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5 Zero Waste Bathroom Essentials

How much plastic waste is in your bathroom? Between soap dispensers, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, hair and body products, bath mats and more, the plastic waste in one's bathroom can really start to pile up! Today we are going to dive into what it means to have a Zero Waste Bathroom (or near zero waste, because nobody is perfect!) and the five essentials we recommend you adopt to kickstart your journey.


First, Let's Define

A Zero Waste Bathroom is a bathroom that embodies the zero waste lifestyle mission: to strive towards sending nothing to the landfill while applying the 6 R's wherever possible. If your bathroom is far from waste-free, fear not! We all have to start somewhere. Visit our blog post How to Go Zero Waste | 5 Simple Steps for some inspiration on getting started, and then apply these same concepts to your bathroom.

As it goes, with learning a new skillset comes adopting new tools to make the journey a bit easier. Keep reading to learn our five favorite bathroom essentials that make having Zero Waste Bathroom more easy and attainable!

Bamboo Toothbrush

Let's start with the basics: your toothbrush. Approximately a billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away in the United States annually — that's 50 million pounds of waste. On the other hand, roughly 3.5 billion plastic toothbrushes are sold worldwide each year. While one would hope these toothbrushes are being recycled into another product, the reality is that these billions of toothbrushes are ending up in landfills or our oceans.

But there is good news! An alternative exists, and it's made out of one of our favorite materials: bamboo. While a 100% compostable bamboo toothbrush does not exist yet, the closest alternative we've found is by Brush with Bamboo (BWB). Their bristles are 62% Castor Bean Oil, 38% nylon, and made in the USA. This is the latest and most advanced biobased bristle in the world today. It’s biobased, but still not biodegradable. Prior to the invention of nylon in the 1930s, pig hair was used for toothbrush bristles worldwide. Today, pig hair remains the only biodegradable option – and it is a very controversial material. BWB are currently working towards creating the world's first 100% compostable toothbrush, and you bet we will be celebrating them when they do!

Our top pick: Brush with Bamboo

Zero Waste Toothpaste

Toothpaste is next on our list of eliminating waste from our bathrooms. Toothpaste often comes in a plastic tube with a plastic cap that often cannot be recycled. Fortunately, there are many different options for switching to a zero waste toothpaste. These include:

  • Toothpaste tabs
  • Toothpaste powders
  • Toothpaste in recyclable packaging
  • DIY toothpaste 

Our top pick: DIY. Recipe video can be found here.

Safety Razor

The EPA estimates 2 billion razors are thrown away each year. Yikes! Razors are not only impossible to recycle, but they are expensive, too. The handle ($30) and a box of Shark blades ($7.28) will cost you a total of $37.28. Assuming the handle will last a lifetime, the only investment you'll personally make moving forward is for blades. If you were to use an average of 1 blade per month, which is at most 12 blades per year meaning a box of 100 blades will last you 8 years. On the contrary, razors heads in stores are around $18 for a box of 4 heads, or $4.50 a blade meaning that using 12 blades per year will cost you $54. By switching to a safety razor, you will save $1,535.50 in blades in a span of 37 years. Best of all? You are preventing THOUSANDS of disposable razors from going to a landfill. Win-win.

Our top pick: Parker Safety Razor

Shampoo Bars

Next, let's tackle the shower. Depending on how often you wash your hair, you may go through many bottles a year. Now we know what you may be thinking: but shampoos and conditioners come in recyclable packaging! Yes, this is true, but recycling still requires energy to process and should be approached as a last resort if possible. The solution here is simple: shampoo and conditioner bars! Shampoo and conditioner bars come packaged free (or with recyclable paper packaging) and are much more concentrated making them last longer than a liquid bottle! Shampoo bars are super easy to use, simply lather them in your hands or directly to your hair and massage right in! We recommend keeping them in a place where they can dry fully before the next use, they will last longer.

Our top pick: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve

Toilet Paper

One of the funniest questions we hear in the zero waste movement is: do zero wasters use toilet paper? Well, of course they do! However, conventional toilet paper made from virgin trees and packaged up in plastic simply won't do. Consciously crafted toilet paper however that is made from post-consumer recycled paper or tree-free that is packaged without plastic will do perfectly.

Our top pick: Tree-free TP from Pure Planet Club or your local grocer 

Thanks for joining us another blog post on the {Zero} Waste Kit blog! We hope you feel inspired to greenify your bathroom and incorporate some zero waste lifestyle techniques in your everyday routine. If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below. Lastly, don’t forget to share this post with someone who would appreciate it!

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