 blades per year = 1,07€ to 2,14€.
Shaving with a safety razor is CHEAPER and more SUSTAINABLE than plastic disposables.
It doesn’t seem to be so hard to be zero-waste when it comes to razors, right?
Here’s a simple complex comparation between Colgate brand (not sustainable, contributes to world slavery and pollution and has harsh ingredients, due it’s very popular) which costs an average 1,48€, DIY toothpaste* , lush toothpaste tabs 10,99€ and Georganic glass toothpaste 7,99€.
Assuming all will last an average of 30 days for 1 person for example, we can easily spot that doing your own will not only cost you less, be healthier but also much more sustainable.
Of course, here the tabs and glass are expensive, but making your own is quite cheaper, so why not?
– 1tsp xylitol (used by Finish folk to brush teeth and known to kill bacteria which cause cavities and sugar susbtitute);
– 1 tsp bicarbonate (known for its whitener effect though abrasive if excessive;
– 10 drops tea tree oil (powderful antibacterial), cinnamon or spearmint;
– 4-6 tbsp of coconut oil (antibacterial and needed for oil dilution);
PRICES: 10,00€ per xylitol kilo, 0,99€ bicarbonate sacket, 4,99€ essential oil of choice and 1 glass of coconut oil from Lidl 1,99€ (You can make SO MUCH toothpaste from all these ingredients while keeping your teeth clean and preventing bacteria accumulation.
See more about xylitol here, the effectiveness of essential oils here and here why fluoride is actually not good for your teeth (unless its natural form!).
In the USA alone 1 billion of toothbrushes are tossed away EVERY YEAR! Imagine the number for all countries together…
Each toothbrush should be substituted when the bristles are no longer “together”, which is usually an average of 3-4 months. Meaning 4 units per year and per person = 28 000 000 000 PER YEAR!
All of them made of plastic and almost all of them NEVER RECYCLED. THIS is a huge problem but you can do something about it and be a bit more zero waste with a simple swap.
Each toothbrush has an average price of 0,69€ (Portugal price) for the cheapest compared to a fully biodegradable toothbrush 6,29€ which will compost on earth with no dangerous toxins and with that should be replaced every 2 months or so.
So, even though a plastic toothpaste set for a year would cost 2,76€ compared to 26,16€ (even you hold on for 3 months instead of 2) not everybody buys the cheapest as its not biodegradable, usually not recycled and will be on earth even after your kids die!
It is a reality that this is one case where it’s quite expensive, but you also have a normal bamboo with nylon bristles for 3,99€ which will last the 3 months like any plastic one.
Each conventional floss has a price of 0,85€ (PT price) and its biodegradable rival is 5,55€ with a glass package (each recharge of 7,82€).
Their lifetime depends on each individual and its use! Though glass is reusable, sustainable and comes with a biodegradable floss while the other often comes in plastic and its highly inflammable, releasing toxic gases.
The price difference is HUGE but what if there was a BETTER solution? Ever heard about interdental brushes? These little guys have a better cleaning performance and might appear soon in it’s almost fully biodegradable version! Here’s one company testing and creating them (in the end of the page).
These are SO EASY to make and SO CHEAP that its insane how you still buy it! Though, if you STILL prefer to be a consumerist… here’s some better alternatives to common mouthwash with an average price of 6-8,99€ with many alternatives in glass with prices ranges of 10-16€ either as tabs or liquid.
Mouthwashing using diluted tea tree oil, xylitol or coconut oil is cheap and effective!
A good hair brush can often cost 2-3€ so here’s no doubt it could be the easiest zero waste swap. A biodegradable bamboo brush can cost around 4,84€.
Bars or bulk store that carries liquid shampoo or make your own are my best solutions for you! Each liquid shampoo can cost around 3,99€ or more, while a simple bar can cost much less since it lasts longer.
Lush carries different types of shampoo bar. Dry shampoo is also a cheaper solution, here’s a recipe.
Hair dye and hair style
Henna dyes are sustainable, non-toxic and still last a good amount of time. Each box of conventional dye costs between 3,50€ to 6€ for 1 time use while henna costs 2-3€.
Sweet almond oil for dry ends from Lidl costs less than any expensive fancy brands with the same oil.
Flaxseed gel DIY for curly hair by Anna at Hero to 0 is a much economical and sustainable alternative than a 3,99€ bottle of curly hair gel.
Bamboo ear cotton picks cost between 0,50€ to 1,50€ compared to 1,50€ for a bamboo version or you can swap to a much zero waste alternative such as a metal/bamboo ear spoon costing between 4,05€ in bamboo (though you can find cheaper like 1-2€) and 2€ for a metal one. Oh! Did you know these are REUSABLE?! You won’t need to buy more than once!
We don’t necessarily need 10 types of creams and a load of samples from products we will never buy or use! The worst mistakes are to accept EVERY SINGLE SAMPLE. You’ll end up with too much “trash” in your house and for sure it won’t help the environment.
Make your own body care products and make sure you buy the ingredients at a bulk store or AT LEAST in a paper or glass container. If you have no time or patience to make it yourself, then buy from a local shop or work-at-home mom like myself or even on etsy!
When scrubbing your body it’s a good idea to make your own tawashi (also perfect to clean dishes), these are made from old socks but if you prefer you can grow a loofah (1-4€) plant and have YOUR OWN natural sponge at home.
Most deodorants contain harsh ingredients toxic for your body and also for the environment, they can cause hormone imbalance, eczema and more.
A common deodorant has a price around 3-6€ which is near the price for an alumen stone deodorant or a natural deodorant in glass without toxins.
Here’s a complete guide for sunscreen. You might be surprised for how simple and cheap some products are. These are also much healthier, let your body absorb vitamin D and still protect your skin.
What about Toilet paper?!
Here comes the yeck feeling! Use cloth wipes, check my post about them, I talk about why, how to disinfect them and also all the benefits. Link here.
There are NO EXCUSES for not change at least some things. WE NEED TO TAKE ACTIONS NOW or our kids and grand kids might not live for long ):