These tips for a zero-waste bathroom can help you save water and remove toxic cleaners. Spring clean with biodegradable cleaner and if safe to do so, open windows to ‘change the air’. DriPak suggests white vinegar to remove mould. This Plastic-Free Bathroom Gift Basket includes oat-mylk soap, a bamboo toothbrush, cotton buds, a plant-fibre body puff (hang to dry) and organic cotton facial pads.
If you live with pets, be careful when using houseplants. Some are highly toxic (even brushing a tail against a lily or sago palm can harm). See toxic houseplants to avoid. Houseplants don’t ‘clean the air’ (a 30-year NASA myth).
- Wash synthetic towels in a Guppyfriend (to stop fibres washing into oceans, from the machine). Avoid fabric conditioner (reduces absorbency, just add a white vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften towels). When replacing them, bamboo towels & bath mats are naturally resistant to mould.
- Choose mechanical bathroom scales, to avoid batteries (by law, shops that sell them must take any batteries for recycling – a good idea, as they are choking hazards to children & pets).
- TerraCycle Bathroom Waste Box is sold with a pre-paid label, for a whole community (or say a hotel) to send back all items for a ‘one-off recycling amnesty’ of shower caddies, bathroom toys, soap dispensers & dishes, bath mats, safety rails and shower heads.
- Ollie the Octopus is a CE standard (safety) rubber bath toy, made from sustainable rubber, with food-grade dyes. He’s one of many characters in Lanco Bath Toy range.
- Visit the chemist and invest in a fabric shower cap, rather than a plastic one. You can recycle most plastic packaging in supermarket bin bags these days, so hopefully that would include plastic shower caps. Other options include pulling your hair into a bun, or changing the angle of the shower head, to that it doesn’t wet your hair if you don’t want.
Zero Waste Shower Gels
Choose plastic-free shower gels made with biodegradable ingredients (also see handmade soap & zero-waste haircare). These ensure no waste and that fragrances don’t cause algae bloom, when washed down drains and into our oceans & rivers.
Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing, avoid shea butter for latex allergies. Avoid rosewood oil (endangered tree) and eucalyptus oil (to stop koalas harmed by harvesting). Do not use human soaps, shampoos or shower gels on dogs (use organic dog shampoo instead).
- SOP Body Wash (Norfolk) is sold in refillable aluminium tins. Inspired by Dene (a Norfolk word for sandy stretches of coastline), it features relaxing bergamot & invigorating spicy black pepper.
- Kind Beeauty Hair & Body Wash is also sold in an aluminium tin. Made with real essential oils (there is a scent-free option). you can return bottles using the free labels.
- Foamie is a new plastic-free shower gel that is vegan and free from palm oil. Formulated by UK scientists (with a little help from German engineers), choose from Papaya & Oat Milk or Peppermint & Green Tea. You can also buy their coconut shower sponges, which include integrated shower gel (each one lasts 30 days). Conventional sponges are made from actually living creatures.
- Bloomtown (Cornwall) makes luxury bath gifts (you can build or buy vegan options) with 10% of profits to environmental/animal rescue charities. Packed mostly in glass and cardboard (recycle plastic tops in your recycling bag), choose from The Grove (blood orange, pink grapefruit), The Woods (vetiver, cedar, bergamot), The Rose Garden (rose, white floral) and The Hedgerow (blackberry, honeysuckle). For boxes with candles, read candle safety notes.
Saving Water in the Bathroom
If saving water for use in the garden, use biodegradable bath products (or you will kill your plants). Most organic bath foams are very expensive, so you could just swish a few drops of essential oils into a full bath (not for pregnancy/nursing). Or use Epsom salts (not for heart or blood pressure issues). Avoid Dead Sea salts (this sea is literally dying).
- Most modern bathrooms are pretty water-efficient. For older cisterns, Hippo the Watersaver sits in the cistern to save water, each time you flush. If you replace a shower, modern versions like Oxygenics oxygenate the water, so you feel the same shower experience, but it uses less water.
- For baths, you can save water by fitting a bathwater diverter that uses gravity to direct used water to the garden (away from pets & children). Some people install greywater systems but these are banned by some councils, if the water is over 24 years old.