Looking to spruce up your tired-looking bathroom, but don’t want to spend a fortune? Here’s an unsuspecting solution: it’s time for a zero waste bathroom makeover. Even if you didn’t have sustainability on the brain, a zero waste bathroom makeover can cheer up your bathroom and help you save a bundle. If you’re no stranger to the zero waste movement, you know that “zero waste” and “budget friendly” go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Maybe you don’t have the money to hire a contractor for a bathroom redo. Or maybe, you don’t have a concept of what you want. Going the zero waste route kills two birds with one stone: it gives your bathroom a beautiful, natural touch, and it saves you money both in the short-term and the long-term.
Why zero waste bathroom makeover?
A zero waste bathroom makeover is a great way to spruce up your bathroom on a budget. The reason is three-fold, and rests on these concepts:
Zero waste products are beautiful. Beautiful things don’t need to be hidden, unlike your unsightly shrink-wrapped toilet paper and your plastic scrub brush. Eco friendly bathroom essentials can be thoughtfully displayed. Not only do they bring more colour and rustic beauty to your washroom, they inspire your visitors and express your values.
Use what you already have, and make it what you want. Thinking of replacing that sink cabinet? Just give it a fresh coat of paint. Need glass jars? Look no further than your recycling bin.
Find whatever else you need second-hand. Things like woven straw baskets, cabinets, vases, and decorative items are in big supply at second-hand stores. There’s no need to buy brand new stuff at home decor retailers.
Without further ado, let’s dive into our top 7 tips for your zero waste bathroom makeover on a budget!
7 tips for a zero waste bathroom makeover on a budget
- Opt for zero waste swaps of all your bathroom essentials. Zero waste bathroom essentials are way more beautiful than all those plastic products currently in your bathroom. Sometimes, the thing that’s weighing down the energy in your bathroom and making it look cheap is all that plastic! Ditch plastic toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes, and replace them with bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tabs. Bamboo toothbrushes add natural beauty to your bathroom, and toothpaste tabs look adorable in tiny glass jars.
Replace your plastic deodorant applicators with zero waste deodorant that comes in glass jars or paper applicators. Invest in a metal zero waste safety razor that will last you a lifetime and give your bathroom a look of elegance.
- Save all your glass jars for storing essentials. From small to large, glass jars are amazing from storing personal care essentials. You don’t need to go out in the world to find beautiful glass jars. Look no further than your recycling bin. Just give them a soak, scrub off the label and adhesive, and voilà!
Small and mini jars, like jam and spice jars, are great for toothpaste tabs and hair elastics. Medium jars can be used to store cotton swabs, bandages, and bathroom cleaner tablets. Large jars with wide openings, like pickle jars, can be used to store cotton balls and fresh face towels. Empty wine bottles can be cleaned and filled with mouthwash (just place a stopper on top).
- Refill, or buy in bulk. Everything from hand soap, to shampoo, to surface cleaner can be refilled. To reduce your plastic waste, refill your containers at a refillery or a zero waste store. If you don’t have a refillery near you, you can always order your essentials online in large 3 L containers. While this still creates plastic waste, it sends much less plastic to the landfill. Plenty of natural soap companies make refilling easy (and make lovely smelling soaps, too!).
- Paint your bathroom with eco friendly paint. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a tired-looking room. Rather than renovating your bathroom, which isn’t very eco friendly, paint your bathroom with a low or no VOC paint. A fresh coat of white paint can make a bathroom feel so much bigger, cleaner, and cheerier. This extends to any visual aspect of your bathroom that you don’t like, like the sink cabinet or the tiles. Paint it all!
- Use bamboo and coconut fibre scrubbers. Scrubbers made of natural materials give a lovely natural touch to your bathroom, and they look great out in the open. Plus, they’re biodegradable, and unlike plastic, they won’t leach chemicals into the environment for years to come. Plastic scrubbers also send microplastics down the drain, contaminating our water supply. This is not an issue with natural scrubbers.
- Switch to bamboo toilet paper. Bamboo toilet paper rolls are individually wrapped in colourful paper wrappers that look adorable in your bathroom. By contrast, regular toilet paper is shrink wrapped, making us go the extra mile to hide it from view.
Aside from looking beautiful, bamboo toilet paper is much better for the environment than standard toilet paper. It uses bamboo, one of the most renewable materials in the world, which doesn’t contribute to deforestation. On the other hand, standard toilet paper is one of the leading causes of deforestation around the world. Did you know that globally, 27,000 trees are cut down everyday to make toilet paper?
- Comb second-hand stores for furnishings. Look for pieces of art, decorations, drapes, vases, and shower mats at consignment shops and thrift stores. Sure, you’ll find a lot of tacky, dated items here, but you’ll also find lots of basics in great condition. You can also join zero waste Facebook groups, go to garage sales, and find items on Kijiji or Craigslist. All these items need is a good cleaning, and they’re good to go!
You don’t have to spend a fortune to spruce up your bathroom and give it an ambiance. It’s simply a question of removing the things that ruin the ambiance (ahem… plastic). The answer is not dropping a bunch of money on generic stuff from home furnishing stores. That is the antithesis of the zero waste movement. Think of a zero waste bathroom as a mini makeover–one that you barely had to spend money on!