Zero Waste Bathroom
Hey y’all! Welcome! I’ll start off with an honest moment – I have been putting off writing this post for weeks now. But, I’ve finally got the courage to admit that YES I have taken steps to reduce my waste and NO I am nowhere near close to perfect at it!
I keep thinking – who am I to talk about a zero waste bathroom when I still have so much plastic and paper in my own home? Especially the bathroom. But, I realize what matters is that I’m trying and I’m conscious about it! And that’s what I want for everyone.
There is so much that we can do to reduce our bathroom waste. And that’s exactly why I haven’t written about it – because 1. it’s a bit overwhelming and 2. it is going to be a longgg process to have a totally plastic-free bathroom.
Now, I have made some awesome strides towards reducing our waste in the bathroom, and entire home (check out my Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste). Truly. But, I’m probably not even halfway there. (Will my huge, plastic container of baby powder ever run out? Doubtful.)
Luckily, there are steps you can take right now to reduce your bathroom waste. I’ve listed some good places to start. But first, an important zero waste tangent…
Here’s the deal. The smallest room in your house, the bathroom, produces more waste than we even realize. Aside from the obvious water waste while we are showering and brushing our pearly whites, our bathrooms are also home to dozens of plastic products and bottles. I currently have 28 plastic bottles in my bathroom! What! Shampoo, sunscreen, nail polish remover, lotions…you name it, I got it.
I have been transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle for months now and still almost every. single. product. in my bathroom is in a plastic bottle. *UGH* I feel like I haven’t put a dent in my bathroom waste.
I won’t toss my half-full shampoo bottle just because I’m trying to rid plastic from my life. Right now I am using up all the shampoo, as I would regularly do, and once it’s finally gone I can transition to a more sustainable product.
And that’s my advice to everyone. You don’t have to get rid of perfectly good items! Use them up and wear them out. THEN you can make a more sustainable choice next time. This has been overwhelmingly true in the bathroom.
It will take me months to transition to a fully zero waste bathroom, if ever. And that’s totally OK!
That’s another reason I have been avoiding this post. There are some bathroom items that I will never give up. For example, toilet paper. Nope, will not do it. Full disclosure – I will not transition to a cloth to wipe my bum. Some things are just out of the question. Now, there are recycled paper products that I will transition to when our current supply runs out. But until then, I’m happy with my fluffy TP!
And, I’m here. Talking about a zero waste bathroom. Because even if we aren’t willing to give up certain items, or still have a boatload of plastic, there ARE steps we can take right now that are aren’t overwhelming. It’s actually easy. Let me share with you how I started and what my next steps are to a zero waste bathroom.
Bamboo Dry Brush
Replace your loofah with a bamboo brush. And, for daily washing all you really need are your hands or a wash cloth. Both are zero waste! As for the exfoliating aspect of a loofah, pick up a bamboo brush. I snagged mine for a few bucks at TJ Maxx.
My bamboo brush beats a loofah in every way! First, I use dry brushing to exfoliate once a week – the handle helps me get those hard to reach places and the head comes off for easy use elsewhere. Love! And second, bamboo is compostable. Definitely a bathroom favorite.
Since I’m on the bamboo train, you can also transition to a bamboo toothbrush. Because…why not? I realized that most of my beauty products are in plastic bottles, but I didn’t put the pieces together that my toothbrush was made of plastic, too.
After I was sick last month I went the bamboo route when buying a new toothbrush. It was the same price as any old plastic one. But, this guy is also compostable. The bristles are still made of plastic, so I just pull them out when I’m done with it. Makeup brushes and hair brushes come in bamboo options, too!
Natural Face Masks
Natural face masks are a no-brainer. I wrote an entire post about my favorites. A lot of natural products, like honey, contain amazing skin clarifying properties like antioxidants and vitamins. Say goodbye to the individual face mask pouches and make an amazing, DIY, natural face cleanser yourself!
Bathroom Air Fresheners
Stop buying aerosol air fresheners. I still have a bottle of apple cinnamon scent (yum) that I am working on using up. But, sometimes it seems like it will last forever! Regardless, I am using more candles and essential oils to freshen up my bathrooms, and entire home. The chemicals used to make aerosol sprays are generally bad for the environment. And the transition is so easy. Try it out!
Here’s a fun one, let’s talk about periods…kind of. I’m not going to go in depth because we all know about the diva cup. If you aren’t willing to adopt that zero waste hack, just start buying organic products. I am currently transitioning to the LOLA brand because they use all organic cotton AND mail you a supply every month. So, you are supporting a sustainable brand and you never run out – win, win, win!
Tampons and pads are full of weird chemicals anyways. Gross. Who wants that in or near your body?!
Zero Waste Trashcan Liner
I used to stock piled plastic grocery bags to use as a liner for my bathroom trashcan. Seriously, I had entire cabinet full of them! Since I only use reusable bags now, I had to get a little creative with my trashcan liner. I cut up an old t-shirt and tied a few parts together…and TA-DA – cloth trash can liner!
It rarely ever gets dirty since our bathroom trash is mostly tissues and contact lenses. But, I still toss it in the wash occasionally, and it is good as new! While brainstorming I also saw the option to make newspaper origami trashcan liners. I opted for something quick and easy, but origami is definitely a cool option.
Bathroom Soap Options
Bar soap can replace your hand soap, body wash, or face wash. I love checking out all the unpackaged bar soap at my local bulk grocery store and farmers market. For some odd reason, all the different colors and scents are so intriguing! Bar soap generally comes in less packaging than its liquid alternatives. Super easy zero waste transition.
So, I have transitioned quite a bit in the bathroom and I have a lot more creative, zero waste hacks up my sleeve! My next transitions will be more DIY products, like shampoo and conditioner. If you’re not interested in making your own products, check out a bulk store. Sometimes they have the necessary beauty products and household cleaners.
I also am so interested in buying a safety razor. It has one, small disposable blade and is made entirely of metal. People rave about them! They will also save you a pretty penny and a bunch of cabinet space. I am currently on my last disposable, plastic razor so the switch will be coming soon. Yay! And on the shaving subject, coconut oil is an awesome replacement for shaving cream.
Some zero waste bathroom transitions are a bit trickier. The toilet paper one, we know. Also, I haven’t found a flossing solution, yet. I do know that floss picks are more wasteful than tiny floss boxes. I also am having a hard time reaching for a handkerchief over a tissue. Tissues are super wasteful, but my skin is also super sensitive. If you know of any alternatives, please let me know! Deodorant, lotions, and toothpaste can all be fun DIY projects.
Do you have any zero waste bathroom tips that I didn’t mention? I know there are dozens out there! Also, don’t be afraid to transition slowly. Every little bit counts. Even things that seems small have great, positive impacts on our environment! Opting for bar soap over body wash, saying “no” to floss picks (although they are oh-so convenient), and even reusing your bath towel multiple times. All huge wins!
As always, subscribe to my email list for updates and to check out my upcoming FREE ZERO WASTE EBOOK. It currently contains over 100 zero waste hacks!