Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

17 Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps for Your Sustainable Journey

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Are you keen on transitioning from a normal disposable bathroom to a zero waste bathroom? That’s awesome!

Keep in mind that going zero waste is a journey. It’s not about rushing out to buy a pile of new eco products – after all, how wasteful is that! The idea is to use through what you’ve already got as you usually would. Then when you need to replace an item, research a more sustainable option and go for that.

One-by-one you’ll gradually move towards having a more earth-friendly bathroom by eliminating plastics, disposables and toxic chemicals.

Today I’m going to share with you some really brilliant zero waste bathroom swaps to consider for when you need to replace each old item as you go.

I’ve also included a zero waste bathroom kit (with a checklist) down the bottom, just to summarise the types of items to consider as you transition to a more eco-friendly bathroom.

RELATED POSTS:
? Eco Hair Removal >
? Eco Periods >

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Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING
❌ Plastic is made from fossil fuels (think coal, natural gas and crude oil), meaning it’s not a renewable resource.
✔️ A renewable resource is one that can be used over-and-over again. Great examples of renewable resources include glass, stainless steel, wood and cardboard.
? Bamboo and hemp are great paper replacements as they are extremely fast-growing. A dedicated bamboo plantation for paper products is much more eco-friendly than cutting down virgin (native) forests.
? Corn starch (fermented plant starch) is becoming a great plastic replacement and is much more sustainable than petroleum based plastics.

Toothbrushes

Plastic, Bamboo, Corn Starch Toothbrushes

Plastic Brush → Bamboo or Corn Starch Brush

Bamboo toothbrushes are a fast-growing tend, and for good reason. They’re way more eco-friendly than the old plastic counterparts we’ve all grown up with.

The great thing about bamboo toothbrushes is their end of life. Once you’re done, you can pull out the bristles with pliers (unfortunately, they’re not biodegradable… yet) and throw them into the bin. The bamboo brush handle can be tossed into your home compost or burnt with your other fire wood.

For those who don’t like the wood feel in their mouth, check out the biodegradable cornstarch toothbrushes. Again, remove the bristles and throw them into the rubbish, then compost the handle.

ZERO WASTE TOOTHBRUSHES
Made FromBamboo or Corn Starch
Has Very LittlePlastic (only the bristles)
DisposalBristles – remove and discard
Bamboo handle – compost or burn
Corn starch handle – compost
Price (eBay)Bamboo: From $2.99 AUD →
Corn Starch: From $10.50 AUD →

Toothpaste

Toothpaste

Tube → Tabs, Powder or Homemade

The eco issue with toothpaste is it’s tube. Generally they are made from layers of plastic laminate, with a thin sheet of aluminium. As yet, I haven’t found a zero waste toothpaste option on the supermarkets shelves. However, there are other options available.

Lots of individuals and small earth-friendly businesses have seen the problem and are taking it upon themselves to solve the issue.

The zero waste toothpaste alternatives include:

  • Toothpaste tablets (chew the tab, then brush with wet toothbrush)
  • Toothpaste powder (sprinkle onto wet toothbrush, then brush)
  • Homemade toothpaste

Easy DIY homemade toothpaste:

Mix the following ingredients together and store in a jar.

  1. 6 tbsp coconut oil
  2. 6 tbsp baking soda
  3. 25 drops essential oil (e.g. eucalyptus, peppermint & grapefruit)
  4. 1 tsp stevia (natural sweetener)
  5. Activated charcoal (optional)
ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE
Made FromCoconut oil, baking soda, essential oils, stevia, activated charcoal
Has NoPlastic or preservatives
DisposalJar – recycle or refill
Other packaging – compost or recycle
Price (eBay)Tabs: From $11 AUD →
Powder: From $15 AUD →

Floss/ Dental Picks

Dental Floss to Eco Floss

Plastic Floss → Eco Floss

Most dental flosses are made from nylon (a silk-like thermoplastic), which comes housed in a plastic container and more plastic packaging for the shelves.

These days there are lots of great companies making eco floss. What the hell is eco floss? Think normal floss, but made from compostable fibres such as bamboo and corn. The floss is coated with a natural wax like candelilla, making the whole thing fully compostable.

