Zero waste is a process that takes time and patience. It’s helpful to focus on one area of your life at a time. Today we’re focusing on how to have a zero waste bathroom.
We’ve broken it down into categories for you so you can find the relevant information. Please bear in mind that everyone’s zero waste journey is different. What works for one person may not work for another. The trick is to try different things until you find items that work for you and your lifestyle.
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Below we have highlighted a few different sustainable swaps for each zero waste bathroom category:
Zero Waste Bathroom Ideas
When it comes to hair care shampoo bars are the ultimate zero waste bathroom swap as they are completely zero waste. You can buy the bars from a zero waste store or in your local health store in town.
They are a variety of different types and you will need to find one that matches your hair type. For example, if you have very thick curly hair look for bars that contain coconut oil. Shampoo bars do take a bit of time to get used to and your hair will need an adjustment period. If you find the bar you’ve picked isn’t working for you switch to another one and try again.
As well as shampoo bars you can also get conditioning bars.
Refillable Shampoo & Conditioner
If shampoo bars aren’t your thing, then try refillable shampoo & conditioner instead. You will need to visit a local zero waste store that offers this service. If you’re not sure if there is one in your area have a search online, there are lots opening up now as demand is increasing. To refill you simply take along your empty bottles and refill them with your product of choice.
Alternatively, if you really love your liquid shampoo and conditioner, you can check out one of our favorites, Plaine Products, or try a service like Loop which sells packaged goods in reusable containers that you can then drop off at one of their partners for a full reuse “loop”.
Bamboo or Wooden Brushes or Combs
Bamboo brushes and combs are a great zero waste way to brush your hair. A good quality brush should last for years and if at any point it does break you can compost the brush at the end of its life. The key is to look for high quality, long-lasting items that can be used, recycled or composted after its useful life.
For a simple but effective way to clean your body & face everyday use soap. There are lots of different ones to suit all skin types. Try to find ones that are package-free or come in a cardboard wrap which you can recycle or compost.
Body brushing is not only a zero waste way to exfoliate your body, it also has numerous health benefits including stimulating your lymphatic system and helping to reduce cellulite. You use the brush to sweep over your skin in a circular motion up towards your heart. They are 100% reusable and with correct care can last for several years or more.
You can buy body brushes online or in health stores. It’s worth investing in a good quality one that will stand the test of time.
Use organic oils to moisturize your skin. There are a lot of oils you can try – from strawberry seed oil to the more traditional olive and coconut oils. You can buy body oils in glass bottles which you can either reuse or recycle after use. Some zero waste stores even offer refills.
3. Oral Care
Ditch your disposable plastic toothbrush and switch to a bamboo one. When you can’t get any more use out of the brush you can compost it or throw it into a bed in your garden to break down naturally.
You will need to cut off or pick out the bristles though as they are often still made of plastic (mainly nylon) which doesn’t break down. There are some bristles made from boar hair so if you’re not a vegan that may be an option for you. Boar hair can be composted along with the brush handle.
There are plenty of choices on the market now for eco-friendly toothpaste. Whether you’re searching for fluoridated, non-fluoridated, charcoal or charcoal-free, toothpaste bites and natural toothpaste can both be found in a range of options. Most come in glass jars or you can make your own at home. I personally have not gone this route just yet as I’m still working through the old toothpaste tubes I bought before starting down the zero waste journey. Remember to use the stuff you have before looking for those zero waste alternatives.
These Toothpaste Tabs are just one of many eco-friendly toothpaste products on the market and a great addition to a zero waste bathroom. If the first product you try isn’t for you, don’t get discouraged, try to find the option that’s best for you.
Natural Floss Refills
Natural, non-plastic, and refillable floss is a great item to consider when starting your zero waste bathroom journey. You can buy these flosses from lots of zero waste stores. To start with you buy the complete kit: the floss and the container. Then you just buy the refills as and when you need them. This saves on packaging. The packaging is plastic free, usually a glass container which you reuse again and again. Try to find floss made from compostable Corn-base PLA or silk.
A water pick is a handheld unit which you fill with water. You point the nozzle between the gaps in your teeth and water squirts out to remove anything that is stuck there. Once you have purchased your water pick you can use it everyday. You just need to refill the container with water.
4. Hair Removal
Switching To A Safety Razor
One of the most popular zero waste bathroom products is a safety razor. A safety razor, once purchased, can be used for the rest of your life. You’ll never have to buy disposable razors again and it gives you a great, close shave! The only element that needs changing regularly is the blades. The blades are cheap to buy and can be recycled at specific recycling centers.
Collect up your used blades, keep them in a safe place and when you have enough take them to your local recycling facility.
If you don’t want the hassle of shaving everyday then consider an epilator. An epilator works by removing the hair from the root and if used often can result in your hair growing back much thinner. The time between regrowth is also longer, meaning less time spent on hair removal.
Laser Hair Removal
If you’re looking for a more permanent zero waste hair removal process then laser hair removal may be an option for you? It can be quite expensive so it’s worth doing your research before you commit.
Let It Grow!
Obviously the most zero waste option for hair removal is to let it grow! Embrace your natural beauty and ditch the razor completely.
Zero waste Deodorants
The easiest zero waste bathroom swap might be your deodorant. There are hundreds of different types of zero waste, sustainable deodorants out there. It really is a case of finding one that works for you and your skin. It’s worth noting that some people are sensitive to baking soda, an ingredient that seems to be in a lot of natural deodorants, so keep your eye on that.
Try to find one in cardboard packing which you can compost afterwards or in reusable packaging.
Ethique is a great zero waste brand. We love their products! This deodorant is no exception. It is baking soda free which is great for sensitive skin.
Using an alum stone is another popular choice for zero wasters. An alum stone or alum block is a potassium-rich mineral extracted from rock. It has been used in healing practices for centuries due to its astringent and antiseptic properties. These properties attack the bacteria from your sweat which if left causes a foul smell, AKA body odor.
To use it you wet the stone under running water and wipe it on your underarms. Alum stones do not stop you sweating, they stop the sweat from smelling so your body will need time to adjust.
It’s easy to see a list like this and be overwhelmed. Take your time to assess which is the best route for you and try to replace one item at a time. Your zero waste bathroom doesn’t have to be completely zero waste from the start, the key is to just start, learn and grow from there. If you do decide to make a swap, don’t forget our sustainable shopping tips along the way.