With climate change being talked about daily in the media, many people are wondering how exactly they can make a difference. The key is to start in your own home, and this article will guide you through changes you can make today and in the long term, to start lowering the carbon footprint of one of your most used rooms – the bathroom.
BATHROOM WATER CONSERVATION:
- Check your toilet. Almost 1/3 of toilets leak 400 litres of water per year without us ever knowing it. Check yours by putting some food colouring in the tank. If the water in the bowl turns colour after a few minutes then you should replace your flap.
- Go low-flow. All it takes is a plastic pop bottle filled with sand or rocks to save a litre of water on each and every flush.
- Install water saving shower and faucet heads. An old shower-head can use 100 gallons per shower! You can cut that in half with a water saving head.
- It may sound redundant if you’ve already installed those water-savers, but it’s still important to cut down your water use. Turn the faucet off while you brush, and save your daydreaming for after the shower.
- Don’t put anything unnecessary down the drains. Solid or chemical waste should no more go down the toilet than through the kitchen garburator. It only makes it harder to clean the water at the treatment facility.
- Reuse your towels. OK, so the laundry isn’t in the bathroom, but a family of 4 could save 3 loads of laundry per week (or more, depending on the size of their machine) if they use their towels an extra day.
- Invest in alternate fibres. Cotton uses one cubic metre of water per kilo of fibre, and pollutes another half litre. Hemp, bamboo and soy make great towels and shower curtains, using much less water, and you can find them at Your EcoSource.
BATHROOM WASTE REDUCTION:
- Compost. Cities that collect compost with the garbage often include items such as hygiene products and diapers in the compost stream, so check before you send it to the landfill.
- Recycle. Give preferences to products in recycled or recyclable (or both) containers, and don’t forget to put the toilet paper rolls with the other cardboard.
- Buy super-sized portions of bathroom products like shampoo and your favourite moisturizer. They’re cheaper, and you’ll throw fewer plastic bottles away.
- Freecycle. If you’re tired of a particular bathroom product or item, don’t throw it away; list it on freecycle. You need to be honest that it’s a half-used bottle of conditioner, but you’ll probably still find takers for it.
- Forget disposable razors; invest in a permanent one, or even a fabulous one like those from Art of Shaving, so you’ll only have to replace the blades.
BATHROOM ENERGY SAVING:
- Turn down the water heater to 50C. It’s still plenty hot for a steamy shower, but will use a fraction of the energy to keep heated.
- Better yet, install a solar water heater or a tankless heater.
- Opt for the fan, or better, an open window to clear the steam after your shower instead of a power-sucking heat lamp.
- Don’t use the bathroom lighting at night. If kids need to find their way in the dark, then plug in an actual nightlight, which uses one LED or CFL bulb.