If you’re going zero waste, the bathroom is a great place to start! It can be as simple as switching to different brands with less waste. Wherever you are on your sustainable living journey, look for one new swap or strategy to try to set up your zero waste bathroom.
What does it mean to go zero waste?
Although “zero waste” kind of tells you what it means, it gets more complicated in reality.
Zero waste = minimizing the trash you create to only things that break down naturally
Zero waste may look like:
- Bringing reusable produce bags to the local bulk store
- Refilling glass jars with your grains, seeds, and oils
- Carrying a reusable cup to the coffee shop
- Only purchasing products packaged packaged without plastic
Low waste = taking steps towards reducing your waste
In a low waste model, you are making shifts towards reducing your waste. You are thinking about the products you buy and trying to limit the trash you create, but you may still be purchasing some items in plastic. This is the perfect starting place for beginners.
With that said, I want you to start from where you are right now.
- If you are not doing any of these things, pick one or two.
- If you are already doing most of these things, see if there are any new ideas to help you!
Keep it simple. Think of going zero waste as a journey, not a destination.
Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps
The best part about going zero waste is that it doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel! It’s all about simple swaps.
You can often find zero waste swaps for whatever you were buying before. If not, you can DIY all kinds of zero waste products!
Plus, a lot of going zero waste is just simplifying. Instead of having face wash, shave cream, body wash, and hand soap as separate distinct products, find natural products that can do more than one thing.
This also saves money and reduces the amount of products you need to buy!
Our favorite place to buy zero waste products
Below, I’ll post directly to many of our favorite brands. In general, I want to let you know that Etsy is your friend! We LOVE using Etsy to find zero waste products because…
- It’s not Amazon.
- You can find almost anything on Etsy.
- You support small businesses!
From zero waste cleaning kits to reusable pads, Etsy is your place.
31 Ways to Set Up a Zero Waste Bathroom
Zero Waste Bathroom Cleaning Products
Instead of a cupboard full of plastic spray bottles and harsh cleaners, simplify the process with these easy zero waste bathroom swaps.
1. Replace your glass cleaner with water and a glass polishing cloth. It cleans with just water! By the way, this is the only microfiber product I recommend.
2. Skip the heavily fragranced toilet bowl cleaners. Scrub weekly with our zero waste toilet bowl cleaner or a small squirt of Sal Suds.
You can also use Sal Suds to clean your shower & toilets and to mop your floors. Aim for multi-purpose products as much as possible!
3. Squeegee your shower doors after each shower and you won’t need to scrub them as much. We use Sal Suds to clean our shower and if there is any build-up, we use this polishing cream.
4. Tackle tough calcium or mineral deposits with a stone porcelain scrubber!
5. Avoid highly caustic drain cleaners. If you tend to clog sinks and drains with hair, add a metal strainer over each one.
Non-toxic personal care products
So many conventional bathroom products are not just wasteful but actually harmful! I have very sensitive skin and am also sensitive to fragrance, so I’ve spent years finding products that work for me.
For any products you purchase, I highly recommend checking the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep search tool. Look for EWG Verified brands.
6. Dump the f-word…fragrance. The definition of “fragrance” is not regulated and it can include a very wide variety of ingredients, many of which are irritating at the very least and potentially carcinogenic.
Always look for unscented, fragrance-free products or products scented only with essential oils. You can even make your own perfume using essential oils.
7. Make your own DIY poo-pourri using simple ingredients scented with essential oils.
8. Use hypoallergenic, non-toxic soaps and body care products. I like to use castile soap as body wash, face wash, shaving cream, liquid hand soap concentrate, and more.
9. Swap out your conventional face cream and serums with zero waste skincare alternatives. Here are three options for you.
- Order zero waste skincare on Etsy.
- Buy clean, sustainable skincare and remember to recycle it properly.
- Make your own zero waste skincare.
If you do, we recommend buying high-quality ingredients from our favorite zero waste company, Mountain Rose Herbs.
