How To Make Your Bathroom Completely Plastic-Free – And It’s Easier Than You Think

From perfume refills to biodegradable wipes, here are all the products, tips and tricks to ensure your bathroom is one of which even David Attenborough would approve

how to make your bathroom plastic free

by Elizabeth Bennett |
Updated on

The colossal plastic problem has become unavoidable, with reports suggesting that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. We may assume it’s our takeaway coffee addiction or weekly supermarket shop that’s producing the most waste, but the contents of our bathrooms is equally damaging. In fact, Zero Waste Week reports that 120 billion units of packaging are produced by the global cosmetics industry every single year.

While the stats make for depressing reading, it’s not all doom and gloom. Plastic-free options are improving and there are some simple swaps you can make to do your bit. Here’s where to start:

Forgo single use plastic

While choosing products packaged in glass, cardboard or recycled/recyclable plastic is favourable to single use plastic, picking ones with zero waste, or very minimal packaging is even better. Switching to bar soap and solid hair bars is a good first step but you can also try solid facial cleansers and deodorants. Lush is leading the way with this one with an extensive range of ‘naked’ products.

If you can’t part with liquid formulas, buy in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging. Most hair brands sell salon-sized bottles online (Feel Unique has a good selection of supersize bottles) while brands like Dr Bronner’s sell liquid soap (suitable as a shower gel) in 1L and 3.8L bottles.

Wave goodbye to wipes

We all know wipes are bad for both our skin and the planet. Instead, use a flannel or eco- friendly konjac sponge to remove makeup and cleanse skin. If you do need to use wipes (say, at a festival or on a flight), there are some biodegradable options. Simple now has a biodegradable version+Simple--+Boots+Shopping+-+Category+-+Beauty+-+Desktop&gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA342F9aRibAuZcclw3LhqaujMkJZo2zc1iA5Pwh63KzOpXSkdFNRmm7xoCCwsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds){href='!)+Simple--(GB !)+Boots+Shopping+-+Category+-+Beauty+-+Desktop&gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA342F9aRibAuZcclw3LhqaujMkJZo2zc1iA5Pwh63KzOpXSkdFNRmm7xoCCwsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'}, while organic brand RMS has aluxe coconut-oil infused compostable option.

simple wipes

BUY: Simple, Biodegradable Wipes, £2+Simple--+Boots+Shopping+-+Category+-+Beauty+-+Desktop&gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA342F9aRibAuZcclw3LhqaujMkJZo2zc1iA5Pwh63KzOpXSkdFNRmm7xoCCwsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds){href='!)+Simple--(GB !)+Boots+Shopping+-+Category+-+Beauty+-+Desktop&gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA342F9aRibAuZcclw3LhqaujMkJZo2zc1iA5Pwh63KzOpXSkdFNRmm7xoCCwsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'}

Chances are, you’ve seen the devastating image of the seahorse clutching a cotton budenough times to know that they aren’t ideal, either. Shop for non-plastic options and put them in the recycling bin, never down the toilet. You can also buy plastic-free cotton pads, or, one step further, reusable pads that can be washed in the washing machine. Etsy is your best bet for this one.

Invest in longer-lasting products

It’s likely that the majority of your bathroom tools are made from single-use plastic. There’s no point chucking these, but instead invest in something longer lasting or eco-friendly when they reach the end of their life. For example, buy a keep-forever safety razor instead of a bag of disposable ones, a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush not a throwaway one, or a hairbrush made from sustainable materials as opposed to single-use plastic. When it comes to periods, menstrual cups are by far the most eco-friendly option. If you can’t use them, try a non-applicator biodegradable tampon instead.

bamboo toothbrush

BUY: Anything But Plastic, Bamboo Toothbrush, £3.99

Abstain from aerosols

Aerosol packaging is one of the hardest to recycle and the compressed gases have a harmful impact on CO2 emissions. For deodorant, try a solid or cream product or a liquid formula housed in glass. Dry shampoo is equally tricky but there are increasingly alternative options, notably powder style products packaged in pots or non-aerosol tubes. Rahua has a great one.

plastic-free dry shampoo

BUY: Rahua, Voluminous Dry Shampoo, £30

Refill or upcycle

Refillable products are one step better than recyclable ones, and they’ll save you money as well as help the planet.Kjaer Weis’ entire makeup range is refillable, Rituals offers refills on a number of skincare products while fragrance houses Le Labo, as well as hair brand Davines, all offer discounted refills if you take the empty packaging into a store or salon. Experimental Perfume Club is also launching a refill service in Harvey Nichols, allowing you to replace your favourite perfume at a reduced cost, or you can invest in larger perfume decanters to reduce packaging even further.

perfume refills

BUY: Experimental Perfume Club, Layers Discovery Set, £15

Similarly, instead of chucking away old packaging, repurpose it for a new use. Finished candle jars can be transformed into storage solutions, empty glass bottles can be turned into vases and an old makeup palette can be used for storing jewellery.

Get a bathroom recycling bin

According to The Recycle Now campaign, only 50 per cent of bathroom waste is being recycled as opposed to 90 per cent of kitchen waste. This tends to be because most homes have just one recycling bin, and it’s normally in the kitchen. If you’re short on space in the bathroom for a separate recycling bin, think about buying a split waste bin.

SHOP: The Best Plastic-Free Beauty Products


The Best Plastic-Free Products To Fill Your Bathroom

L'Occitane Gentle & Balance Solid Shampoo, £101 of 15

L'Occitane, Gentle & Balance Solid Shampoo, £10

Ethique, Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar, £11.932 of 15

Ethique, Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar, £11.93

Lush, Solid Deodorant, £5.503 of 15

Lush, Solid Deodorant, £5.50

Gallinu00e9e, Cleansing Bar, £104 of 15

Gallinée, Cleansing Bar, £10

Hydrophil, Organic Biodegradable Cotton Buds, £1.855 of 15

Hydrophil, Organic Biodegradable Cotton Buds, £1.85

Anything But Plastic, Bamboo Toothbrush, £3.996 of 15

Anything But Plastic, Bamboo Toothbrush, £3.99

Etsy, Organic Cotton Make-Up Pads, £5.507 of 15

Etsy, Organic Cotton Make-Up Pads, £5.50

Simple, Biodegradable Face Wipes, £28 of 15

Simple, Biodegradable Face Wipes, £2

Glasshouse, Wooden Cushion Brush, £239 of 15

Glasshouse, Wooden Cushion Brush, £23

The Konjac Sponge Company, Pure Konjac Puff Sponge, £8.9910 of 15

The Konjac Sponge Company, Pure Konjac Puff Sponge, £8.99

Rahua, Dry Shampoo, £3011 of 15

Rahua, Dry Shampoo, £30

Who Gives A Crap, 100% Recycled Toilet Paper, £36 for 48 rolls12 of 15

Who Gives A Crap, 100% Recycled Toilet Paper, £36 for 48 rolls

The Shaving Shack, Double-Edged Safety Razor, £26.9913 of 15

The Shaving Shack, Double-Edged Safety Razor, £26.99

The Natural Deodorant Company, Clean Deodorant Balm Vanilla + Manuka Clean Deodorant Balm Lemon + Geranium, £1114 of 15

The Natural Deodorant Company, Clean Deodorant Balm Vanilla + Manuka Clean Deodorant Balm Lemon + Geranium, £11

Bybi, Babe Multipurpose Balm, £2815 of 15

Bybi, Babe Multipurpose Balm, £28

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