Clean for you and clean for the planet. (Photo: Leaf Shave / Cocokind)
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Beginning a zero waste journey may seem daunting, but taking small steps rather than swapping everything at once will get you there without feeling overwhelmed. Most people find it easiest to pick an area of their life—or their home—to tackle first. The bathroom is one of the easiest places to start because people tend to cycle through products like toothpaste, shampoo, and razors relatively quickly, meaning you can make the switch pretty organically.
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The most important thing to remember when aiming to be more sustainable is to use up what you have first. There’s no need to throw away your current bathroom products and replace them all at once. A gradual transition will be easier to work into your daily routine and it’ll be much nicer on your bank account. Though for things like menstrual products or toilet paper, you’ll want to plan a bit ahead, but we’ve narrowed down some easy sustainable bathroom swaps from highly recommended and Reviewed-tested brands like Billie, by Humankind, and more.
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1. Natural products from Grove Collaborative
Let Grove do the research; you do the shopping (Photo: Grove Collaborative)
When it comes to my morning and nighttime bathroom routine, a clean bathroom always makes everything easier. Since the bathroom is where I shower, shave, bathe, and do my skincare routine, it’s important to me that the cleaning products I use are effective, “safe,” and smell good. If you feel similarly, you’ll probably love Grove Collaborative, which is an online marketplace for natural household and personal products. Grove Collaborative carries everything from glass and toilet cleaner to toothpaste and hand cream, so you can grab more than just cleaning products. Grove also has a handful of toilet paper options like Tree-Free rolls and 100% recycled rolls.
You can edit your monthly order anytime and purchase with peace of mind knowing that the products you’re getting have been vetted (Grove Collaborative is certified B-Corp, meaning the company meets rigorous sustainable social and environmental standards). You only pay for the products you buy plus $4.99 for shipping, but there is a VIP membership option for $19.99 per year that is cost-effective if you plan to make more than four orders.
Shop Grove Collaborative
2. Zero-waste essentials from by Humankind
No more need for “backup products” crowing your selves. (Photo: by Humankind)
Last year, I tried bathroom staples from by Humankind and absolutely loved them. All the products came in compostable packaging and integrated into my routine smoothly and I still use the deodorant stick and mouthwash tablets. Everything you buy on by Humankind’s site can be reused or refilled. So, when I ran out of deodorant I was able to reuse the outer shell with a refill that came in a biodegradable paper container. The brand also carries items like hand soap, cotton swabs, shampoo, conditioner, and more that are worth checking out.
Shop by Humankind
3. Sustainable dental hygiene products
Throw that old toothbrush out and get a bamboo replacement. (Photo: Package Free Shop)
Take this as your sign to swap out your toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash for plastic-free alternatives. The Earth doesn’t need any more plastic toothbrushes filling landfills or waterways. Bamboo toothbrushes are easy to find online, like this 12-pack from Amazon, and they work similarly to the plastic one you’ve been using since your last dentist appointment. Add in David’s natural toothpaste, which comes in comes in a recyclable metal tube, for a more sustainable brushing routine. For more dental hygiene essentials, try zero-waste floss and mouthwash like the Dental Routine Trio from by Humankind.
4. Swap disposable razors with refillable ones
This is the last razor you’ll ever buy. (Photo: Leaf Shave)
No-so-fun fact: Every plastic razor you’ve ever used still exists. Plastic doesn’t break down, and single-use plastic is part of the growing landfill problem. Though disposable razors last for multiple uses, transitioning your shaving routine to one with replaceable heads is an easy way to help reduce waste. We tried and love the Billie razor, which is a widely popular razor subscription service that sends monthly replacement cartridges. The Billie brand is also against the pink tax (the extra amount women are charged for some products and services), and all of its products are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
The Leaf razor is another sustainable razor option, as it requires you to swap out the blades yourself. The stainless steel razor has three blades and a tilting head to make shaving in tight spots like behind the knee or under the chin easier. I’ve been using the Leaf razor for two years, and it’s the closest shave I’ve ever gotten. There is a bit of a learning period with changing the blades, and you’ll want a creamier shaving cream as it doesn’t come with a built-in moisturizing strip. Its initial cost is higher than your traditional razor, but it will cut down your plastic consumption and save you money in the long run (50 replacement blades cost less than a single disposable cartridge).
