Here are 6 easy swaps for a more eco-friendly bathroom. All of these products are effective and convenient, and work as well if not better than their plastic predecessors.
I find the easiest product swaps tend to work in a similar way to what I’ve historically used, for example I like the convenience and performance of liquid pump hand wash, so switching to a similar but refillable version was easier to adapt to than trying to switch to bar soap.
So, if you’re looking for a few easy low-friction swaps to cut down your plastic waste in the bathroom, look no further!
I’m including 6 products I currently use and find effective. I’ve also included some eco bathroom product swaps I’m still researching before switching.
- Toilet roll
- Body wash
- Cotton buds
- Face wash and moisturiser
- Dental Floss
- Bath Salts
1. Toilet roll
Packs of toilet paper from the supermarket always come wrapped in plastic. This thin type of wrapping plastic is not recyclable unless you send it to a specialist processor like terracycle or take it to a supermarket with a soft plastic recycling scheme.
Sustainable solution: Toilet roll individually wrapped in paper
Who Gives a Crap toilet paper is great quality, comes in pretty paper wrapping, and is not packaged in plastic. It comes delivered to your door in a cardboard box. There are several similar companies offering plastic-free bog roll these days too. Easy swap, and what’s easier than having it delivered to your door?!
2. Body Wash
If you’re set on using a liquid foaming gel-based body wash in a pump bottle like me, you probably won’t want to switch to bar soap. Thankfully there are refillable body wash options available in Australia bottled in glass or aluminium.
Sustainable solution: Body wash in a refillable aluminium bottle
This Natural Refillable Body Wash comes in an aluminium bottle. Choose from a pump or aluminium screw lid. The idea is to keep the pump dispenser and buy the ‘refill’ bottle with aluminium lid thereon after. This body wash smells amazing, is completely natural and plant-based, and made in Australia.
3. Cotton buds
Regular cotton buds made from sticks of plastic with cotton wool stuck on the ends cause havoc for marine life when they end up in the ocean. They are too small to be recycled properly and don’t biodegrade.
Sustainable solution: plastic-free paper cotton buds
Eco friendly cotton buds are now fairly widely available that are made from either paper or bamboo instead of plastic. They break down and won’t cause a threat to marine life. I’ve been using these cotton and paper cotton buds from Woolies and they’re great quality, and no plastic!
4. Face Wash and Moisturiser
If you usually use face wash and moisturiser in single use plastic bottles or jars, simply switch to refillable aluminium or glass!
Many conventional face care products, even those claiming to be natural, also contain harmful chemicals like artificial fragrances.
Sustainable solution: natural face wash and moisturiser in refillable glass bottles
Azur Pure Skincare’s refillable face wash and moisturiser each come with a pump version and refill version, and you can send back empty bottles freepost for re-use as part of the closed loop system.
5. Dental Floss
Regular string dental floss is very bad for the environment – it’s made from synthetic wax-coated nylon which won’t biodegrade, housed in a plastic shell with a metal cutter, and it can’t be recycled.
The synthetic wax on floss string is commonly made with Teflon, which contains PFAs to make it slippery. PFAs are hormone disruptors, can cause birth defects, cancers, and compromised immune health. Not the best thing to be rubbing through your teeth, then!
Sustainable solution: silk dental floss
I’ve been using this Kmart silk floss and my teeth feel cleaner than when I used a plastic floss! It doesn’t glide as easily as the plastic type, but this seems to be the reason it does a more thorough job.
6. Bath Salts
Bath salts are often packaged in plastic pouches which are generally not recyclable. They are sometimes packaged in pouches which look like craft paper, but are lined with plastic or have a plastic window, so aren’t recyclable.
Also check the ingredients for dodgy chemicals, colours or fragrances which you certainly don’t want to soak in.
Sustainable solution: refillable bath salts in a glass jar
I use natural zero waste bath salts in a glass jar and refill it with compostable refill pouches. Azur bath salts are 100% natural, contain antioxidant and detoxifying blue spirulina and relaxing lavender and ylang ylang essential oils.
My eco bathroom fails
Bathroom products I’m yet to find eco alternatives for:
I’ve personally struggled to find a sustainable option which I like for the following products, and would like to hear of any of your eco suggestions for these products in the comments below.
Sustainable Shampoo and Conditioner
I’ve tried shampoo and conditioner bars, and personally I just don’t enjoy the experience of using them. I will try one more brand, but I think liquid refill bottles are the way to go for me. I’m currently using a natural plant-based shampoo and conditioner in plastic pump bottles. At least I managed to switch from mainstream chemical-laden haircare finally.
Any eco haircare suggestions?
I am keen to try Barnone shampoo and conditioner in aluminium bottles. They’re available at the local supermarket. It would be great if they were also refillable, but aluminium is infinitely recyclable and therefore much less likely to end up in the ocean, so it’s a pretty sustainable packaging option compared to plastic.
Sustainable solution: refillable shampoo and conditioner in aluminium bottles
Although I love bamboo toothbrushes, the last one I had went mouldy.
Anyway I find my electric toothbrush very effective and thorough, and it gives a really clean feeling. BUT most electric toothbrush heads can’t be recycled.
I use a Phillips sonicare electric toothbrush and was excited to find some bamboo toothbrush heads compatible with Phillips Sonicare! I haven’t tried them yet so please let me know if you have. I’ll report back here when I’ve tried.
I found recyclable Oral B electric toothbrush heads too. Not non-plastic, but at least they’re recyclable.
Sustainable solution: recyclable or bamboo electric toothbrush heads
Natural plastic-free toothpaste
I am guilty of using the odd plastic-packaged toothpaste, as for some reason I STILL haven’t got around to switching to either toothpaste tablets or finding a nice natural toothpaste in an aluminium tube instead of plastic. I use both a main brand sensitive toothpaste (to keep sensitivity at bay) and a natural one from MooGoo which leaves my teeth feeling very clean. Please, Moogoo, switch to aluminium tubes and I will be forever loyal!
I’m not sure if I like the idea of toothpaste tablets, but I will certainly try some soon. I’m more likely to get on with an aluminium tube of natural toothpaste. I do worry the sensitivity will come back though, so if anyone knows of a good natural toothpaste for sensitive teeth, please holler!
Sustainable solution: toothpaste in an aluminium tube, or tablets
After having laser hair removal, I use a razor about twice a year!! The hair on my body is so sparse and light now. I have a men’s Gillete razor, which actually has a metal handle, but it has small plastic parts in the blades. I have generally found men’s razors and blades are better and cheaper than the women’s ones (they think us women are mugs!)
I love the look of the all-metal eco razors now available and plan to get one of those when my existing blades run out. I love this pretty zero waste metal razor in pastel pink, baby blue or mint green. Or this rose gold metal razor is gorgeous.
Sustainable solution: 100% metal razor and blades
A bathroom filled with quality sustainable products made from natural materials looks far better than one with loads of plastic tat lying around, in my opinion. I find most plastic products tend to look brash and cheap, especially shampoo bottles. So I’m looking forward to completing my eco product swaps and getting rid of the last few plastic-y products!