The bathroom is one of the biggest contributors to household waste. From plastic shampoo bottles to disposable razors to flimsy toothbrushes, many bathroom products are literally designed to be thrown away. Make the responsible decision to move away from harmful, toxic single-use products.
Shop for eco-friendly, zero waste bathroom products that are better for your body and the planet.
Why Strive for a Zero Waste Bathroom?
Take a minute to run through your bathroom routine in your mind. Perhaps you roll out of bed and use the restroom, brush your teeth, and jump in the shower. You wash your body, shave, shampoo and condition your hair, rinse, and dry off. Time for skincare – washing your face, putting on lotions and makeup.
How many products does that routine involve? How many of those products are stored in disposable plastics? Or perhaps even contain microplastics and other harmful materials?
If you’re like most people, you may not even be aware of how many disposable products you use. But those products are taking a serious toll on the environment, your finances, and even your health.
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For example, your shampoo. Of course, there is the obvious: the plastic bottle. But the shampoo itself is often full of harmful chemicals, including sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a toxic chemical that is derived from petroleum and can strip oils from your hair and damage your scalp. Yet shampoo is a product most people use several times a week, if not every day!
Here’s the good news: many zero waste brands are passionate not only about eliminating the use of disposable plastic products – but also care about human health. Zero waste bathroom products often come in reusable, recyclable, or compostable containers. But what’s equally important is what’s on the inside: organic products free of harmful toxins.
Read on to learn about simple zero waste bathroom swaps you can make today!
Easy zero waste bathroom swaps to cull the clutter!
As if there weren’t already a multitude of reasons to switch to zero waste bathroom products, here’s another one: you can finally start to tame that clutter monster!
Rather than a multitude of half-used bottles and cheap plastic products, you can fill your bathroom with environmentally-responsible, aesthetically-pleasing swaps that are easy on the eyes and the earth.
Zero Waste Shower & Bath
The shower is the culprit for many wasteful plastic products, like shampoo bottles, razors, and loofas. Start off with some simple swaps here, and then move on to the rest of the bathroom!
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
Since I began my zero waste journey, plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles were among the first things I decided to cut out of my routine. I started to feel really guilty every time I stepped into my shower and saw the colorful rainbow of plastic bottles full of toxic products that were destined to end up in landfills, outliving me by decades. Once I heard about shampoo and conditioner bars, I was on board one-hundred per cent!
I was slightly skeptical about how well the shampoo bars would work on my dry scalp, especially because I feel like I really need to get a good lather in order to truly clean my hair. But there are zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars out there for every hair type, so you can clean your hair without the toxic products and plastic packaging. They’re also super handy for traveling!
If you’ve used disposable razors your entire adult life, it can be a bit intimidating to switch to a different type of shaving tool. But speaking from experience, once I got used to my zero-waste razor, I never wanted to go back! I recently made the switch to a reusable safety razor and I can say honestly, I now get a better shave than I ever have, and I actually have fewer nicks and cuts than I used to get from those cheap plastic razors.
It might seem like a bit of an investment, but these razors will last a lifetime if properly cared for. This is definitely worth the swap – just think of all of the plastic razor blades you’ll be saving from the landfill!
Read More: Zero Waste Shaving
Just like shampoo and conditioner, traditional body wash comes in plastic bottles and is typically filled with chemicals that you really wouldn’t want to be absorbed into your skin. Even worse, some body washes come with “micropearls” or “beads” that are supposed to help remove dead skin. Those little abrasives are actually tiny pieces of plastic that move straight from your shower into the water system, and eventually into the oceans.
Replace your old body wash with a zero waste body wash that is better for your skin and won’t contribute to environmental issues. You can switch to a body bar soap, or even try a DIY body scrub recipe. You’ll get just as clean, and you might actually notice some skin benefits as you quit the harsher products that have artificial fragrances and abrasives.
If you’re still using one of those cheap plastic loofas, take a moment to look up the stats on how much bacteria they hold. We’ll wait.
Finished? I hope you’ve just thrown away your loofa for good! There are so many lovely zero waste bath products out there, so why stick with ineffective plastic garbage any longer?
Natural sea sponges are far more effective and are completely biodegradable. Of course, you could always switch to actual luffas, sponges that are actually grown from plants (you can even buy seeds and grow them in your backyard!) Alternatively, find bamboo versions of most other bath products, such as biodegradable bamboo bristle bath brushes.
Read More: Eco-Friendly Loofah Alternatives
Lastly, don’t forget about that shower curtain! If you’re like most, you probably have a PVC shower curtain hanging in your bathroom. So you may be shocked to learn that these traditional shower curtains have been found to release over 100 different chemical compounds into the air! These can adversely affect your health in a multitude of ways.
Add the fact that they aren’t recyclable, and many don’t live that long without starting to look a bit shabby, and you have a pretty bleak picture. Luckily, there are eco-friendly shower curtains available to save the day! Not only are they free of harmful chemicals, recyclable and often compostable, but they’ll look great in your bathroom too!
Read More: Zero Waste Shower Curtains
Zero Waste Beauty Routine
Zero waste living is more than skin deep – but that doesn’t mean your beauty routine is exempt! Learn how you can replace harmful products and single-use containers with sustainable solutions that you’ll love.