Your floss with be stored in a cute little glass jar with metal lid, as opposed to plastic. Refills are generally packaged in cornstarch bags or recyclable/ compostable cardboard.

ECO-FRIENDLY FLOSS
Made FromCompostable fibres (bamboo or corn) & natural wax
Has NoPlastic
DisposalJar – recycle or refill
Cardboard – compost or recycle
Price (eBay)From $12.90 AUD →

Cotton Tips

Cotton Tips to Stainless Ear Picks

Plastic Tips → Bamboo Tips or Stainless Ear Picks

Cotton tips have long been a bathroom staple. But with each little stem being made from plastic, you can imagine the long-term environmental ramifications for something we literally use once.

There are two great zero waste bathroom swaps for cotton tips. The first are stainless steel ear picks, which are washable and reusable. The second comes in the form of the disposable cotton tips that you’ve become accustomed to, but the stem is bamboo (compostable).

ECO COTTON TIPS
Made FromBamboo or Stainless Steel
Has NoPlastic
DisposalStainless Ear Picks – wash in soapy water & reuse
Bamboo Cotton Tips – compost or rubbish
Price (eBay)Bamboo: From $5.50 AUD →
Stainless: From $4.20 AUD →

Band-Aids

Band Aids to Patch Bamboo Strips

Plastic Strips → Bamboo Strips

Okay, band-aids are tricky as they’re not something that you can wash and reuse once you’re done. They need to be disposed of. Enter Patch bamboo strips. You can find these at Coles, Woolworth and on eBay.

ECO BAND-AIDS
Made FromBamboo, biodegradable paper, recycled cardboard tube
Has NoSilicone, parabens, latex or thimerosal
DisposalCardboard tube – recycle
Paper – compost or recycle
Plasters – compost bin or bury in soil to break down naturally in weeks
Price (eBay)Patch Strips: From $6.95 AUD →

Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper, Who Gives a Crap, Reusable TP

Virgin Forest TP → Bamboo/ Recycled/ Reusable TP

Toilet paper is not something we put a whole lot of thought into. Most people just grab their usual pack in the shopping, then keep on strolling.

The thing is, regular toilet paper is harvested from virgin forests (meaning naturally grown and aged trees) that should be remaining intact as wildlife habitat. Not to mention the huge amount of water and resources that go into acquiring, processing, producing and transporting the plastic-wrapped paper. Paper that we literally use for two seconds, then flush down the toilet.

Sustainable toilet paper options:

  1. Bamboo/ recycled toilet paper
  2. Reusable (washable) toilet unpaper
  3. Bidet attachment for your toilet

There are few companies around now, who make bamboo toilet paper. Bamboo is a very fast-growing resource, which in this case, is planted for the sole purpose of wiping our bums.

Also available is recycled toilet paper, famously made by Who Gives A Crap, among other companies. I know how recycled toilet paper sounds – old loo paper has been recycled to create new loo paper. Nope, it’s actually old office and school papers that have been pulped down and turned into toilet paper.

? READ: Who Gives A Crap [full review] >

If you’re game, you can try some washable unpaper toilet rolls, which fit nicely on your normal toilet roll holder. Just throw the used ones into a lidded bucket and wash every other day. Net Zero Co. are one of the many companies creating these flannels. Also, check out Etsy for plenty more.

Finally, you could opt for a bidet attachment for your toilet which will give you a little squirt of water to clean off with.

Personally, I’m still a modern gal who likes to wipe and flush, so it’s recycled toilet paper for me. But whatever tickles your fancy.

ECO TOILET PAPER
Made FromBamboo, recycled paper or cotton flannel
Has NoPlastic or virgin forests
DisposalToilet paper – flush
Paper/ cardboard packaging – recycle, burn, use as gift wrap
Reusable TP – wash in machine on hot cycle
Price (Who Gives A Crap)Recycled: From $38 AUD →
Bamboo: From $44 AUD →
Reusable: From $44 AUD

Tissues

Tissues

Forest Tissues → Bamboo Tissues or Hanky

With tissues, we’re looking at the same issue as with the toilet paper. The tissue paper is sourced from virgin forests, making it completely unsustainable.

