Aside from the kitchen, the bathroom has the potential for creating the most amount of waste sent straight to the landfill. Plastic bottles, constant single-use items, and unnecessary products clog our shelves and our trash cans.

Finding easy zero waste bathroom swaps is a great way to not only reduce our landfill-bound trash, but it’s also a great chance to remove toxic chemicals from our daily routine. Go easy on yourself and the environment by making a few simple, cost-effective swaps the next time you run out of a product.

To get started, let’s start thinking about the products stopping our zero waste progress.

1. Shampoo & conditioner. Shampoo, conditioner, and hair masks come with two potential problems. 1) They come in plastic containers near the end of their life cycle and 2) they’re often filled with chemicals that actually strip your hair of the natural oils it needs to be really healthy.

What you could be using: In order of least radical to most: find bulk shampoo options in your local co-op, find a bar soap that works for your hair and follow up with an ACV rinse, go no-poo and just wash with water.

2. Toothbrush & toothpaste. An average human uses 156 toothbrushes and 389 tubes of toothpaste over their lifetime. Extrapolate that to everyone in the US alone and imagine how many bits of plastic are sitting in our landfills. Such a huge, avoidable waste.

What you could be using: we’re very fortunate to have a number of near-zero waste toothbrush options like Brush With Bamboo or WooBamboo. Zero waste toothpaste options include a Fig+Yarrow tooth powder I personally recommend or a similar Lush product.

Five easy zero waste bathroom swaps - Green Indy Blog

3. Disposable razors. Plastic razors are not only expensive and disposable, they’re also not as effective as their zero waste counterparts.

What you could be using: consider switching over to a safety razor, an all-metal razor with blades that can be easily switched out once they’re dull. All metal, all recyclable.

4. Deodorant. Full of chemicals which are known hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and linked to breast cancer, commercial deodorant can be a real issue. Plus, they come in plastic casing and require frequent repurchasing.

What you could be using: one of several commercially available low-waste deodorants like Schmidt’s or Fat and the Moon (they both come in reusable glass containers). You can also make your own with ingredients you probably already have from one of the many recipes available online.

5. Feminine hygiene products. On average, a woman will, in her lifetime, use more than 11,000 tampons or pads. 11,000! Not only is that plastic and chemicals used but think of the sheer amount of energy wasted on production! There’s a better way for us menstruating folks!

What you could be using: I personally use two pairs of Thinx period underwear each cycle and could not think of using anything else. Many others have luck with reusable cloth pads or menstrual cups.

Interested in more like this? Minimize Your Trash is a simple guide to reducing your landfill-bound trash with handy swaps just like these!

What are some easy zero waste bathroom swaps you’ve used that have helped you reduce your waste? Please spread the knowledge in the comments below!

Easy zero waste bathroom swaps - Green Indy Blog


Green Indy is a blog about zero waste, minimalism, and generally being less of an a**hole to our Earth (Indianapolis, specifically) by me, Polly Barks. I’m a writer, teacher, and a natural-born researcher/experimenter.


Cynthia · September 11, 2017 at 10:16 am

Love both Thinx & the Schmidt’s lavender sage formula! (smells so good!) I do feel like LUSH’s shampoo bars + a conditioner in one of their reusable black pots (five of which you can trade in for a free face mask) is a really good way to go. I doubt I can find reusable toothbrushes near me (dang it, should’ve stocked up in the States) but it’s definitely next on my hit list! I am also obsessive about only buying recycled TP since I watched a documentary about how many trees are cut down just for a fluffier feeling – so unnecessary!

    Polly · September 13, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I wonder about the toothbrushes… I be if nothing else there’s some grandma making them somewhere!

    But really, there are many who will ship in Europe so you’d probably be able to find something, even if it wasn’t local.

Iris · September 11, 2017 at 7:47 pm

How do you get people to care about this stuff? I seem like the only one in my group of peers who wouldn’t ignore this.

G collins · September 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm

I use locally sourced goats milk soap with no wrapper. This soap is a proven anti irritant. Works as a soap and shampoo.

Celia · September 29, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Love my menstrual cup, but have always been interested in trying period underwear, too.

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