One Way to Reduce Plastic in the Bathroom

Among many tragedies to emerge from the pandemic is the massive increase in disposable paper and plastic products used for takeaway at restaurant. I want to support local restaurants (and enjoy their food), but sharing the air there simply isn’t an option yet, so we’re left ordering pickup and delivery. We avidly reuse and recycle, but some containers can’t be salvaged, and I’m sure that plastic production has skyrocketed.

However, this has made me more aware of the other products I use on a regular basis that require plastic containers. Megan has become particularly adroit at identifying sustainable solutions for any type of cleaning product (washing dishes, clothes, and surfaces), and we also recently started trying plastic-free hygienic products.

Specifically, for many years I’ve used body wash and shampoo, both of which are dispensed from plastic bottles. Given that I get a good 2-3 months out of each of them, it isn’t the worst use of plastic in the world, but what if there were similar options that didn’t use plastic at all?

As it turns out, there are quite a few options available. I mean, of course there’s bar soap, but now there are fancy adult versions from brands like Crate 61, Baxter, Kiehl’s, and Squatch (note that I was specifically seeking soaps for men). And there’s also great bar shampoo from JR Liggett’s and Grown Ass Man.

For the purpose of cleaning, all of the soaps and shampoos I’ve tried work great, but I’m still looking for the right scent to commit to. Have you tried any of these plastic-free soaps and shampoos? Or have you found ways to reduce the disposable (and even not-so-disposable) plastic in your bathroom and house?

8 thoughts on “One Way to Reduce Plastic in the Bathroom”

  1. Funny timing with this post. I’ve actually just recently been doing a deep dive on trying to eliminate plastic from all our cleaning and bathroom products!
    Blue Land is a company I recently found out about. They send you pills that you dissolve in bottles. The capsules come in little paper bags that are compostable or recyclable. They do hand soap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, and house cleaners.
    Another brand I was looking at is called CleanCult. They offer similar products but send you refills in carton containers that are recyclable. I haven’t fully invested in anything yet so I can’t give any reviews but that’s just what I’ve looked at so far.

    Body wash and shampoo are ones they don’t do so I’ll definitely check out the brands you mentioned. Glad to hear more folks being proactive about eliminating plastic from their lives! Thanks for posting this.

    • Patrick: That’s great! We have some Blueland products–they’re great (though their plastic bottle has a habit of cracking–we’ve replaced it with another plastic bottle). I hadn’t heard of CleanCult, though, and I appreciate the recommendation.

  2. Check out Terracycle. They will send you boxes to recycle all kinds of things that are technically recyclable/reusable, but for which there is no market. So it may have the little recycle triangle, but also may not have a recycle facility in your area that deals with that thing. They’ve even got a program for recycling cigarette butts!

    I haven’t gone so far as to try to eliminate plastic, but I have tried to reduce it by using reusable containers rather than ziploc baggies, buying reusable veggie bags, silicone food storage bags, and reusable silicone lids rather than plastic wrap. I also try to find things that are not overpackaged.

    I suppose I should try some of those dissolvable cleaner sheets for the clothes washer. I need to get my mother out of my head when it comes to the idea that only the brand name will do.

    • That’s really cool, Sara–we’re going to have to try out Terracycle.

      To add to your list, Megan uses beeswax paper instead of plastic wrap, and she really likes the dissolvable cleaner sheets.

      • Do the cleaner sheets work just as well (or better) than, say, Tide? Do they smell like anything? I have foster dogs, so there’s plenty of peee-eeeww dog laundry (worse if it’s puppies). I like the smell of my clean laundry without it being perfumy. I also need laundry soap to really get the dirt grime and the bio-grime out.

        • We’ve been using the laundry sheets for close to a year now, and I can’t tell any difference between them and mass-market detergents. They seem to work quite well. We use TruEarth.

  3. We try to buy in bulk and refill containers. I buy Seventh Generation gel hand soap in a gallon jug, then dilute 1 part in 4 parts water. It works great in the foaming dispensers we’ve been using for years. We’ve been working on the same gallon for almost 2 years now, so it lasts a while.

    We also buy Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap to use in the shower. We get that in gallon jugs and refill other containers for use in the shower. We do the same thing with countertop cleaning spray, which we buy in a gallon jug from Seventh Generation, and pour it into a spray bottle.

    For other products, Our local co-ops (and maybe Whole foods?) offer bulk shampoo and soap and things like that where you can bring your bottle to the store and refill.

    • That’s awesome, Adam! The refill idea is great (we do that with our cleaning sprays, but that’s it so far). I also like the idea of exploring the isle at Whole Foods to see what we can buy from them instead of having items shipped to us.


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