3 ways to be greener in the bathroom

The bathroom is where we use the largest amount of water, but reducing water consumption may be easier than you think. Here are some simple ways to be more water-wise and environmentally friendly in the bathroom.

3 ways to be greener in the bathroom

1. Send less water down the drain

One of the easiest ways to be more environmentally conscious in the bathroom is to reduce your water usage.

  • Take shorter showers. Every minute less can save as much as 23 litres (six gallons) of water. If you find this difficult, buy a timer and set it to three or four minutes to remind you to finish up.
  • When waiting for a shower to run hot, catch the cold water in a bucket. Later, you can use this water on your indoor plants or in the garden. You can do the same thing when waiting for hot water in the sink.
  • Having a bath generally uses more water than taking a shower, so savour one as an occasional treat. When you do take a bath, don't overfill it: add just enough water to cover yourself when lying down.
  • Monitor the water temperature as the bath fills to avoid running it too hot and then having to add lots of cold water to cool it down.
  • Check the plug in the bath to make sure it isn't letting out any water.
  • Consider installing a grey water system to recycle water from the bath, shower and sinks. This water can be used in the garden, for flushing the toilet and even for washing clothes.

2. Be smarter at the sink

The type of taps you have and how you use them can greatly influence your water consumption. Changing your hardware and behaviour can have a significant green impact.

  • Install aerating taps. These reduce water flow by up to 50 percent, saving up to 5,000 litres (1,320 gallons) per year. Another option is to attach screw-on aerators to existing taps.
  • Consider a single-lever mixing tap – it will help you obtain the right water temperature more quickly.
  • When you turn the taps on, don't turn them on full blast – up to 90 percent of the water may be wasted. Get into the habit of releasing only as much as you need.
  • Don't leave the tap running when you are brushing your teeth. A running tap can waste as much as 17 litres (four gallons) of water per minute.
  • When shaving, fill a cup with water and rinse your razor there instead of under a running tap or in a full sink of water.

3. Opt for greener fixtures and accessories

In addition to reducing water usage, there are many areas where you can make choices that are better for the environment.

  • Choose ceramics for fixtures and natural materials such as wood, stone or bamboo for soap dishes and laundry baskets. Where possible, avoid plastic items, such as PVC shower curtains, as they are derived from non-renewable petroleum.
  • When your towels wear out, consider replacing them with towels made from environmentally friendly, non-chlorine-bleached materials such as hemp or organic cotton. Alternatively, if you buy ordinary cotton towels, make sure that they are of a high quality so that they will last.
  • Avoid disposable razors, as they unnecessarily increase waste.
  • Minimize use of your extractor fan and open a window instead, when possible. If you have a bathroom window that opens to the outside, consider disconnecting the fan if it stays on when the light is on.
  • If your bathroom doesn't have a window that you can open, consider installing a vented skylight.

Sometimes simple acts can have a huge impact on the environment. If you are looking for ways to lead a greener lifestyle, the bathroom is an excellent place to start.

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