My Top Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps // Zero Waste Swaps for Beginners

I thought it might be fun to outline everything I do in my bathroom that helps me live more sustainably. Most of these swaps are easy and are not any more expensive than their wasteful counterpart and will actually help you save money! Let’s just jump into it!



Zero Waste Shower Essentials


Shampoo bars


I’ve tried a few bars in my zero waste life. I have a review for the foamie shampoo bar here (they have since changed their formula) and a review for the CONCENTR8ED shampoo bar here. I also have tried a shampoo bar from a small business where I grew up called XXX. I have to say I loveeee the foam I get from the CONCENTR8ED bar but I love the scent of the one from XXX.


Shampoo bars are essential to my zero waste bathroom routine because they reduce my plastic consumption as well as my invisible carbon footprint. What I mean by invisible is that you can’t see the waste created by bottles of shampoo being created and shipped. Firstly, shampoo bars are the active ingredients only, no water. So they weigh considerably less and are much smaller than bottles of shampoo. This means they don’t require as much energy to ship or storage space and more can fit on planes or ships. Not to mention, most come packaged in paper which is compostable or more easily recyclable. I also use body bars but I won’t touch on that much.



Soap saver bag


This is a lifesaver! Well, soap saver haha. But in all seriousness, it saves me so much money and product. How many of you have used a soap bar to the very end but don’t know what to do with the little scrap so you just throw it down the drain? I’m guilty, too, no judgment. After I realized how wasteful that was I would try to mold the old scrap into a new bar using water but it would usually result in it falling off. Now, I place any soap scraps in this little bag that functions as a loofa and allows me to use every last piece of soap scraps.


Dumpster dove products


We don’t have real dumpster diving here in Japan, but we do have bulk trash days which are my “dumpster diving” days. Sometimes I find bottles of body wash and conditioner or even get these second-hand from friends who are leaving. So, I save these products from the landfill or prevent them from going to the landfill and I use them instead. They are still packaged in plastic but they are zero waste because this still-good-product could’ve been thrown away and wasted.



Face Cleanser Bar


This is one of my first eco bars I got that was not a shampoo bar and it’s from XXX. I love this thing. It smells lovely and lathers really nicely and always leaves my face feeling super fresh and clean. You use it just like a shampoo bar in that you rub it on your hands with water until you have plenty of suds and then apply to your face. Since it does contain charcoal, it can be a little messy so I store it in this caddy and use it while I shower to reduce any mess it might leave behind. But, that’s minimal and I use another product later to clean the mess.


Zero Waste Beauty Essentials


Reusable make-up remover pads


I made these myself out of an upcycled T-shirt so they’re extra zero waste! But, there are many brands out there that sell organic cotton or bamboo reusable makeup remover rounds or rags. These, of course, reduce or eliminate the amount of single-use cotton rounds or cotton balls or even tissues that one might buy. I use these to take off makeup but also to put on toner as well. My first set I made a little too small so I recommend some a little bit bigger as they are easier to use.



Moisturizer/Make-up Remover


I bought some organic almond oil in a glass jar forever ago to use as a dark under-eye treatment and it turned out to work as a really great natural make-up remover too! It’s obviously more eco-friendly due to the packaging and it’s organic but it is extra eco-friendly because it has multiple uses. It works as a great carrier oil for my second-hand essential oils, a makeup remover, an under-eye treatment, and an all-around face and body moisturizer. I love this stuff so much. I also got jojoba oil for the same reason plus hair growth.


Moisturizer Bars/Lotion Bars


Another essential item from CONCENTR8ED is my hand cream bar and my body bar. Both work great on all areas of the skin, but the body bar is a little thicker. Just like their other bar cousins, the lotion bars are a concentrated formula so you don’t need much, they last a long time, and their emissions are lower than their plastic-packaged counterparts. Not to mention they are palm oil-free but still sooo moisturizing. They’re super easy to store and travel with, too.



Zero Waste Hygiene Items


Period Underwear/Menstrual Cup


Zero waste period care is a must if you want to both reduce waste and save money. I feel like one of the most wasteful things I experience as someone with a period is my period (pre-zero waste that is). Most of us go through at least 4-6 pads or tampons per day for 2-7 days. That’s potentially 42 pads/tampons a month! Imagine how much waste we accumulate just from menstruation in our lifetimes. Nah, I’d rather not. So, I switched to reusables. I tried the cup first years ago and loved it but also desired something a little comfier and less intrusive. The cup works like a tampon, you insert it but it is dumpable, washable, and reusable for years to come.


There are also period underwear and reusable pads that replace single-use pads. They absorb blood just the same, but they just get washed and air dried and are ready to use again! I love all my reusable menstrual products. The underwear are so comfy but requires the most maintenance. The pads aren’t my favorite but work well and the cup can take a while to master but once you do there is no turning back.



