After the kitchen, the bathroom is the second most wasteful part of the home. Bathroom products have been designed to be convenient and disposable and are often packaged in wasteful plastic packaging. And marketers would have us believe that we need these products to stay beautiful, hygienic and happy.
In reality, there are reusable or compostable alternatives to all of these products that can help you transition to a zero waste bathroom. You will replace cabinets full of disposable products with clean, minimal shelves stocked with essentials. You will say goodbye to your trash bin and replace it with a compost bucket for any waste you create. And beauty, hygiene and happiness will not be compromised—you may even notice that they are enhanced!
Here are 15 simple swaps for a zero waste bathroom:
1. Toothbrush: Plastic toothbrushes are disposable and remain in the landfill indefinitely. Or they end up in the oceans or consumed by marine life. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush with compostable plant-based bristles. When you’re done with the toothbrush, you can place the entire brush (with bristles into the compost).
2. Toothpaste. Toothpaste comes in plastic tubes that are non-recyclable. Switch to a homemade toothpaste like my recipe here, or buy a toothpaste that comes in a glass jar (I love Uncle Harry's).
3. Floss. Floss is made from nylon, comes spooled in a plastic container and takes a terrible toll on marine life. The best floss alternative we have found is silk dental floss packaged in a glass container. It’s compostable and the glass container is refillable.
4. Menstrual Cup. Did you know that tampons contain chemicals, bleach and fibers that get left inside of you? A reusable menstrual cup is not just good for the environment, it’s healthier for your body and provides excellent protection against leaks.
5. QTips. Switch from qtips with a plastic applicator to ones with a wood applicator. Qtips can be completely compostable if they are made from just wood or paper and cotton.
6. Shampoo/Body Wash. I use one soap for body wash and shampoo, Shikai. You can buy the soap in bulk at Whole Foods or other bulk stores. I put mine in a glass refillable jar.
7. Conditioner. Conditioner is often sold in bulk as well. I use apple cider vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil. It removes residue from your hair, keeps it soft and heals dandruff.
8. Eye Makeup Remover. Making your own makeup remover is easy and saves money. Find my recipe here.
9. Facial Rounds. Cotton balls and rounds can be composted, but they are often packaged in wasteful plastic bags. Skip the plastic packaging and try reusable facial rounds. They’re soft, absorbent and can be thrown in the wash when you’re done.
11. Safety Razor. Safety razors are a great alternative to plastic and disposable razors. The blades are made from stainless steel and can be recycled when you’re done and the razor itself can last a lifetime.
12. Nail Brush. Swap a plastic nail brush for a wood nail brush with natural bristles. It can be composted at the end of life.
13. Compost Bucket. Keep a compost bucket in your bathroom instead of a trash can. Hair, nail clippings and tissue can all be composted!
14. Toilet paper. Instead of buying tp wrapped in plastic, buy tp wrapped in paper sold in a cardboard box. You can buy the tp online or even at an office supply store.
15. Toilet brush. Switch from a plastic toilet brush to a wood toilet brush that is long lasting and can be composted at the end of life.