12 Alternatives For a Zero Waste Bathroom
Making the bathroom a zero waste bathroom is one of the easiest things to do. Well to be completely honest, making it low waste is super easy. Want to find out how? Here’s a list of zero waste alternatives to the most common toiletries.
An important thing to consider is that it’s not zero waste friendly to get rid of products you already have so you can switch to an eco-friendly alternative. So, for example, if you have a plastic hairbrush and it still works fine, keep it and use it. But if you’re in need of a new one, you might want to consider a brush made of wood or bamboo.
Shampoo & Conditioner
Nowadays, it feels like almost every drugstore offers different kinds of shampoo bars and conditioner bars. Bars are a great alternative to bottles because they come without plastic packaging. They either have no packaging or paper packaging, depending on where you buy them. The bars work like normal shampoos and conditioners, you just rub them in your hands or over your hair and then massage them in. If you store them correctly (in a dry place), they usually last a lot longer than bottled shampoos.
Shower Gel & Soap
One simple solution to avoid the plastic packaging that comes with liquid soaps and shower gels: Soap Bars. Don’t like how the soap feels on your body? You can even buy shower gel bars, where the lather feels as smooth as a normal shower gel. To save even more waste, a shower gel bar can double as a soap bar, and vice versa. So having shampoo and or soap bars is an absolute must for a zero waste bathroom.
It feels like there’s been a big hype with bamboo toothbrushes lately. I see them everywhere, but to be honest I don’t use one. For years now I’ve always used an electric toothbrush and my teeth don’t feel clean when I use a manual one. Last year, the electric toothbrush I used for over 10 years broke, so I upgraded it to an eco-friendly one. It has a plastic handle to waterproof the electronics, but it’s eco-friendly because the cleaning heads are made of biodegradable bamboo and recyclable bristles. Apparently, the handle is supposed to be recyclable too.
With toothpaste, it gets a bit trickier, in my opinion. There are multiple options, which are zero waste, but it might be difficult getting them at a normal drug store. Most zero waste shops stock toothpaste though.
It seems like loose toothpaste tablets are quite popular in zero waste shops. Well, I tried them and realised I don’t like it. You chew a tablet and brush your teeth with the crumbled powder. I don’t know… I just didn’t like the feeling of it.
Some people recommend making your own toothpaste. I’m just not convinced that that’s healthy for my teeth. The argument that it’s natural doesn’t count, in my opinion, since a standard diet contains so much artificial stuff and sugar anyway.
So far, you might think it doesn’t sound good for toothpaste. But don’t worry, I’ve got the solution: Toothpaste in a jar which can be refilled at the store. With this option, the store takes the jars back and the company refills them again. I just love it.
One more note about toothpaste, I noticed that a lot of zero waste toothpaste is without fluoride. Some may consider that a good thing, others not. I don’t want to tell you which one is better, just look out for the one that’s suitable for you.
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as zero waste dental floss, but there are plastic-free versions. Zero plastic dental floss is usually on a big spool inside a metal or glass box. I’ve used mine every day for the last 6 months, and it’s still not close to being empty. When buying one, make sure it’s vegan, as some are coated with beeswax. You can also buy bamboo dental sticks if you prefer. The bamboo sticks are not zero waste either, but they’re a lot more sustainable than the plastic ones.
Shavers & Shaving Cream
Not shaving would be the best option for a zero waste bathroom, but that’s not working for me. I don’t shave my legs that often, but I don’t like it when the hair grows too long. So, I got one of those shavers where you can exchange the blade. I’ve heard so many good things about them, so I was quite looking forward to trying one. But… I didn’t like it. My legs felt super itchy and spotty afterwards. So, I went back to recycled/recyclable shavers for now, and I only change them every few months. I’m still looking for a better solution.
For shaving cream, I don’t use any. But they also sell shaving cream bars in some zero waste shops.
Body & Face Lotion
There are basically two options, as I see it. Use a bar or find a zero-waste shop that offers lotions in refillable jars. Lotion bars are always butter bars, which means they leave a bit of a greasy feel behind. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever used body butter. Personally, I don’t mind that on my body, since it goes away after a while, but I don’t like the greasy feeling on my face. So, I have a refillable face lotion jar and a body butter bar.
This might seem unusual to some, but I don’t use any kind of make-up in my everyday life. Wearing zero makeup is actually the most zero waste approach. The only time when I wear make-up is on special occasions, like some eyeshadow, mascara and maybe lipstick at a wedding. And even then, I use the make-up I’ve had for years or borrow some from a friend.
I genuinely believe people don’t need make-up to look pretty. But if you personally prefer not to go without it, there are plenty of zero waste options out there.
I heard once that you could get addicted to lip balm and your lips get dry only because they’re used to having it. If that’s the case, I’m addicted. My lips get super dry if I don’t use any lip balm, or even when I use the wrong one. I have not found a completely zero waste lip balm yet, only zero plastic ones. My favourite brand is in an all-paper packaging, where you just push the lip balm out instead of twisting it. Another alternative is to use a lip balm in a tin, but then you’re left with a small tin that will go to waste if you can’t find another use for it.
Deodorant & Perfume
This might make some people cringe, but deodorant is another thing I don’t use. I promise I don’t smell though! Perhaps I’m just lucky, as I feel I sweat way less than others. Maybe you could try going a week without deodorant, you might find that you don’t need it either. But I’ve seen a lot of different companies do zero plastic deodorants. Roll-on or cream based are the most common types, and they either come in cardboard tubes or tins. They have very good reviews, but I just don’t have any first-hand experience with them.
It’s the same with perfume, as I don’t use that either as my nose is quite sensitive. But you can buy perfume bars and eco-friendly perfumes in glass bottles in most zero waste shops.
I guess that would be a thing you don’t necessarily need, but I quite like using them. My first attempt to be more eco-friendly in this regard was to get cotton swabs made from bamboo. It’s still a lot of waste though, so I swapped it to a reusable swab ;). Well, it’s all right, I’m getting used to it. It’s just a bit hard to clean because it has lots of tiny bumps.
Traditional menstrual products produce a lot of waste every month. Just in the UK, there are 28,114 tons of menstrual waste products every year.
There are, however, great alternatives for a zero waste bathroom, which are also way cheaper in the long run. The most common are menstrual cups, reusable sanitary pads or period panties. Menstrual cups are great for people who are used to tampons. You need to figure out the right size and shape for your body though. Personally, I don’t like the menstrual cup, but I also never liked tampons. I use reusable sanitary pads and I really like them. Period panties seem like a good option as well, and I do want to try them, but so far, I haven’t.
Final Thoughts on a Zero Waste Bathroom
There are so many ways to make your bathroom more zero waste friendly. But like I said at the beginning, don’t get rid of things that are still usable just to replace them with something eco-friendly. Keep your old things is still more eco-friendly.
You might also reconsider if you really need all the toiletries, or if you just use them because you’re used to them.
Did I forget any bathroom products? What zero waste options have you incorporated into your daily life?
These are wonderful suggestions! I’ve been replacing used products with eco friendly ones. Better for me. Better for the planet.
That’s great 🙂 One step at a time is the way to go 👍
Ooh I love these sustainable swaps. I know when my electric toothbrush inevitably breaks that I’ll be replacing it with the wooden one you’ve recommended.
I really like my tooth brush, although I actually never use the different settings it has.