Ok! Wow! We have been through a LOT here on the blog over the past couple weeks – from my Sustainable Kitchen Guide to my post on all things Zero Waste Skincare, I have been bringing you my best tips for working sustainability into your life without the stress of being perfect at it. Because let’s be honest, nobody’s perfect. And today, we round things out with one more guide focused on an easy-to-implement approach to having a more sustainable bathroom.
Let’s jump right in!
- Zero Waste Swaps for a More Sustainable Bathroom
- 1. Use a Bamboo Toothbrush
- 2. Switch to Bamboo Toilet Paper
- 3. Make the Jump to a Bidet
- 4. Try Toothpaste Tablets
- 5. Floss With (You Guessed It) Bamboo Fiber
- 6. Ditch Tampons, Try a Menstrual Cup
- 7. Shave Like Your Grandpa Did
- 8. Stick to Solids for Shampoo & Conditioner
- 9. Embrace Bar Soap All Around
- 10. Green Your Laundry… Stat!
Bathrooms produce so much waste because they are full of consumable items. But they don’t have to be.
Normally, my approach to zero waste is simple. Buy less, reuse more.
But have you ever thought about how much stuff we use up (and then inevitably have to replace) in our bathrooms? From toothpaste to soap to razors… the list is pretty much never ending.
And it’s not like we can really sacrifice clean teeth or hair or skin!
If you’re still warming up to the idea of incorporating sustainable alternatives to your daily household routines, I’d suggest starting with my guide to zero waste swaps for the kitchen, which is more focused on reusing, meaning less stuff to buy up front.
HOWEVER, when thinking about how to create a sustainable bathroom, the reality is that investing in a few specific, high quality items at the beginning is the quickest path to reducing your consumption in the long run.
The huge bonus with upgrading elements of your bathroom routine is the pure luxury you’ll get to add. There’s no better place to start self care than with items you use often.
I can’t wait to share these ideas with you!
Zero Waste Swaps for a More Sustainable Bathroom
Let’s start off reeeeeeally easy, shall we? A bamboo toothbrush is the perfect first foray into sustainable bathroom bliss.
Why you ask?
Well for one, they’re cheap.
I’ve been using a bamboo toothbrush for years now, and honestly you can’t tell the difference. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources out there because it grows so quickly, and there’s no plastic packaging to boot.
Also, did you know that bamboo is inherently anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial??
While we’re on the subject, making the switch to bamboo toilet paper is another great place to start your sustainable bathroom journey.
Bamboo paper products are sustainable because bamboo is just very casually the fastest growing plant on Earth. It can grow up to 3 feet per day! That means bamboo plants can be harvested once a year and don’t need to be replanted. Also bamboo uses 30% less water than trees! Need I say more?
I have been using bamboo toilet paper for a while now, and can confidently say that it is worth every penny. Zero compromises on quality or softness, and infinitely better for the environment.
A 24 pack of toilet paper from Reel will set you back just $29.99! Call me crazy, but last I checked that is about the going rate for a similar amount of quality toilet paper these days at Target or on Amazon.
A new box of Reel TP will show up at your house every 4, 8 or 12 weeks and you don’t even need to think about it!! That is luxury if I ever heard of it!
Ok, we need to talk. If you’re looking to be a complete WINNER at reducing your environmental impact, cut the toilet paper out altogether. After all, there is still a supply chain involved with even the most sustainable toilet paper.
Yes, that’s right. It’s time we talked about bidets.
Now, you’re probably thinking about those extra porcelain mini tubs next to the toilet in fancy hotel bathrooms. The ones that have always made you giggle and perhaps made your dad say, “I just don’t see how anybody uses one of those things.”
And I am here to tell you… yep, that’s them. They’re pretty freaking great.
Except, the bidet of today is a tiny little attachment that you connect to the tank of your toilet. Very simple installation, and then it just sits there, off to the side. You finish your business, turn the knob, and fresh water from the toilet tank cleans you right off.
The first time I used a bidet frequently was when I visited Daniel in Jordan last summer. Every toilet in that country has a bidet and, well, you just get used to it.
I have never felt cleaner. And let me tell you that going back to toilet paper just was not an option for me. When you think about it… it’s kind of gross.
They have a multitude of colors to match even the funkiest bathroom decor, and for those whose main fear at this moment is “But isn’t that going to be… cold?!” (it’s really not so bad, I promise!), there’s even the TUSHY Spa, which will spray warm water for you. Crisis averted.
There is no plastic involved whatsoever, from the outer packaging to the jar itself – which lends itself perfectly to being reused in any number of fun and useful ways around the house.
Additionally, these little tablets use way less water than traditional toothpaste. For one, there’s no liquid in the product itself, and you just chew them to activate!
These tablets have all the ingredients you expect from toothpaste in a much smaller package. And just think how easy they would be to travel with! (If that’s ever a thing again…)
If toothpaste tablets are a little further than you’re willing to go at the moment, that’s totally understandable. But then why not try this zero waste regular toothpaste, which comes in 100% recyclable packaging?
I know that this list is starting to sound like my personal ode to bamboo, but… sorry, not sorry!
Once again, bamboo could not be a better sustainable resource. This zero waste floss is compostable, and the little glass dispenser jar is recyclable.
(Did you notice how the lid of the jar has a little slit to pull the floss through and cut it?!)
The thing is, though, you won’t ever need to get rid of the container – because EcoRoots also sells a nifty zero waste floss replacement pack.