So as with many zero waste bathroom swaps, you’ve got a few options. You can go for a brand that makes the tissues out of bamboo, or you can go old school and use hankies.

HANKIES:

I have personally tried the hanky route and I did prefer the feel of soft fabric on my nose, as opposed to thin paper that just breaks.

But, I didn’t like that the mucous would not always break down in the wash, so I found myself rinsing each hanky straight after use. A hot wash is also recommended.

Rather than buying new hankies, just cut up old sheets and stack them in a nice box, or opt for vintage (unused) hankies from op shops.

BAMBOO TISSUES:

There is a brand called No Issues, which is 100% made from bamboo and they are available at Woolworths for $2.50 per box. This is a really easy zero waste swap that you can do in your regular groceries.

Who Gives a Crap also do boxes of bamboo tissues (12 boxes for $24 = $2 per box), that you can order with your toilet paper.

ECO TISSUES
Made FromBamboo (tissues) or repurposed sheets
Has NoVirgin forests
DisposalToilet paper – compost or bin
Hankies – wash in machine on hot cycle
Price (Who Gives A Crap)From $1.67 AUD (per box) →

Shampoo & Conditioner

Shampoo & Conditioner (zero waste bathroom swaps)

Plastic → Refill Bottles or Bars

The obvious problem with regular old shampoo and conditioner is not just the plastic throw-away bottles that they come in, but also the synthetic chemicals that are used in the liquids.

Luckily, there are two easy zero waste bathroom swaps for shampoo and conditioner.

Firstly, if you don’t want to give up the liquids that you’ve come to know and love, head to a bulk food store and refill your old bottles. Places like The Source have eco shampoo, conditioner, dishwashing liquid and soap available for refills.

Secondly, you could opt for shampoo and conditioner bars. They’re literally like bars of soap that you run through your wet hair, lather up, then rinse as usual. If you really want to keep things as simple as possible, you’re in luck because even Coles and Woolworths have a few eco bars on offer, which come in recyclable boxes. Otherwise stores like Lush have a wide range of shampoo and conditioner bars.

ZERO WASTE HAIR CARE
Made FromNatural ingredients
Has NoPlastic, toxic chemicals
DisposalCardboard box – recycle, burn or compost
Price (eBay)Shampoo Bar: From $7.50 AUD →
Conditioner Bar: From $9.00 AUD →

Soap

Soap (zero waste bathroom swaps)

Plastic → Refill Bottles or Bars

Switching to a no-waste soap is one of the easiest zero waste bathroom swaps.

Buy soap bars that are package-free (handmade soap is good for this) or in a box that can be recycled or burnt. Many soap bars in the supermarket come in boxes, so this is one that you can easily incorporate into your grocery shopping.

If you like to have the pump bottles with liquid soap, instead of buying new bottles each time, simply refill the ones you’ve already got. Bulk food stores often have refill stations for liquid soap pump bottles.

HANDMADE SOAP
Made FromVarious
Has NoPlastic
DisposalCardboard box – recycle, burn or compost
Pump bottles – refill
Price (eBay)From $5 AUD →

Deodorant

Deodorant (zero waste swaps)

Plastic → Eco Packaging or DIY

Deodorant from the supermarket is awful stuff. It stinks, comes in plastic and is riddled with toxic chemicals, which frankly, get smeared way too close to breast tissue for my liking.

I make my own natural deodorant and it’s honestly the only stuff that works for me.

DIY Deodorant:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then store in a cute little jar. For sensitive skin, reduce the baking soda and add more arrowroot.

  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 drops essential oil (for scent)
  • Enough liquid coconut oil to make a nice paste

If you’re not keen on making your own deodorant, there are plenty of options available that do come in sustainable packaging, such as deodorant sticks in cardboard and natural pastes in aluminium tins.

ZERO WASTE DEODORANT
Made FromNatural oils & butters, arrowroot, Vitamin E, zinc oxide and other natural ingredients
Has NoPlastic or toxins
DisposalCardboard – recycle, burn or compost
Jars – repurpose or refill
Price (eBay)From $13 AUD →

Hair Removal

Hair Removal (zero waste bathroom swaps)

Plastic → Metal Razor, DIY Wax or LASER

It’s no surprise that hair removal is one of the biggest culprits of bathroom rubbish. Plastic, throw-away wax strips and disposable razors are the most common types of hair removal in our modern culture.

