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Easy Single-Use Plastic Swaps for Your Bathroom

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

We produce about 300 million tons of plastic EACH YEAR and only 9% of plastics are recycled. This might sound disheartening, but there are ways YOU can help make a difference. Growing up I learned the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. However, in that 3-step process we are missing the first and most important step: REFUSE. Refusing plastics helps reduce plastic pollution, as well as, reduce the demand for plastic production. 

A great place to start is by swapping plastic household items to more eco-friendly products. It can be confusing and scary to make these changes, but don’t worry – I’m here to help. We all have to start somewhere, and it takes baby steps to become more plastic-free.

The bathroom is the perfect place to start taking small steps to reduce our plastic waste. Here are some easy single-use swaps to help make a more zero-waste home.

Bamboo Toothbrush

Did you know every year, over one billion toothbrushes make it to our landfills, where they will inevitably never break down?

This is definitely the easiest swap I ever made. My dentist even gave me a pat on the back for my great dental hygiene. I think I owe that to my beloved bamboo toothbrush!

Bamboo toothbrushes are more environmentally friendly than plastic toothbrushes. They are biodegradable and are made from one of the fastest growing plants, bamboo. It’s important to dispose of them properly to avoid the landfill. Check in with your local community to see if there are any community gardens that compost!

Floss

Flossing is an extremely important part for our dental hygiene. I don’t know about you, but I always get scolded by my dentist about not flossing enough.  Your dental hygiene is important, but there are some eco-friendly alternatives to keep those pearly whites clean.

Silk floss is a great alternative. However, for those on a college budget, it might be a little too pricey. A more budget friendly alternative is a waterpik, a reusable water flosser. This might be more out of pocket initially, but when you compare it to the the amount of money you spend on floss over the years….I think your wallet will thank you.

Toothpaste

We use a lot of toothpaste or at least I hope you do! Unfortunately, toothpaste tubes are not recyclable. Luckily, there are some great eco-friendly alternatives on the market: powdered toothpaste, glass jarred natural toothpaste, and tooth tabs. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make your own toothpaste at home!

Plastic-free toothpaste alternatives do just as good of a job at cleaning your teeth as your tubed toothpaste. But if you’re feeling uneasy about the effectiveness of your toothpaste, don’t be scared to talk to your dentist.

Razors

Not only are disposable razors pesky for the environment, they also aren’t good for your wallet! A great swap for this is a safety razor. What is a safety razor you ask? It’s a reusable razor made from stainless steel, meaning you can actually recycle it after you part ways. The blades are also made from stainless steel, making them recyclable as well.

Shaving my legs might be one of my least favorite activities, but the close shave I get with my safety razor makes it a little bit more fun. When I first traded my disposable razor for a safety razor, I thought I was downgrading. Turns out, I was wrong! They are so much more efficient.

Okay. Okay. I won’t overwhelm you with too many plastic-free bathroom alternatives, but this is a great place to start. You can find most of these alternatives at your local Whole Foods or Down to Earth. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, Amazon is a great place to look and with a few clicks you’re on your way to a more eco-friendly home!

Averi Burud

Hawaii '22

Avid surfer & current student studying Sustainability at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
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