Zero Waste Bathroom
One of my strategies in transitioning to a minimal waste lifestyle was to sort of do it room by room. I'd say the bathroom and the kitchen are the biggest hurtles to overcome.
One thing to keep in mind is that I am living with a significant other who definitely participates in minimal waste, but is not attempting the zero waste lifestyle. This means that 1) there are some items around my home that are not zero waste and are mostly not mine and 2) you can do this even if you live with someone who doesn't want to go zero waste, it doesn't have to be all or nothing for everyone in the house!
Instead of the disposable soap dispensers which use detergents (including chemical hardeners, foaming agents and artificial fragrances), go for some decent handmade bar soaps. I've recently become obsessed with natural soaps, hoping to make some of my own soon! But until then I'm using several different brands of natural, non-toxic, handmade soaps including: Little Seed Farm, Tellicherry Trading Co, and LUSH.
Pictured is the Geranium Rose Bar from Little Seed Farm that I currently have at the sink and in the shower. I love their products, if you want to know more about them you can read my company spotlight on them here. But the bottom line is: natural bar soap is your friend. You can buy bar soap in bulk, completely unwrapped, or wrapped in recyclable materials. One thing to check for is how it's fragranced. You only want soaps fragranced using essential oils, not with "fragrance oils" which can contain all kinds of harmful chemicals and which the FDA does not require to be listed.
2. Dental Care: Toothbrush + Toothpaste + Floss
Brush with Bamboo! There are now tons of brands of bamboo toothbrush that are available all over the internet, a quick amazon search will show you a ton. I use Brush with Bamboo, but as long as the whole brush is completely biodegradable and made of plant material, I'd say you're in the clear!
I've fluctuated with what I've used for toothpaste throughout my transition to zero waste. I've used just baking soda, I've used my own homemade toothpaste, Zero Market's Toothpaste, and Tom's on and off. My significant other still prefer's Tom's to anything else, and there happens to be a Tom's Terracycle Drop-off location near us, so I haven't had too many qualms about going back and forth.
I will say that I feel like toothpaste is a really personal decision, since it has so much to do with your dental health. Do what you feel is best for you. I am totally ok with using alternative toothpastes (and so is my dentist BTW) but if you're not comfortable with it, I'm not here to shame you into it. Use what you think is best for your health.
Silk floss is the name of the game. Personally, my favorite company for this is Radius. They are women-owned and operated, function with high ecological and humanitarian ethics, use a solar-powered factory, and their flosses are biodegradable (and all packaging materials are biodegradable and/or recyclable). Their bosses, and so is their floss!
3. Toilet Paper
Basically there are three things you want to look for when purchasing toilet paper are: 1) that it's made from recyclable materials and 2) that it was made without chlorine and bleach processing 3) that it's wrapped in paper, not plastic.
Ok so truth be told, this is one of the next big purchases/thorough research projects I need to do. I waited too long last time to make an order, so on short notice I ran out and got TP at Trader Joe's which was 100% recycled, but wrapped in plastic.
My favorite company so far is Who Gives a Crap, they make 100% recycled toilet paper, packaged plastic free, and donate 50% of their profit to help build toilets for those in need. Ya, this is an environmentally friendly, humanitarian, toilet paper company - damn those Australians come up with some good stuff! The unfortunate thing is, unless you live in Australia, you can't order from them. So I will be waiting until the day they start delivering to the USA!
Another option is to generally ditch toilet paper all together. I promise that's not as insane as it sounds, and that we all should be questioning our own traditions and habits in this journey. Bidets and bidet attachments are what make this doable, and are a popular choice for many of those in the zero waste community. I have not purchased a bidet attachment, but plan to do so in the future. You can find them on Amazon from $20-350. The two companies I'm most interested in currently are Boss Bidet and Tushy Bidet. I'll let you know when I make the move!
I would check out the NRDC's guide for all products like this (tissues, paper towels, TP, etc.). While TP is the only one I use, if you aren't going to go all the way zero waste, you at least want to purchase environmentally conscious disposable products. I think I am going to try out a bulk order of Seventh Generation next, I'll let you know how it goes!
4. Personal Care: Body Lotion and Deodorant
These two I think anybody can homemake.
For lotion, I use coconut oil combined with a few drops of my favorite essential oils, you can read my article on it here.
If you aren't a fan of my DIYs, then google search away! There are tons of homemade body product ideas to be found, and variations of deodorant and lotions are plentiful! The bottom line is that you need to find an oil your skin likes. If its not coconut, try shea, argon, etc. until something works!
5. Sanitary Products: Trash + Toilet Brush
Though these may be the less savory parts of the bathroom, they are VERY necessary!
For the toilet brush get one made of wood and natural bristles. I recommend Redecker's untreated beechwood and union fiber brush. I keep mine in a pitcher I got at goodwill, but they also offer a very nice looking one if you want.
For the trash, I still like to have a lined trash for the bathroom. You have guests over, and people need to toss things in there that you don't want to touch. However, I use bags that are meant to line compost tins, so they are 100% biodegradable. So long as nothing is too too wet, these hold up great! I've used both Green Legacy and UNNI. The trash container itself I got at goodwill as well!
As you can see below, I share my shower! I haven't converted the boyfriend all the way to shampoo bars and conditions (yet...) but he tries to use generally nontoxic products at least.
And yes, our bamboo plant lives in the shower. The squigie was here when we moved in, we use it for the windows and intend to leave it when we move on.
Shampoo and Conditioner
While I have used homemade shampoo and conditioner, I just can't resist LUSH's delicious-smelling, convenient, and cost effective shampoo and conditioner bars! I first converted because my homemade stuff doesn't work for colored hair (and I had a mermaid moment...), LUSH's Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bar held my hair's color really well for months! I'm now trying out their Montalbano citrus bar and their sea-salt/coconut oil conditioner bar. So far, I'm loving them!
Soaps and Scrubs
In the shower I'm using the same soap as I am at the sink, a Geranium Rose Bar from Little Seed Farm. It's great for face and body! I also have a container of liquid lavender Dr. Bronner's in there (not pictured), just because every bathroom needs some castile soap!
You'll also notice my two glass jars, both containing scrubs! The small black on is a salt scrub from Osmia, and the other is a homemade honey-sugar scrub (recipe to come!).
I use a Merkur safety razor, specifically this one. You can find a large variety of safety razors on Amazon, or in a specialty shave shop if you live near one. They range in price from about $10-$50. You can read my article on safety razors if you want more details!
Ok, you caught me! My shower curtain is not zero waste. I got it in college from Target, and I have a liner for it that I bought when we moved. The shower curtain shift is honestly the most expensive change to make in the bathroom, which is why I haven't jumped for it yet.
But if you are interested in exploring zero waste shower curtains the key is: natural fiber (generally hemp), no plastic liner.
Yup no plastic liner. When you use natural fibers you don't get them soaked and you allow them enough space to dry (don't leave them crunched up). Since I have one, I'm not throwing it away until its completely done (or I can find it a new home).
Life Without Plastic sells hemp shower curtains, and I would trust their products. While I haven't personally used anything from Rawganique, they also appear to have several good natural fiber options. I'll let you know when I make the upgrade!