I’m often asked about sustainable bathroom swaps and ways to reduce waste in one of the most wasteful rooms of our home. Hopefully with help from this article, you can say goodbye to the days of cluttered medicine cabinets and showers filled with plastic jugs.
Here are my low waste bathroom essentials:
ALL METAL RAZOR
My razor of choice: The Leaf Shave Razor. Fully metal, with recyclable blades and pivoting head. It’s all the magic of a ‘modern razor’ with the mindfulness of a safety razor.
The thought of a single-use razor makes me cringe! Not only from the idea of razor burn but also of how many are sitting in our landfills and will continue to do so for hundreds of years.
About two years ago, I made the switch to an all metal razor after using a multi-blade interchangeable razor head for years. I learned that even though the head I was disposing was ‘metal’ that there were too many materials in such a small product that it was not recyclable.
So I made the switch. Many people use safety razors – they are inexpensive, straight forward and you can recycle the razor blades easily. Like I mentioned, I use a Leaf Shave razor with a pivoting head and LOVE it. It’s well worth the upfront investment!
SHAMPOO / CONDITIONER / SOAP BARS
I wish I could say this is a one size fits all. It’s not as our hair is all very different! Here’s what I look for: palm oil free, made with organic ingredients (as few ingredients as possible) and buy direct from a local maker if you can! We have a brand we love that we buy locally when we’re here in Hawai’i and when we need to restock and we’re in Maine, we have a few brands we love there.
If you can’t find anything locally, here are a few brands to look into:
There are a few options here but the main focus is to stop purchasing plastic toothbrushes that you end up tossing! There are quite a few alternatives but we personally use bamboo toothbrushes with biodegradable nylon bristles.
Another option is an electric toothbrush (try to find one that you don’t need batteries for! Or better yet, that you don’t need power at all – check this out!) that you make last a very, very long time. The goal is longevity!
TOOTHPASTE, FLOSS & MOUTHWASH
There are a bunch of tooth powders & tablets out there and some options for buying toothpaste in glass jars. I love all of these ideas and will likely try them out over time! For now, we use David’s Natural Toothpaste that comes in a recyclable metal tube and love it.
If you use mouthwash, make the swap for tablets that are perfect for travel.
ALOE VERA PLANT
Bringing botanicals into your home is incredible in many ways but for this specific instance, it’s amazing for your body and very low waste! Because we live in Hawai’i, we need the nourishment of a plant like aloe vera more than most and instead of buying plastic tubes of it – we go straight to the source. These plants are really resistant and really beautiful so I highly recommend growing a few in your home to simply break off a limb and smear on your sunburnt nose.
DEODORANT (REFILLABLE OR IN GLASS)
The choice is yours on refillable or glass but first, educate yourself on the realities of ‘typical’ deodorants (cliff notes: aluminum is HIGHLY toxic and is in most drugstore brands) and then take it a step further by saying sayonara to the ones that you use & ditch the plastic packaging moving forward. I love Fat & Moon (which comes in glass) or By HumanKind (that is refillable). You could also try making your own? Different strokes for different folks!
TOILET PAPER / BIDET
I bet you’ve never thought about the sourcing of your toilet paper. I honestly hadn’t either but when I was looking for low waste bathroom alternatives, I found out that most TP is virgin paper pulp made from wood aka cutting down trees to wipe our touchies.
“Most Americans probably do not know that the toilet paper they flush away comes from ancient forests and that clear-cutting those forests is costing the planet a great deal,” – Anthony Swift, director of the NRDC’s Canada Project
Instead, it’s best if we can buy TP sourced from a variety of sources, like post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content, wheat straw or bamboo. On top of that, by purchasing from companies like Who Gives A Crap, Bippy or Reel, we avoid the plastic packaging that comes with other TP!
Another option is to avoid the paper entirely and get a bidet. A great option to install onto the toilet you already have is Hello Tushy!
SUSTAINABLE PERIOD PRODUCTS
Ladies, we collectively toss nearly 20 billion single-use tampons, pads and applicators into North American landfills every year. I wrote a whole other post on sustainable period products that you can read here that provides reusable options to end your contribution to that statistic! This is a huge piece of having a low waste bathroom.
LOW WASTE MAKEUP & BEAUTY ROUTINE PRODUCTS
Again, this is one of the most wasteful areas in our life and it often takes a bit of exploring to find products that work with our unique skin type. I opt for more days without makeup than with and always encourage you to try out how that feels for you – in our modern world, it can feel like an act of rebellion.
For the days that I do put on makeup, I found Beauty Care Naturals (which I LOVE!) that uses mostly glass packaging and non-toxic ingredients. Use code ‘elanaloo’ for 10% off your order. I’ve also tried Elate Cosmetics & RMS Beauty which are focused on zero waste packaging but didn’t have as much success with these brands and my skin (again, these things are very personal and vary on every face!).