by Laura McIlwaine September 25, 2018

Keen to reduce plastic waste in your bathroom? Read on!

There’s some sneaky plastics that have made their way into our bathrooms. Whether it’s the innocent plastic wrap around a tampon, the hearty plastic toothbrush or the more concealed microscopic plastic beads in beauty products, our bathrooms punch above their weight in our overall plastic footprint.

In this post I’ll share six simple ways to reduce plastic waste in your bathroom, but first, let’s take a quick look at why we should make an effort to reduce our plastic waste.

What Are Plastics?

Plastics are material consisting of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organics. Typically made from petrochemicals (a non-renewable resource), the many benefits of plastic have contributed to its popularity.

Plastic is cheap and easy to manufacture, versatile, impervious to water and can be re-moulded into solid objects of diverse shapes over and over again (unlike natural products such as wood and horn).


Why Reduce Plastic Waste?

One of the things we love about plastics (their durability) is one of the main reasons they’re so detrimental in the environment – and that’s the fact that they persist!!!

Whether it’s plastic bags that are eaten by turtles mistaking them for jellyfish, or microscopic beads of plastic from beauty products contaminating our waterways, our oceans are littered with plastic, and it’s having a massive impact. 

One of the problematic properties of plastic is that it’s not biodegradable; it literally lasts forever.

While plastic does not biodegrade, it does photodegrade: UV light from the sun breaks the plastic down into ever-smaller pieces of plastic known as microplastics.

These microplastics continue to photodegrade into smaller and smaller pieces, but they always remain what they are….plastic…. just smaller pieces that are increasingly harder to clean up. 

Scientists have reported that over 90% of the plastic polluting our oceans is made up of microplastics smaller than your fingernail. This photodegradation continues right down to the microscopic level, where we can’t even see the individual pieces of plastic with the naked eye. What we do see is a viscous toxic sludge where water should be. Plastic in our oceans has changed from rubbish washing up on deserted beaches to the issue of microplastics changing the chemical composition of our oceans as a whole. 

These microplastics act like sponges. They soak up and retain all kinds of toxic chemicals, such as DDT and PCBs. Unable to distinguish their food from microplastics, many marine animals end up dying with bellies so full of plastic that no food can pass through them. They can literally starve to death with full stomachs. 

If these marine animals survive to be consumed by humans, the plastic they’ve consumed, and the toxins they’ve absorbed, end up directly in our food chain. 

The prevalence of plastics in our environment has been linked to many human health issues including obesity, early adolescence, infertility and cancer. Plastics are not just impacting our environment. Because we’re part of the environment, they’re impacting us too!


Six Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste in Your Bathroom

So you’re fired up and ready to reduce your plastic waste? Great!

Here’s how you can get started and reduce plastic waste in your bathroom.


If you shave, ditch the disposable razor and opt for varieties where you can replace the head instead. Sustainahome stocks a wide range of quality reusable safety razors.

Alternatively invest in a rechargeable razor or hair epilator or wax using cotton, reusable strips.


If your household uses cotton buds, consider replacing conventional plastic varieties with a biodegradable option like Go Bamboo Biodegradable Cotton Buds.


More than 30 million plastic toothbrushes are disposed to landfill in Australia each year! Swap your regular plastic toothbrush for a biodegradable toothbrush made from cornstarch or bamboo.

Click HERE to see our range of natural toothcare products.


Similar to nappies, single-use sanitary pads contain plastic and take years to break down in landfill. Tampons are individually wrapped in plastic, which means even if you use these you’re still consuming plastic every cycle. Choosing reusable cloth pads, period-proof underwear or a silicone menstrual cup over conventional menstrual products is not only better for the environment, it’s a big win for your health and wallet too!

Click here to learn how to use a menstrual cup.


Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic ranging in size from 5 um to 1000 um (1mm) in size. They’re found in beauty products like facial and body scrubs and even some toothpastes, where their purpose is to provide a grainy texture for exfoliation. These tiny beads of plastic create havoc in our waterways where they’re ingested by small marine life.

Microbeads are commonly made from the following substances, so to boycott the bead, look for these ingredients on the back of the product:

  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
  • Nylon (PA)

Alternatively, download the Beat the Microbead App and scan the barcodes of your favourite products discover if they contain microbeads.


The best way to boycott the bead is to choose natural, organic body and beauty products or learn to make your own from pure, raw ingredients.

If you’re feeling like going the extra mile and breaking up with commercial shampoos, conditioners, body washes and even deodorants, you might like to have a try and making your own plastic-free versions. I include many recipes in my Home Detox Boot Camp. 

Final Thoughts

A plastic-free bathroom is possible. By actioning the tips above and making the switch to eco-friendly alternatives, you’ll enjoy both health and environmental benefits and help create a more sustainable future for all.



To kick-start your plastic free life, click HERE to join our 5-day Plastic Free Challenge (it's FREE!).

 5 Day Plastic Free Challenge


About the Author:

Laura Trotta is an experienced environmental engineer, award-winning sustainable living educator and the founder of Sustainahome. She’s dedicated over two decades of her life to the sustainability cause and her personal mission in life is to make green mainstream.

A passionate believer in addressing the small things to achieve big change, and protecting the planet in practical ways, Laura lives with her husband and two sons in Adelaide, South Australia.

Laura McIlwaine
Laura McIlwaine

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