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Top Ten Ways to Go Green in Your Bathroom
If you want your lifestyle to have a positive impact on the environment, then going green in the bathroom is a good place to start. Did you know that the average American uses 80 gallons of water a day, while the rest of the world uses a mere 2.5 gallons? It's easy to see where it goes. Daily showers, multiple toilets flushing, and running the faucet while we brush our teeth, it really adds up. Fresh water is a finite resource which we wantonly waste. If you want to help the Earth by going green in the bathroom, here are some tips to help get you started.
1. Ditch Those Disposables
You know what I'm talking about. We have paper towels to clean counters and mirrors, special "one-time" scrubbers for the toilet, and disposable face towels instead of soap. The only thing that should be disposed of in the bathroom is toilet paper; the rest can all be replaced by reusable products. Use rags to clean surfaces and mirrors. Microfiber cloths also work well, both for cleaning and for personal hygiene. One of the easiest ways to go green in the bathroom is by creating less waste.
2. Use Green Toilet Paper
Does flushing virgin forests down the toilet sound like a solid green practice to you? Me either. Use toilet paper from recycled sources to help discourage such wasteful uses of our forests. If you want a reliable source for information on who creates recycled paper products visit the Natural Resources Defense Council, a link is included below.
3. Stop Wasting Water
Did you know the average shower takes about 60 gallons of water? We also waste about 6 gallons simply by running the water when we brush our teeth (if you brush twice a day). There are three easy fixes to cut water waste in the bathroom. The first is to install a low-flow shower head, which costs about $5 and can be a DIY project. Another way to go green in the bathroom and cut water waste is to install a low-flow faucet aerator, included below is a link to instructions on how to install one. Finally, you can install a dual-flushing toilet, to save thousands of gallons of water a year.
4. Use Green Cleaners
The bathroom is possibly the worst ventilated room in most households, which creates a very toxic situation when people are trapped with noxious fumes from chemical cleaners. You can buy plant based and biodegradable cleaners at the store, or use simple household ingredients to make your bathroom shine. For a great surface cleaner try vinegar and baking soda (to make metal surfaces gleam). Also try baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils to remove soap scum from the tub.
5 . Use Green Personal Products
The chemicals in some personal cleaners are frightening chemical compounds which most people can't even say, let alone tell you what they are. This isn't just about going green in the bathroom; it's about protecting your personal health. A startling example: anti-bacterial soaps, which are marketed as a great way to avoid getting sick, have actually helped create super bugs which are resistant to antibiotics.
6. Buy Green Towels
Did you know that conventionally grown cotton is one of the most destructive and pesticide laden crops on the planet? Organic cotton doesn't use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, which is healthier for the planet and ultimately for you. Also try out fabrics like bamboo, which are silky smooth are harvested from a renewable and fast-growing tree.
7. Ditch the PVC Shower Curtain
PVC is one of the most destructive plastics made, and has no place in a green bathroom. The production of PVC creates highly toxic dioxins, and once in your home it also gives off chemical gasses. PVC cannot be recycled, and once disposed of it leaks chemicals which can make their way back into the ground water. Go green in your bathroom by ditching the PVC and replacing it with friendlier plastics or with a product made of hemp, which is naturally mold resistant.
One of the largest health and cleaning problems in the bathroom is mold. It's hard to kill once it creeps in, and oftentimes people use harsh cleaners like bleach to eradicate it. A good way to get rid of mold and go green in your bathroom is to prevent the nasty stuff in the first place. Ventilate your bathroom by placing a window if you can, or by installing a low-power fan with a timer, which will shut off automatically.
9. Get Out of Hot Water
About 10% of our energy bills come from heating water for activities like showering, and we waste many gallons while we wait for the water to heat up. Think about showering in water that is a little cooler than your usual temperature, or install on demand heating so as not to waste many gallons while waiting for hot water. Also think about a solar-heating system if you want to really go green in the bathroom, they're now under $5,000 for many systems.
10. Stop Wasting Gray-Water
The water that goes down your shower and sink is nowhere near gross enough to warrant complete disposal. Set up a gray water collection system to provide water for your toilet and garden. Think about this: we flush 22 gallons of water down the toilet on average. What kind of impact would it have if that water were from recycled sources?
As you can see, many of the above steps are simple procedures which cost little or no money, or could even save you money. There's absolutely no reason why every family shouldn't try to go green in the bathroom today.