However, fear not. There are a range of ways you can be hair-free without it costing the earth.

? READ: 5 Eco Hair Removal Methods >
  • Swap a disposable razor for a stainless steel safety razor & blades
  • Swap plastic wax strips for DIY sugar waxing
  • Remove hairs from the roots with an epilator
  • Permanently remove hair with laser hair removal
  • Pluck small areas with metal tweezers
ECO HAIR REMOVAL
Made FromNatural ingredients/ stainless steel/ laser or epilator machines
Has NoDisposable plastic
DisposalMetal razor blades – recycle
Sugar wax – bury in garden or dissolve down the drain
Price (eBay)Safety Razor: From $13 AUD →
Epilator: From $16 AUD →
Laser: From $12 AUD

Hair Brushes & Combs

Brush (zero waste bathroom swaps)

Plastic → Wood or Bamboo

When it comes time to replace your old, dead brush and comb, avoid going for another plastic set. The best zero waste hair brush option is to opt for a bamboo or wooden brush.

See if you can get one with wooden bristles so that the whole thing can be burnt or composted at the end of its life. If not, you can pull out any plastic bristles, then burn or compost the rest.

ECO BRUSH & COMB
Made FromWood or bamboo
Has No/ LittlePlastic
DisposalWooden handle – burn or compost
Plastic bristles – rubbish
Price (eBay)From $5 AUD →

Moisturiser

Moisturiser (zero waste bathroom swaps)

Plastic → Glass or Metal

The next zero waste bathroom swap is to replace your plastic bottles of moisturiser (when they’re all used up) for more sustainable packaging. Look for moisturisers and body butters that come in either metal or glass containers.

Have you ever tried organic coconut oil as a face and body moisturiser? It’s brilliant stuff and very cheap and accessible from the supermarket! Please note that it doesn’t work for every skin type when it comes to a facial moisturiser.

ZERO WASTE MOISTURISER
Made FromMetal or glass containers
Has NoPlastic
DisposalGlass or metal containers – reuse or recycle
PriceFrom $15 AUD

Make-Up Remover

Make-up Remover (zero waste bathroom swaps)

Plastic + Disposables → Reusables

We really don’t need to be rubbing make-up remover solutions over our face to get the make-up off. Oftentimes, it’s just more unnecessary chemicals going into the skin.

All you need is a wet face washer or reusable cotton or bamboo pad to gently remove your make-up.

No chemicals, no disposables and less crap that you need to buy.

ECO MAKE-UP REMOVER
Made FromCotton or bamboo
Has NoPlastic, chemicals or disposables
DisposalWash in the washing machine with your other laundry
Price (eBay)Face Washer: FREE (use what you’ve got)
Reusable Pads: From $10 AUD →

Pads, Liners & Tampons

Period (zero waste bathroom swaps)

Disposables → Reusables

When it comes to having a zero waste period, there are a few different things you can try, so that you can figure out what works best for you.

TAMPONS:

First up, if you’re not keen on moving away from tampons, I hear you. Keep in mind that you’re best option is to go with 100% organic cotton tampons, which are free from pesticides and will break down a lot quicker than their plastic-riddled counterparts.

PERIOD PANTIES:

Next up, period panties come with inbuilt protection to stop you from leaking through. They’re great for any time of the day and perfect for young girls who are still getting used to the whole thing.

Modibodi is a great brand if you’re looking for menstrual underwear – they even have pairs for pregnancy.

REUSABLE PADS & LINERS:

Then you’ve got reusable pads and liners, which are made from cotton and flannel fabrics. They simply attach around your underwear and clip together with a fastener. After use, just pop the liner in a lidded-bucket with cold water and put through a cold wash in the machine each day.

MENSTRUAL CUP:

Lastly, you can swap out tampons for a silicone Luna Cup or Moon Cup. You insert it during your period and empty it out in the shower or toilet as needed, with a rinse under the tap.