5. Green alternatives to menstrual products
Imagine not having to buy period products for a whole year. (Photo: Cora)
It’s no secret that menstrual products can add up quickly—they tend to add up as a monthly purchase and they contribute a significant amount of waste to landfills. We tried organic tampon subscriptions that are supposedly better for you and for the Earth, including. Lola and Cora.
Both brands also offer menstrual cups, which are a way to make your menstrual routine more sustainable. As opposed to paper products you dispose of immediately, a single silicone cup will last at least years on average, and depending on your cycle, it might be less work for you. With a menstrual cup, you skip buying and tossing pads and tampons, but you may prefer to keep some on hand just in case.
6. Reusable rounds to replace single-use cotton balls
Facial rounds can be used with any step of your beauty routine. (Photo: Marley’s Monsters)
Cotton swabs or cotton balls produce a ton of waste over time. These organic rounds can replace those single-use applicators, are made from soft cotton flannel, and can be machine washed to be reused again and again for years. I like the cream color, but you can also purchase fun monochrome or surprise prints. Like cotton pads, the reusable rounds can be used to apply serums or toners as well as take off makeup or face masks. They’re versatile, perfect for sensitive skin, and—best of all—sustainable.
Get the Organic Facial Rounds from Marley’s Monsters for $20
7. Cotton towels with no chemicals or synthetics
They’re like a cloud. (Photo: Parachute)
The classic towels from Parachute are our favorite bath towels. Made of 100% long-staple Turkish cotton, our tester found that we’re incredibly soft and absorbent. They also dry quickly, meaning they won’t develop a musty smell like some other towels do after repeated use. Parachute also has an Oeko-Tex certification, which means its products are made without any harmful chemicals or synthetics, so you can wrap yourself comfortably knowing your skin won’t face any irritants.
Get the Classic Towels from Parachute from $9
8. Skincare that’s made sustainably
Find a sustainable skincare line that works for you. (Photo: Cocokind)
There is a growing number of sustainable skincare brands, which is great, but it can be hard to decide what products suit your skin’s needs. There will likely be some trial and error to determine what natural ingredients work best for you. I’ve also found that some of the sustainable products that are great for my skin in the winter, won’t be useful when summer rolls around. But it’s worth the search, trust me.
When looking for sustainable skincare I make sure each brand meets my short criteria: natural or no fragrance, versatile products, eco-friendly shipping, and in the $10-30 price range. I also look for ingredients I can pronounce and am familiar with, like vinegar, matcha, jojoba oil, squaline, and rosewater. My medicine cabinet is filled with mostly Cocokind products, but I also recommend Biossance, Bathing Culture, and Wild Origins as other sustainable options.
Shop Cocokind starting at $9
9. Remove plastic from your shower
Don’t knock it until you try it. (Photo: HiBAR)
Sometimes, even sustainable products have plastic packaging. Think about your shower and how many plastic bottles or tubes there are that you’ll toss (well, hopefully, recycle!) as soon as you finish them. Instead of replacing them with yet another bottle, consider switching to a shampoo or conditioner bar. It may seem a bit odd at first, but once the bar becomes sudsy it works just like a bar of soap to clean and moisturize your hair. The HiBAR shampoo and conditioner bars work for various hair types and are safe for colored and/or treated hair. Plus, they’re completely plastic-free and don’t contain sulfates, parabens, silicone, phthalates.
Don’t forget about bar soap. It’s been around for centuries and I’m a big believer of it over body wash. I love the feel of exfoliating bar soaps, and when the bar gets too small, you can put it in a soap saver bag to use every last sud.
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