Zero Waste Bathroom: 15 Essential Plastic Free Swaps
Most bathrooms are something straight out of a Nightmare on Elm Street: plastic disposable razors, plastic-wrapped toilet paper, single-use make-up pads, and oh so many plastic bottles and tubes.
Let’s not even get started on those millions of “exfoliating” microbeads we bought into.
By cutting all that out, you can eliminate plastic waste, toxic ingredients, and that pesky clutter that just never seems to stay contained in the cabinets.
Having a zero waste bathroom is all-around better no matter how you cut the cake—or rather how you hang the eco-friendly toilet paper (tail on top, thanks!).
We don’t expect you to get there overnight but here are some of our favorite plastic-free bathroom products to kickstart your progress toward a waste-free washroom.
To avoid waste, we test products on an as needed basis. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about why we do this here.
The Full List Of Zero Waste Bathroom Products
- Zero waste toilet paper
- Zero waste shampoo & conditioner
- Zero waste soap
- Zero waste deodorant
- Zero waste tooth care
- Zero waste razors
- Zero waste make-up
- Zero waste moisturizers
- Zero waste cloths
- Zero waste period products
- Loofah alternatives
- Reusable Q-tips
- Zero waste bathroom towels
- Zero waste shower curtains
- Zero waste bathroom cleaners
1. Reusable Or Tree-Free Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is a necessary evil, no butts about it.
However, traditional TP is the bathroom’s most wasteful thing—from the virgin tree pulp, to the water, electricity, and literal tons of harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
As if that wasn’t enough, this chemical-laden paper gets wrapped in harmful plastic packaging that ends up in the waste bin, too.
As such, zero waste toilet paper is perhaps the first zero waste bathroom swap you should implement.
So what do zero waste people use for toilet paper?
Probably nothing quite as literal as you have in mind. There are several different ways to make the switch, including reusable washcloths, bamboo toilet paper, or recycled toilet paper.
We’ve personally tested and use Who Gives a Crap recycled toilet paper rolls, and enjoy a clean wiping conscience.
Make your toilet time extra low-impact by pairing your TP with a TUSHY bidet to vastly reduce how much you need to use. Ask anyone who’s made the switch; they’re life-changing!
2. Bottle-Free Shampoo & Conditioner
We’re conditioned (get it?) to think shampoos and conditioners must be liquids and liquids, surely, must come in plastic bottles…
In reality, there are tons of zero waste shampoo and conditioner options that either have no plastic packaging or come in reusable zero waste containers.
If you’re still partial to those liquid suds, Everist packs them in a 100% recycled and infinitely recyclable aluminum tube.
Or, take a reusable container to your local bulk store and fill it up there.
If you’re looking for super simple DIY zero waste bathroom products, home-brewed or store bought raw apple cider vinegar works as a low waste conditioner to naturally cleanse and soften hair.
3. Naked Soap Bars For Sustainable Suds
Bar soap has been around since the dawn of time, making this one of the easiest zero waste bathroom alternatives.
This switch really just means cutting out liquid hand and body soaps that come in plastic pump bottles—especially the ones with little plastic beads.
Their soap bars come in compostable packaging and a variety of invigorating scents like spearmint tea tree, lime and lemongrass, and lavender peppermint, courtesy of natural essential oils.
Being filled with vegan, palm oil free, and natural ingredients, they’ll not only clean up your skin, but the planet, too.
Not quite ready to give up your lathering liquids?
Thanks to body wash refill programs, you don’t have to.
Plaine Products’ bottle return program lets you purchase their product in a 100% recyclable and refillable aluminum bottle to return once empty.
If you feel yourself missing those pesky but effectively exfoliating microplastics, make sure to invest in skin scrubs like The Sunday Standard’s sugar and fig seed body scrub.
4. Deodorant That Keeps Plastic Away From Your Pits
When’s the last time you’ve actually put your plastic deodorant stick in your bathroom recycling bin?
