Jane Wolfe takes a dip into the plastic-free bathroom aisle – from razors to shave bars, toothpaste tablets to shower gel pills – and discovers how easy it is for consumers to ditch the plastic when it comes to their daily ablutions

There are so many creative innovations surfacing in the plastic-free pool, with a shower of products for bathing, shaving, washing and brushing, it’s never been easier for consumers to take an eco stand in their bathrooms. 

When it comes to cleansing – body, hands, hair or beard – natural soaps abound, with a stack of bars (no plastic in sight) from brands like Faith in Nature, Friendly Soap, Fair Squared, Little Blue Hen, AA Skincare, Earthkind, Beauty Kitchen, Ethique, Naturtint and Beauty Kubes, to name a few.

One such brand is grüum – created by four friends from Manchester, it produces sustainable unisex skincare, haircare and shaving items that are good for consumers and kinder to the planet. “We try to minimize the use of plastic and use alternatives wherever possible, and we never use excess or secondary packaging,” explains co-founder Andy Shaw.

Our aim is to offer customers
simple, sustainable options in the
bathroom, without compromising
on product performance

“All our orders are packed in cardboard and use paper and/or biodegradable wrapping and protection. Wherever possible we use an alternative material, so many of our products are now available as solid bars and come in cardboard or biodegradable wraps, such as our shampoo, conditioner and body bars. 

“Our aim is to offer customers simple, sustainable options in the bathroom, without compromising on product performance,” he adds. “Our zero waste products work just as well as their bottled counterparts.” Bolstering this claim is the fact that the brand’s hår Shampoo Bar recently landed first place for Best New Sustainable Hair Product in the Pure Beauty Global Awards.

As well as items to freshen, grüum has a line of accessories, including a soap dish made from absorbent, antibacterial diatomite, carry tins and a sisal soap bag, and it’s set to expand its plastic-free range this year. “Consumers are really keen to reduce their use of plastic in the bathroom, so there’s a strong demand for plastic-free versions of most products. We’re working on some top secret developments!”

Sustainable showers 
For consumers looking to avoid plastic shower gel bottles, alternative formats include Totally Solid’s Shower Blocks – solid gels designed to provide a bubbly, hydrating cleanse. Each UK-made block is equal to 1.5 bottles of gel, with varieties including Mango & Passionfruit, Coffee & Vanilla, Lime & Sandalwood and Naked Unscented.

Beauty Kitchen is also on a mission to tackle bathroom waste with The Sustainables selection, including an Organic Vegan Body Wash Collection: four mood-boosting natural body washes in Botanic Bliss, Citrus Burst, Minty Fresh and Fragrance Free. Presented in aluminium packaging, they contain no microplastic ingredients and as part of the brand’s Return•Refill•Repeat programme, customers can return empty packaging via Freepost to be washed and reused.

A waterless solution is Haeckels 60%H2O Ocean Cleanse Concentrate + Allantoin, which sees the brand’s best-selling body cleanser condensed into pills containing natural concentrates which, when activated by water, turn into shower gel with a Lemon, Geranium and Beetroot scent. Each order supplies enough tablets to last a year and a ceramic dispenser to mix the product – three pills make 300ml of cleanser. Haeckels estimates that the product is 97% cheaper than its water-based counterpart, avoids 94% of the carbon emissions in manufacturing and 95% in shipping.

A natural smile
There is no shortage of eco-friendly dental products to keep the nation’s mouths clean and fresh, with bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste tablets and powders, interdental brushes, mouthwash and plastic-free dental floss from inventive brands such as Humble, Barnaby’s Brushes, Georganics, Bambooth, LiveCoco and Planet Detox.

On a mission to champion ‘the switch from a single-use mindset to a multi-use one’, Reco offers its own plastic-free bathroom products via its website, alongside other brands, including Truthbrush, Astra, LoofCo and Bambaw. 

