No waste. No plastic. No bullshit. The tagline for Zilch Store sums up what they do in six words. Founded in Marrickville by Design Director Rachel Sebastian, Zilch Store is a game changing small business, offering carefully curated (compostable) boxes filled with high quality plastic-free, toxin-free, vegan products. With an understanding of the challenge that going waste-free involves, Rachel has put together her four simple steps to a zero waste bathroom.
By Rachel Sebastian, Zilch Store
When starting on your zero waste journey, one of the most important things to do is to become more aware and intentional with your purchases. Aware of what you are bringing into your house, and also what is going into the trash.
The bathroom is an easy place to start and, I personally think the most rewarding! Here are a few steps I’ve found useful to help get you started — you’ll also come to love the process of swapping wasteful products for natural alternatives too.
Step 1: Reflect
Take stock of what you currently have in the bathroom. What do you actually use, and what products are gathering dust? I also found it really easy to buy new and not fully use up the old, but it’s important to reflect on this type of usage too, to help reduce all overall waste in your routines.
Step 2: Research
Now that you have a better idea of what products you need, it’s good to understand what is actually in the products, and which aspects are the most wasteful. I initially focussed on just the product, but there’s also so much of the waste in the packaging! Taking a step back and researching the entire impact of the product is really important to help you make the best decisions for you.
For example I learned that most bottles of shampoo are made up of 80% water! Switching to shampoo bars instead saves a huge amount of that plastic packaging, shipping weight and cost of the plastic bottles. All helping to reduce your carbon footprint. My absolute favourite is Shampoo With A Purpose. It replaces SIX bottles of shampoo, but on top of that it’s also conditioner, body wash, shaving cream and face wash all in one product.
Step 3: Reduce
Look at the items you regularly use and see if there are any opportunities to minimise your routine. For me I had a lot of different types of moisturisers, and a bunch of overlap in my makeup routine in general. All prime candidates for reducing and swapping for more sustainable and less wasteful alternatives.
A new winner for me was the Konjac Sponge. Easily one of my favourite swaps to simplify my daily routine, reducing cleanser, exfoliator and disposable make up wipes into one colourful sponge. They are completely zero waste, 100% natural, vegan and home compostable. It arrives solid as a rock, then when you run it under water it turns magically soft! I’ve been using it to gently cleanse and exfoliate my face, stimulating blood flow in a natural way, and remove makeup and face masks with ease.
Step 4: Replace
Feel the great satisfaction in throwing out that last plastic bottle of something! You will be amazed as to how much difference you can make with a few easy changes in your daily routine.
Cotton buds are a total no brainer with huge impact. Replacing 200 plastic handles with home compostable bamboo ones! I can safely say everyone loves this switch too. There is no worry of if it will be the right fit for your type of hair or skin, and you will feel so much better knowing that you’re not contributing to more cotton buds ending up in the ocean (I think we’ve all seen that image of the seahorse right!?!).
If there is a product with no zero waste alternative, then look for a refill option, something that creates a circular economy. Dental floss is a great example, purchase the reusable glass dispenser once, then all you need to do is buy the refills.
Hand soap is another easy switch that reduces a huge amount of plastic bottles. I was a bit apprehensive at first (no idea why now!), but the botanical soap’s are so gorgeous, they look good, they smell good and generally just feel good to use. If you currently use liquid hand soap you will probably notice that it’s one of the big contributors to your waste. Plus the bar soap actually works out better on the wallet, and uses less water.
Notes on my journey
Thinking about my principles was very helpful in knowing what products to try, from this we created a strict criteria; 100% plastic free, zero waste, ethically made, cruelty free, palm oil free, vegan, toxin free, support local, reduced carbon footprint & brands that give back and are making a difference in the community.
Doing the research and understand the effects we are having made it extremely motivating to keep to our principles. If you have the time and energy to do your own research – that’s great! Just watch out for loopholes and greenwashing, if they don’t specifically say no palm oil for example, it is likely they have palm oil in the product.
I totally get how much time this takes though so no judgements here – in fact that’s why I created Zilch so you don’t have to do the research!
Good things only delivered to your inbox every fortnight, with tips for self-care and sustainable living.