Even though they are (mostly) recyclable, not many deodorant applicators actually end up recycled. Almost every component is a different type of plastic, meaning you would need to completely disassemble it for it to be properly recycled.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have time for that.
Plastic sticks stink, but thanks to zero waste deodorants, you don’t have to!
Cardboard sticks are the main solution, with completely compostable packaging yet allowing for the same basic hand-off application method.
Ethique once again has the answer with their easy-to-apply cardboard deodorant tubes or bars.
Stay dry yet moisturized with EcoRoots’ combination of coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and candelilla wax. They offer both cream and stick varieties.
Of course, you can always just skip the deodorant completely (not our first line of defense, but to each their own). After all, we’ve all forgotten from time to time, and it’s hardly the end of the world.
5. Zero Waste Tooth Care To Smile About
Plastic toothbrushes are tantalizingly cheap and come in a rainbow of colors, but they’re devastating the environment.
1 billion of them get thrown away yearly in America alone.
Just be sure to remove the bristles before composting, as no bamboo toothbrush (yet, at least) has truly home compostable bristles.
If you’re aboard the buzz brushing train, we unfortunately can’t tell you your electric toothbrush can be made zero waste. However, it can be made less wasteful by choosing sustainable electric toothbrushes next time you need a replacement.
Both the body and charging dock of etee’s electric toothbrush is made of recyclable bamboo and the replaceable heads are 98% compostable.
They also offer manual options.
What good is a bamboo brush without the zero waste toothpaste to put on it?
Georganics offers a wide range of flavored fluoride or fluoride-free options in either tablet, paste, or powder form.
Housed in reusable glass jars, their products are some of our favorite plastic-free bathroom swaps.
Never again will you have to squeeze the silly tube for that last drop.
They also offer zero waste mouthwash for extra post-brush freshness.
We know you’d never forget to floss your teeth (wink wink,) so we thought we’d mention one of the most important zero waste bathroom products: zero waste floss.
Unlike some supposedly “sustainable” flosses out there, these both come in refillable glass jars, with refills coming via packaging that can be composted alongside the used floss.
If you’re trying to root out all disposables in favor of reusable bathroom products, try a Waterpik paired with reusable batteries to minimize your e-waste as much as possible.
6. Safety Razors S(h)ave The Earth
Before those junky little disposable razors were a thing, people opted for something sturdy that would last them for years.
Perhaps the most essential of all reusable bathroom products is the zero waste razor, the most common kind being a reusable safety razor.
We admit, they look anything but safe, after using them for years with only a few small nicks to show, we can safely say these are one of our favorite additions to our zero waste bathroom kit.
A safety razor functions the exact same way as its plastic counterpart, except it lasts much longer with proper cleaning and is worlds better for the environment.
If you’re wondering, “Is it cheaper to shop zero waste?” consider that a lifelong safety razor a year’s supply of blades can cost around $30. Now compare that to all those expensive disposal heads.
There’s no better place to snag this essential item than through ZWS Essentials. Their double-edged safety razors come with the choice of long or short handles, depending on your preference.
7. Low Waste Makeup For A Better Beauty Routine
Traditional makeup is not only unhealthy for you and your skin (thanks to the synthetic additives, cheap fillers and other ingredients to avoid in skincare), but they almost always come in plastic bottles and palettes that are incredibly difficult to recycle properly.
Fortunately, you can make up your plastic-free bathroom kit with the ever-growing number of zero waste beauty brands.
Whether you’re a zero waste lip balms-only kind of gal or love to get creative with a full-face work of art, there’s no reason not to choose cleaner and greener products for both yourself and the earth
Elate Cosmetics is a one-stop shop for clean makeup of all kinds, and their elegant bamboo housing will look great when it inevitably gets scattered across your vanity.
For earthy tones and nature-inspired, simple cosmetics, check out Fat and The Moon’s organic range.