Co-founded in 2018 by Andy Smith, Reco’s core product range of Toothtabs and Bamboo Toothbrushes are sold via a recurring three-monthly subscription. The Toothtabs are made from 100% natural ingredients and include 1,450ppm of sodium fluoride (the same as in standard toothpaste) to keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. The tablets come in plastic-free, recyclable mailout bags and packaging with labels printed on 100% recycled waste paper. 

“Consumers are really keen to reduce
their use of plastic in the bathroom,
so there’s a strong demand for
plastic-free versions”

One of the few stumbling blocks on the path to a completely plastic-free bathroom are electric toothbrushes and heads. A handful of companies are doing what they can to mitigate the waste around this by using plastic-free packaging and introducing closed loop recycling. “Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get around the fact that electric toothbrush heads need to be made of plastic,” says Smith, who plans to launch an electric toothbrush head this year. “So we decided to work directly with the manufacturer, instructing them to package the heads in paper-based packaging. In addition, we have started dialogue with a specialized recycling firm that will take the old, used toothbrush heads from us and recycle them. This way we can offer closed loop recycling to our customers with full oversight of the lifecycle of the product, ensuring it doesn’t end up in landfill.”

Eco shaving
Shaving creams, bars and brushes, beard shampoos, waxes and oils are all available without plastic for eco-conscious grooming. As for the razor itself, there are plenty of options such as UpCircle’s Unisex Chrome Safety Razor for women and men, face and body; Shoreline Shaving’s Coral Collection of colourful stainless steel safety razors in pink, green, orange and blue; and Mutiny Shaving’s ‘ground-breaking’ Mutiny Hybrid – a fusion of a traditional, metal-headed, double-edged safety razor with a vibrant, ultra-modern 3D-printed handle.

Reco’s Plastic-free Shaving Starter Kit offers the full package: a ‘perfectly weighted’ Reco 3R Safety Razor; handmade Shaving Soap with orange and lavender essential oils; and a five-pack of Astra Razor Blades individually wrapped in paper and packaged in a recyclable cardboard box.

Not only … but also
There are many other areas in which sustainable bath-room products are contributing to the growing plastic-free movement.

Period products include Natracare pads and tampons– made from renewable, biodegradable and compostable materials; reusable pads from brands including ETHIXX and DAME; and Hey Girls’ line of strong, comfy and stylish period pants in styles including high leg bikinis and shorties.

For those who prefer DIY, India-based women-led social enterprise Eco Femme has a Make Your Own Washable Cloth Pad Kit containing colourful pre-cut materials to make three Day Pads Plus, a sewing kit, stitching and care instructions, and a menstrual cycle tracking chart. Eco Femme also has a Pad for Pad programme to help girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Consumers who want to keep their cool can purchase an armful of natural deodorants packaged in paper, card, glass, metal or packaging-free, from brands such as Kutis Skincare, The Natural Deodorant Co, Earth Conscious, Pit Putty and Fit Pit. We Love the Planet recently added two new SKUs to its plastic-free line: Luscious Lime and Sweet & Soft. The vegan formulas replace beeswax with bayberry fruit wax, use corn starch powder to soften and reduce excess sweat, coconut oil to cool and soothe, and organic shea butter to moisturize and reduce inflammation. The result, says the brand, is a soft cream that is quickly absorbed into the skin and doesn’t clog pores. They are packaged in biodegradable and compostable cardboard tubes.

Your customers can love the loo too, with toilet paper, tissues or wipes from companies including the somewhat too aptly named Uranus Wiper, The Cheeky Panda, Greencane, Who Gives a Crap, Ecoleaf, Zero Waste Club and Natracare, which in 2019 launched its 100% plastic-free and compostable Safe to Flush Moist Tissues.

There are also exfoliation gloves, bath mats, body scrub pads, bamboo cotton buds, reusable make-up remover pads and facial cloths – the list goes on … and the flow of products is set to continue as savvy consumers increasingly resolve to prevent single-use plastic clogging up both their lives and the environment.

