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It can feel completely overwhelming knowing where to start when shopping more sustainably. After all, it’s so much easier to stick to our usual shopping habits, picking up plastic disposables before going on our merry way. If you’re anything like me, you may find yourself worrying about things like:

  • But it’s going to cost me a small fortune to make all these changes, right?
  • I’m all about saving the planet and ditching toxic chemicals in theory, but are these products any good?
  • What if I get roped into a subscription service and find myself drowning in boxes of bulk loo roll?
  • I mean, what difference can I possibly make as one person?!

But fear not! Having made these swaps myself over the past year or so, I can honestly say that not only are you doing your bit for the planet and animals – it’s way more cost-effective in the long run. Oh, and did I mention that these products will look 100 times nicer on display in your bathroom than tacky disposables?

Here are my top plastic-free bathroom swaps, plus tips on the best brands to invest in. Let’s get to it. 

What Does an Ethical Bathroom Look Like?

Plastic free and zero waste

Plastic Free

In a world overflowing with plastic pollution, opting for sustainable alternatives is a powerful choice. From refillable containers to zero-waste packaging, you contribute to a healthier planet.

Vegan and cruelty-free

Animal Friendly

Sadly, it’s still completely normal for animals to have suffered for cosmetics. By swapping to vegan and cruelty-free certified brands, you can align your shopping habits with your vegan values.

Non toxic formulations

Non Toxic

Bathroom products are notorious for harbouring toxic ingredients such as SLS, parabens and phthalates. When you switch to safer alternatives, you don’t compromise your long-term health.

15 Zero-Waste Bathroom Swaps To Level Up Your Bathroom

The word ‘eco-friendly’ typically comes with a negative preconception that products will inevitably be low-performance and drab-looking – especially where the bathroom is concerned.

But once you look past your local supermarket shelves, you’ll realise there are loads of innovative brands making waves in the industry, producing beautifully aesthetic products that have a much lower impact and are kinder all around.

#1 Sustainable Haircare

Collectively, Brits throw away 520 million shampoo bottles every year. Despite recycling efforts, the reality is that most end up in landfill, where they can take up to 450 years to decompose. That’s a heck of a lot of plastic pollution.

The haircare market is dominated by large multinational brands like Head & Shoulders, Pantene and Garnier, who continue to pump out virgin plastic bottles at a staggering rate. So what steps can you take to go plastic-free?

The most sustainable alternative is to make the switch to zero-waste shampoo and conditioner bars that are packaged in compostable materials. Plus they last a lot longer, too! For nourishing bars that are 100% vegan, check out Ethique.

Alternatively, if you’re not quite ready to go liquid-free, then there are still plenty of refillable and eco-friendly options to reduce your plastic waste. Faith in Nature offer budget-friendly haircare with refill stations across the country, or check out Green People’s innovative plant-based bioplastic packaging.

#2 Zero Waste Body Wash

One of the easiest eco-friendly bathroom swaps I’ve made is to ditch the plastic bottle of body wash in favour of the humble bar of soap.

Just like shampoo and conditioner bars, they are lighter to transport than water-based products, so significantly reduce your carbon footprint. They also require minimal packaging in environmentally-friendly materials.

Whilst it can take a little bit of adjusting to a bar of soap, the end result leaves you feeling just as squeaky clean, so no compromises on cleanliness! It’s also a great way to save money and ensure you’re only using kind ingredients on your skin.

My favourite brands for soap are Ethique and Wild – both are natural, vegan and cruelty-free. Another option would be to try out Wild’s beautiful refillable body wash.

#3 Reusable Razor

Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate (safety razors take a little getting used to)
What I use: FFS reusable razor + blade subscription

It’s estimated that over 2 billion disposable razors are discarded annually. The problem is that for a smooth finish (and to reduce infection), blades should be refreshed every 3-5 shaves – which equals a lot of discarded plastic razors. Plus, due to the different materials used, they’re very tricky to recycle.

For a sustainable alternative, invest in a reusable razor with replaceable blades. Durable, long-lasting, and producing significantly less waste, it’s an eco-friendly solution that will put your shaving needs on autopilot when you start a subscription service. Oh, and did I mention that reusable razors are infinitely more aesthetic than disposables?!

I got mine from FFS Beauty and it’s absolutely gorgeous. You could also look at Wild & Stone or Shoreline for similar products.

