sustainable bathroom swaps lead

For many of us, our bathrooms are our sanctuaries: It’s where we go to get clean, spruce up and handle business that needs to be handled. But nestled by our sinks, showers and baths are products wrapped or bottled in single-use plastic that can be hard to reuse or recycle.

Luckily, greener and more sustainable products are becoming more accessible and more similar to the products we already love. From bamboo toilet paper to compostable floss, the eco options are plentiful, but figuring out which product swaps make the most sense for you can be tricky.

To guide your journey to a more sustainable sanctuary, we consulted with seasoned low-waste lifestyle experts to get their input on the simple swaps that can help you make a big change in your bathroom.

Toilet products

Best Tested

If you’re not on the bidet bandwagon yet, now might be the time to join. “It's a very simple swap,” says Candice Batista, founder of The Eco Hub. “You will notice a difference in the amount of toilet paper that your family uses just by installing a bidet.” Not only can you save toilet paper, but you can upgrade your whole bathroom experience. This bidet by Tushy is home-owner- and renter-friendly, plus it’s our top pick for the best bidet.

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Toilet paper is a product we all use in one capacity or another, which makes it a great candidate to swap, since you’re going to buy it anyway. Who Gives A Crap offers both premium bamboo toilet paper and 100% recycled paper rolls that you can have sent right to your door. “The nice thing with this is from an accessibility standpoint, is that you can buy a subscription to these services online, which helps to reduce the overall cost,” says Batista. We tested Who Gives A Crap for ourselves and can confidently say it feels extremely similar to the normal toilet paper you’re buying now.


Best Tested

If you find yourself going through tons of disposable razors, you might consider making the switch to a safety razor. We’ve tested this Bevel safety razor ourselves and loved the close shave we got. Despite the name though, these can be tricky for beginners. “They are difficult to use and there is a transition period,” says Batista. “You do have to be careful, you can cut yourself very easily.” Once you’ve gotten the hang of it though, all you need to do is buy a box of stainless steel replacement blades to have on hand when your razor goes dull.

The thing about razor blades though, is that you can’t just chuck them in with your trash or recycling. Batista says they are technically considered household hazardous waste, so they need to be taken to a specialized facility. Luckily, companies like Leaf have a blade recycling program; all you have to do is keep your blades and send them back when you're ready.

If you don’t think a safety razor is for you, don’t fret. “The other option is to buy a plastic razor that comes with a reusable head,” says Batista. This Gillette Venus Razor comes with four replacement heads to pop onto the handle. And when those run out, you can always buy more heads to refill your supply. Plus, Gillette has a recycling program through TerraCycle that lets you recycle any and all brands of blades, razors and plastic packaging.

Shower products

“Switch from body wash to a bar of soap,” says Kathryn Kellogg, founder of Going Zero Waste. “Really simple, easy swap. Much less packaging involved.” These shampoo and conditioner bars by Suds & Co. claim to each do the same amount of washing as two to three bottles of liquid shampoo. Pair them with a zero waste soap bar to round out your cleaning routine.

If you’re looking to start making more of an effort towards sustainability, Batista recommends finding swaps for the items you use or buy the most, like your shower staples. Plaine Products offers refillable bottles for your body wash, shampoo and conditioner; just return and reorder when you run out or sign up for a subscription service.

Beauty items

Kellogg recommends streamlining your beauty cabinet by crafting a beauty capsule, similar to how you might create a more simplified capsule wardrobe. “It's made of a few products that I know I love and I'm going to use until they are completely out," says Kellogg. “By cutting out all that excess you're gonna be saving a lot of waste”. Some brands like Tata Harper even offer refill options on select products so you can cut down on the extra packaging.

Another compostable option for your bathroom, this mint-flavored silk floss also comes in a refillable glass bottle.

While there are sustainable toothpaste tablets on the market, they’re quite a different experience than standard tube toothpastes. “It's one of those items where you either love it or hate it,” says Batista. “That's a very hard sell for a lot of people because they taste different. You have to bite into them, and then they kind of create a paste in your mouth.” This natural toothpaste by Davids comes in a recyclable metal tube, but is more similar in taste and texture to traditional toothpastes.

Anyone who has had to buy tampons knows that not only are they definitely single use, but they can be expensive too. Like other sustainable swaps, reusable menstrual cups like this one from Cora have a learning period. But once you get into the swing of things, you can significantly reduce (or eliminate) the cost and use of tampons.

This deodorant from Native is not only highly rated and available in a wide variety of scents, but it also comes in 100% plastic-free packaging.

Bamboo is a wildly popular and sustainable alternative to plastic since it is naturally biodegradable and compostable. Get a year's supply of these bamboo toothbrushes and throw them in the compost bin once they wear down. You can also grab some for the kids too.

If you’re a makeup wearer who loves cleansing with cotton rounds, try opting for a reusable version instead. “You can buy a whole bunch and you use them and yes, it gets stained and dirty, but who cares,” says Batista. “You're going to throw them in a little bag and you're going to wash them on a weekly basis.” If you have spare towels or cloth lying around, you can even try making your own version with fabric you already have on hand.