With just a few minor changes, there are lots of things you can do to make your bathroom more eco-friendly. Going green doesn’t mean you have to go without the pleasures of your bath, shower and home comforts.
Here are 12 simple ways to transform your bathroom into a greener space.
Fixtures & Fittings
1. Use natural materials for your fixtures
When you’re looking to renovate your bathroom, shop around for cabinets made from natural, organic materials. Natural materials are free from harmful, pollution causing chemicals and can be easily recycled later down the line.
Countertops made from glass, wood, or stone give a prestigious look and are better for the environment than acrylic, MDF or similar materials.
2. LED bulbs
It isn’t just the water that you can save in your bathroom. LED bulbs can help you make great savings on your electricity bill, which also helps save the planet. LEDs have an 80-90% efficiency. This means that 80-90% of their energy is turned into light rather than heat.
Conventional incandescent bulbs lose 80% of their energy as heat and so are only 20% efficient. LEDs produce a range of lighting effects that can help you create the perfect look and feel, from accent lighting to spotlights for mirrors.
3. Get rid of the shower curtain
Vinyl shower curtain liners are bad for the planet. They are not recyclable and give off harmful fumes when burned. A study by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), a non-profit organization who study and recommend ways to prevent chemical threats to health, shows that shower curtains can even be toxic to your health.
Non-PVC shower curtains are available, but if you’re renovating your bathroom, consider a shower screen instead of a curtain. They last longer, are easier to clean and are much kinder to the environment. Glass shower screens can also be easily recycled when the time comes to remodel.
4. Fix that flush
Toilets use approximately 27% of the water consumed in your home — more than any other appliances or plumbing — including the washing machine, dishwasher and shower.
Replacing your toilet with a low-flow model can reduce the amount of water flushed away and could save 5,000 litres of water of average. Since 1992, U.S. law has mandated that new toilets sold in the United States be low-flow or low-flush, which means that they consume no more than 1.6 gallons (6 liters) per flush. This means that most toilets available on the market today are low-flow.
Look for models that are labelled as high efficiency toilets. These toilets will give you the most water and financial savings. And, in some locations in the United States, sizable rebates are available to water utility customers for these toilets.
5. Build with a lifetime in mind
Finding small ways to help change the planet is something we should all be doing, it’s important to think about the big picture when you can.
If you’re designing or renovating your bathroom, consider building it with your future in mind. You might be fully mobile now, but in the future, you may not be. Building your bathroom with accessibility in mind, by fitting a wet room, positioning your outlet drains in certain ways etc., you can save on future renovation.
There are plenty of ways to limit the environmental impact of renovating your bathroom, but the best way is to build it in a way that reduces the need for renovation in the first place.
Better Bathroom Habits
6. Turn off the tap
There’s no need to keep the tap running when you’re washing your hands or brushing your teeth. If you want to be more eco-friendly in the bathroom, simply turn the tap off until you need that water to rinse.
Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save 8 gallons of water per day. If you do the same while shaving, you can save 10 gallons of water. Assuming you brush your teeth twice daily and shave 5 times per week, you could save nearly 5,700 gallons per year!
Also, consider fitting tap aerators. They mix water with air, which creates a smooth, efficient flow of water that helps you save more.
7. Enjoy a shower
Swapping the bath for a shower is probably the biggest change you can make to your bathroom if you want to be more eco-friendly.
According to studies, an 8-minute shower will use 62 litres of water compared to an average of 80 litres of water for a bath. Eight minutes is fairly long for a shower, so you have plenty of time to sing a couple of your favourite songs or get some thinking done.
Another handy device is a four-minute water timer. These are designed to cut the time you spend in the shower and could shave £15 off an annual metered water bill.
8. Don’t ignore leaks and drips
Household leaks can waste approximately nearly 900 billion gallons of water annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of nearly 11 million homes. In addition to costing homeowners thousands every year, water waste has a massive affect on the environment.
Check all your fixtures and connections regularly. If a problem arises, fix it, don’t ignore it! Most leaks are a quick fix that don’t even require calling out a plumber.
9. Fill your cupboard with recyclables
Natural bathroom products, such as moisturisers, face wipes and shampoos all do their part to help the planet. Using eco-friendly ingredients and recyclable bottles, these products are ideal for creating a greener bathroom. Natural products are also very healthy for your skin and body, so you’ll be looking after yourself as well as the planet.
10. Clean green
In addition to natural beauty products, you can also get greener cleaning products for your bathroom. Just like your beauty products, choose cleaning products with recyclable bottles where possible.
You can also avoid some of the more damaging cleaning chemicals if you’re prepared to add in a little elbow grease. Vinegar and lemon juice can easily get rid of grime and mildew with a good scrub.
11. Dry towels naturally
After a nice long soak, towels can be a hassle to dry. But, rather than tossing them in the tumble dryer, let them dry naturally in a well aired area. It takes time, for sure, but you’re not likely to need to use the towel again so soon.
Allowing your towels to dry naturally also helps protect your towels. They take less wear and tear than they would if they went around and around in the tumble dryer.
12. Be mindful about heating water
Did you know that the average household uses around 330 litres of water per day? Heating water for showers, washing up and baths accounts for more than 15% of expenditure on gas.
If you have an old boiler, it’s well worth looking into more modern alternatives, which may be more energy-efficient. Combi-boilers tend to be a lot more cost-effective than other options, especially immersion heating. Using a thermostat can also help you to save money.
Only heat water when you need it and try and use it all up. Doing the washing up and then showering is a simple way to maximise your hot water usage.
This article was produced in collaboration with CCL Wetrooms, the UK’s leading wetroom supplier, offering a range of innovative products designed to create stylish contemporary wetrooms.