Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Trying to integrate sustainable products into your lifestyle can be a daunting task if you don't know where to begin. Every item in your house will likely have a more sustainable alternative, so where do you start? We suggest tackling it one room at a time. One of the easier, and more product-intensive rooms would likely be your bathroom. From haircare to facial and dental products, there are lots to choose from. In this post, we will give our top suggestions for sustainable Canadian products for a low-waste bathroom.
There are so many things to consider when going green, especially when you're new to sustainable living. It can be overwhelming. We've been there and know the exact feeling - the research required, the different terms used (ethical vs. cruelty-free vs. fair trade vs. organic vs. all-natural, etc.), the costs, which companies are truly eco-friendly or just employing greenwashing tactics, the list goes on.
Some perks of swapping to eco-friendly alternatives are:
recognizing ingredients in the products.
having sustainably sourced ingredients that are good for our bodies
knowing it can be affordable
supporting the local economy by buying from Canadian sustainable brands
Without further ado, we present to you our holy grail of a list.
One of the most common household items: the trusty ol' toothbrush. Did you know an average person uses up to 300 of these in their lifetime? That equates to billions of plastic toothbrushes entering our landfills each year! For such a heavily used item, it made total sense for us to start with swapping these out for a more sustainable version.
Instead of poking plastic around in our mouths two to three times a day, we recommend switching to bamboo instead. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable and self-regenerating plant that can grow over three feet a day! This means they can be harvested within three to five years, compared to hardwood trees which require a minimum of ten years to grow. They also require much less water to maintain and regenerate from previously harvested roots.
Although the majority of the bamboo toothbrush is biodegradable, in most cases, the bristles are not. Usually, they are made with synthetic materials like nylon (so they don't break down as quickly and do not host bacteria growth). The bristles should be removed before throwing the handle into the compost; a small task to complete considering its benefit to the planet.
We love the toothbrushes by ETEE and Ola Bamboo. As of April of this year, they stand out as being the first and only manufacturer of bamboo toothbrushes within Canada! With its domestic production, Ola Bamboo is able to cut down the carbon footprint of each toothbrush by over 50%. Investing in a facility within Canada also means more jobs for locals. And at $18.99 (or a quarterly subscription for $16.99) for a pack of 4 adult-sized toothbrushes, it's a no-brainer.
Etee's bamboo toothbrush is with a replaceable head - meaning you won't have to throw out the entire toothbrush and would just need to replace the heads! This compostable alternative is made with plant-based bristles! Find Etee products in our CLEANSE gift box.
A lot of stress is placed on the importance of handwashing, especially over the last year. At the peak of the pandemic, Canadian soap sales increased 200% over the previous year - imagine how many plastic soap bottles were thrown out. While it makes sense to purchase liquid soap for public use, we can reduce plastic by swapping to bar soap at home.
When it comes to the effectiveness of liquid versus hand soap, Rachel Burns, MD, a dermatologist and a consultant for Sond Skin, a skincare company that makes both liquid and solid soaps says, "whether soap comes in a bar or in a liquid form, they are both equally effective at reducing pathogens and removing dirt.” Bar soaps, however, are more likely to contain fewer and cleaner ingredients.
We're huge fans of the bar soaps from The Soap Works. They're all made in small batches using natural ingredients. With a wide variety of soaps to choose from, they're segmented based on the needs of your skin. If you have sensitive skin, combination skin, dry and rough skin, or oil and acne-prone skin - there is a bar for you. We love that they are committed to lowering their ecological footprint on an ongoing basis. Plus, at a price point of under $3 per bar, what's not to love? Pure Living's Lucia also offers a wide range of beautifully-scented soap bars.
Soap bars aren't just for your hands and body, there are also soap bars for your hair. We highly recommend the shampoo and conditioner bars from The Bare Home - found in our Big Shot and Bath Essentials gift boxes.
Unwrapped Life also carries these handy, solid shampoo and conditioner bars. A little pricier than other soap bars, but we think it's worth checking out. It's got a great lather, can last up to three times longer than a regular 16 oz bottle of shampoo, and best of all? No plastic at the end of its life cycle. It's the most satisfying feeling.
It can be intimidating switching to shaving with a safety razor, but modern-day designs have made the tools much easier and more intuitive. In fact, it really takes no time at all to get used to. Many brands even have a 'starter' razor, making it virtually impossible to cut yourself shaving.
Safety razors last a lifetime; their bodies are made with metal alloy, making them easily recyclable. Stainless steel blades can also be melted down for reuse (make sure to check where you can safely dispose of blades in your area). They can be a larger upfront investment, but replacement blades are 45-80% less than the refill cartridges of disposable or plastic razors. By switching to a safety razor, you are helping to reduce the 2 billion plastic razors thrown out each year.
We are in love with the unisex Rockwell 6C Safety Razor - especially designed for an easy transition. It comes with a lifetime warranty and with its sleek design, you'll feel even better about making the eco-friendly choice. For a budget-friendly alternative, check out the one from Anarres Natural Health. Their razor plus a pack of 10 replacement blades is only $15!
