25 Easy Replacements for a Zero Waste Bathroom
05 Sep, 2023
Have you ever wondered how many things we throw away daily? According to a Johnson & Johnson study, nearly 554 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills, and that’s just one personal care item!
When it comes to recycling, the items we use in our bathrooms are often overlooked. It is already a human waste room (for lack of better words), so if you want to reduce other waste as much as possible, you can start there!
With a zero waste bathroom, you’re simply making the effort to eliminate the use of disposable bathroom products and swapping them with sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives. For any items that can’t be recycled, you’ll opt for biodegradable options that don’t contribute to landfills.
So, if you’re interested in joining the waste-free challenge, you can get started with these 25 easy swaps in your bathroom!
Shampoo bottles aren’t the only personal care items that wind up in the trash. Think about how many other plastic items you use in the bathroom on a regular basis (and don’t be embarrassed if you’re still counting in your head). Check out the options below for ideas of quick, sustainable replacements.
1. Bar Soap
If your shampoo bottle is plastic, chances are you shop for plastic soap bottles too. To reduce the plastic, buy bar soap instead. These dissolve over time and use, and some bar soap brands even come with recyclable packaging.
2. Plastic-free Deodorant
Most deodorants come in plastic containers too. Switch to natural deodorant sticks that come in compostable or recyclable packaging. You can also try making homemade deodorant to keep in refillable containers.
3. Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper
Once you learn the truth about toilet paper, you’ll never look at another roll the same. Most people just flush and forget, but the environment eventually suffers. If you must wipe your bum, why not opt for eco-friendly toilet paper instead? Recycled toilet paper and bamboo toilet paper both fall under this category, where they’re biodegradable and generally come with plastic-free packaging.
4. Biodegradable Dental Floss
Who would’ve thought that dental floss can be biodegradable too! Several brands make them in refillable containers and allow you to purchase monthly refills.
5. Bamboo Toothbrush
You’d be surprised how many toothbrushes the average person throws away. According to National Geographic, an estimated 1 billion toothbrushes end up in the trash in America each year. An eco-friendly alternative is a bamboo toothbrush. Like all bamboo products, this is biodegradable and safe for the environment when thrown away. You can also opt for toothpaste tablets instead of paste to minimize the use of plastic toothpaste containers.
6. Eco-friendly Menstrual Products
Ladies, you may already be aware that most tampons aren’t flushable (and if you haven’t, your septic tank will eventually tell you). Furthermore, most tampons and pads are made of or wrapped in plastic.
Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly menstrual products available now. From period panties and reusable menstrual cups to biodegradable pads and tampons, several in-store brands have hopped on the sustainability train. Reusable cloth pads are also an option (if you’re up for it), that you simply wash after use.
7. Biodegradable Bandages
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, there are biodegradable bandages too! Brands like Patch provide bamboo bandages, making them plant-based and compostable.
8. Reusable Razors
Instead of plastic and disposable razors that you toss after use, you can find reusable razors that come with recyclable, stainless steel blades.
9. Reusable Q-Tips
There are reusable q-tips out there too! Brands such as LastSwab are made from recycled plastic and are easy to clean after use.
Cosmetics & Skin Care
Do you invest a lot of time in your beauty and skin care regime? If so, chances are you’re throwing a lot of those products away as well. Here are some zero waste swaps you can find for cosmetics.
10. Eco-friendly Makeup
Most makeup comes in plastic palettes and bottles. Fortunately, you can find many zero waste beauty brands that not only provide plastic-free and reusable containers, but also ethically-sourced and organic ingredients.
11. Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
No more throwing away those cotton makeup remover pads! Opt for reusable pads that you can easily wash! Another alternative (and makeup remover hack) is to use coconut oil! It naturally lifts makeup from the skin. Simply rub a teaspoon-size amount of coconut oil between your fingers and massage it on your face before washing.
12. Plastic-free Lip Balm
You can find zero waste lip balms too! Brands such as River Organics, provide lip balm in 100% plastic-free containers.
13. Reusable Cotton Facial Rounds
If you prefer using cotton rounds, consider the reusable versions that are washable and last longer.
14. Glass Jar Moisturizers
Another way to eliminate plastic bottle usage is to purchase moisturizers that come in glass jars. These may cost a bit more, but they are refillable and easy to wash, which saves you money in the long run.
It’s obvious that most cleaning products come in plastic packaging. The question is, are you recycling them? (Don’t worry, we’re not here to judge). It isn’t always on the forefront of our minds to recycle, especially while “doing the doo” in the bathroom. Below are a few eco-friendly ways to approach cleaning products.
15. Refillable Spray Bottles
If you use spray bottle cleaners, opt for the refillable kind. Some cleaning brands, like Mrs. Meyers, sell multi-surface cleaner concentrates to refill your purchased spray bottles.
16. Compostable Toilet Brush
Instead of the usual plastic toilet brush to clean your trusted commode, purchase a wooden or bamboo toilet brush. Both options last longer and are compostable after use.
17. Reusable Cleaning Cloths
Unfortunately, disinfectant wipes (and most wet wipes in general) aren’t biodegradable. They eventually make it to landfills where it takes years for them to disappear. Instead, clean your bathroom the old fashion way with wash cloths, which are washable and reusable. Biodegradable scrubbing pads are another eco-friendly alternative, which are safe to throw away after use.
DIY Bathroom Products
If Earth Day campaigns motivated you to start living more sustainably, these do-it-yourself bathroom product ideas will get your creative juices flowing.
18. Homemade Makeup Remover
We mentioned earlier that coconut oil is a natural makeup remover. A bit of witch hazel, water, and aloe can also do the trick. Look up a few DIY recipes online to see what you can make with products you already have at home!
19. DIY Bathroom Cleaner
Before reaching for the bleach, check your kitchen cabinet for vinegar and baking soda. These two products are natural disinfectants and deodorizers that you can mix with water to clean almost anything.
20. Homemade Mouthwash
If you’re really into creative projects, try a DIY mouthwash. Here’s one from Going Zero Waste that, not surprisingly, lists baking soda as an ingredient (like we said, it literally cleans anything).
Other Eco-Friendly Bathroom Ideas
Last but not least, take a look around the bathroom at everything else left in the bathroom. There are probably a few more items that can be reused or prolonged. Below are a few places to start.
21. Low-flow Shower Heads
The solution to conserving water is to take shorter showers. However, for those who feel cleaner with longer showers, swap out your shower head with a low-flow one. These will help reduce the amount of water used each time.
22. Compostable Trash Bags
Instead of plastic trash bags, source compostable versions that are safer for the environment.
23. Washable Shower Liners
Who said shower liners have to be plastic? Purchase a cloth shower liner which you can clean. It’ll last longer and is definitely a bang for your buck.
24. Compost Toilets
While generally expensive, compost toilets help reduce your carbon footprint. These are dry toilets that literally compost your, well, poop. It may not sound as appealing, but saves a lifetime of flushes.
Finally, to help reduce toilet paper waste and simultaneously clean your bum, bidets are a popular bathroom addition. These can be a bit expensive depending on the brand, but again, well worth the price.
A budget-friendly option is a bidet attachment, so you can feel good about saving the environment and a few bucks. And if you really want to take your sustainable lifestyle a step further, grab some bamboo toilet paper too (both the environment, and your bum, will thank you).