8. Moisturize Your Skin Without Waste
For those with dry skin, fear not! Thanks to low waste and organic face moisturizers, you can still moisturize without the pump bottles.
For a traditional cream, EcoRoots offers one in a cute and handy reusable glass jar. It won’t just heal dry skin, but damaged skin, thanks to free radical-fighting rosehip oil.
If you prefer natural remedies, you can even make your own using simple natural skin care ingredients like coconut oil sourced from your local bulk store.
9. Replace Tissues With Reusable Cloths
The comeback product of the century, this little cloth product is super versatile and can replace far more than just tissues around the house: recycled paper towels, napkins, cotton balls, baby wipes, and more.
Best of all, you probably already have plenty of things that you can upcycle into reusable cloths: old washcloths, retired t-shirts, bed linen, scraps from sewing projects, and more!
If you don’t have anything to upcycle, you can get lovely sets of cute and colorful flannel cloths from Marley’s Monsters that are soft and skin friendly.
10. Fill Up Your Reusable Menstrual Cup
When thinking about zero waste bathroom ideas, it’s all about going with the flow.
On average, each woman will produce 2,400 tampons of waste in their life. That’s heaps of applicators, boxes, and wrappings that end up down the zero waste toilet.
You unfortunately can’t avoid your period, but you can avoid the waste that comes with it.
Menstrual cups are the holy grail of zero waste period products—period.
Organic period underwear is also an excellent first or second line of defense (free bleeding is a new level of comfort, after all).
These are essentially leak-resistant, ultra-absorbent underwear that include a built-in pad. If it sounds gross, it’s not, because the core is so soft and absorbent, you won’t feel like you’re wearing a pad at all.
But if you just can’t get past conventional menstrual products, stick with organic tampons.
11. Find a Low-Waste Loofah to Love(ah)
For looking into how to go plastic-free in the bathroom, one of our first suggestions would be to ditch those plastic loofahs—or rather, fake loofahs because real loofahs are actually a type of plant.
Synthetic loofahs not only have a terribly short lifespan, but they breed bacteria and are full of thousands of microplastics that get washed down the drain—and into some poor sea creature’s body (and possibly eventually yours).
Luckily, there are plenty of sustainable loofah alternatives out there that can help to go zero waste in the bathroom.
For something a little less abrasive, the compostable body sponge from Everist is made from 100% natural konjac plant fiber, making it a worthy biodegradable addition for a vegan zero waste bathroom.
12. Mind Your Ps And Reusable Q-Tips
Once you’ve knocked off the big ticket items, you can start looking for little zero waste bathroom supplies.
Q-tips, or cotton swabs, are a huge (little) one. If you use them to clean your ears, first consider that most audiologists actually advocate against this (it can impact wax and damage the ear canal).
If you’re set on cleaning your ears, use some soap and your pinky finger to gently clean inside your ears. Don’t push too deep or get too aggressive with your rubbing for risk of damaging your ear canal!
If you are set on Q-tips (or like having them around for other cleaning and medical purposes), opt for the reusable kind of Last Swab. They’re made of medical grade TPE that can be cleaned indefinitely and come housed in a recycled ocean plastic case.
13. Towel Off With Organic Materials
Kiss those pesticides goodbye (like that toxic ex) and welcome more mature, sustainable fabrics into your life.
When it comes to fabric, conventional cotton is never our first pick. Cotton cultivation uses 4.7% of the world’s pesticides and 10% of the world’s insecticides, making it one of the most pesticide intensive crops.
This means that you have been drying yourself off with pesticides for years.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of organic towels out there using materials like organic cotton to ensure water is the only thing getting absorbed in your waste-free bathroom—instead of chemicals into your skin.
14. Be Conscious About Your Shower Curtains
When thinking of zero waste bathroom essentials, people often forget about their shower curtains.
Like other plastic products, PVC plastic shower curtains contain harmful chemicals that are bad for not only the environment, but also your health.
