Greening Every Room in Your Home: The Bathroom
The bathroom can be a hot spot for water waste, toxic chemicals and excessive paper use. But that’s doesn’t mean that we can’t turn it into a green haven.
The average Canadian uses 329 liters of water per day – more than twice that of Europeans – and a lot of that comes from the bathroom. The shower uses 21 percent of household water and the toilet a whopping 27 percent (more than any other appliance).
The following tips will help you save money, reduce water use and get rid of some of the toxins that lurk in your bathroom!
Be Water Wise
Check for leaks and fix them immediately. A leaky faucet can waste 55 liters of water every 24 hours. Install an energy-efficient fan to pull moist air from the room and replace it with dry air. This combats mold, a common allergen that can affect air quality.
Invest in a low-flow toilet if you live in an older home. Some cities give rebates for these, so check with your municipality. A “normal” toilet uses about 13.6 liters per flush, compared to a low-flow that only uses 6 liters per flush. Not to mention that depending on the model you choose, the savings on your water bill could be up to $90 every year. If you can’t afford to make the investment, you can use an old milk bottle, fill it with water and place it in the tank. This will displace the amount of water used per flush. Or take a look at a dual flush converter, super easy to install and only costs just over twenty bucks!
Another tip is to avoid using your toilet as a garbage can. Paper waste definitely shouldn’t be deposed of in this way. Also, if you or your family takes long showers, consider a low-flow shower head. You’ll save water and the energy used to heat that water, and save money in the long run. And if you want to go the extra green mile, change the lightbulbs and get motion sensor taps and aerators on taps!
Clean Up Your Act
If you aren’t using green cleaners in your bathroom, you could be exposing yourself and your family to a toxic concoction of nasty synthetic chemicals that pollute your indoor air and cause severe allergies. Try this DIY recipe for an all-purpose bathroom scrub and cleaner!
When it comes to the towels, keep in mind that not all “sustainable” options are created equal. Bamboo is a great alternative to pesticide laded cotton, but the process of turning bamboo into a towel can be a chemically laded one, so its important to ask the manufacturer how the towels are produced.
The upside of buying more sustainable products has a much larger implication; you’re indirectly assisting farmers and fair-trade organizations that support ethical business practices. A little goes a long way!
But you’ll also want to read the labels on cleaning products closely. Current legislation does not require companies to be transparent about ingredients in their products and in most cases these chemicals do more harm than good. If a product claims to be green, the following should appear on the label:
- A third party eco certification like EcoLogo
- A full list of the ingredients, including what falls under “parfum” or “fragrance” (again no legislation is in place to protect the consumer, these two terms are used to hide over 3000 chemicals)
- The company contact information
My Bathroom Bliss Scrub and Cleanser really gets the job done. Baking soda and castile soap work very well together. Baking soda is an effective cleaning agent, it’s cheap and helps to rid the bathroom of smells and build up.
Raise the Curtain
If your shower curtain is made from PVC (Poly-Vinyl Chloride) it’s time to toss it. PVC gives off volatile organic compounds or VOCs. VOCs are air borne particles that are the building blocks of smog. Who wants that in their home? For a safer alternative try PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate). The ultimate green alternative is hemp, which naturally resists mildew and is biodegradable. Organic cotton and jute work well too.
Did you know? Americans could save more than 400,000 trees if each family bought a roll of recycled toilet paper—just once. Recycled tissue products help protect ancient forests, clean water, and wildlife habitat. The most important thing you can do in your bathroom is to stop using virgin disposable tissue paper products. For tissues, use a hanky and for paper towels, use a microfiber cloth. They’re reusable and wash up really well.
Chose natural fibre bath mats, as most conventional ones have a PVC baking. Launder your mat once a week to keep mold from growing.
What are your tips for going green in the bathroom? Let us know in the comments!
Candice is an award winning eco-journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets. She’s currently the eco expert for CTV and the editor in chief of The Eco Hub, a digital media company that connects conscious consumers to brands and companies that care about people and the planet. Their ultimate goal is provide their readers with the resources they need to find chic, stylish, sustainable, affordable, made in Canada alternatives to everyday items.