Going Green in the Bathroom

The surge of interest in environmental issues in recent years has meant more and more people are looking for extra ways to go ‘green’ around the house. While most households are adept at paper and bottle recycling, and have turned to energy-efficient light bulbs, there are still plenty of both minor and major choices you can make that can make a difference. Transforming an entire home is a big task so to get started, try looking at it room by room. The following are terrific ways to go green in the bathroom.

Watch the water

It’s obvious but also worth remembering that minimising the amount of water that goes down the drain is not only good for the environment, it will help lower your water bill. Choose a double-flush toilet, and always flush with care. Install a water-saving showerhead, and shorten showers. Never leave a tap running while you clean your teeth or shave. If you do need to use water in the sink, put in a plug and run a small amount. Another simple step is to place a small bucket under the faucet as you shower. Collected water can then be used in the garden.

Switch to green cleaners

While many of us have grown up with chemical-based cleaners, it’s clear these are not always the best option. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives, or even better, make your own. Diluted vinegar or lemon juice is a good choice for sinks and toilets. Pour it into a spray bottle, spray on the area then let sit for a short while before removing with a damp cloth. Vinegar mixed with water is also effective for mirrors. For baths, try baking soda mixed with water. And for mould, vinegar, clove oil and lime are tried and true alternatives to harsh chemical abrasives.

Off the plan

If you’re building or renovating, you’re in a great position to create a beautiful eco-friendly bathroom. There’s a range of environmentally friendly alternatives available to select from as you create your bathroom. That means doing your research so you understand the best options in terms of building materials, lighting, heating, flooring, fixtures and cabinetry. Start by having a look at the Federal Government’s Your Home guide to building or renovating properties that are comfortable, healthy, environmentally friendly and less expensive to run.

Look for leaks

According to Sydney Water, a leaking toilet can waste more than 16,000 litres of water a year. That figure should be enough to spur everyone in to action when they spot or suspect a leak, whether it’s the toilet, or in the shower or kitchen. What appears to be a minor leak can have a huge impact, both on the environment and your water bill.

Change the washer on a leaking tab immediately and call a plumber or specialist for any toilet, bath or shower leaks. Sealing a shower correctly is particularly important in order to stop leaking showers from happening. Good specialists in bathroom leaks will be able to seal your shower stall, particularly the gaps between the floor and the walls, without having to remove tiles. Addressing the problem quickly is going to help minimise any damage, wasted water and increased water bills.

And a few other options

  • Use bamboo or organic cotton towels.
  • Never use disposables such as paper towels to clean.
  • Turn off the light as soon as you leave the bathroom.
  • Switch to natural skin care products so there are even less chemicals going down the drain when you wash.
  • Use recycled toilet paper.

Just remember, by making a few minor changes and staying alert to leaks and other wastage, you can help your household stay green, and save you money in the process. Consider also that in some instances (building, repairs), it can take an investment now, to ensure savings further down the track.

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