Once you have some basic ingredients, you can make almost anything!
10. Look for EWG-verified cosmetics or find zero waste makeup on Etsy. You can even make some of your own makeup or stop wearing it completely.
11. Instead of chemical air fresheners, consider a diffuser for essential oils or make your own fragrance wands.
12. Try a non-acetone nail polish remover and look for safer nail polish brands or avoid it altogether.
Go plastic-free in the bathroom
I believe that going plastic free is the first and most important step on your zero waste journey! Here are some great places to start.
13. Skip the plastic packaging usage by buying toothpaste in recyclable packaging. Some zero waste toothpaste options include toothpaste bites, toothpaste in a recyclable metal tube, or tooth powder.
Wondering about the metal key in the picture? You place it on the flat end of the tube and twist it to move the toothpaste forward. This allows you to use every drop!
14. Replace your plastic toothbrush with a compostable bamboo toothbrush!
15. Cut open any disposable containers to get out all of the ingredients. This will make it easier to wash them before recycling.
16. Buy biodegradable floss. Most floss is plastic-coated, which is harmful for you and the environment.
17. Ditch the plastic bottles. You can wash your body and even your hair with soap! We switched to zero waste shampoo bars to help my itchy scalp and curly hair.
My favorite brand for shampoo and conditioner bars is Silver Falls Sustainability Company (save $10 on your first order over $25 using my link).
A truly zero waste shampoo option is the no poo method!
18. For hand soap, either use a bar soap like your great-grandparents likely used or refill your old hand soap container with diluted castile soap. You may be able to refill your liquid castile soap at a co-op or bulk buying store.
“Zero waste is less about buying and more about being.”
19. Buy personal care products packaged in paper, glass, wood, or metal. Did you know you can even buy deodorant in a paper tube?
20. Look for reusable hygiene products like cloth pads and silicone menstrual cups.
21. Use a washcloth or reusable makeup remover pads instead of makeup removing wipes.
22. Buy a stainless steel safety razor that you can use for life! Disposable razors lead to plastic waste.
23. Did you know you can buy a reusable q-tip? If you buy regular q-tips, get the ones without plastic and aim for organic cotton.
24. Find plastic free hair brushes, loofahs, and exfoliating brushes. There is a plastic free version of pretty much everything these days!
25. When your toilet brush starts to break down, replace it with an eco friendly wooden toilet brush.
26. Ditch the plush TP! Our most popular post EVER is about eco-friendly toilet paper. In a nutshell, pick either bamboo or recycled toilet paper for a smaller carbon footprint.
Personally, we love using bamboo toilet paper from this brand.
Conserve water and resources
A few simple switches will reduce the water you use every day!
27. Make your water sources low flow. Install a low flow showerhead. Did you know you can make any toilet low flow?
28. If you want to make an even greater impact, a zero waste toilet often includes a bidet! Simply use water to clean instead of relying on toilet paper.
Thoughtful sourcing & decorating
29. Shop used first! If you are looking for a bathroom caddy or artwork, check Facebook Marketplace, your Buy Nothing group, or your local thrift store first!
30. Be thoughtful about fabrics. If you ever find yourself needing to replace fabrics in your bathroom, like towels or bath mats, look for eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
31. Use up what you have first. In a rush to go zero waste right away, people sometimes go on a buying spree to replace all their old products. Please don’t!
You can buy your way into a zero waste lifestyle, but zero waste is less about buying and more about being. Keep it simple. Just use up what you have and then replace it with something more sustainable. That’s it!
Which one of these strategies do you want to try next? Did we miss something important? Write a comment to let me know!
Related Zero Waste Posts
Keep up with our zero waste journey!
I’ve been trying to live more sustainably for years now and have made lots of growth! I source meat and eggs from local farmers, I grow my own produce, buy produce in bulk to can or pickle, use sustainable products in the kitchen, etc.
Except…I think I can do better. I want to go zero waste. I’m doing that by first working on going plastic–free and would love to have you join me!
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