The modern bathroom is one of the key areas that requires attention when establishing an eco-friendly home. Whether you are refurbishing the bathroom, starting afresh or just looking for ways to make things more sustainable here is some useful advice to help you on your way.
When designing or refurbishing your bathroom you have a perfect opportunity to reconsider the materials used and what impact they may have on your carbon footprint. It is tempting to use modern PVC or acrylic when looking at surfaces and wall cladding or even baths and shower trays, but nothing beats the timeless elegance of glass, metal or ceramics. These tried and tested materials give a fantastic finish, clean easily and are all sustainable, while still retaining a sleek, modern appearance.
Water conservation is a big issue in the bathroom for obvious reasons. To save water in the wettest room of the house it makes sense to opt for a shower instead of a bath. The average shower uses 60 litres of water compared to 80 litres needed to fill a bath. 30% of all household water is used in flushing the toilet, most of which is unnecessary. Moderate the amount of water flushed away with a submerged displacement block or bag. You can do this quite easily by placing a sealed plastic bottle filled with water at the bottom of the cistern. A litre bottle will save a litre of water on every fill, nearly 10% of a normal flush.
Bath, shower and sink wastewater, known as greywater, can be diverted into a separate tank to be reused for flushing. There is no harm in using grey water, even from the washing machine, for watering plants or even washing the car.
It is now possible to adapt your shower hose with a water saving shower head. Sivoss have developed a range of eco-efficient nozzles which mix air with water to create a strong, voluminous spray with the capacity to reduce water consumption by 7-9 litres per minute.
Using ethically sourced, eco-friendly body care and cleaning products will invariably be kind to your skin without adversely affecting our environment. Take care to check that all products are cruelty free and are made from natural ingredients wherever possible. Eco cleaning products are the first step to take towards a sustainable home that is free from harmful chemicals that can cause damage to our water courses and the wider environment.
Plastic and packaging are an increasing problem with cleaning products, often related to how they are manufactured and disposed. Choose recyclable packaging and, if possible, buy larger containers which can be used to top up smaller bottles for daily use.
The global plastic crisis is now widely recognised, causing pollution in our oceans and harming marine wildlife. There are many plastic items used in our bathrooms that can be substituted with viable, sustainable alternatives. A plastic toothbrush when disposed will take over a hundred years to break down whereas the same item made from bamboo will biodegrade in six months and can even be composted. Bamboo is a perpetually renewable resource that absorbs and fixes greenhouse gasses, uses much less water, produces up to 35% more oxygen and, because it is naturally antibacterial, doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides to grow. Designed by Swedish dentists, the Humble Brush is a bamboo toothbrush that will clean just as well and last just as long as your regular plastic toothbrush, with the added benefit of being socially responsible and better for the environment.
Making a clean sweep of your bathroom can make a huge difference to your commitment to sustainable living. Saving water and banishing noxious chemicals in the busiest room in the house will improve your carbon footprint and give you peace of mind.