Bamboo Toothbrush


I feel like this is one of the most common zero waste swaps and probably a lot of people’s first swap. It sure was one of mine! That is because it’s so easy and not that weird as some other swaps might seem. This is simply a toothbrush made of bamboo. Plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable and can stay on this planet for hundreds (if not thousands of years). So, by switching to bamboo, you reduce plastic consumption. Most come with plastic bristles that are easy to remove so you can compost the body. But, some come with natural bristles that can be composted at the end of their life too!



Aluminum Tube of Toothpaste


My favorite zero waste toothpaste hands down is Davids, though I haven’t tried other brands that come in aluminum (I imagine I’d love them, too). That is because it works like any other toothpaste but is all-natural AND is 100% recyclable. Traditional toothpaste tubes are made of an aluminum-plastic mix and cannot be recycled easily if at all (definitely don’t put this in your curbside recycling). But with aluminum tubes, they just require to be cut open, a quick rinse and can be placed in your normal recycling bin. How convenient! Most brands like this are sold in Target now.


Another brand I did try was XXX which is a 100% plastic tube. Not the best, but at least it can still be recycled with other #2 plastics. So, it’s a better alternative if you don’t have access to aluminum.



Toner


My toner is simple. I’m not big into beauty so I just use whatever. I found this product on EcoRoots and it had good reviews. That plus it came in glass, shipped plastic-free, and is all-natural. It pretty much ticked all the boxes for me!


Hand Soap


Another CONCENTR8ED classic bar! Hand soap is nothing fancy but honestly one of the most underrated zero waste swaps. That’s because most Americans I feel use liquid soap. Not only is this much heavier (this means more emissions) but the pumps are extremely hard to recycle as they are a mixed material. So, make the switch to a hand bar! CONCENTR8ED is plastic-free, palm oil-free, all-natural, and works so well. Hand soap bars are so much more economically friendly too as they last longer than liquid soap.



Deodorant


There are a lot of zero waste deodorant options but the easiest one for me to access is Next Door Naturals (at least at the time I’m writing this/living in Japan). This deodorant does come in plastic, but the small company takes back the containers to disinfect and reuse! I think this circular economy is better than recyclable or compostable materials. This deo is all-natural and it’s the first all-natural deo I’ve not had create a reaction. This plus not having to order and ship something thousands of miles had me sold.


Tushy


Americans (and maybe a few other countries), you NEED to get off the bidet-hate train. I used to be on it and boy do I wish I never got on. Bidets are amazing. They are not only more hygienic but just in the month since we’ve installed our Tushy, we’ve reduced our toiletpaper consumption easily by half. So, this saves a ton of resources which in turn actually takes water (it takes water to grow trees and make paper).



Other Zero Waste Bathroom Essentials


Electric Razor/Safety Razor


Most zero wasters talk about safety razors, which are great, but we already had an electric razor on hand when I decided to ditch disposable razors so I thought it would work well for me! I love it. It’s easy to use, nothing is disposable unlike safety razors, and I didn’t have to buy anything new! I wanted to still talk about safety razors, though, because Dan uses one and he’s used this since before we started living more eco-friendly lives because of how clean of a shave it uses and how cheap it is. All you have to replace with safety razors is the blade, the rest is reusable for life! And, even when it’s done being used, it’s 100% made of metal so 100% recyclable.



Shaving cream bar


This is another swap you don’t hear much about in the zero waste community. Most people talk about just using conditioner instead or omitting it altogether. That might work for some people, but for Dan’s shaving routine, shaving cream works best. He just picked up this reusable bowl and brush and a shaving bar at our local store (not the most eco-friendly brand, but still much more eco-friendly and cost-effective than the pressurized cream) and that’s all you need. It works similar to other bar products in that you add a little bit of water and mix until it foams and then lathers on with the brush. It works just like any other cream but it comes in a cardboard box!


Bathroom cleaning bar


Wow, I had no idea I had so many bars in my bathroom routine until I laid out this full list. Anywho, the last bar from CONCENTR8ED (that I use in the bathroom anyway) is my bathroom cleaning bar. It is so easy to use, chemical-free, plastic-free, and palm oil-free and works so well. You just have to wet a cloth or a sponge, rub it onto the bar until sudsy, and then wipe your surfaces clean with it. I store it on an upcycled lid so it doesn’t stick to anything and it works amazingly on toothpaste and shampoo grime.



That should be all of them! Every single bathroom eco-swap that I use and love so much. I hope that this was helpful and encourages you to make some bathroom swaps today.


As always, remember that your small changes have a big impact in the long run.


Emma :)


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Emma

Dendler

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! 

My name is Emma. I am a 20-year-old new to this sustainable lifestyle. I am here to give you my tips as I learn them and help beginners begin their sustainable life...

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