Shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner usually come in #2 (HDPE) plastic bottles, which, theoretically, can be easily recycled (if you are lucky enough to live in a place where recycling services are available). But the truth is that the vast majority of these bottles will end up in a landfill, producing methane and contributing to global warming.
Fortunately, there are completely plastic-free alternatives! If you do an online search for “zero waste shampoo” or “DIY zero waste shampoo” or “zero waste homemade shampoo”, you will get hits for different shampoo bars to purchase or recipes that involve common household products such as apple vinegar and baking soda. You may not find the right product for your specific type of hair at the first attempt, but think about all the plastic you’ll be sparing the planet and don’t give up without trying at least a second option.
But, if you really can’t let go of your bathroom products, then maybe you can consider minimizing your impact by following one or more of these suggestions:
Cut your hair shorter.
Wash your hair less frequently.
Use shower gel only for those areas of your body that, well, need it. The rest of your body will be just fine with only water.
If you must buy products in plastic bottles, make sure they are the largest you can find and that they are #1 (PET) or #2 plastic, because small bottles and any other type of plastic will definitely NOT BE RECYCLED.
Do not buy travel-size bottles – you’ll be basically buying a lot of plastic around a minimal amount of product. Instead, try refilling small bottles.
Here’s something else to ponder, in case the suggestion to curb your cleansing routines disturbs you: To what extent are our current hygienic habits the result of a successful strategy to sell us products we may not need? To what extent do we need to use all the products we have in our bathrooms?