Plastic Free July 2020: Reducing Your Wasteline in the Bathroom (Part 1)

Reducing your wasteline in the bathroom is a great way to not only look after the environment, but as you use less packaging, it also becomes much easier to keep the bathroom tidy because there’s no plastic bottles multiplying around the edge of the bath or shower! Visit the blog throughout this week to see how you can cut back on some of life’s necessities.

Toilet paper

First of all, no panic buying is necessary with Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. The loo roll comes delivered directly to your house so there’s no need to arm wrestle anyone over the last package.

Jon and I made the switch two years ago and, so far, it’s worked out very well. For the two of us, the cost is roughly the same as buying it at the store (according to WGAC, it’s 18.8p per 100 sheets), and delivery of 48 rolls comes in a cardboard box every four months. If you have small children or cats, the large box is likely to become a firm favourite, and the brightly coloured paper the rolls come wrapped in would be perfect for arts and crafts projects (or, if feline, crumpling into a ball and chasing).

However, I recognise that we are fortunate to have the extra space to store a rather large amount of loo roll. If you are short on storage, consider joining together with neighbours or friends and divvying it up into more manageable amounts.

BONUS: Half of WGAC’s profits go to sanitation projects in developing countries.

Hand Soap

I think this is a product we all have a new appreciation for this year …

And this is probably something I shouldn’t admit as someone who is trying to encourage others to reduce their wasteline, but I really dislike bar soap. I have tried A LOT of different types over the years, from big brands to handmade, and they always seem to leave a weird film on my skin (or maybe I just have weird skin?).

My first attempt at cutting back on waste was to reuse a Method foaming hand soap pump filled with a mixture of Dr Bronner’s Castile soap and water. Dr Bronner’s is highly concentrated and one bottle lasted two or three years. However, I’ve tried a few different things after it ran out, all with great success.

I substituted a similar concentrated liquid hand soap from Zero Green in Bristol; simply BYOC (bring your own container) and refill as needed. Since then, more refill places have begun to pop up closer to Chippenham: Cousin Norman’s on New Road is great for refills, eco-products, and gifts; Allington Farm Shop has a refill zone (and a tasty café); Packaging Not Included in Marlborough does exactly what it says on the tin—products, such as hand soap, without packaging. You can check out zero-waste shops near you at ZeroWasteNear.Me.

My latest trial has been Castile soap from Funky Soap. It seems to be just as good as Dr Bronner’s, but it comes in a glass bottle (perfect for refilling) and arrives in the post packed in cardboard rather than bubble wrap. If you tend to get dry hands with standard hand soap, consider giving Castile soap a try.

If you’re not fussed about bar soap, I’ve heard great things about Friendly Soap (it’s free from nasties like sulfates and doesn’t test on animals), and Funky Soap do bars as well.

Facial Cleanser

My favourite cleansers are not only plastic-free, but completely packaging free if you use a bit of forethought . Lush do a naked product range and their Tea Totaler and Cold Cream have been fantastic for my skin. They melt with body heat, so it’s just a matter of rub on and wash off with a cloth. If you remember to BYOC to the shop, just pop the cleansing bars into the container and take them to the till: no need to wrap them in paper (if you don’t BYOC, you will definitely need to get them wrapped in paper as they will melt in your hands).

Lush had to shut down their online shop at the beginning of lockdown, but they are now back online if this is a product you want to try, and all of their shops in the UK have now opened as well.


I have dry skin that occasionally flares with eczema, so moisturisers are both an absolute necessity and a weakness: I love trying out new skin products in my search for the Holy Grail of Hydration. On the bright side, there are so many brands now that are making strides to reduce plastic and waste that it’s much easier to find one that works for you.

Funky Soap Shop

Not only do they do rich moisturising products, but they also operate a refill service. Simply send back the clean, empty aluminium container to be refilled when needed. If you remember to save the packaging, you can use that again and again too! Their shea butter in kraft paper (cardboard) is my personal favourite for very skin.


This is literally a British-grown brand that makes a variety of lotions and potions that will make your skin feel great and smell like a meadow (in a good way!). They were already pretty eco-conscious, but they switched to aluminium containers last year and are looking to go completely plastic free. When empty, their containers are the perfect size to hold two of the Lush cleanser bars when travelling.

Refill Shops

Zero Green does a locally made body lotion, and it wouldn’t surprise me if other refill shops offer similar products. Simply BYOPB (bring your own pump bottle … or desired container) and refill when needed.


Lush is known for their black pots, which are recycled inhouse and made into new products. They have a lot of moisturisers to choose from, and if you bring five pots back to the store, you get a free face mask. But they also do a naked body lotion; just bring a container to pop it into if you want to avoid any packaging.

Pop back to the blog tomorrow for Part 2, and don’t forget to join the Reduce Your Wasteline private group to share some of your favourite waste reduction swaps and substitutions. 

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