The industry that leads
As with many other sustainability issues, plastic-free is an area in which the natural products industry and health retailers are once again at the forefront. “We are the industry that leads, not follows – we take out mineral oils from our products, parabens, create vegan alternatives and strongly promote organic – this is us,” says Graeme Hume, MD of Pravera, which distributes a number of brands – including Ben & Anna and Fair Squared – with plastic-free bathroom options. “We must lead and promote, and explain why it is so important for now and future generations.”

Ben & Anna’s plastic-free bathroom essentials range of 100% organic, vegan and cruelty-free items is free from parabens and microplastics. The collection comprises Shower Tablets with extracts of freshwater algae and citrus; Shampoo Tablets; Toothpaste Tablets with Fluoride and vitamin B12; and a rainbow Equality Toothbrush made from environmentally-friendly, sustainable meso bamboo, with 10p from each toothbrush sale donated to the LGBT Foundation.

We must lead and promote, and explain
why it is so important for now and
future generations

“Since Founders Ben and Anna resolved to make their brand plastic-free, the challenge was to examine conventional products and packaging and consider what was needed to offer alternatives with a sound ecological footprint,” explains Hume. “Achieving zero waste is their end goal, especially in the realm of personal hygiene. They want to inspire and encourage people to think about their consumer behaviour.”

Fiona’s favourites
Fiona Klonarides, founder of The Beauty Shortlist, gives her recommendations for a sustainable bathroom experience:

“A plastic-free bathroom feels so much cleaner, and it’s easier to ‘do’ than some people think – and no sorry-looking toothpaste tubes (approx 500 years to decompose, approx 1.5 billion discarded around the world each year), just for starters …

My biggest bugbear is the plastic toothbrush and toothpaste tube combo. I’m currently using Ben & Anna’s plant and herb-powered Black Charcoal Toothpaste with sea buckthorn, pineapple, aloe, sage, mint and charcoal, and the icing on the cake is that it’s fluoride-free, too. 

It’s not hard to swerve away from the dreaded toothpaste tubes: we’ve got tooth powder, tabs and glossy, unctuous paste-in-a-jar options, with Denttabs, The Humble Co and Georganics being some of them.

Although zero plastic electric toothbrushes aren’t ‘here’ yet, you can find recyclable brush replacements, or choose to go old-school with Organically Epic or Ben & Anna’s bamboo toothbrushes.

My biggest bugbear is the plastic toothbrush and toothpaste tube combo

Fast-growing, sustainable bamboo is solving some pressing problems, for example The Cheeky Panda Toilet Tissue is 100% bamboo, natural and sustainable, and for shaving mishaps, PATCH Bamboo Plasters artfully solve the plastic problem. 

On the deodorant front, there are some excellent natural eco-friendly ones – which really do work! I like Proverb Skincare’s refillable Wild Mint & Eucalyptus – a fantastic his or
hers option.

Perhaps the ultimate plastic-free bathroom products are the ‘almost-nakeds’ – shampoos, conditioners, artisan soaps. There are so many good ones, like Greek brand KEAR’s Lemon Soap and cleansing bars.

SBTRCT’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser does as good a job as some of the best cleansers, and like its Moisturising Bar, is just a great bar in simple, planet-happy packaging. As SBTRCT says: ‘The carton and paper wrap for this product are both 100% compostable. Stick it on the compost heap, give it 90 days, pull on your gardening gloves and start planting your hardy perennials.’

Directly related to solving the plastic problem, these types of 100% home-compostable products have been arriving for The Beauty Shortlist’s new Eco Lifestyle Awards (2 March) and I am sure we’ll see more – it’s a very positive trend that spotlights how refreshingly simple eco living can be.”

