When I first started my zero waste journey, I did not know where to begin so I did what a few people suggested, I looked into my garbage. In our current apartment of 2 people, we have 2 garbage bins, one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. The kitchen is by far the largest and continues to be an area of improvement. The bathroom still generates waste, but perhaps not as much as before. My challenge currently is trying to finish up all of the various accoutrements I have accumulated for the past decade from perfume to lotions to makeup etc.
Here are simple ways to transition to a zero waste bathroom.
This is probably the #1 item in our trash bin. I know research has proven we don't need to clean our ears with the swabs and that it's actually safer to leave our ears alone. The challenge is that I still have 2 boxes of 500 count QTips under our sink. So for the time being, we continue to use them up until such time that we will try to do without or replace them. The alternatives are compostable buds or these stainless steel reusable ear picks.
Contact Lens Blister Packs
My husband is a dailies wearer so instead of these going into the trash. We are recycling the plastic blister packs. You can read more about how to recycle your contact lenses blister and foil packs properly.
Not the sexiest topic, but pretty relevant. We switched to toilet paper made out of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved paper and recycled paper. We also buy these in bulk now so we practically have a full year's supply of TP in our house. No fear of running out ever! The beauty of the bulk buy is that it comes in a large box and each TP is individually wrapped in paper. I compost the wrapper. I save the TP rolls for other projects including as seed starters for my little urban garden.
I'll willingly admit that I am still using a plastic toothbrush. Part of my stash to finish everything off. I've learned to refuse those 6-month cleaning bags the dentists gives you so that I don't get extra toothbrushes at home. Once we finish our stash, I'm excited to move on to use a bamboo base toothbrush. Note that not all bamboo toothbrushes are created equal so take a look at this article written by My Plastic Free Life so that you have all of the information you need before transitioning.
Update: we moved towards an electric toothbrush so I have not had a chance to use a bamboo toothbrush.
Ready to see the impact of your
consumption on the planet,
sign-up for the 15 day
This transition took some trial and error. Eventually, we ended up using Lush Toothy Tabs and Lush Powder because you can recycle their containers at their store. The toothpaste is vegan and not tested on animals so it fit the bill. You can find reviews of other zero waste friendly toothpaste here.
Update: After few more trials, we ended up using Davids Natural Toothpaste. My full review is here.
This was probably the easiest transition for me. Switching to a bar body soap and a bar shampoo. I have a few natural soaps from our last visit to Turkey. They smell great, work up a great lather and have been excellent so far. I don't miss the liquid stuff at all. Look for locally made soaps at your local stores, at farm markets. Etsy is also a great source for handmade soaps. Alternatively, you can make your own. Here are some recipes to check out if you are inclined to make some on your own. I have never made bar soaps before so I have no experience, but people tell me it's easy to do.
Kathryn at Going Zero Waste has this recipe and her video is below on how to make these.
Shampoo and Conditioner
I tried my best to see if my hair could get use to the bar shampoo and conditioners, but nothing really worked. I have long, thick hair which I don’t even wash that often, but couldn’t fathom only using water. I know swear by Plaine Products. You can find a full review here, but it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve used their products and wouldn’t change it. The company offers sulfate free, vegan, cruelty free products in environmentally friendly packaging. They have refill and subscription options which allow you to basically send in the empty containers once used up for a refill.
Remember that transitioning to zero waste takes time. ur economy is not built on a circular system so you may find some of these items are hard to find. Continue looking, continue experimenting and you'll find something to replace a conventional bathroom product.