It’s taken us a long time to get into good habits, but over the last few years it’s safe to say that we’ve allowed environmental awareness into more or less every area of our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s remembering to reuse plastic carrier bags, switching off unnecessary lights or trying out the cold setting on the washing machine, we’re all going green wherever we can.
But if your efforts to be eco-friendly in the bathroom have amounted to anything more than not leaving the taps running, you’re doing better than most of us. Grooming is something of a green blind spot for many men, and it’s too easy to forget just what an impact your five minutes standing at the sink can have on the planet.
You’ve only got to rifle through the average bathroom bin to see the extent of the problem – we go through plastic bottles and packets at an alarming rate and prioritise convenience over just about everything else. With every person in the UK producing approximately 409kg of plastic waste per year, it’s fair to assume that a sizable chunk of this comes from the bathroom. This is understandable with our ever-more-hectic daily routines, but it’s possible to find a balance between keeping things simple and staying eco-conscious.
Follow these tips to make your morning routine eco-friendly and you’ll soon forget you ever had those old grooming habits.
Remember how much you’re using
Before even considering the ingredients, packaging or recyclability of the grooming product you’re using, think about that moment you squeeze it out onto your hand each morning. Are you only using what you need?
It’s far too easy to push the nozzle on a can of shaving cream, stop paying attention for half a second and end up with an expanse of foam halfway up your arm. Likewise, when you’ve finished moisturising your face you end up trying to rub excess moisturiser into the backs of your hands because you squeezed out too much.
Making sure that you only take what you need will make each product you buy stretch for twice as long. You won’t believe how far a single bottle can go when you use it sparingly. The same goes for razors too. If you make sure to clean your razor and blades properly, they'll last so much longer.
Switch your disposable razors
When thinking about an environmentally friendly grooming routine, your first assumption might be that disposable razors are public enemy number one. There’s no getting away from the fact that the average pack of disposable razors contains an eyebrow-raising amount of plastic. Not to mention the fact that many people who routinely buy them by the bagful could have just as easily invested in a reliable multi-use razor and saved themselves a substantial amount of money in the long run.
However, with over 5 million people buying disposable razors every year, there are plenty of reasons why disposable razors work with your grooming routine – maybe you only shave once in a while, or you only use a razor for tidying up the edges of a bushy beard. Or maybe you just buy them occasionally when you’re travelling, or when you’ve got people coming to stay. The good news is that eco-conscious grooming doesn’t mean ditching the disposables for good.
With Wilkinson Sword’s game-changing new Xtreme 3 Eco Green you can shave guilt free, with a 100% recycled and recyclable plastic handle and plastic-free packaging. Featuring unique blade bending technology to follow the contours of your face, as well as lubricant for sensitive skin and an ergonomic grip, it comes with all the ingenious built-in engineering that we’ve made our name with at Wilkinson Sword – but it’s completely disposable. And disposing of razor blades safely, is important for both people and the environment.
Read the label
Cutting down on plastic is all well and good, but what about the products themselves? Grooming products have come on leaps and bounds over the last few years and there are plenty of environmentally-friendly razors, but it’s still easy for damaging ingredients to slip through the net. Taking a minute to read the label of your chosen product can make a real difference. Not only can you enjoy a guilt-free bathroom routine but if we stop buying them, they’ll stop making them.
Organically made products are a great start, as you can be sure that the making of them has had as little impact on the planet as possible – but there are certain things you should avoid altogether. Palm oil is notoriously damaging large swathes of the planet and microbeads are thankfully now banned, while fossil fuel derivatives such as petroleum can find their way into products like beard oil.
Avoid unnecessary packaging
Rule number one is to steer clear of plastic where possible, especially where it’s excessive and unnecessary – so that puts those deodorant and shower gel gift sets that your aunt buys you for Christmas well and truly out of the equation. Picking packaging responsibly goes further than swerving plastic, though. You can try avoiding it altogether with ‘naked’ products like shampoo bars – which are particularly useful as some of them can be used for both your hair and your body.
Open your bathroom cabinet and consider the number of almost-empty plastic bottles that line its shelves. Instead of throwing the next one away when you’ve finished, try finding a local refill shop. If there isn’t a permanent one nearby, you might find one at a local market. These eco-friendly projects allow you to bring in your old packaging and refill it with everyday goods like shampoo, shower gel, shaving cream and moisturiser. Try it, and you’ll soon find your bathroom bin is filling up a lot slower.