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How to Start a Zero Waste Bathroom

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It’s time to transition your bathroom to zero waste - sound daunting? Don’t be put off, it’s easier than it sounds when you remember that making sustainable changes takes time, and you don’t have to change everything all at once!
To start:
  • Use up what you already have and slowly swap out plastic items to zero waste alternatives - this saves unnecessary waste and allows you to trial different reusable options.
  • Set up the bins in your bathroom to allow for compost and recycling (we’re eliminating landfill here!). Any containers will do for this, just be sure to line the compost bin with a compostable liner (eg paper bag, toilet roll wrapper!) so you don’t have to handle the contents! 
  • Compost all organic matter, which includes items made from wood or bamboo, eg toothbrushes; 100% natural fibre products (cotton/linen/hemp/jute/coconut/cardboard, silk); all hair, nail clippings, used tissues, compostable packaging, and compostable toothbrushes. Most items will take a long time to break down in your average home compost, but they will eventually. If you have access to industrial composting, it is definitely the better option!
  • Recycle hard and soft plastics, glass, metal, paper and cardboard. Separate differing materials from each other eg. packaging made of both cardboard and hard plastic needs to be separated first. Collect and dispose of soft plastics in the Redcycle bin at your local supermarket. Some trickier items may need to be sent to your closest Terracycle Program for recycling.
  • Commit to not buying any new products that can’t go into these bins. Think about your bathroom items when they are nearly finished or at the end of their usefulness. Consider whether that particular product is absolutely necessary, is there a zero waste or refillable option available, can you or someone local make it, is the packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable?
  • Do your research to find replacement products made from more natural and sustainable materials with better packaging. Compostable is best for single-use items, while glass and metal are both better to wash and reuse, and are infinitely recyclable.
  • Take empty containers to the bulk foods store to refill. Most pump-top and spray bottles are very strong and able to be reused for years. This can be cost effective, as refills are usually cheaper than new products.
  • Try to make items like hard soaps, bath bombs/salts, lip balms, face mists, etc yourself. This is great fun, keeps things natural and packaging free, and is usually the cheapest option. Or, buy/learn from a small local business, they’d love your support and many do refills.
  • If you decide to continue to buy the same product, commit to taking the packaging apart to recycle all of the components properly. Disassembled small pieces of metal and hard plastic (eg pump packs), can be added to larger containers of the same material already marked for the recycling bin.

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