Floss, cotton buds, makeup sponges… We create a surprising amount of waste during our self-care routines. And that’s why creating a zero waste bathroom is a great place to start on your sustainability journey.
When it comes to zero waste living, it’s best to change one area of your life at a time rather than diving all in. Start small–slow and steady wins the race.
Now, a zero waste bathroom may sound like an oxymoron. After all, it’s literally the place we go to when relieving ourselves of, well, waste.
However, the point of making zero waste bathroom swaps is to eliminate unnecessary rubbish and ensure the only waste you create is your own.
These are some of the best sustainable bathroom products to banish plastic and single-use items from your routine. Making these simple swaps will give you a beautiful eco friendly bathroom you won’t mind showing off!
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Zero Waste Toilet Brush + Cleaner
Cleaning might not be the sexiest topic, but cleaning products and tools are traditionally some of the worst environmental offenders.
Fortunately, that’s changing! One of the best zero waste swaps you can make for your bathroom are eco-friendly, biodegradable toilet brushes.
Make sure to buy an all-natural wooden brush free of bleach and BPA. Pair that with eco-friendly bathroom cleaner and you’re good to go!
You can also pick up a biodegradable toilet liner to make cleaning easier and more environmentally friendly.
(Almost) Zero Waste Toilet Paper
Yes, you can buy tree-free toilet paper made from sustainably sourced bamboo. While it obviously gets flushed down the toilet, using tissue made from bamboo pulp is far more sustainable thanks to its super-fast growing speeds.
This is one of the most essential zero waste bathroom products because tree-based toilet paper takes a huge toll on the environment. It not only contributes to deforestation, but also requires 37 gallons of water to make ONE roll! Insane.
I recommend Cheeky Panda because it is bleach-free and, despite the name, NOT made from the same bamboo that pandas eat.
If you want to up your eco-friendly game even further, one of the best accessories for a zero waste bathroom is a bidet. It won’t eliminate the use of toilet paper completely, but it will cut it down nearly 60%.
Zero Waste Hair Brush
Plastic hair brushes are a nightmare. All those little bristles and bulbs that fall off your brush, never to be seen again… except they will, because it takes decades for plastic to break down.
If you use a hair brush, one of the sustainable bathroom products you need to invest in is an all-natural, biodegradable brush. These are often made of wood or bamboo, which is actually softer on your hair and the environment.
As an added bonus, wood and bamboo also naturally pull oils from your hair. This means over time, you might be able to squeeze an extra day or two in before you next wash it.
Zero Waste Shampoo Bars + Conditioner
It’s great that most shampoo bottles these days come in recyclable bottles. But that doesn’t mean they’re toxin or cruelty free!
And since most of them are still plastic based bottles, this also means that eventually their recyclable life will run out and they’ll never fully degrade. Not to mention the disturbingly high rate of plastic ending up in US landfills despite being placed in recycling bins.
Instead of liquid shampoo in plastic bottles, try shampoo bars. These are concentrated hair cleansers that are activated by water.
This was one of the first zero waste bathroom products I switched to several years ago and I’ve never looked back. I absolutely love these ones from HiBAR, which come in totally biodegradable packaging.
It is worth noting shampoo bars don’t work for every hair type–it might take some trial and error to find the right one, and the hardness of your tap water can also have an effect.
Check out my post on zero waste shampoo brands for more options!
Zero Waste Soap Bars
The soap bar has been around since 2800 BC, and up until 30 years ago, using bars of soap to clean your hands and body was the norm. But today, it’s far more common to see liquid soap in plastic bottles and dispensers.
Thankfully, the eco-minded Gen Z have embraced the humble soap bar once more, making them trendy once more. However, not all bars of soap are created equal. Many are full of parabens and unnecessary chemicals.
Enter the all-natural soap bar. These bars are made with naturally-derived ingredients like coconut oil and botanicals, and come in a variety of scents and textures.
If you absolutely prefer a soap dispenser, consider this one from Phytonutrients. It’s made from 100% post-consumer recycled products.
Zero Waste Safety Razor
Anyone who shaves regularly knows how much trash plastic razors create. That’s why a safety razor is a no brainer zero waste bathroom product.
Safety razors are typically made of stainless steel and are built to last for decades.
The only thing that needs to be replaced are the blades once they get dull, and they are recyclable. Simply collect them in a small aluminum can and close up the top before placing it in the bin.
Safety razors have a bit of a learning curve. However, a quick YouTube search will bring up tons of informative tutorials to help you achieve a knick-free shave.
Make it even more eco friendly with a zero waste shaving bar!
Save me for later!
