Day 25: Bathroom Waste & the Thrift Store

One of the ways people keep their waste down is by not buying new items for their homes, as much as possible. With that in mind, I took a trip to my favorite local thrift shop Saturday to try and find a soap dispenser for the bathroom. I’ve been buying hand soap that comes with the pump, and hadn’t really thought about how wasteful that is.

Alas, the thrift store let me down this time.

Thrift store
All the tissue box covers you need. No soap pumps.

But I did figure out a good DIY option. You can easily convert a glass bottle or a mason jar into a soap dispenser. Now I’m on the lookout for a nice looking glass bottle.

Because we had recently restocked bathroom essentials just before I started this challenge, I don’t need to buy anything for the bathroom this month. But I have been researching better options for the future.

Toilet paper is, of course, a huge source of bathroom waste. In researching zero waste bathrooms I learned there is such a thing as “family cloth,” fabric strips wash and reuse after wiping. While I suppose it’s not that different from using cloth diapers, that is a big NOPE for me.

Other bloggers suggest investing in a bidet to cut back on paper usage and buying recycled toilet paper at an office supply store so that it comes in a box instead of plastic. There is also now bamboo toilet paper, which seems like a great option since bamboo grows much faster than trees but some people have questions about what is involved in processing it to make paper.

The biggest change you can make is to get rid of all limited use disposable items: toothbrushes, disposable razors, hand soap, shampoo and conditioner bottles, feminine hygiene products, etc.

Here are some options recommended by Zero Waste Home, Going Zero Waste, and Trash is for Tossers.

Dental care

  • Use a compostable bamboo or wooden toothbrush instead of plastic.
  • Make your own tooth powder instead of buying toothpaste in a tube. I have tried this before, a long time ago, and was not happy with the results, but I am going to give it a try again sometime soon.
  • Use a water pik and/or biodegradable floss (make sure it comes in recyclable packaging.

Other personal care

  • Shave with a reusable metal safety razor and recycle the blades when you replace them.
  • Make your own deodorant
  • Make your own lotions or buy them from a company that uses limited, recyclable packaging.
  • Use wooden combs and brushes with natural bristles
  • Use a menstrual cup or reusable pads


A lot of the zero waste blogs content that “soap is soap” and use basic bar soap or a liquid soap you can buy in bulk, like Dr. Bronner’s, for everything – shampoo, hand soap, body soap. Having previously ventured down the path of trying to use Dr. Bronner’s for everything, I would say my hair begs to differ.

Here are some other options:

  • Buy shampoo and conditioner in refillable containers from a store that sells them in bulk.
  • Buy “shampoo bars” or something similar that are sold without packaging. (Lush is one company that makes them, and they’re committed to minimizing packaging waste.)
  • For hand and body soap, buy bar soap sold without packaging or liquid soap sold in bulk.

While it likely won’t happen before this month is up, I’ll update the blog when I do try these things out!

One thought on “Day 25: Bathroom Waste & the Thrift Store

  1. I love reading your blog! It has given me some really good ideas for reducing my own waste. While switching to family cloth probably won’t happen in our house, I use cloth wipes on Micah with her cloth diapers. It can’t be too different. They can even be made out of cotton t-shirts that you don’t use anymore, but I like flannel more. Maybe from the thrift store? I don’t think flannel wipes, used for urine only, even need to be washed specially. We don’t wash Micah’s dirty cloths specially (we do for the cloth diapers, but thicker material holds in more waste). Anyway, if you wanted to reduce the amount of TP, checking out cloth diaper websites might be a good resource. I like fluff love science.


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