We don’t know about you, but we prefer eco-friendly shower curtains that won’t release toxic chemicals every time we lather up.
Hemp fabric, organic cotton, and linen are durable zero waste alternatives that are naturally biodegradable.
Parachute is a women-founded brand that offers sustainable shower curtains as part of their home goods line. Their curtains are made from sustainable European flax and organic cotton in a family-owned factory in Portugal.
If your bathroom has a breezy look to it, Coyuchi infuses laid-back beach vibes with chemical-free curtains.
15. Scrub Up With Zero Waste Bathroom Cleaners
When it comes to learning how to clean a bathroom, zero waste alternative cleaning methods are crucial.
Did you know you can buy zero waste cleaning products in bulk?
Simply head to your nearest bulk store and stock up on your favorite all-purpose cleaners. Just don’t forget to bring your jars.
Blueland delivers cleaners for all your major bathroom components via concentrate dissolvable tablets that come in compostable envelopes. Just drop in your own spray bottle full of water and start scrubbing.
If you want a plastic-free bathroom cleaner in the UK, Miniml offers pre-made products as well as bulk refills on white vinegar, a powerful all-purpose ingredient that can be used to create your own DIY zero waste bathroom cleaner.
In Australia, Zero Co offers plant-based all-purpose cleaner, toilet cleaner, and air fresheners that come in a reusable and refillable spray bottle.
But cleaning agents are just one piece of the non-plastic puzzle.
You’ll also need to invest in the tool to use them if you are going plastic-free in the bathroom.
First, use whatever brushes you already have, plastic or not, but if they get too scummy, upgrade to something compostable, like a wooden toilet brush from Redecker.
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What Exactly Is A Zero Waste Bathroom?
Let’s talk about how to go zero waste: bathroom edition.
It does sound like a bit of an oxymoron, considering the bathroom is the human waste room. Human beings (or any animals for that matter) are simply not zero waste in nature.
But looking at the whole picture and the philosophy behind zero waste: take only what you need and redesign or re-imagine our use of products, using only that which can be reused or composted, rather than sent to landfills or incinerated.
In other words, a circular economy.
A zero waste bathroom, then, operates under the belief that the only waste created in the bathroom should be our own—and even that is recycled in its own way, but that’s another story).
With simple changes and near-effortless zero waste bathroom swaps, a lot of waste can be reduced or eliminated altogether.
In our own zero waste journey, we realized that we didn’t actually need a lot. Many of the products which somehow landed up in our bathroom were almost unconscious purchases.
We were often duped into buying stuff we didn’t need thanks to clever marketing. Now, we stick to healthy zero waste bathroom essentials (no more mystery liquids and unused bottles, to say the least).
Our once plastic cluttered bathroom is now a (mostly) minimalist, clutter-free zone that looks cleaner… and isn’t that what we want from a bathroom?!
Final Thoughts On Having A Zero Waste Bathroom
Next to the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most wasteful areas of the home.
Just because the bathroom is the ‘dumping ground’ doesn’t mean it needs to be filled with so much sh*t (well, not the plastic and chemical kind anyway).
Fortunately, with some simple zero waste bathroom swaps, it’s an easy fix towards a zero waste bathroom.
Remember, a zero waste bathroom doesn’t materialize overnight. It’s small incremental steps that will become good habits before you know it.
There is no perfect plastic-free bathroom out there. It’s a spectrum and we all land somewhere on the line.
Continue to use up existing products and merely replace them with less wasteful alternatives as needed.
Plus, many of these eco-friendly bathroom products are not only better for the environment but better for you, as zero waste brands tend toward natural and organic (i.e. generally less synthetic, harmful and other synthetic chemicals in their products).
The bathroom may be a pretty personal place, but cleaning up our planet is a collective effort, so we’d love it if you would consider passing along this list of waste-free bathroom products and pointers.