We’re taking a look at bathroom products to see how you can save money and make a few product swaps to reduce your plastic waste. When you total up how much you spend in a year, you will be surprised!
Plastic Razors to Safety Razors
In the early 90s, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 2 billion razors and refill blades get tossed out in the U.S. each year. A more recent study claimed that 163 million consumers in the United States used disposable razors in 2018! As you know, most disposable razors are made of plastic, but they aren’t easily recyclable. This is due in part to the specific polymer blends and the use of rubber in the handle as well as the safety risk it poses to those working in recycling facilities.
A pack of 6 Venus razors will cost you $12. If you shave twice a week and switch your blade every 8 shaves, as recommended, that is one razor a month. Two packs a year will cost you $24. Let’s say you shave from age 14-64, $24 x 50 = $1200 on razors alone. Not to mention, razors marketed towards women are often more expensive, which likely bumps up that total. Subscriptions shaves clubs at $3 a month? $36 a year, $1800 for 50 years (not to mention the carbon footprint of it coming to your door).
Unlike disposable razors, safety razors are made to last a lifetime. We love this beautiful rose gold one, but there is a color for every preference and shaving need! The initial cost of the razor is $38 and a pack of 100 blades is $14.50. If you change your blade every 3 weeks you will be spending about $3 on blades every year. And in 50 years? $150. The single blade means a closer shave and less razor burn. The safety razors are super user friendly and an easy transition from disposable razors, plus you will save money and the environment at the same time.
Reusable Cotton Rounds
It is no secret that we are skincare people around here. Facial masks, serums, and makeup remover are all staples at our homes. Unless you exclusively use fingers to apply products, odds are there are cotton rounds involved in your routine. While we could spend all day talking about the pros and cons of cotton production, it would require a whole blog post. Here is a quick summary.
Whichever side of the argument you’re on, it is incredibly impractical to be wasting resources with a large impact on a single-use item. Even if you are more of a makeup wipes person, this one simple switch in your routine can save you at least $50 a year. If you use one cotton round in the morning and one at night, that is 700 cotton rounds a year. With a 100 pack (wrapped in plastic) is about $4 at most drug stores, that is roughly $50 annually on a product you immediately throw away.
Our solution? Organic, Reusable Cotton Rounds, they look, feel, and do the exact same job as traditional cotton rounds. They are made from GOTS certified organic cotton and bamboo, meaning if they ever start to wear down, they can be composted. Best of all they are packaged in recyclable packaging. They are super easy to clean (either by hand or by machine in a delicate bag, just need to air dry flat and are ready reuse). At $15 for a pack of 10? They pay for themselves in a month of regular use. While a disposal cotton round can seem like a small item, in the long run, this easy swap saves you money and keeps single-use products out of our landfills.
Tampons to Menstrual Cups
Since the 1920s, disposable period products have been the norm. They are usually made of plastic, paper, cotton, and then again wrapped in plastic. After tampons and pads serve their utility, they are immediately thrown out. Getting a number of just how much waste is generated is impossible, as the waste is labeled as medical waste and doesn’t need to be tracked.
Every person with a period will use between 5 and 15 thousand period products in their lifetime, 70% of which are tampons. Let’s do some math. Say you change your tampon every six hours. That amounts to four tampons per day over an average of five days, so 20 tampons per cycle. With the average person menstruating from age 13 through age 51 that equates to 456 total cycles. 20 x 456 = 9120 tampons. A box of 36 tampons runs about $7, meaning you would use roughly 253 boxes in your lifetime. At $7 each that is $1771 on a product you throw away immediately after use, and that is if you just use tampons.
Menstruation is an unavoidable reality, but the waste involved with it doesn’t have to be. Meet the menstrual cup! Menstrual cups are a one time purchase, made of medical-grade, BPA free silicone making them safe and completely reusable for several years. They are roughly a $25-$45 dollar investment, meaning it pays for itself in 3 months. Our favorite is the Lunette cup, but there is a quiz to find your best fit. This can be a huge change from traditional methods, here are a few how-to resources. So make the change, and soon you’ll be on your way to a more sustainable period!
Another single-use cotton product that is often in our beauty and life routines is the disposable cotton swap (Q-tips). These seemingly small products are made from cotton, plastic or paper and tossed immediately after use, making them incredibly wasteful. We know what you might be thinking: Reusable cotton swabs? Is that sanitary? Yes and yes!
Meet LastSwab! The “swab” ends are made from TPE making them easy to sanitize with soap and water. They are made to withstand up to 1000+ uses, reducing the manufacturing, shipping, and resources of single-use swabs. There are different head options made for both cleaning and beauty! A pack of 1000 count Q-tips is around $15, all for a product you toss immediately after using. LastSwabs are $12, last for years, and help divert the waste from all those single-use Q-tips!
Making these four easy swaps in your bathroom really adds up, both from a financial and disposable waste standpoint. So you can help save the Earth while also saving a couple (or $1000!) bucks by moving away from single-use disposable items and into beautiful reusable ones.
Thank you to our guest blog contributor for their great resources and information in helping us live more consciously. Guest Blog Contributor: The Conscious Merchant