While the journey towards zero waste is a continuous one, these alternatives to wasteful items will make it a little easier. All of these items have been tried, tested, and approved by me. When making these swaps keep in mind what to do with your old items – don’t throw them away! Use up old products, recycle, donate, give away or sell the rest. The purpose of zero waste is to prevent as much matter from heading to the landfill as possible.

Here are some of my recommended swaps to make in the area of personal hygiene.

Swap Plastic Razors for a Metal Safety Razor

The Waste Problem: Disposable razors

Why:  Non-recyclable, expensive, wasteful

The Alternative: Safety Razor or laser hair removal

Where to buy: Here


Swap Plastic Toothbrush for a Bamboo One

The Waste Problem: Plastic toothbrush

Why:  Non-recyclable, wasteful

The Alternative: Bamboo compostable and sustainable toothbrushes

Where to buy: Here


Swap Makeup Remover Wipes and Cotton Balls for Coconut Oil and Reusable Cotton Rounds

The Waste Problem: Disposable makeup remover wipes and cotton balls

Why:  They’re wasteful, expensive, unnecessary, and the wipes often have toxic chemicals

The Alternative: Organic coconut oil and Reusable Cotton Rounds

Where to buy: Here


Swap Bottles of Body Wash for Bar Soap

The Waste Problem: Body wash in plastic packaging

Why:  It’s wasteful and not recyclable everywhere

The Alternative: Unwrapped bulk soap

Where to buy:  Here


Swap Bleached Toilet Paper for Bamboo Toilet Paper

The Waste Problem: Bleached toilet paper in plastic packaging

Why:  Dangerous chemicals, non-recyclable, wasteful

The Alternative: Bamboo toilet paper wrapped in paper

Where to buy: Here


Swap Disposable Tampons and Pads for a Menstrual Cup and Reusable Pads

The Waste Problem: Plastic tampon applicator and disposable pads

Why:  Pads ending up in landfills, conventional cotton in tampons is pesticide laden, and plastic applicators –  I don’t want plastic in my life, especially not in me

The Alternative: Menstrual cup such as a Lunette cup and/or reusable pads

Where to buy: Menstrual cups here and pads here


Swap Traditional Floss for Refillable Dental Lace


The Waste Problem: Traditional floss and plastic floss containers

Why:  The containers are rarely recyclable or recycled, and some floss manufacturers coat floss in a chemical contaminant that helps it glide through gums more easily, but can lead to other health issues

The Alternative: Refillable dental lace made from 100% mulberry silk

Where to buy: Here


Swap Deodorant Stick in Plastic for a Jar of Cream Deodorant


The Waste Problem:  Traditional sticks of deodorant

Why:  Most sticks come in plastic containers often wrapped in more plastic packaging

The Alternative: Natural cream deodorant in a glass and metal container

Where to buy:Here


Swap a Loofah for a Natural Bath Sponge

The Waste Problem: Synthetic loofah

Why: Most drugstore loofahs are made from non-compostable or non-recyclable materials

The Alternative: A natural bath sponge

Where to buy: Here

 Purchase all of these, plus more of my favorite zero waste bathroom and personal hygiene items below.


zero waste zero waste zero waste zero waste zero waste zero waste zero waste zero waste zero waste



  1. I think your life proyect is amazing but I also get a little bit confused when I saw the dental floss refill pack cause the package is clearly plastic. You recicle that too?

  2. Menstrual cups are surely a great investment for the future !
    But some girls aren’t quite at ease at using them, especially young ones… anyway, it’s a good thing to talk about it again and again, to let the girls know everything about cups !
    And you have quite a lot of different cups now, I’ve written some reviews for some of them if you’re interested : http://coupemenstruelle.net/coupes-menstruelles-notre-comparatif-en-2017/
    Feel free to write a comment on my website too 🙂

  3. Hi everyone! This is just a test to check whether I can participate the discussion…because I can’t believe…0 waste lifestyle is my heart-throb topic

  4. Hi Lauren,

    How long do you use the toothbrush for before you replace it? Also I’m curious, how long does the bamboo toothbrush take to biodegrade? BTW, you’re awesome! I will be in Brooklyn this weekend and definitely checking out your shop. Hopefully you’ll be around!

  5. Hello,
    Some of the tips are amazing! I didn’t know we could buy razors like that!
    However I would like to know if there is a substitute for regular cotton tips (Q-tips)?
    And what about body and face exfoliating?
    Thank you for all the information you put available on the website!

    1. Hey, dunno, if you got your answer yet. But as for scrubs, take heed of the components which in a number of cases are made of plastic and won’t dissolve in water! e.g.: Acrylates/C10-30. However, if you decide to stick to 0 waste worldview, better use crumbs of oatmeal with some water or something natural in general for exfoliation.

    2. You can exfoliate with fine sugar, fine ground coffee (after you’ve used it for your cuppa of course), salt, grains…. oh so many things that can be found in your pantry.

      I don’t really use cotton tips but I guess you can roll the corner of any clean used cotton cloth to replace that?

      Another way to save is by not using toilet paper at all. Invest in a bidet (google Asian countries toilets) by your current toilet, use the hose to clean yourself and dry with a towel after. Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar cleaner and zero after smell compared to just wiping (for reference, would you just wipe your hands after eating KFC with your hand, or you feel cleaner washing your hand after eating before you go about doing whatever later?)

  6. You are such an inspiration. I re-watched your TedX talk and loved it! My New Years Resolution to use less plastic and I am truly inspired by you. Thank you

  7. I really admire what you do and I want to make a start on reducing waste. I’ve seen loads about menstrual cups, but I have a worry. I have never been able to use non-applicator tampons. My fingers are very short and I can’t push the tampon up far enough, it just wiggles out. Would I have the same problem with the cup?

    1. Hi, I just want to say I’ve had the same problem with non-applicator tampons and have never been able to put one in. However I haven’t had problem at all with the cup as you don’t need to push it up, just make sure it’s in and open.

  8. Have you looked at using an interdental brush made from sustainable materials (presumably could be made from the same materials as the toothbrush) instead of floss/lace?

  9. I am slowly transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle and sometimes it feels like I am not making much progress at all. So I was very pleased to walk through this post only to find that I have already instigated most of these changes in my own life. Suffice to say it can be done – even on a tiny budget – and they do make me feel better about the kind of life I am choosing to live.

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