Spring has officially sprung! This is the perfect time of year to reset, recharge and declutter. It’s also a great opportunity to set some more sustainable habits.
With household rubbish increasing by 22% during lockdown in 2020, there’s no better place to master recycling than in your home.
We caught up with Karen Saunders, the Founder of Ecostainable, an eco-friendly store based in Lismore, Victoria. Karen shares her top tips to making a smart start to your Spring, by reducing waste in your bathroom. You can also visit her online store, dedicated to sustainable products.
- Recycle your razor
Razors may not seem like a big waste stream, but that applies to most items in your bathroom. All those little things add up to create a huge amount of waste. In the U.S. it’s estimated that 2 billion disposable razors go to landfill each year.
This waste can be avoided! You can recycle any brand of disposable razor through TerraCycle and Gillette’s Razor Recycling Program, available to anyone in Australia or New Zealand.
And of course traditional safety razors can be used over and over again. Keep a stash of blades handy and when they’re blunt, store them in a ‘razor bank’ or empty mint tin ready to take to the metal recycler near you.
- Start a sustainable beauty routine
Beauty products are often made from complex materials such as glass, plastic, pumps and metal springs, which means that they can’t be recycled in your kerbside bin.
There are so many ways you can cut back on waste or recycle your favourite beauty products. For instance, you can recycle any of your beauty empties with TerraCycle, by dropping used products to any MECCA store in Australia or New Zealand, or any David Jones or Priceline store thanks to Maybelline. If you don’t live close to a store, TerraCycle partners with countless brands that allow you to ship back your beauty empties for free to be recycled.
By moving to reusable products you can dramatically reduce waste. We love the reusable face cleaning pads from the EverEco range – they even come with their own bag for washing! The black option is great if you wear a lot of mascara, as the pads can become stained over a long period of time.
- Eco hair care!
A good hair day unfortunately can come at a cost to our planet, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.
You can swap out your hairbrush for a BASS hairbrush or comb made from Bamboo and plantation rubber. They come in loads of sizes, and are available for all different hair types and lengths. There’s also the EcoBrush range made from recycled plastic, which is GREAT for kids and detangling.
You can recycle any brand of hair care products for free through TerraCycle’s Schwarzkopf Cares program. Or you can take a bigger step towards zero waste, by using shampoo and conditioner bars. We love The Australian Natural Soap Company or Shampoo with A Purpose, which is made in Melbourne and has an option for all skin and hair types.
- Clean teeth, healthy planet
Toothpaste tubes, floss and toothbrushes are all typically not accepted in your kerbside recycling. Over a lifetime we’ll go through countless toothbrushes, which will live on for hundreds of years in landfill.
Luckily, there are lots of steps you can take to combat this waste. TerraCycle’s recycling program with Colgate accepts any brand of toothpaste tubes and caps, manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads, toothbrush and toothpaste tube plastic packaging and floss containers.
You can also try switching to compostable options. For instance, bamboo or cornstarch handled toothbrushes are both compostable at their end of life. Don’t forget to cut the head off before composting. (They need to be disposed of in your garbage because the fine bristles will quickly become microplastics.)
- Eco-friendly Deodorant
We really love Woo Hoo – it’s an Aussie brand that packages natural deodorants in compostable tubes and reusable and recyclable tins. The range has different fragrances and strengths catering for all bodies, plus Bicarb-free options for sensitive pits.
- Keep clean, AND save the planet
You can easily swap out your plastic body scrubber for a Loofah. A loofah is a great skin cleansing and exfoliating option. It’s made from the fruit of the luffa plant, which is 100% natural and biodegradable.
Body brushes are also great for reaching and scrubbing hard to reach areas like the back, and are also ideal for exfoliating and creating blood flow under the skin. Most body brushes can be used wet and dry, and depending upon the bristle type, can be compostable.
- Switch to recycled toilet paper and tissues
Who Gives a Crap is made from 100% recycled office paper. This Australian start-up began as a social enterprise, providing clean water and sanitation facilities to impoverished communities across the globe. Although the product is not made in Australia, it eliminates virgin paper use and contributes to the circular economy as well as supporting water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in third world countries.
- Clean your bathroom with eco-friendly products
We sometimes forget that we can make a big difference to the planet by choosing different cleaning products. A lot of cleaning products can contain harmful chemicals and also come in non-recyclable packaging.
Switch your toilet brush for an Eco max toilet brush, which uses coconut fibres for the brush head and has a wooden handle that can be composted at the end of its life. The Full Circle toilet brush has a replaceable head and comes with its own matching brush holder.
When cleaning your bathroom mirror, use good quality glass and mirror cleaner. Choose a concentrated liquid – without harsh chemicals – so you use fewer containers and spray heads (which aren’t kerb side recyclable). We’d recommend Tri Nature’s Hyaline Glass and Mirror concentrate. You can also clean your bathroom with Tri Nature’s Excel. You really only need one product to clean all surfaces – it’s antibacterial so won’t need to follow up with a disinfectant!