100% plastic free bathroom accessories

Beauty Kitchen
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.beautykitchen.co.uk

Introducing Beauty Kitchen’s 100% plastic free bathroom accessories. Reusable, unbleached and completely compostable, the range extends from soap rests to face cloths and body sponges to travel tins. These products are a simple way to reduce the amount of plastic in any bathroom.

Made with only natural materials such as cotton, hemp, sisal and coconut fibre these waste-zero alternative bathroom accessories have been created with Cradle to Cradle principles in mind, going full circle from start to finish.

100% plastic free bathroom accessories

Beauty Kitchen
E-mail:  [email protected]en.co.uk
www.beautykitchen.co.uk

Introducing Beauty Kitchen’s 100% plastic free bathroom accessories. Reusable, unbleached and completely compostable, the range extends from soap rests to face cloths and body sponges to travel tins. These products are a simple way to reduce the amount of plastic in any bathroom.

Made with only natural materials such as cotton, hemp, sisal and coconut fibre these waste-zero alternative bathroom accessories have been created with Cradle to Cradle principles in mind, going full circle from start to finish.

Shaving Bar – Orange & Lavender 

Friendly Soap
www.friendlysoap.co.uk

Forget your foams and junk your gels – this naturally soothing bar makes a wonderful lather for a comfier wet shave. Suitable for face and body, this clever Orange and Lavender Shaving Bar softens your hair and nourishes your skin both at the same time and if you don’t have a bowl and brush to hand, you can still whip up a very respectable lather between your hands. Free from plastic, cruelty and preservatives, each Shaving bar is handmade with castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, kaolin clay, soy wax, aloe vera plus lavender & orange essential oils. – £2.75 RRP

 

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.kinetic4health.co.uk

We Love the Planet now offer two vegan deodorants: Luscious Lime and Sweet & Soft. In these special vegan formulas, the beeswax has been replaced by sunflower seed wax, and in Sweet & Soft the baking soda by an increase in cornstarch powder, making it suitable for even the most sensitive underarms. The result is a soft cream that is quickly absorbed into your skin and does not clog pores. Available in a wide-opening biodegradable and compostable cardboard tube (65g), also recyclable and zero plastic. 100% of the ingredients are from natural origin – certified by Natural Cosmetics Standard (NCS) and EcoControl. 

 

Lamazuna Solid Shampoos

Living Planet Distribution
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.livingplanetdistribution.com

These heavenly French pastry-shaped shampoo bars are a delicious way to make every hair wash a pampering treat! Made with natural ingredients and easily portable, they are among the star products in Lamazuna’s solid cosmetics range. These solid cosmetics do some serious heavy lifting in the zero-waste department, lasting for as long as two regular bottles shampoo but without all the packaging. There are versions for all hair types, enriched with nourishing ingredients like spirulina and Abyssinian oil. The solid shampoos are also available without essential oils, so they are safe for sensitive scalps or pregnant and breastfeeding women too. 

 

Lamazuna Solid Conditioner

Living Planet Distribution
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.livingplanetdistribution.com

The Lamazuna Solid Conditioner with its delicate vanilla scent not only looks pretty on a soap dish but is intensely nourishing, making hair easier to manage and leaving it feeling beautifully soft. The unique star-shaped design makes it easy to hold and apply and perfectly complements Lamazuna’s zero-waste shampoo range. The ingredients are free from essential oils, 100% natural, and it is certified COSMOS Organic and vegan – an excellent choice for all the family. Each bar lasts longer than two regular bottles of conditioner and completely plastic-free, so it is as innocent as it looks!

 

Lamazuna Solid Shaving Bar

Living Planet Distribution
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.livingplanetdistribution.com

Lamazuna’s Solid Shaving Bar is made with fairtrade, organic, moisturising shea butter. This dreamy shaving bar cares for your skin while you shave and when wet produces a rich, creamy lather, perfect for use in or out the shower. Moreover, it has a gorgeous fresh green tea and lemon scent that will make shaving a pleasure! It is suitable for men and women on any face or body area and contains no essential oils, making it excellent for sensitive skin. Each bar lasts as long as two cans of shaving cream – a super addition to a zero-waste bathroom.