Actually, I think this is where zero waste strategies get soooooooo satisfying. When you realize that you really only ever need to buy replacement floss, and that you’ll never again contribute to the production of those flimsy plastic boxes of dental floss ever again… well, that’s when you can start to feel proud of the progress you’re making towards having the sustainable bathroom of your dreams.
I feel like menstrual cups are becoming more mainstream these days, but I think they’re still important to mention.
The average menstruating person uses around 11,000 disposable menstrual products over the course of their life at a total cost of around $6,300. A complete waste of money and materials.
Period underwear has really had a surge in popularity over the past few years, in part to meet this concern, but as an avid user of period underwear I have to say, they don’t always do the full job! (If you’re one of the chosen ones who has a light flow for the entirety of your period and can solely use period underwear, then please do not tell me about it and continue to live your idyllic life.)
However, if you’re like me and many of the most popular period underwear styles are ones you’ve fully leaked out of…potentially all over your best friend’s bedding….then this one’s for you.
It’s time to get on the menstrual cup train, my friends!
First, there is no casual transphobia to be found on their website. The same cannot be said for every menstrual cup product out there, and that’s a shame.
Next, the OrganiCup comes in a multitude of sizes for teens, adults who have not given birth vaginally, and adults who have. Plus, it comes with a helpful little ribbed end to help you get the hang of inserting and removing the cup (which is easily snipped off if it’s uncomfortable or you’ve got the hang of it already).
Finally, the OrganiCup is shipped to you in a tiny (recyclable) cardboard box. No plastic to be found.
I could go on about their awesome approach to social impact as well, but see for yourself. Check out OrganiCup’s website to learn more about how they’ve made period education their mission both close to home and around the world.
Safety razors are a huge step in the direction of the ideal sustainable bathroom. They’re another one of those investments that will last you a lifetime (quite literally, depending on the quality of the razor you choose)!
From experience, I will tell you that if there is one piece worth splurging on in this entire list, it’s a quality safety razor.
What counts as a quality safety razor, you ask?
It should be stainless steel to avoid rusting, evenly weighted so that you don’t have to do too much work to make it do its thing, and have a textured grip to make sure there is absolutely no slippage.
Enter, Rockwell Razors.
Yes, Rockwell Razors are more expensive than the wide range of safety razor options you’ll find on Etsy, zero waste marketplaces, and the like.
But I can attest that they are truly a lifetime investment. Daniel bought his Rockwell 6S over two years ago and it’s basically still good as new. And like, to be clear, he treats it like crap… so that’s saying something.
Although a Rockwell safety razor would be the perfect treat yourself present or make a great gift for a zero waste enthusiast, I think it’s important to acknowledge that some of us really might just need to save where we can.
If you’ve already checked out my guide How to Create the Most Amazing Zero Waste Skincare Routine, then this one won’t be so new to you.
Well, the bars are cheap and super environmentally friendly – both due to the lack of plastic packaging and the fact that they don’t use nearly as much water as liquid shampoo.
It’s a no brainer! And think about how much easier traveling with solid soap bars is…
Yes, bar soap is such a staple of the ideal sustainable bathroom that it gets two whole points of this guide.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that the entire skincare industry is practically founded upon excess. And don’t get me wrong… I fall victim to that as much as the next person (it only takes one look at my love of Beauty Pie to see that I cannot throw stones).
But I still look at it this way: Wherever we can cut down, and simplify the ingredients in the products we’re using on our body, the better.
Maybe try to start with your face and body soap! You only have to buy a singular solid bar of each to give it a go. And do make sure that you buy one of each, not all ingredients you’d want on your body will be ingredients you would want on your face, so make sure that’s all in order.
Soooooo… let’s think of #10 here as sort of a bonus. I am aware that most American households have their laundry machines in a separate area, but most of the rest of the world has their laundry machines in either the kitchen or the bathroom. So today we’re going global!
This point is actually sort of a twofer.
First, consider switching to zero waste laundry detergent strips. Think of these sort of like a cross between Tide pods and good old fashioned dryer sheets, except… dissolvable!! Could it get any better?
These are new players in the zero waste laundry field… so new in fact that I haven’t yet had the chance to try them out myself. But the reviews over at EcoRoots are GLOWING!
Why don’t we try them together and report back?
Next up we have wool dryer balls.
I have been loyal to these guys for YEARS now. They are the perfect zero waste replacement for dryer sheets. Throw a few in with your dryer load for a faster and softer dry.
Although dryer balls will eventually wear out and lose their touch, they are compostable. But better yet… I’ve even heard tell of adding a few drops of essential oils to them and tucking them at the back of a drawer to add a calming scent to clothes!
Now that is the recycle-reduce-reuse mentality we want to see more of.
What will be your first sustainable bathroom move?
We’ve been through a lot of zero waste tips, tricks and swaps over the past couple weeks.
I know it can all feel overwhelming, but remember!
One. Step. At. A. Time.
No one is asking you to be perfectly sustainable (ok, well maybe someone is but they’re elitist and not worth your stress).
Ask yourself what changes you can commit to today, and which ones you can commit to working towards. And then do it!
Share your wins, failures, stresses, innovative ideas, and any sustainability questions you still need answered down in the comments… I’m dying to hear what you come up with, and hopefully I’ll be able to keep this series up with answers to anything you’re still unsure about in the zero waste world.
We’re in this together, friends!