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6 Ways to Reduce Your Eco Footprint in the Bathroom


beauty products in the shape of a universal recycling symbol

Sometimes it’s a little too easy to take advantage of Earth’s many splendors, but it’s our little place to call home in this huge universe, and we also have to take care of it. Though our planet is mighty, it is also very sensitive, and anything we can do to nurture it is helpful for the long term.

We can reduce our personal impact in many ways, including the brands we support, the products we use, and the way we treat items that are ready for disposal. First place to do so: the bathroom. It’s a particularly active hub that requires special attention. You can start with these 6 actions below.

Swap Out Single Use Items for Reusable Products

According to Collin’s Dictionary, 2018’s word of the year was “single-use.” Perhaps the item that was most controversial was the disposable straw, which has now been banned in cities, states, and even countries across the globe. While the removal of such straws might not make an enormous impact on its own, it’s the mindset that matters here.

Our bathrooms are also loaded with single-use items, including cotton balls, cotton pads, cotton swabs, disposable towels, paper cups, and disposable razors. Fortunately, there are plenty of sustainable options for all of the above. You can replace single-use cotton products with multi-use items, such as Take My Face Off Mittys, Face Halo’s Makeup Remover Pads, and Weezie Makeup Towels. Though paper cups may come in handy for easy rinsing or a bit of mouthwash before you run out the door, you’re better off just using a ceramic or glass cup (just remember to clean it). As for razors, consider investing in a biodegradable or reusable option with replacable blades, such as Oui’s The Rose Gold Single-Blade Razor.

Opt for Low-Flow Toilets and Shower Heads

Toilets aren’t the most glamorous topic, but in the spirit of creating a more eco-friendly bathroom, it’s worth discussing. The unfortunate truth is that your toilet accounts for roughly 25% of the water usage in your home. But swapping out your current porcelain throne for a high-quality, low-flow model (and/or a dual-flusher option) can significantly lower that percentage. Traditional models can use up to six gallons of water per flush, but efficient options can reduce that to one to three gallons.

Additionally, swapping out your current showerhead for a water-saving option can save tons of water (and tons of money for home-owners). Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while water-saving options reduce that usage to no more than two gallons — without sacrificing water pressure.

Consider Motion Sensor Faucets

You, too, can have a fancy “motion sensor” faucet in your bathroom sink! These replacements are surprisingly easy to find and install and will reduce your water usage substantially. They also cut down on germ contamination, are generally easier to keep clean and can make for a less fussy skincare regimen.

Shop Your Own Product Stash and Use Every Last Drop

It can be so tempting to rush out and buy a brand-new product every other week, but we bet you already have a pretty major stash accumulating in your bathroom. The problem with habitually buying new products is that you end up with too much to use before they expire. Look at what items already live on your shelves — perhaps with the same eyes you had when you first purchased the product — and make it a goal to use every single drop. Have something that irritated your skin or was so not your shade? Bring it to your next brunch and see if a friend is interested.

Of course, the exception here would be if your items are already expired. Each product should indicate how long they last once opened or a “use by” date. Abide by these rules first to protect your skin. Really, though, you should be using your products consistently enough that they run dry by the expiration. And is there anything more satisfying than reaching the bottom of your product? Speaking of which…

Recycle Old Product Containers

We are really good at recycling items in the kitchen, but for some reason, the habit escapes us when it comes to the bathroom. While not all skincare and cosmetic product containers are recyclable, it’s worth checking to see if your product qualifies for the bin. (FYI: the external “for show” packaging that products are housed in can almost always be recycled.)

Any product that has the familiar triangle (called the Mobius loop) with a 1 or 2 in the center should be rinsed and plopped into your recycling container. If you see numbers 3 and up, it’s important to check your local government’s website to see if the item is accepted in your area.

If this sounds like a lot, consider programs like TerraCycle or RecycleBank, which allow you to ship your empties for free and then they’ll take care of the recycling work for you. At bareMinerals, we’re very proud of our Give Back Get Back Recycling Program, which incentivizes our customers to recycle empties from all brands in our boutiques (in exchange for sweet rewards).

For unopened items that you’d like to discard, there are also options. Local shelters will almost always gladly take your unopened or very gently used products and disperse them among residents.

Vote for Earth with Your Wallet

By now you’re probably familiar with the saying, “you vote with your dollars.” This statement holds true, but it’s easily forgotten. This could mean you purchase products that are recycled or easily recyclable, such as a water flosser instead of dental floss or bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic options. Or perhaps that means that you support brands that give back in very meaningful ways.

Who Gives a Crap (yes, that’s the name!) offers toilet paper made from bamboo and recycled paper and donates 50% of profits to build toilets for those in need. According to the brand, roughly 40% of the world’s population doesn’t have access to a toilet, and every dollar invested in sanitation yields a $5.50 increase in economic prosperity. So when you upgrade to that low-flow model, consider greening your TP stash as well.

At bareMinerals, we are strong advocates and purveyors of clean beauty. We keep harmful ingredients out of our products — such as chemical sunscreens and common irritants — and we constantly innovate with nature-based formulas that benefit both you and the environment.

By shopping for products that are eco-friendly, and by supporting companies that care about the Earth, you’re wielding your power to effect positive change.