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There are few rooms in the house that generate as much non-recyclable waste as the bathroom. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that difficult to make small changes to turn your bathroom into a green space. It’s all about making the right swaps. The great thing is that you don’t have to do it all at once, just keep making small swaps, and soon you’ll have your very own zero waste bathroom.
#1 Toilet Paper Swaps
There are a few options when it comes to reducing the impact of your toilet paper. It’s about finding the one that suits you and your family the best. Here are a few options to consider. Changing to any of these will positively impact the amount and type of waste you produce.
Recycled Toilet Paper
Making the switch to recycled paper is one of the most straightforward changes you can make. You’re not really sacrificing the quality of the paper. But, you have the reassurance that no trees were cut down just so you could wipe your behind. Most recycled toilet paper also comes in plastic-free packaging. There are some great options like Who Gives a Crap which will deliver right to your door.
If you’re a little more adventurous, you might be interested in trying bidet attachment. You can get kits to add one to your existing toilet. This allows you to clean yourself with a gentle spray of water. It will significantly reduce your toilet paper usage. It’s also a lot more hygienic.
Reusable Toilet Paper
If you’re willing to try something a little more radical, you could give reusable wipes a try. With this, you replace your toilet paper with a box of moist cotton cloths. After you wipe, you put the diary cloth straight into a wash bag stored in a sealed container. Then you just wash the wipes as needed. You’ll never have to worry about running out of toilet paper again.
#2 Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Most of us rely on shampoo and conditioner to keep our hair under control. But the plastic bottles they come in are not great for the environment. A fantastic alternative is to use bars instead of the liquid versions. Shampoo bars are just as effective and don’t have all the plastic waste to worry about. As an added bonus, they’re also great for traveling.
#3 Zero Waste Deodorant
Finding a truly zero waste deodorant can be a challenge. There are lots of great options you can explore. Some deodorants come in cardboard packaging. These allow you to compost or recycle them when you’re done. Essentially they work in the say way.
Another option is refillable applicators. The refills come in minimal packaging, and you just reuse the original plastic container as long as it lasts.
Natural deodorant is another option to look for. These are often an option that is more environmentally friendly in terms of how the deodorant is produced. But it can be a bit of trial and error to find one that works for you.
#4 Non Plastic Toothbrushes
Disposable plastic toothbrushes are undeniably appealing. They are cheap, easy to find, and come in all sorts of different colors. Unfortunately, they are pretty terrible in terms of waste. In most cases, not only does the plastic toothbrush go in the trash but so does the unnecessary packaging it came in.
Bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative. The packaging and the brush handles are all compostable. All you have to do is remove the bristles, as they’re the only part that isn’t biodegradable. If you’re not keen on the feel of bamboo in your mouth, you can look for cornstarch brushes. These brushes feel more like plastic and come in cute designs that might be more appealing to kids.
#5 Ditch The Toothpaste Tube
If you want zero waste toothpaste, you’re going to have to give up the convenience of the squeezy tube. One option is to switch to toothpaste tablets or strips. To make these work, you bite down on the tablet to break it up. It then mixes with your saliva to make a foam which you brush in with your toothbrush.
If you want to stick with conventional toothpaste, you can find toothpaste that comes in glass jars. This lets you have your usual style of toothpaste without the plastic packaging.
#6 Switch To An Old School Razor
If you use a razor, the chances are that you use a disposable razor. Plastic razors are cheap and convenient, which makes them very appalling. But, they aren’t the only option. You can get reusable safety razors with metal or wooden handles. You can also learn the art of using a straight blade. These options have a higher upfront cost. They have a much longer life span and will ultimately cost you less, and often offer you a better shaving experience.
7 Try Reusable Period Products
Dealing with periods can be a hassle. So opting for a reusable product might seem like it’s only going to make things harder. However, there are definite advantages to making a switch. There are three main options to consider.
Menstrual cups are reusable products that work in a similar way to tampons. They catch blood internally, and you empty them out when they get full. They do take a bit of practice to use, but like tampons, once you have the knack, they’re no hassle at all. The benefit is that you can easily just keep your cup in your purse, so you always have it to hand when you need it.
Reusable pads are probably the most manageable switch, especially for women who prefer to use pads already. They are made from absorbent cotton and fasten around your panties. You just throw them in the wash, and they’re ready to go again. You can find all sorts of pretty designs, so they actually brighten up your purse when you’re not using them.
