Blog post written by PhD student Eleanor Dickinson, QUB, SBS. Blog post shared by QUB BioGreen Team – take a look for more interesting reading!


The bathroom is undoubtedly one of the most important rooms in the house. It is also a big source of our plastic waste. And have you even stopped to think what your products are made of and how they are made. Here in the green team we are going to show you some of our favourite products that are free from chemicals, reduce our waste and don’t test on our fluffy friends.

Hand soap

We all need to keep our hands clean, especially in the current climate of COVID-19. However, washing our hands doesn’t have to be bad for the environment. Solid soap bars are a great alternative and can be bought anywhere. In fact, it was only in the past 50 years or so that liquid soaps came into our shops. And if you are worried that solid soap is less hygienic, they have been proven to be as effective as liquid soaps, and bacteria does not travel between different people using the same bar.

Soap bars can be bought in most shops, and there are loads of options online. Be sure to check for ingredients like palm oil and testing practices to make sure you are buying cruelty free. Lush have loads of great options and brands like Alter Native that can be found in online shops. Want to shop local? Averil Mulligan’s “Wild About Soap” bars are divine and made using local (many grown by the lady herself) ingredients in County Down. You can find her on Etsy, or in local markets and fairs in and around Belfast.

Dental hygiene

Keeping our teeth clean is really important, and we should not risk our dental health while trying to be greener. Needing additional dental care would actually increase your impact, so keep brushing! There are a lot of options our there such as bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tablets which can help us reduce plastic waste. Bamboo toothbrushes are a great option, however the bristles can often be too soft so make sure you use one that suits you. If you want to try another option, Yaweco brushes are excellent. The handle is reusable and you just change the head, while this doesn’t eliminate waste, it drastically reduces it while ensuring you keep your teeth healthy. And if you use an electric toothbrush, you can buy recyclable heads from brands such as Live Coco. They recycle the heads themselves, so just send them back when you are done with them.

When it comes to toothpaste, there are loads of options too from traditional pastes to chewable tablets. Try to find a brand with fluoride which is important to prevent tooth decay, and be careful with products that us sodium bicarbonate which can be abrasive to teeth if over used. I use toothpaste tabs from Non Plastic Beach (a great online shop for loads of eco-friendly products) manufactured by DENTTABS.

Facial care and make-up

We all want to look after our skin and have a beautiful completion, and Lush is my go-to when it comes to skin care. They have everything from facial soap, scrubs, toners and moisturisers. All their products are cruelty free and natural, and if they do use plastic it is recycled. An added bonus, if you collect five of their black pots and return them you get a free fresh face mask. I also use Facetheory for their simple, vegan and cruelty free products which minimise plastic packaging. I love their affordable Jojoba or Rosehip oil for night-time body and face moisture.


Make up is another tricky area about trying to reduce your impact, and as much as I would like to not use is, I can’t help but reach for my foundation when getting ready. The website Peace with the Wild is a great place to start, with loads of make-up products to guide you on your way to being green. Such as the Vegan Mineral power which comes in a reusable metal tin.

Shower time

The shower is a sacred place and you might think there is no alternative that will live up to your favourite brand of shampoo or conditioner. Fear not! Solid bars have come to our rescue. Due to a surge in popularity, shampoo and conditioner bars are really easy to come across these days. You can find them online and in some shops, including my favourite – Lush. Because the Lush bars are packed full of natural ingredients, I don’t even need to use conditioner anymore. And if you can’t make the switch to solid, find brands that use recycled plastics, such as Lush. Or head down to Refill Quarter in East Belfast where you can refill your empty bottles, a great alternative if you love your liquids.

The same goes for body wash, solid soap is a great alternative or try refills. Love baths? Lush is renowned for their bath bombs and bubble bars filled with divine smells – great for you and the planet. You will always find a Sleepy bubble bar in my bathroom to relax after a stressful week.

Don’t get us wrong, it can seem like a daunting task to make all these changes. We hope we’ve shown you that if you want to go plastic and cruelty free you can. However, don’t be overwhelmed if it seems like too much. Even making one change makes a difference. Converting to solid hand soap could save approximately 10 bottles a year from going to landfill.

Suggested links:

Alter native

Wild about soaps

Yaweco at Natural Collection

Non Plastic Beach



Refill Quarter, Belfast