Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching, and it’s time to check in with all the mums with bubs in our lives and make sure they’re finding the time and space for self-care.
The bathroom is often the sanctuary from the demands of a busy household. Those four walls are the space where we can shut a door and focus on nothing but ourselves for a change. There’s no bad mood that an hour of self-care in the bathroom can’t at least lessen.
Yet the bathroom can also be one of the most wasteful rooms in the house. The plastic packaging of beauty products creates a lot of household trash that goes to landfill, and the pressures of plastic pollution and climate change are their own source of stress we need to protect ourselves from.
Fortunately, there are many easy and affordable swaps we can make to our bathroom and self-care routines to lessen our waste output and environmental footprint, which are perfect for busy women that could really benefit from minimising the number of products they have to worry about buying.
Zero waste alternatives sometimes come with a higher initial investment. This upfront cost can be a discouragement from buying into sustainable products. However, if budgeted for, within months the investment is typically paid off and the savvy shopper will be looking at long-term returns by minimising her beauty routine. This means less money, less tasks to juggle, less waste and therefore more time, money and energy for ourselves and our loved ones.
Here are just some of the examples of zero or low waste body care swaps we can make in the bathroom to live a more mindful, sustainable life.
Stainless steel razor
Stainless steel double-edged razors are entirely plastic-free and can be used anywhere on your body. Every few weeks or months you simply replace the razor blade inside for $1. If cared for, your razor can last a lifetime. When combined with bar soap instead of shaving gel, you have yourself a zero-waste shaving routine.
As Australia heads into winter, moisture is more important than ever. Did you know you can buy moisturiser in glass jars, metal tins, or even make it yourself using ingredients you can find at the bulk store like shea butter and cocoa butter? If you don’t have access to a bulk store, another option could be buying large quantities of these basic ingredients online to minimise the packaging and enjoy bulk discounts.
While everybody deserves a face mask, a low waste alternative to plastic tubes or single-use sheet masks are DIY clay masks. Bentonite or kaolin clay can be bought in glass jars from your local health food or bulk store. Simply mix with water in a ceramic bowl using a wooden spoon and apply to your face. A great bonus is the ability to mix and match clays and oils to create your perfect mask, using only recyclable packaging.
Face creams similarly do not need to come in plastic tubes or tubs. There are brands that offer glass tubs with aluminium lids, some of which accept the return of their packaging to be re-used. If this isn’t right for you, you could try purchasing large quantities of oils packaged in glass and mix them in a reusable dropper to create your own DIY face oil.
Swap the plastic hair brush with the bristles that constantly fall out for a carved bamboo brush or comb that can be composted at the end of its life. They last longer!
Divacup estimates we use on average 20 tampons per period. You can save over 150 plastic disposable period products a year by investing in a set of reusable pads or a menstrual cup. Cloth pads are made from washable fabric and clip into your underwear for a comfortable alternative to plastic disposable pads.
New mum’s can go through a lot of single-use breast pads, often bleached with harmful chemicals. An alternative is bamboo or cotton washable breast pads with a water-proof layer. They’re more comfortable and reduce another form of waste in early motherhood.
Wash cloths can be used as face wipes, body washers, bum wipes, burp cloths, cleaning cloths or even hankies. A stack of bamboo, cotton or hemp wipes are something any woman can use on herself, her home or her kid without the harsh chemicals or plastic trash of disposable wipes.
You’ve heard by now that every plastic toothbrush ever used still exists. Bamboo handles are a fantastic alternative, and they get brownie points from dentists because they typically have softer nylon bristles than traditional toothbrushes. Extra eco cred if you use toothy tabs or a recyclable metal tube for toothpaste.
Soap and shampoo bars
Did you know everything is available in bar form now? When it comes to washing yourself, plastic pump bottles are pretty outdated. An unpackaged olive oil body soap, charcoal face soap and cardboard-packaged shampoo and conditioner bars can all be found in your local organic grocer or bulk store, or online with a simple search.
Unpackaged loofahs come from a plant and are a plastic-free, compostable alternative to consumable body scrubs or plastic loofah sponges. Another alternative is a natural sea sponge or even using a wooden body brush before or after the shower to dry exfoliate.
To treat a mum in your life this Mother’s Day, Ecopads offer cute printed breast pads, face wipes and menstrual pads in a style for every personality. Whether the mum you know is expecting, postpartum or experienced at the motherhood game, these reusable basics can be useful products in her home. Mix and match your gift with some relaxing doTERRA essential oils or a pair of feminist earrings to put together a great postpartum gift for a mum, or any woman in your life, that you want to celebrate.