As consumers have continuously made it clear that they want zero waste products free of toxic chemicals, some brands have stepped up in a big way to start providing zero waste makeup products.
From refillable glass and metal containers to palm oil and plastic-free products, you can find plenty of zero waste makeup products for every skin type and tone. And don’t just stop at mascara or lipstick – the transition from single-use makeup wipes to reusable makeup remover pads is a crucial part of your zero waste beauty routine!
Read More: Zero Waste Makeup Brands
ZERO WASTE SKINCARE
Toxic ingredients and synthetics don’t belong on your face. Period! Zero waste skin care products inherently come without the plastic microbeads and synthetic “cotton” fibers, so all you are left with is an eco-friendly skin care experience.
Brands that produce truly zero waste skin care products are also more likely to include organic botanicals and natural ingredients in their products, so your skin will reap the benefits too.
PLASTIC-FREE HAIR PRODUCTS
This is actually a switch I made “accidentally”, before I even really discovered the zero waste movement. I was shopping for a new hairbrush, and was tired of plastic brushes that broke quickly, lost bristles, and ripped my hair.
While comparing options, I came across a durable wooden hairbrush with great reviews. I got it, absolutely loved it, and haven’t looked back! There are zero waste hairbrushes and combs for all hair types, and they are seriously durable, making them a much more sustainable option.
And while you’re at it – don’t forget about your hair ties! Traditional hair ties are made of synthetic materials that’ll take decades to break down – if they break down at all. And don’t get me started on how many hair ties break, stretch, or just mysteriously disappear! Switch to plastic-free hair ties and your hair, and the environment, will thank you for it.
NON-TOXIC NAIL PRODUCTS
Another great opportunity for some simple swaps. Replace that gross old plastic nail brush with a compostable zero waste nail brush made of wood with natural bristles.
You can find nail files made out of glass or crystal that will far outlast traditional nail files. You can even get zero waste nail polish – cut out toxic ingredients and plastic lids while still enjoying your mani-pedi.
Read More: Zero Waste Nail Polish
ZERO WASTE FACE WASH
Feeling anxious at the thought of “breaking up” with your face washing routine? Don’t worry – there are tons of options for zero waste face wash that won’t irritate your skin, and you can always make your transition more gradual to use up the product you have left and slowly introduce the new product to your skin.
You can find zero waste facial bar soaps, pump soaps (in reusable glass bottles), skincare masks, and much more. Personally, I opt for a zero waste facial bar that I use 3 times per week after exercise, but the rest of the time, I just use water!
Zero Waste Body Care
Have you ever read the ingredients listed on your moisturizer? Ever had a mild reaction or irritation to your deodorant? Switching to zero waste is a great sustainable choice, but you might even notice some health benefits when you transition to zero waste body care products!
ZERO WASTE DEODORANT
To be clear, not all “deodorant” does the same thing. That is to say, what you are probably used to buying at the store in that plastic tube is an antiperspirant/deodorant. The antiperspirant physically stops you from sweating by blocking your sweat glands, which is about as good for you as it sounds (not at all!). Natural deodorant simply neutralizes bacteria on your skin, which prevents and addresses any odors.
It may take a little getting used to, but zero waste deodorant (without antiperspirant) is far better for your body, not to mention the clear environmental benefits. Zero waste deodorant can usually be found in biodegradable (often cardboard) tubes, or glass jars. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!
Read More: The Best Zero Waste Deodorant Brands
ECO-FRIENDLY BODY MOISTURIZER
Made from natural ingredients, zero waste body lotions can be purchased in zero waste containers, often glass or metal, that can be cleaned out and reused before recycling. Alternatively, you can try making your own moisturizer or lotion at home using natural and organic ingredients.
Zero Waste Hygiene
As they say, cleanliness is next to godliness. Stay fresh with these zero waste hygiene swaps, and you’ll be feeling your inner goddess!
ZERO WASTE TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE
Toothbrushes are often one of the first zero-waste swaps people tend to make in their bathrooms. This is probably due to the recent increase in the availability of toothbrush alternatives, such as bamboo or stainless steel, with either compostable or replaceable bristles.
Zero waste toothbrushes are not only more visually appealing and nicer to use than plastic toothbrushes, but they also prevent more plastic from entering landfills and bodies of water, where they might be consumed by marine life or sit for hundreds of years without breaking down. Bamboo toothbrushes, for example, break down within just 4-6 months. You can even throw the bamboo handle in your compost (but be sure to remove any non-compostable bristles first).
Traditional toothpaste is just as bad when it comes to waste that doesn’t break down for years, not to mention the toxic chemicals like artificial sweeteners and pesticides that are in most common toothpaste formulas.
Zero waste toothpastes often come in reusable or biodegradable containers. One common zero waste toothpaste is toothpaste “tabs” or “bits”, where you pop a small capsule of toothpaste into your mouth that, when combined with water, creates a bubbly foam like normal toothpaste, and provides a great clean mouth.
