10 ways to reduce waste in the bathroom

No pun intended; I’m not gonna tell you to poop less!

Our bathrooms, though, come with copious amounts of waste.  This can be anything from toilet paper and the toilet brush, to the packaging of your cosmetics and the plastic bottles that clutter your shower.

There are many products you can go without, some you can make yourself, and others you can swap out for more sustainable options.  You don’t have to change all these things at once, but start with one.  This will reduce your household waste, time and money spent, as well as your footprint.

These are but a few options:

  1. Eliminate cotton swabs: your ears will not turn into goopy grossness; they are good at self-cleaning.  After washing my hair, I use the towel to rub my outer ear, and I haven’t bought cotton swabs in many years.  They are unnecessary, and we often misuse them and do damage.  If you must, there are metal reusable ones.
  2. Bamboo toothbrush: this is a good sustainable swap to plastic ones that pollute our ecosystems.  You can pull the bristles out once it’s “done”, and either compost the stem, or use it for something like a garden marker.
  3. Toothpaste: there are many methods to make this yourself, and you can get most ingredients at Fullfill in Kimberley.  You can also refill Nelson Naturals there, which come in glass jars; this company may move toward returnable jars in the future, and have produced tooth tabs that come in paper packaging.
  4. Shampoo and conditioner: replace all those pesky plastic bottles with package-free shampoo bars instead.  The cleanse lasts way longer, and they are often made with more natural ingredients.  Conditioner bars also exist, but I have found them ineffective, so I’ve gone without for many years!
  5. Bar o’ soap: a simple bar of soap can eliminate various plastic pump bottles.  I use mild soap for my face, so no need for expensive cleansers; I have sensitive skin too, and soap works just fine.  I have another bar for body.
  6. Make your own lotion: there are many recipes out there to make your own. It is easy, can be inexpensive (mine has 3 ingredients; there are surely more costly ways of making lotion), and the ingredients can be found package-free.  I use one lotion for everything; it’s good for the face, body, as well as awesome for a pregnant belly, jus’ sayin’.  One small jar lasts me quite a long time.
  7. TP: not everyone can have a worm composting toilet 😉, but there are better choices than plastic-wrapped TP.  For example, you can purchase bulk rolls that come in a cardboard box, or are you brave enough to try “family cloth” or perhaps a bidet attachment?
  8. Cosmetics: reduce your use of cosmetics.  Why hide your natural face?  This took me some time to be comfortable with, as I was make-up ridden for numerous years.  Bit by bit I reduced my usage, thus reducing my waste.  I use simple cocoa powder for my cheeks, and I have not phased out mascara.  There are ways you can make it yourself, or use things like beets for lip stain.  Elate is one company that has made effort to reduce plastic packaging, and Clean Faced Cosmetics strives for vegan, and near zero-waste.
  9. Bath mat: there is a small chance you have used the same bath mat for over ten years.  We tend to purchase these cheap at super stores, and they get more degraded every time we leave it wet on the ground, or wash it in the machine.  I bought a wooden mat; it’s easy to clean, and is showing no wear so far.
  10. Cleaning your poop room: simplify what you use to clean your bathroom.  I use an all-purpose spray cleaner made of vinegar, tea tree oil, and water.  For scrubbing the sink, toilet, and tub, I use washing soda that comes in a cardboard box.  And I bought a wooden toilet brush from Life Without Plastic.

How do you lessen your waste in the bathroom?  Have you made any plastic-free swaps yet?

In love and compost,




  1. All I have in my shower are bars of soap! I have one for my face and one for body, a shampoo bar, and a conditioner bar. I found the Ethique brand conditioner bar to work well. No more tangles! For lotion, I use Plaine Products that come in a reusable stainless steel container!


    • That’s awesome! Well done! I also just have soap in my shower; one for hair, and one for body. Makes it really easy to clean it haha I find storebought shampoo to leave too much residue, so you end up having to wash every 1-2 days; with my shampoo bar I wash 1-2 per week!


  2. Also, I’m working on my hubby to stop purchasing those plastic ‘floss sticks’. Such a waste and terrible for our environment. 🙄

    On Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 2:01 AM The Zero Journey wrote:

    > Nadine posted: “No pun intended; I’m not gonna tell you to poop less! Our > bathrooms, though, come with copious amounts of waste. This can be > anything from toilet paper and the toilet brush, to the packaging of your > cosmetics and the plastic bottles that clutter your sh” >


  3. Really enjoy this post! I’m doing a project for a competition about trash free hygiene products. I had a few questions that I would be greatly honored if you answered them. Thanks in advance.

    1. How did adjusting to a trash-free lifestyle affect your mentality and attitude towards daily life?

    2. Are there any cons about trash-free hygiene products (ex. cost, health conditions, feasibility)?


    • Thanks! Just to clarify – what do you mean by hygiene products: feminine products like menstrual cups, or general hygiene like bath products?


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