Saturday, February 24, 2018

Keeping your toilet Zero Waste

Yep- Zero Waste ways have found their ways to the bathroom.  Let’s face it, we all do it, so we might as well talk about it! As I have been going through Zero Waste swaps in my life, the toilet items were next on my list. I was looking for more sustainable solutions of products which you normally see in your average home- toilet roll and a toilet brush.  So prepare for some shit talk! 
There are a lot of Zero Waste Options when it comes to loo roll. When I did some research into what happens to used toilet paper and our waste, it was obvious that the best isolated solution was no toilet paper at all as anything that you flush down has to go through complex processes in order to be broken down. If any of you travelled in rural places in Africa or South East Asia, you might have come across the hose (or a bucket) and hand scenario. If you have grown up elsewhere, this may be a quite a shock and takes time to get used to, at least it did for me. After a while, you do get used it and you realize that we have done this for thousands of years and it is actually fine.  There is a technique to it and let’s just say that you don’t use your left hand for eating or shaking someone’s hand in the places where this is common. If this is something that you could never imagine doing, don’t worry, there are other things that you can do.

                    Unbleached, Recycled and Zero Waste toilet roll- pretty good solution 

Having your own bidet is a great option but most people don’t have one. If you own your own house, it might be possible for you to get one installed but I struggle to imagine that if you are renting, your landlord might be willing to fork out money towards it. There are some people who have designated cloths which are collected and washed on the hottest cycle possible afterwards. For me, one of the most socially acceptable solutions in terms of easy swaps at home is to simply use toilet paper which is unbleached, made from recyclable materials and doesn't come in any plastic packaging. I found one in my local shop New Roots which I was really happy about. If you don’t have access to recycled Zero Waste solutions, companies like  Who Gives a Crap provide a good bulk order option with very little plastic.  I have checked with them and the only bit of plastic that they use is the tape which is needed to secure the box. This is not ideal but a lot better than other solutions out there. For me however, if I can buy something locally which is just what I need but without the air miles and packaging, I will opt for that first. 

                    I never thought that toilet brush can look this good. Brand new that is! 

Finding a plastic-free toilet brush was not easy. Recycling a used toilet brush is very unlikely and so I was looking for a solution that was biodegradable when the toilet brush finally, ehm gives up. If you have a ZW shop, they will most likely have one but I was left with scouting the internet. I ended up getting mine off eBay but I have also found some here. I opted for 100% natural materials- wooden handle, natural (plastic-free bristles) and no glue or any other material was used to attach the bristles to the wood. I used a plant pot which was given to me second hand,  instead of buying a new holder to hold the brush in place. So in theory, when it comes to the disposal of the toilet brush, it should be compostable or burnt in our wood burner.

 I think when it comes to adopting Zero Waste solutions, there is a spectrum as to what you find acceptable. Although I very reluctantly admit that societal constraints are sometimes valid (although I do think my threshold is quite high to succumb to anything that society tells me to do), I think that if you want to use some unbleached toilet roll instead of your hand, go ahead. But sometimes we just need to get used to solutions before they become normal so perhaps there will be a future without toilet roll? A lot of cultures all around the world have been doing it for thousands of years and they are fine so perhaps it is just one of those things that is more in our minds than a real issue at all.  Let me know what you think in the comments!  


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