Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Going Green in the Bathroom: 5 Simple Environmentally Friendly Ways
It seems we’re forever hearing about ‘going green’ in the media these days; whether that is to stop pumping so much pollution in the air or apparently staving off the effects of global warming. Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to go green; most importantly being that the environment does need protecting and even the little things you do in your daily life can contribute towards it. That should be reason enough, but going green also has the benefits of a healthier environment and being able to save money to live a more economical life. There are always alternative approaches to doing things other than the normal way, and the bathroom is no exception.
We've assembled a few ideas on how to go green in the bathroom below, gleaned from things we already do and suggestions that we’ll no doubt be doing ourselves as soon as we get home. Just installed that new bathroom suite? Start down the green route from the get-go.
Natural Cleaning Products
Go into your local supermarket and take a walk down the cleaning aisle. We’d say that the majority of the cleaning products you see for sale can be passed over for cheap and more environmentally friendly alternatives. The products you buy may seem more convenient that using your own home remedies, but they’re packed full of chemicals that will pass into fumes in the air and may also deteriorate your bathroom surfaces over time. So ditch those harsh chemicals and instead choose remedies like baking soda and boiling water to clear your drains, or half a cup of white vinegar and baking soda to clean a toilet. There are endless amounts of tips available for natural cleaning remedies, have a look at a few over on this article.
Regulate Water Use
This is common sense really; using less water in the bathroom will reduce wastage and hopefully your water bill if you happen to be on a water metre. This means cutting down shower time to 5-10 minutes, having a shower instead of a bath, upgrading to a dual flush toilet, turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, buying a low-flow showerhead, checking for any leaks and even installing a water saving device (for more details on all of these see this article). Quite simply, only use the water you need and nothing more.
Recycled Toilet Paper
No, it’s not what you think. Recycled toilet paper comes from sources other than virgin trees, such as consumer waste. It is not literally recycled toilet paper, as that obviously ends up in the sewers below your feet. There is one statistic that states if everyone in the USA replaced just one roll of toilet paper in their bathroom with a recycled version it would save 423,900 trees. On the other hand the same source points out that buying recycled toilet paper can work out to be more expensive, but factor in the point that you’re saving trees and it’s easy to justify the cost. Eggs produced from battery hens are cheaper, but I don’t buy them because I see it as cruel and I opt for free range instead. The same could be said for toilet paper.
Protecting the environment doesn't extend to allowing mould to form and populate your bathroom with its own little ecosystem. Mould can put spores in the air that aren't healthy to breath in, and trying to get washed in an area that’s riddled with the stuff is sort of defeating the object. Instead make sure you make the bathroom wall ventilated to prevent it from forming, whether that be opening the window while you have a shower (and a while longer) or installing an extractor fan – leaving it on for up to 20 minutes after you've had a hot shower or bath. Dry all surfaces down after using the bathroom, particularly the bath, as mould will thrive in a wet environment. Likewise, close your shower curtain properly to avoid moisture getting trapped in the folds and forming nasty mould there too.
The bathroom is a room where lights are flicked on off constantly throughout the day. Unless you want to have a bath in the dark you can’t help that – although candles can create a romantic move – but remember to turn it off when you’re not using the bathroom. All lighting should be low energy bulbs too, but try to introduce as much natural light as possible to reduce your dependency on light of the electrical nature. Words by Thomas Mulrooney