#4 Conscious Skincare

  • Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate (skincare is incredibly personal so it can take a little trial and error to find the right products for your individual needs)
  • What I use: Facetheory basic skincare routine
  • Get 20% off your first order with newsletter sign-up

I know it can feel scary switching up your usual skincare routine, but not only is it better for the environment – I promise your skin will thank you for it, too! Sustainable skincare brands are moving away from plastic packaging and sourcing ingredients more sustainably. For instance, by minimising the use of palm oil or ensuring it’s certified.

Conscious skincare prioritises natural and organic formulas, steering clear of harmful substances like mineral oil, phthalates and parabens that pose long-term health risks. I also always look out for vegan and cruelty-free certification via Leaping Bunny or PETA.

For tried-and-tested simplicity, I can’t recommend Facetheory enough!

#5 Reusable Face Cloths

Hands up if you rely on disposable makeup wipes to do the majority of the heavy lifting when removing your makeup at the end of the day? No judgement here – I’ve been there!

When going zero-waste, the key is to look out for anything you’re regularly disposing of every day. And, with a collective 20 million makeup wipes being thrown in the bin daily, they’re up there with the most wasteful products in the world.

Makeup wipes are also horrible for your skin because they only work at a surface level and don’t provide a thorough cleanse of your pores. Plus, they’re a small but regular expense that very quickly adds up over a year.

By switching to reusable face cloths, you can remove your makeup properly, in a way that’s much kinder to the planet and your purse. Try these 100% bamboo microfibre cleansing cloths or my personal faves (pro tip: a darker colour is always best – white will discolour very quickly!).

#6 Planet-Friendly Makeup

  • Difficulty: Intermediate (it always takes a while to find the products and shades that work best for your skin)
  • What I use: PHB Ethical Beauty products

Traditional makeup products housed in plastic bottles and palettes are rarely recyclable. And, even when they are, they mostly end up in landfill. Transitioning to zero-waste and lower-impact beauty brands helps you to prioritise natural and organic ingredients (avoiding known hormone disrupters and carcinogens), eliminate animal suffering, and be more conscious of your environmental impact.

Brands like bareMinerals and Odylique offer clean makeup alternatives, or take a look at Love the Planet for zero-waste refill sachets. Right now, I’m loving PHB Ethical Beauty for their commitment to biodegradable and recyclable materials. I’ve gone into more detail about my favourite brands below!

#7 Refillable Deodorant

Whether you currently buy aerosol spray cans or plastic roll-ons, the problem with both is that they typically can’t be easily recycled, so… you guessed it, they wind up sitting in landfill. In fact, according to Fussy, over 3.2 billion single-use plastic deodorants alone are thrown away each year.

It’s also worth pointing out that traditional aerosols plug your sweat ducts with aluminium, which has worryingly been linked to increased cancer risk when coupled with shaving.

Opting for a natural and refillable deodorant is the healthier and more planet-friendly choice, so you kill two birds with one stone. My favourite brands are Fussy and Wild, both of which have innovated stunning reusable deodorant cases with compostable refill subscriptions.

#8 Non-Toxic Perfume

  • Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate (you might want to invest in a discovery set before splurging on a full perfume bottle)
  • What I use: Wonderland Peony by Floral Street
  • Get 10% off your first order with newsletter sign-up

As with anything you regularly use on your skin, it’s best to opt for brands that prioritise natural and organic ingredients – and perfume is no different. Behind the innocent little phase ‘parfum’ often lies a myriad of hidden toxins like phthalates, parabens and benzyl acetate. The worst part is that big brands aren’t legally required to disclose their ingredients.

Focus on transparent brands that use clean, plant-based ingredients. Careful consideration should also be given to the product’s packaging – whether recyclable, refillable, or repurposed. I’m just a little bit obsessed with Floral Street perfumes (how gorgeous are they to look at?!), and I’ve got plenty more recommendations below.

#9 Soy Wax Candles

When you’re sinking into a hot bath, what better way to relax than lighting a soothing candle?

Hang on though, because did you know that standard candles are typically made from paraffin wax – a petroleum by-product that is extracted from crude oil? This involves intensive processes that are environmentally destructive. Plus, when burned, paraffin wax releases toxic chemicals like benzene, toluene and naphthalene.

Soy wax candles, by contrast, burn cleaner and for longer. It’s also worth checking that they’re vegan and cruelty-free, as many candles contain animal-derived ingredients like stearic acid (made from animal fats like tallow). Try Madekind or Earl of East for sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives.

#10 Eco-Friendly Toothbrush

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • What I use: Currently, the most eco-friendly option for me is to wear out the electric toothbrush I already own, but once I do, I’ll make the switch to Suri’s sustainable electric toothbrush

Brushing your teeth is probably such a mindless daily habit that you don’t stop to give it much thought.

