Greening Your Bathroom

Green Your Bathroom

While it might not be the most glamorous room in your home or office, there are still plenty of reasons to take the time to make your bathroom eco-friendly. Bathrooms are frequently home to an array of toxic products, use lots of energy, and account for the majority of home water use – in fact, the EPA estimates that toilets alone account for 27% of all the water used in the average home! So to help get you started fixing these and other problems, we’ve put together a list of ten ways to make your bathroom safe, efficient, and green.

Go with low-flow
Oxygenics TriSpa Fixed Showerhead

Oxygenics TriSpa Fixed Showerhead

One of the best ways to reduce the amount of water used in your bathroom is to install low-flow showerheads and faucets. The EPA sets the maximum rate for showers at 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM), but it’s easy to find showerheads that use as little as 1.5 GPM while still delivering high pressure. Similarly, installing an aerator in sink faucets can reduce water use from 2.2 GPM to as little as .5 GPM. A family of four can save hundreds of gallons of water a month!

Get a filter

Chlorine is added to our water supply to help kill dangerous bacteria and other organisms, but it can create entirely new problems when it interacts with organic matter in your shower or sink. The resulting compounds – known as trihalomethanes (THMs) – are linked to cancers and liver and kidney damage. You can reduce your exposure to the hazardous effects of chlorine by installing a filtering showerhead.

Flush away less water

A standard toilet will send anywhere from 3.5 to 7 gallons of water down the drain with every flush. Reduce all that waste by putting in a toilet dam: these easy-to-install plastic barriers go in your tank and will cut the amount of water used per flush in half.

Choose reusable

Skip disposable cups, paper towels, and razors in favor of reusable options. Also try to buy your bathroom supplies in bulk: you can save money and waste by stocking up on shampoos and soaps to fill reusable containers.

Hands Free Faucet Adapter

Hands Free Faucet Adapter

Turn off the water

Conserve water by installing a hands free shut-off or instant-off on your faucet that will stop the water when you’re brushing your teeth or soaping your hands. You can also put a small bucket in the sink to capture that unused water for watering plants or rinsing dishes.

Wash with natural soaps

A lot of us lather up in the shower without thinking about what goes into our soap, shaving cream, or shampoo (and those wordy labels certainly don’t help!), but in fact a lot of the products we use in the bathroom are stuffed full of dangerous ingredients. You can keep yourself safe and stop toxic chemicals from getting into the environment by switching to safe, eco-friendly shampoos and soaps made from natural cleansers.

Reuse greywater

While all the water that goes down our drains eventually ends up at the same place, not all that wastewater is the same. While water contaminated with feces or food (known as blackwater) needs to be carefully cleaned before it’s considered safe, most of the water that goes down our drains is so-called greywater, which contains dirt or soaps and requires far less treatment. You can capture and reuse greywater for toilet flushing or irrigation using an easy greywater system or with larger, professionally installed systems.

Turn down the hot water

Save energy by keeping your hot water heater set below 120°. Also try not to take the pressure off your hot water heater by not using hot water when you don’t need it.

Clean green
Preserve Recycled Triple Blade Razor

Preserve Recycled Triple Blade Razor

Industrial cleaning products are a source of all kinds of dangerous chemicals, from the noxious VOCs in bleach to the environmentally damaging phosphates in detergents. You can keep your family and the environment safe by using green cleaning products made from citrusenzymes, or oxygen.

Buy recycled

It’s always good to complete the recycling circle by purchasing goods made from recycled materials. Look for bathroom staples like paper towelsrazors, and toothbrushes made from reclaimed paper and plastic. If you’re remodeling, you can also find recycled or reclaimed wood and tiles to brighten up your bathroom and prevent waste.

Keep the air moving

There are few things more relaxing than a hot shower, but all that steam leads to condensation on your ceiling, walls, and windows, and if you’re not careful those damp spots can quickly become covered in mold. In addition to being unsightly, mold is a real home health hazard that can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. To prevent mold from taking hold in your bathroom, use a ventilation fan or dehumidifier to keep surfaces dry.

Composting Toilet – High Capacity Electric Unit

Compost

If you’re ready to make a big change in your bathroom, why not try out a composting toilet? They’re odor-free, can be installed in almost any bathroom, and you may also be able to save money, since composting toilets are frequently cheaper than septic systems. Compost toilets are also great for the environment: they use very little water and you’ll be getting fertilizer you can safely use in your yard or garden. There are many styles of composting toilets, from simple above ground models to larger, below-ground systems, so check with suppliers in your area to find the composting option that’s right for you.

Build safely

Many building materials—including pressed wood cabinets, vinyl tiles, and construction adhesives—can release toxic VOCs like formaldehyde into your home. Keep these indoor air pollutants away by updating your bathroom using non-toxic building supplies.

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