What can I compost from my bathroom? Much more than you would think.
For regular readers of Recycled & Renewed, you already we know love composting. It is nature’s recycling center and nothing goes to waste.
Food scraps and fallen leaves are common components of composting. It’s the strawberry tops and banana peels from your kitchen and the leaves raked in the fall from the yard.
However, even if you’re already familiar with composting, you might not realize that your bathroom is a treasure trove of composting materials.
You can compost everything from your bamboo toothbrush to cardboard toilet paper cores. In some cases, compostable materials come from your body.
In others, they come from sustainable bathroom brands that manufacture their products with the compost heap in mind. If you’re just starting your composting journey, you might want to ask yourself: what can I compost from my bathroom?
First Step to Composting Bathroom Waste: A New Trash Can
One pitfall to avoid is purchasing compostable products and then tossing them into the trash.
Using compostable or biodegradable floss, for instance, does not make sense even if you throw it in the trash. Burying biodegradable materials in a landfill is like disconnecting your solar panels on a sunny day. It defeats the purpose.
After you answer the question “what can I compost from my bathroom?” the next question is “where do I put all my compostable bathroom waste?”
Most bathrooms are small and you likely do not have extra room for another large receptacle. The good news is, as you will see below, most of the stuff you compost from your bathroom is small.
Our suggestion is go with a mini trashcan, such as this brushed stainless steel mini countertop trashcan from Simple Human. You can fit it on top of your toilet tank or on a window sill.
Even though it is small, it will take you a few weeks to fill it unless you are really flossing up a storm!
If you have graduated to composting bathroom waste, we assume you already know about the importance of composting and some of the disadvantages of composting.
Or, if you are a real compost nerd like us, we also cover interesting facts about composting that include how coal and compost are connected, and what Shakespeare has to say about composting.
What Can I Compost from My Bathroom? Compost Your Body!
As we have covered before in our review of sustainable dental products, many companies make compostable products for the bathroom. But what about the waste that comes from our bodies?
From the hair on your head to your toe nails, much of your body is compostable. When you enter the bathroom to get ready for work or school in the morning, your body naturally sheds compostable materials.
The hair from your brush or comb, your nail clippings, and the little segments of hair that come from shaving are compostable.
As we discussed in our tips for speeding up your composting cycles, hair is a nitrogen-rich material. When you add it to your compost bin, it provides fuel to the microorganisms partying in your backyard.
For people who have periods, menstrual blood is compostable, too. However, composting menstrual products means selecting products from sustainable bathroom brands. Companies to explore include Rael and DRMTLGY.
You can even compost the lint that collects in your belly button! This is another reason, albeit a minor one, to wear clothes made of natural materials.
Otherwise that belly lint will be laced with small strands of microplastics, a pernicious pollutant from our fast fashion habits.
Take Biodegradable Toilet Paper a Step Further
Ok, though it is technically possible to compost toilet paper, you might want to think twice about skipping the flush and putting it in a compost bin. Unless of course you happen to be cleaning up a spill versus, well, you know, your butt.
As we discussed in our run down of B Corps that are legit, Who Gives A Crap is a super cool company that is focused on the compostability of their products.
Even large corporations like Scott manufacture 100 percent biodegradable toilet paper, and loads of other companies make toilet paper out of compostable materials like bamboo. However, it’s not just the toilet paper that requires a second look.
Toilet paper commonly features a paper wrapper and a cardboard tube. You can place both in the compost bin. If you are using a backyard compost bin or a tumbler, our suggestion is to tear up the paper and cardboard into smaller pieces. Or, if you want to supercharge your process, consider a micro-cut shredder for composting.
If you’re particularly adventurous, you can consider a composting toilet, which is a popular feature in modern tiny homes. Did you know some composting toilets use earthworms for decomposition?
Try to avoid toilet paper companies that use plastic to wrap their toilet paper. Choose a brand that uses a biodegradable wrapping paper and cardboard boxes as a container.
Compost Your Toothbrushes & Floss
Standard floss often contains plastic and materials like Teflon, which remain in landfills for eons. Sustainable floss tends to feature plant ingredients.
Bamboo is the gold standard for compostable material when it comes to toothbrushes. However, the bristles often feature non-compostable ingredients.
The handle of a bamboo toothbrush shouldn’t take any longer than six months to compost. Unfortunately, the bristles might not biodegrade because of nylon or plastic composition.
It’s rare, but you can find brands that offer fully biodegradable toothbrush options. Gaia Guy, for example, offers bamboo toothbrushes with boar hair bristles. Brush with Bamboo sells brushes with bristles made of castor bean oil.
Almost all other bamboo toothbrush brands use nylon components for bristles, which you can’t toss in your compost bin. But at least you can compost the handles.
Adopt a Sustainable Beauty Routine
It’s easy to introduce sustainable beauty products into your routine with vegan make-up, natural cleansers, and plastic-free beauty supplies. However, what about all those cotton swabs, facial tissues, and cotton rounds?
All of the paper materials you use each day are candidates for the compost heap, but only when they’re made without unnecessary dyes and perfumes. Take the time to investigate the source of the materials used by sustainable bathroom brands. Is the bamboo used for your biodegradable cotton swabs grown and harvested sustainably?
You can also take your journey into sustainability a step further by employing reusable materials. Reusable make-up remover pads made of bamboo and cotton are a sustainable and affordable option. In some cases, your worn-out cotton rounds are a candidate for composting.
However, there’s a tradeoff because the manufacturer uses nylon, which you can’t include in your composting efforts. Storetite Organics makes fully biodegradable bamboo cotton swabs housed in plastic-free packaging.
You do not need to buy special compostable cotton swabs though, even Q-Tips can be composted. As with most items you throw in your compost, cutting them up into smaller pieces will speed up the decaying process.
Where to Take Bathroom Composting Items
Composting materials to fertilize your lawn is pretty straightforward, but your town might offer composting bins or pickups for your excess.
Some community gardens and farmer’s markets also accept compost. You’ll want to check out their guidelines before tossing everything into the compost for donation or pickup.
Composting is the Next Step in Sustainability
Every so often, ask yourself: what can I compost from my bathroom?
Take a look throughout your bathroom and start switching your petroleum-based and non-biodegradable products for compostable options.
Reusing and recycling products helps reduce unnecessary manufacturing and reduces our carbon footprint. Composting is another beneficial layer you can add to a sustainable lifestyle.
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