A girl's quest to live on the greener side.

Zero Waste Lifestyle: 20 Ways to Have a Zero Waste Bathroom

zero waste bathroom

By: Ariana Palmieri
Ever since I've learned about the zero waste movement, I've become obsessed with finding more and more ways to reduce my trash. It's been hard: I don't have my own place, so I can't exactly change everything in my home. I live with my parents, so I don't exactly have control over what they buy or use. That said, I do have control over what I buy and bring into the house. I've been doing my best to introduce some zero waste friendly ideas to them, and will continue to do so. I notice that if I ease into transitions, they become easier to handle (especially when you have a roommates or relatives in the house). So, here are a few ways you can make your bathroom more eco-friendly. You can choose to tackle them at your own pace. Perhaps you incorporate one new zero waste item into your bathroom every month, or you choose 5 you want ASAP. The choice is yours, simply let this be a helpful guide. I'll be doing more of these guides in the future, so stick around! I really want to cover a bunch of different areas of the home and life, such as being zero waste on the go and having a zero waste kitchen. Also, just as a heads up, I do have a few affiliate links scattered throughout the post, but it's nothing I wouldn't use myself (and/or items I do already use). Ready to have a zero waste bathroom? Lets hop to it!

  1. Make your own super basic hand soap (it's ridiculously easy!): All you need is 3/4 cup liquid castile soap, 2 1/2 cups of water, and a mason jar with a reusable metal dispenser. Or, use a pretty refillable soap dispenser you can find at places that sell bath supplies (like Bed Bath and Beyond).
  2. Instead of using paper towels (or in my case, toilet paper) to dry your face, try cloth wipes. I really recommend investing in organic cotton wipes (like these), simply because regular cotton uses 20% of the worlds pesticides and herbicides. These organic cotton wipes come in a 4 pack and the packaging is 100% post-consumer recycled paper. They're really great for wiping your face after cleaning it with your favorite cleanser. Just make sure you wash them once a week (I just fill the sink up with water and my favorite zero waste detergent from The Simply Co.) and they'll be good as new!
  3. Likewise, swap out cotton balls with these reusable makeup removal pads. Made with hemp and organic cotton, they can be washed and used over and over again. No more cotton balls to the landfill with these guys around!
  4. To take off your makeup, try using coconut oil (or olive oil). Just put some on your reusable makeup removal pads and use as you would a cotton ball.
  5. Your bathroom sink can be used for more than just washing your hands: Use it to wash other items too, like cloth wipes, feminine pads, or cotton wipes. As stated previously, I love using The Simply Co. detergent: It's zero waste, all-natural, and totally sink-friendly!
  6. Swap out dental floss for a zero waste option: Dental Lace. This is essentially refillable dental floss made from 100% mulberry silk (which is completely biodegradable, unlike it's plastic counterpart). It comes in its own refillable glass jar with two spools of floss ( that's 50 yards / 45 m). Pretty cool huh? You can also choose which colored jar you want - berry blue (blue), granite (grey), or sea rose (pink). Naturally, I'd go with sea rose, as I adore pink - and roses. And, if you run out, they also have refills available at a lower price. So cool.
  7. Try cutting down on the amount of time you spend to shower: This will help reduce water consumption! Also, did you know it takes more energy to heat water than to use cold water? Consider utilizing cold water more often (and even letting the water run cold in the shower too!). Cold water is actually great at keeping your hair shinier and reducing breakouts, so it's worth a shot.
  8. I really recommend switching to a bamboo toothbrush. You can read my review of Lifestyle Bamboo's toothbrush here to see why. Or, find out for yourself by purchasing your own. I've heard great things about Brush with Bamboo's toothbrush: Every part of it is plant-based and the handle can be composted after use!
  9. To compliment your new sustainable toothbrush, make your own toothpaste (here's a DIY I'm currently loving). Or, if you prefer, you can buy a zero waste toothpaste.
  10. Ditch the disposable razors and try a reusable, metal one instead. Sure, it's a little costly, but it saves you money in the long run. All you'll need to do is change the razor heads periodically. To avoid changing them too often, try to shave less frequently (if you can).
  11. Try rubbing some olive oil or coconut oil on your legs and armpits before shaving. This eliminates the need for wasteful, unnatural shaving gels and helps prevent cuts while hydrating your skin.
  12. Use a bamboo hairbrush instead of a plastic one. Here's the one I currently use - Wet Brush Bamboo Detangler Hair Brush. I've been using it for the past 4+ years! It works like a charm, despite the fact the soft tips at the top have long-since fallen off.
  13. Don't toss your loose hairs in the trash or down the toilet! Hair is biodegradable, so you can add it to compost, or simply toss it outside. So the next time you go to clean off that hair brush, think about that.
  14. Instead of buying a plastic shower curtain (which isn't recyclable in NYC, mind you), try investing in a cloth shower curtain. You can just wash it once it starts to become funky, and honestly, it'll save you money in the long run. Here's one I'm going to try to convince my mom to get: A sand colored hemp shower curtain. Or maybe I'll just buy it for her one day - what a nice surprise that would be! Life Without Plastic sells a few of these in different colors (natural, seafoam blue, and lime green), but I think my mom might like the neutral color of sand best. It works solo and doesn't need a liner, drying within hours. Just toss it in the washing machine every few weeks to keep it nice and clean. Totally beats the PVC ones (and I'm sure it doesn't smell as gross either)!
  15. Use package-free, all-natural body soap (which you can find at a local health food store). Or, invest in all-natural soap that comes in recyclable/compostable packaging.
  16. Buy ecofriendly toilet paper that's packaged in paper, not plastic. Also, the toilet paper itself should be recycled paper, or made from sustainable materials, like bamboo. Here's a brand I recommend (Seventh Generation). It's made from 100% unbleached recycled paper without any dyes, inks, or fragrances. Lauren Singer, the owner of the blog Trash is for Tossers, also recommends this brand!
  17. Instead of using shampoo and conditioner that come packaged in plastic, you could try shampoo bars. If that doesn't work, you could also make your own DIY shampoo and conditioner. Just store them in mason jars and keep them somewhere in your shower you can easily access. To make your life easier, invest in a metal mason jar dispenser for both jars (and don't forget to label which is which!).
  18. If you're a woman, consider making the switch to reusable cloth pads. I did and I don't miss disposables at all (check out my experience with cloth pads to see why). These are so much more healthy for you compared to disposables (and better for the environment). Or, if you're more of a tampon sort of girl, try a silicone menstrual cup.
  19. Never use harsh chemicals in your bathroom. Almost everything can be cleaned using all-natural methods. Good old fashioned lemon, salt, and essential oils can help you in just about any tough situation. When in doubt, lemon, vinegar, and baking soda make a great all-purpose cleaner!
  20. Make your own deodorant, or buy an all-natural, zero waste one. There are so many options available online, but one zero waste deodorant I've been wanting to try is Hoda’s Herbals Healing Lavender Deodorant. It's available on Life without Plastic and is made with only five simple ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), castor oil, essential oils (lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, patchouli). Sounds good to me!


  1. Toilet paper is still pretty wasteful; recycled or not. You're already using washable wipes and cloth menstrual pads, so why not make the logical extension to family cloth?

    1. As is makeup, so no need for anything connected to that.

  2. Awesome job really it's great article. Thanks for posting it.

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