But when most of us will replace 300 toothbrushes during our lifetime, this quickly adds up to 264 million brushes being thrown away in the UK each year alone – and 3.5 billion globally. The vast majority of disposable toothbrushes are made from lots of different types of plastic, making them virtually impossible to recycle.

Whilst it’s still tricky to find a fully zero-waste toothbrush, there are certainly better options you can choose. If you’re a fan of manual brushing, then opt for a more sustainable and biodegradable material like bamboo. Or, if you prefer an electric toothbrush, look no further than my favourite eco-friendly toothbrush brand Suri. Either will look infinitely more stylish on display, too!

#11 Plastic-Free Toothpaste

  • Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate (toothpaste tablets can take a little getting used to)
  • What I use: Waken vegan toothpaste

Toothpaste tubes are a major cause of plastic bathroom waste, taking hundreds of years to decompose in landfill. Conventional toothpaste also often contains harmful ingredients, such as triclosan and artificial colours.

Check out Georganics for a great selection of mineral and fluoride toothpaste, as well as toothpaste tablets housed in eco-friendly glass packaging. Or for natural and organic ingredients in recyclable aluminium tubes, check out my current brand of choice Waken.

#12 Refillable Hand Wash

  • Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate (bulk refills are a bit of a faff to store and return empties, so I’d suggest starting with a tablet/concentrate refill)
  • What I use: Raindrop foaming soap dispenser starter pack
  • Get 15% off your order with INTENTIONAL15

As with so many bathroom products, it’s ridiculously easy to pick up a cheap, disposable plastic bottle of handwash from the supermarket. But did you know that there are zero-waste, refillable hand wash alternatives now available?

Whether you’d prefer a tablet concentrate you just need to add water to, or a bulk liquid refill where you can return your empties, there are loads of innovative foaming and liquid handwash formulations to choose from that are natural and plastic-free.

#13 Bamboo or Recycled Toilet Roll

If you’ve not made the switch to recycled or bamboo toilet roll, what are you waiting for? National Geographic estimates that approximately 27,000 trees are cut down daily to produce virgin toilet paper, but you can contribute to a greener future by choosing kinder alternatives like recycled materials or bamboo, the latter being an infinitely more sustainable resource.

You can pick up a brand like Cheeky Panda from your local supermarket. Or, for a more cost-effective option (and to put your loo roll on autopilot), my personal vote would be to sign up for a toilet roll subscription. Check out my favourite options in the UK below.

#14 Reusable Period Products

If, on average, a woman has around 450 periods, she’ll use around 11,000 disposable products in her lifetime. These are all typically made from plastic and packaged in yet more plastic. They’re also pretty uncomfortable, need changing every few hours, and the amount spent ramps up over the years.

If you haven’t already, then I encourage you to get past the stigma of reusable period products and empower yourself with eco-friendly, cost-effective and comfort-first solutions. By investing in a menstrual cup (like this one from Saalt) and some reliable period underwear, it’ll be a much more pleasant time of the month for yourself and the planet.

#15 Zero Waste Bathroom Cleaner

Traditional cleaning products not only contribute to plastic waste – they’re generally chock full of nasty chemicals you probably shouldn’t be spraying anywhere near your household.

For natural and effective ingredients that are vegan, cruelty-free and housed in plastic-free, refillable bottles, take a look at Raindrop’s range of sustainable cleaning products. Honestly, these are so lovely you’ll want them on display rather than shut away under the sink!

Oh, and for a truly zero-waste cleaning routine, don’t forget your reusable microfibre cleaning cloths. Simply pop them in the wash and reuse for years to come.

Non-toxic and plastic-free bathroom swaps infographic

One Change at a Time for a Plastic-Free Bathroom

I should stress that making these changes has taken me a good year or so – it wasn’t an overnight switch! Whilst it may be tempting to replace everything you own at once, this generally isn’t a practical or cost-effective approach. In fact, the most sustainable solution is always to use up the things you already own.

It’s also less overwhelming to replace things as they run out with plastic-free alternatives. When you get to the end of your current deodorant, start a refillable subscription. Once you’re out of hand wash, replace with a zero-waste version. No loo roll? Opt for bamboo or recycled.

Before you know it, you’ll have a bathroom that not only looks good on the outside… it actually does good, too.

To educate yourself further on sustainability, check out my favourite books on the subject. And, if you’re inspired to start shopping more ethically, don’t forget to check out my handy beginner’s guide over here.

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