Other eco-friendly alternatives include DIY toothpaste powder, where you dip your wet toothbrush into a powder that then turns into toothpaste while brushing, or natural toothpaste with organic ingredients like baking soda and coconut oil.
ZERO WASTE FLOSS
Have you finally made good on that promise to your dentist to floss your teeth daily? Do one better by switching to zero waste dental floss. There are plenty of biodegradable options, like bamboo or silk, which come in a reusable glass bottle so you only have to buy refills once you run out. The floss decomposes in mere weeks, which is far better than traditional dental floss that could take centuries to break down.
Read More: Best Eco-Friendly Floss
It is incredibly easy to switch to a zero waste hand soap, because soap bars used to be the norm before liquid soap became so popular! Liquid soap is not only packed in single-use plastic that often can’t be recycled, but the soap itself contains artificial fragrances and harsh chemicals that strip the natural oils from your skin.
Switching to bar soap is a no-brainer. Do one better and switch to bar of soap made by a local artist, or find a shop on Etsy that sells it. You can find natural, zero waste hand soaps with essential oil scents and no harsh chemicals while shopping small. Win-win!
ZERO WASTE Q TIPS
Q-tips are one of those bathroom products that is easy to “forget” about. After all, a tiny q-tip can’t do that much damage, right? And they’re cotton, so…what’s so bad about them, anyway?
This couldn’t be further from the truth! The “cotton” on many Q-tips is actually synthetic cotton, joined by a piece of colorful plastic that is attractive to wildlife looking for a snack. These tiny Q-tips end up in waterways, and despite their size, the sheer number of Q-tips that are disposed of really adds up.
Fortunately, there are some cool new zero waste Q-tips available. Of course, there are the biodegradable wood or paper Q-tips with natural cotton, which are a far better option and break down quickly. But there are also re-usable Q-tips made of silicon that can be used for ears or for makeup, which you can wash with soap and water after use.
Read More: Zero Waste & Eco-Friendly Q Tips
Zero Waste Toilet
While a switch to completely zero waste methods such as a bidet would be preferable, sometimes that isn’t an option. Use the following tips to make your toilet room as zero waste as possible.
TP is a tough one, because some people are very particular about the type and texture of the toilet paper they use. But you can’t deny that traditional toilet paper is far from zero waste, with its plastic packaging and synthetic materials.
Switch to a zero waste toilet paper, typically recycled or bamboo toilet paper and packaged in paper or cardboard, for a more eco-friendly experience.
I already don’t love the look of plastic toilet brushes, especially when I think about how much waste goes into a cleaning tool that is ruined and replaced fairly regularly. Zero waste toilet brushes are far more visually pleasing, and they are commonly made from wood, making them durable and compostable.
ZERO WASTE PERIOD PRODUCTS
Periods can be miserable, but you can make them a tiny bit more tolerable by opting for zero waste period products that are better for your body and the planet.
If you are more comfortable sticking to familiar products like pads and tampons, there are plenty of zero waste options out there. You can find organic cotton tampons which are naturally biodegradable, and pair them with biodegradable tampon applicators that will last a lifetime. Replace your plastic-filled, toxic pads with washable, re-usable cloth pads, that provide hours of comfort and peace-of-mind, for even the heaviest of period days.
Willing to try some new products? Menstrual cups have hit the market big-time, and it’s easy to see why they are so popular- they are completely zero waste and durable enough to last for years. You simply insert the cup into the vagina, where it creates a seal with the vaginal walls and traps blood as it is shed. Then, you just press the side of the cup to break the seal, empty it, and wash it. It can be boiled for sterilization, and reused for years.
Menstrual cups a bit too invasive for you? Period pants might be the perfect solution. These period panties are made specifically to absorb blood throughout the day, and can be worn alone or in conjunction with a zero waste pad or tampon. There are a variety of different cuts, styles, and sizes, as well as options for light, moderate, or heavy days.
Whatever product you try, you will be doing your body a favor by eliminating toxic products, and benefitting the environment by switching to zero waste!
ZERO WASTE BATHROOM CLEANING
Remember when you visited your grandma’s house in the summer and she made you clean the windows with newspaper and vinegar?
No? Just me?
Well regardless, grandma knew what she was talking about! Simple cleaning solutions like vinegar and old newspaper to clean glass and mirrors prevents the need to purchase expensive cleaning products full of chemicals that you end up breathing in as you clean.
Clearly, there is no need to buy any specialty zero waste bathroom cleaning products. Armed with a few natural ingredients like water, vinegar, and baking soda, you can clean and sanitize pretty much any surface in your home! You can even add citrus peels or essential oils to your DIY cleaning solutions for a fresh scent.
If there was just one zero waste bathroom cleaner you might want to consider purchasing, it would be castile soap. You can buy one bottle, and get it refilled at Whole Foods when you run out. It is a versatile product that is gentle enough to use as shampoo but tough enough to tackle stains and soap scum!
These are all amazing zero waste swaps you should try to incorporate into your life over time. But you don’t have to go out tomorrow and spend a chunk of change completely re-doing your bathroom. Start by replacing products with zero waste alternatives as they run out or break. Try some DIY recipes at home, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a zero waste bathroom!