The final option is to look for specific period panties. These are specially designed cotton panties that have absorbent layers built-in. There’s no need to add a pad, and you can wear them all the time. They are comfortable and sleek. They don’t feel bulky at all. These are excellent options for women who have unpredictable cycles.
#8 Create A Stash Of Reusable Cloths
If you use a lot of cotton balls and cotton pads in your bathroom, then it might be worth considering switching to reusable cloths. You can make these out of any old cotton clothing that you have around. These work just as well and can be reused over and over. That way, there’s no need for all the plastic packaging.
#9 Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies are often a double hit for the environment. There’s not only plastic packaging, but there’s also an impact from these chemicals’ production. It’s actually straightforward to make your own cleaning solutions. Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice can clean most things in your home. You can even reuse an old spray bottle and fill it with a ready-made solution, so it’s just as easy and convenient.
If you don’t fancy making your own, you could instead order a low packing option. Dehydrated products are available. They take a fraction of the packaging and require far less fuel to ship.
#10 Plastic-Free Q-Tips
If you can’t live without cotton swabs but want to reduce the amount of plastic you throw away, you can get wooden versions you can throw into your compost bin instead of the trash.
#11 Swap Plastic For Wood
While we’re swapping plastic for wood, let’s go all the way. Pretty much anything in your bathroom that’s made of plastic can be replaced with wooden alternatives. Great things to look at are your toilet brush, hairbrush, and a nail brush.
#12 Buy In Bulk and Refill
If you can’t live without your usual brands, there are ways to reduce the amount of waste you’re creating. The next time you finish a bottle, hang onto it. Then buy a bulk version of your preferred product. Refilling your smaller bottle from the big one will cut down on the amount of plastic used. It’s not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.
#13 Make Your Own Toiletries
If you like to get a little crafty, you can find lots of recipes to make your own version of everyday toiletries. You can try your hand at toothpaste, shampoo, and lip balm. An easy one is to swap your conditioner for coconut oil.
If you get really good at making these products, you also have some great options for zero waste gifts for your friends and family.
While we’re talking about making your own, there are even options for making your own makeup. Makeup is responsible for vast amounts of plastic waste. So if you can cut down on the amount you buy, it will make a big step. But, this can be a big step to take. So, why not change your makeup brushes to wooden-handled ones as a first step. Then maybe try a homemade makeup remover recipe first as a safer way to dip your toe in these waters.
#14 Put A Compost Bin In Your Bathroom
A lot of these swaps include switching plastics for compostable alternatives. That means that you’re going to need a compost bin in your bathroom. Otherwise, there’s a good chance these items will just end up in with the rest of the trash. You can find lots of great compact compost bins that are ideal.
#15 Choose A Natural Loofah
Loofahs are a great alternative to those plastic fluffy body scrubbers. They exfoliate your skin and are totally compostable. These unusual gourds are pretty nifty. But, you do have to take care to keep them clean and let them dry out between uses.
#16 Try Natural Materials For Showercurtains And Bath Mats
There are some items in a bathroom that you might not even think you can swap. Shower curtains and bathmats can seem like the biggest challenge. Most all the options on the market are plastic-based.
However, there is hope. You can find some lovely organic cotton or hemp shower curtains. These materials are absorbent enough to keep the water contained and are much kinder to the environment.
If you need a non-slip mat for inside your bath, you can try and find ones made of natural latex rubber. This material isn’t made from crude oil live PVC mats.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a zero-waste lifestyle?
A zero-waste lifestyle is one where you make a conscious decision to reduce the amount you consume. The main aim is to reduce the volume of items that will end up in a landfill. This is usually done through a mix of choosing zero waste products, switching to reusable instead of disposable products, and focusing on reusing and repurposing items.
What is a zero-waste product?
A zero-waste product will not result in anything going to a landfill. That means both the packaging and the material used to make it will be compostable or recyclable. These are also items that are reusable where possible.
Is going zero waste expensive?
There is a common perception that zero waste = expensive. But it really doesn’t have to. In many cases taking steps to reduce packaging and waste can end up saving you money. For instance, bringing a pack up instead of buying pre-packed food, refilling containers instead of buying new, and getting a reusable razor in place of a disposable one. All these things will save you money in the long run.
What are the benefits of zero waste?
Choosing to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. You will send less waste to landfills as well as significantly diminishing your carbon footprint. Along the way, you may also save money, learn new skills, and find better ways of doing things.