REUSABLE MAKEUP PADS
Gone should be the days of purchasing single-use cotton balls for make-up removal. According to the WWF, cotton is the largest use of water among all agricultural commodities. That's not to mention the environmental impact of heavy pesticide use as well as the loss of natural habitat to expand agricultural land.
The switch to reusable makeup wipes, like these Hemp Facial Rounds from Cheeks Ahoy found in Good Earth Gifting's Pure gift box, is an easy one. Once used, they can be placed in a mesh bag and thrown in with the rest of your laundry. They also feel nice and smooth on your skin compared to the disposables. Take it one step further by going with a reusable pad made from organic cotton.
Switching to organic cotton is considered better for your skin as you are not putting chemically-treated fabric against your face. Its hypoallergenic properties are especially beneficial to those with sensitive skin. Advantages to the environment include:
Increased soil protection measures preventing soil erosion
91% less water consumption
62% less energy use from the production of fertilizer
Elimination of toxic chemicals in the field, which means farmers and their families can grow crops for consumption which supplements their food and income
Cottonseed oil can be used in food products such as cookies, chips, and vegetable oil
Cheeks Ahoy's reusable makeup pads are absorbent while staying super light and dries quickly - perfect for travel and being on the go. Eliminate disposable cotton facial pads and balls with these multi-functional cleaning tools, handmade from 55% hemp and 45% G.O.T.S-certified organic cotton.
Another item that can plastic-free in your bathroom is your deodorant. There are a plethora of Canadian sustainable brands that offer natural deodorants. Some come in compostable paper tubes, others in glass jars or reusable (and recyclable) tins.
Our pick? The Groom Industries' lightly-scented, natural replacement to many of your classic underarm needs. Take this handy essential anywhere you go! Found in GEG's Dapper package and Groom Kit.
No Pong's baking soda-free deodorant in a 'tinplate' is also a great eco-friendly alternative - coming in a recyclable combination of tin and steel. If you are already using a deodorant, swapping for a plastic-free one with natural ingredients is an easy switch. As an antiperspirant user, it can take some time to get used to as your pores are no longer being blocked by aluminum salts, an ingredient commonly found in antiperspirant. Letting your body sweat is a natural occurrence, the role deodorants play is to help in absorption and the reduction of bad odour bacteria.
Reusable Cotton Swab
Not to dampen the importance of reducing plastic straw use, but cotton swabs are among the most found items polluting our sea waters and land. Did you know, approximately 1.5 billion cotton swabs are produced every hour, globally? We already know the harmful effects of cotton production on the environment, so swapping to a reusable alternative lets us do our part in reducing the Earth's carbon footprint.
Most reusable cotton swabs are made with a silicone tip, making them easy to wash. But the handle is generally some form of plastic for a sturdy grip. NakedSwab takes its sustainability pledge to the next level by using a 100% bamboo handle in addition to its medical-grade, sanitary silicone tip. That's why they are our top recommendation for a Canadian branded product.
Their reusable swabs boast up to 2000 uses! If you're using it three times a week, this $13 alternative can last over a decade. It takes only 0.3 litres to wash a NakedSwab compared to 3.6 litres to treat cotton for a single swab. On top of that, 1% of annual sales is donated to approved environmental non-profit organizations. Need we say more?
Menstrual Cup or Reusable Sanitary Pads
Menstrual products have contained some form of plastic for as early as the mid 20th century. In the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons. There is much to say about the health concerns of using modern 'sanitary napkins' - most of which, has to do with the chemicals used to create them (pesticides for cotton, dioxin to dye the cotton white, phthalates giving tampons their smooth finish, etc.), but we'll save that for another post.
We started to see a gap in natural, sustainable, and safe feminine hygiene products on the modern market. That's when Canadian brands like DivaCup and Knix came to save the day. Enter reusable menstrual cups and period underwear for today's bleeder.
DivaCup's silicone menstrual cups, once you get accustomed to it, has revolutionized the period for women all over the world. Because they do not absorb, expand, or get soaked up, they are able to last up to 12 hours before needing to be emptied. One cup at under $40 can last a decade with proper care, making it a cost-effective and low-waste option.
Knix makes arguably the most comfortable period underwear on the market. With their triple layer technology, they promise to keep their users fresh, dry, and protected. A great sustainable option for those who prefer a lower learning curve. Depending on the flow and the absorbency level of the underwear purchased, just wearing the underwear can be enough protection. In theory, it can sound messy but a simple pre-wash before throwing it in your mesh laundry bag is all it takes.
DOING OUR PART
Our collective consumer behaviour can make a difference. By choosing sustainable options, we are putting money towards companies that are doing good. When traditional businesses see the shift in the economy, they too will look for greener alternatives to keep up with customer demand. At Good Earth Gifting we aim to make these decisions easier for you by highlighting businesses that are doing the most. All that's left for you to do is start... in the bathroom.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our team. Should you make a purchase from the included links, we may earn a small commission.