ECO MENSTRUAL ITEMS
Made FromOrganic cotton, flannel, silicone
Has NoPlastic
DisposalTampons – discard as usual
Period panties/ pads/ liners – soak in cold water, wash in cold cycle
Menstrual cup – wash in soapy water
Price (eBay)Period Panties: From $6 AUD →
Reusable Liners: From $8 AUD →
Menstrual Cup: From $6 AUD →

Air Freshener

Essential Oil Air Freshener

Aerosol → DIY Essential Oil Spray

One of the easiest zero waste bathrooms swaps you can do yourself at home is an air freshener. All you need is a little spray bottle, water and one or a few essential oils.

If you need to buy a spray bottle, opt for glass, otherwise just use what you’ve already got at home.

Fill up your little bottle with water, add about 10 drops of essential oils, then spray away.

Some essential oil blend ideas:

  • Wild Orange and Sandalwood
  • Peppermint and Marjoram
  • Tea Tea, Eucalyptus and Lemon
ZERO WASTE AIR FRESHENER
Made From– Water
– Essential oils
– Glass/ recycled spray bottle
Has NoDisposable aerosol cans or synthetic products
DisposalSpray bottle – refill and reuse
PriceFREE – use what you’ve got!
Or, cost of small spray bottle + bottle of essential oil

Toilet Cleaner

Toilet Cleaner to Bicarb Soda, Vinegar

Plastic + Chemical → Vinegar + Baking Soda

Squirty toilet cleaners, which come in plastic bottles from the supermarket are super convenient. But, they’re filled with toxic chemicals which are no good for us or our waterways.

Here is another one of the simplest zero waste bathroom swaps, which you can probably already do with what you’ve got in the cupboard.

Good old baking soda (bi-carb soda) + vinegar!

How to clean the toilet with baking soda & vinegar:

  1. Spray the toilet with vinegar & let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda.
  3. Scrub bowl & flush.
  4. Use vinegar spray and damp cloth to clean the outside of the toilet.
ECO TOILET CLEANER
Made From– Baking soda
– Vinegar
Has NoDisposable plastic bottles or nasty chemicals
PriceFREE – use what you’ve got!
Or, cost of a box of baking soda and bottle of vinegar
Line Break

Zero Waste Bathroom Kit

Zero Waste Bathroom

Now that we’ve gone through all of the common bathroom products one-by-one, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Please know that moving towards zero waste, especially in this modern-day world, is very much a journey. Focus on one bathroom item at a time and give yourself a minute to incorporate the new habit before moving onto the next.

Here’s a summary for a zero waste bathroom kit.

REPLACE WITH…
Plastic Toothbrush? Bamboo Toothbrush
? Corn Starch Toothbrush
Plastic Tube Toothpaste? Toothpaste Tablets or Powder in jar/ tin
? Homemade Toothpaste
Dental Floss? Eco Floss in glass or metal jar
Plastic Cotton Tips? Bamboo Cotton Tips
? Stainless Steel Ear Picks
Plastic Band Aids? Patch Bamboo Strips
Plastic-wrapped Virgin Forest
Toilet Paper
? Bamboo Toilet Paper
? Recycled Toilet Paper
? Reusable Toilet Paper
? Bidet
Virgin Forest Tissues? Bamboo Tissues
? Hankies
Plastic Shampoo/ Conditioner Bottles? Shampoo/ Conditioner Bars
? Refill bottles at a bulk store
Plastic Soap Bottles? Soap Bars
? Refill bottles at a bulk store
Plastic (chemical-filled) Deodorants? DIY Deodorant
? Natural Deodorant in glass/ metal containers
Hair Removal? Safety Razor & Blades
? DIY Sugar Waxing
? Epilator
? Laser Hair Removal
? Tweezers
Plastic Hair Brushes/ Combs? Wooden or Bamboo Brushes and Combs
Plastic Moisturiser Bottles? Glass or metal containers
? Organic Coconut Oil
Pads, Liners & Tampons? 100% Organic Tampons
? Period Panties
? Reusable Pads & Liners
? Menstrual Cup
Aerosol Air Freshener? Essential Oil Spray
Chemical Toilet Cleaner? Vinegar & Baking Soda
Line Break

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