Zero Waste Deodorant
Plastic sticks and aerosol cans might be the norm for deodorant application, but they’re terrible for the environment.
For a zero waste alternative, try out a natural deodorant. There are bars, cream, and even powder options available.
The only downside to natural deodorant is that it can take your body a little while to adjust, which can be disheartening at first. But once you acclimate, your pits will be chemical free and you’ll be one step closer to rocking a totally zero waste bathroom.
Zero Waste Lotion
Using lotion is a double-edged sword. While it does give you instant relief from dry skin, it can slow down the skin’s natural moisturizing action.
One benefit of switching to natural soap is that it actually moisturizes your body without stripping the outer barrier. If you don’t have particularly dry skin, you might find that after a bit of an adjustment period you rarely need lotion.
But if your skin is just exceptionally dry in places (hello, scaly elbows!), there are lots of sustainable options available for you.
I recommend Moon Valley–they make an excellent all-natural lotion bar with a few scent options.
Zero Waste Floss
Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene. And if you don’t already floss daily, this zero waste bathroom transformation is the perfect time to start!
But rather than using your usual plastic, PFC coated floss, silk floss is a great biodegradable alternative.
Since silk floss is not as strong, this option doesn’t work for people with very narrow teeth gaps. If this is the case, a high quality water flosser (also known as a waterpik) is the perfect alternative.
Although the equipment is made of plastic, they will last for years before they need to be TerraCycled.
Zero Waste Toothbrush
We all brush our teeth–at least I hope we do. And the sad reality is that toothbrushes can take up to 1000 years to decompose in a landfill (some manage it in 400, but that’s hardly a good thing).
Rather than adding to the pile, invest in a good biodegradable bamboo toothbrush with plant-based bristles for your zero waste bathroom.
This is one of the easiest plastic swaps you can make, and your mouth, and the environment, will thank you for it.
Zero Waste Mouthwash
If mouthwash is a part of your morning routine, then finding an alternative to go in your zero waste bathroom will make a huge difference. Between the giant plastic bottles and unnecessary dyes, standard mouthwash isn’t very eco-friendly.
Because of this, I avoided mouthwash until I discovered Georganics eco-friendly tablets. Simply dissolve these cruelty-free, vegan friendly tablets into a glass of water, swish it around, and you’re good to go!
Zero Waste Toothpaste
Did you know that toothpaste tubes are only recyclable if you actually get all the remnants of the paste out? With a sticky substance and a TINY opening, how can you ever be sure it’s recycling-ready?
And that’s only for the few brands that even use recyclable packaging.
Instead, why not deck out your zero waste bathroom with all-natural, cruelty-free toothpaste in a glass jar? You’ll get the same great minty clean feeling with a smaller carbon footprint.
Zero Waste Lip Balm
Like toothbrushes, those little plastic lip balm cases take hundreds of years to break down. And while they’re decomposing in a landfill, they seep toxins back into the ground.
That’s why eco friendly companies are starting to produce all-natural, plastic-free lip balms. The sustainable casings are made from bamboo, paper, aluminum, wood or glass.
If you’re vegan, be sure to double check there’s no beeswax, as most brands still use this product. Meow Meow Tweet makes a great vegan-friendly lip balm.
Anyone in Europe looking to add more sustainable lip balm products to their zero waste bathroom should check out Beauty Made Easy, a sustainable vegan company from Denmark. Their products are 100% biodegradable, and they also make lipstick!
Zero Waste Menstrual Products
Periods are stressful enough as it is. You don’t want to have the added stress of pads and tampons that fill up your trash bin every month.
Menstrual cups are easily one of my favorite zero waste bathroom swaps. They eliminate the need for tampons and pads, they’re long-lasting, and they can save you nearly $1000 over their lifespan!
Menstrual cups are made with medical-grade silicone, so they’re incredibly durable and flexible. Quality brands can last up to ten years when cared for properly.
I highly recommend the Saalt Cup, which comes in multiple sizes for your comfort. After the first month of using mine, I couldn’t imagine going back to traditional feminine hygiene products.
They’re also an excellent addition to a zero waste travel kit.
If cups don’t work for you, there are also washable and reusable pads that are just as eco-friendly and long lasting.
Zero Waste Q-tips (a.k.a. Cotton Buds)
There are plenty of reasons to keep your zero waste bathroom well-stocked with cotton buds–makeup corrections, first aid care, outer ear cleaning… But there’s absolutely no reason they need to be made of plastic.
In fact, many countries have started banning the sale of plastic q-tips because they’re so abundant and sit in landfills for hundreds of years.
Fortunately, multiple biodegradable options have entered the market. And these bamboo and organic cotton ones from Humble Co. are what I use.
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