 

Natracare Organic Applicator Tampons

Bodywise (UK) Ltd
Tel: 01454613347
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.natracare.com

Having a plastic-free period, including the packaging your products come in, is easier than ever. Natracare’s applicator tampons have been awarded the Plastic Free Mark certification by A Plastic Planet, making it easier to choose the plastic-free option for your period. Made from only soft organic cotton with a smooth, easy-glide cardboard applicator, they’re also free from perfumes, dyes and chlorine bleaching, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body. Look out for the Plastic Free Mark on Natracare’s beautiful new packaging designs. 

 

Ben & Anna Shower Tablets

Pravera Ltd
Tel: 01557 870203
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.benandanna.uk

These refreshing Shower Tablets are small but mighty! Enriched with baking soda, olive oil and extracts of freshwater algae and citrus leaves they allow your skin to feel not only cleansed but cared for.  Available in either refreshing Aqua or mild Velvet. Made with only 100% natural ingredients, suitable for Vegans, always in eco-friendly packaging and of course no animal testing. Each pack contains 30 tablets.  Trade £6.64 RRP £11.95

 

Fair Squared Zero Waste Range

Pravera Ltd
Tel: 01557 870203

E-mail:  [email protected]
www.fairsquared.co.uk

The new resourceful 100% Zero Waste range from FAIR SQUARED takes things one step further. The eco-conscious products are now packaged in truly plastic-free packaging, which consists of glass bottles with aluminium lids fitted with a new innovative Fairtrade biodegradable Fair rubber seal. The range consists of body lotions, soap bars, reusable razors made from ocean plastic and organic cotton pads. The high-quality care products are 100% free from palm oil, contain Fairtrade ingredients, are certified NaTrue Natural and Organic, cruelty free with PeTA, Halal and are registered with The Vegan Society. FAIR SQUARED products are also carbon neutral. Trade from £4.97 RRP £8.95

 

Truthpaste: Natural Botanical Toothpaste

Truthpaste Ltd
Tel:  01273 526070
E-mail: [email protected]
www.truthpaste.co.uk

Introducing Truthpaste: The UK’s natural plastic-free toothpaste offering a unique approach where each ingredient provides a benefit for complete oral care. 

Revolutionised Oral Care
Inspired by a toothache and developed to disrupt the way we formulate products. Unlike traditional toothpastes, Truthpaste doesn’t use synthetic bulking and binding ingredients, foaming agents, and harmful EDC’s. 

Influenced by ancient wisdom and backed-up by modern research, Truthpaste uses only organic botanicals with a mineral base – ingredients that are shown to provide oral health benefits. The result: a great tasting natural toothpaste that harnesses nature’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Bold flavours & long-lasting freshness.
Part of what makes Truthpaste unique is the range of bold flavours which not only provide great tasting toothpaste, but actively help to protect teeth and gums whilst keeping breath fresher for longer. All products are carefully formulated to help maintain a healthy oral pH, whilst not only removing plaque but helping to prevent the bacteria that forms it. 

Better for you, better for the planet.
With plastic pollution a global threat, Truthpaste is committed to providing a plastic-free solution to oral care. All products are packaged in recyclable glass jars with biodegradable recycled card. 

The products.
All ranges have two distinct flavours to choose from: 

• Truthpaste Original: Peppermint & Wintergreen, Fennel.
• Truthpaste Kids: Mild Mint, Sweet Orange.
• Truthpaste Charcoal: Peppermint & Spearmint, Fennel & Orange. 

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Honest about ingredients and passionate about providing effective natural products for complete oral care. Truthpaste sources sustainable ingredients that are shown to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. All products are registered vegan and cruelty-free by The Vegan Society. 100ml, RRP £8.99