More than ever, we are adapting the way we live and changing our everyday habits to be more sustainable. Worries about climate change, water use and energy wastage are driving us to consider our impact on the environment and do our bit to live a greener lifestyle.
Your bathroom might not be the first place that springs to mind as somewhere you need to bring about change, but actually, there’s a lot that can be done to make it an environmentally friendly space. With pressing warnings about water shortages in the future, now is an especially good time to focus on your bathroom.
Here, we’ll run you through some ways to evaluate whether your bathroom is eco-friendly and provide some sustainable tips to help you make improvements.
1. Showers vs. baths
You probably already know that showers are less wasteful than baths. That’s true – a medium sized bath uses about 150 litres of water, but did you also know a ten-minute power shower has around the same usage?
One way to keep your showers at an eco-friendly level is to install an aerating shower head. These work by mixing water with air, restricting the water flow while still delivering the pressure of a power shower. An electric shower is an economical alternative too, as it saves energy by only heating the water you use.
Another simple water-saving change you can make to your showering habits is turning off the water while you lather up with soap.
2. Choose quality bathroom fixtures and fittings
If the sustainability of your bathroom is a priority, then it’s important to buy quality fixtures and fittings that will stand the test of time.
Bathroom fittings can be incredibly energy-intensive to produce, which is why you should buy high-quality products in the first instance that will often last a lifetime. If you’re on a budget, it might be attractive to spend less on cheaper fittings, but they’ll need to be replaced more frequently and will inevitably end up being incinerated or in landfill. The cost of replacements also means that buying cheaper products is often a false economy.
3. Buy British
For a more eco-friendly bathroom, you should buy your fixtures, fittings and furniture as locally as possible. With the range of quality bathroom products available in the UK, it’s perfectly possible to create a super-stylish bathroom that’s kind to our planet, too.
Very simply, the fewer miles your bathroom fixtures and fittings travel, the more eco-friendly they’re likely to be. Checking where bathroom products have been produced before you decide to buy will help to reduce our reliance on polluting lorries, container ships and air freight and allow local businesses to thrive.
4. Reduce water consumption
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average household uses around 350 litres of water a day. However, there are lots of simple and cost-effective steps that you can take to reduce your water waste. That includes:
Dual flush toilets
Toilets, particularly older types with large cisterns, use a huge amount of water with every flush. If you haven’t already, think about switching to a dual-flush design. They give you the option of a half flush, which significantly cuts out a whole lot of unnecessary water usage.
One of the easiest ways to save water in the bathroom is to turn off the taps when you’re brushing your teeth. You can take this one step further by installing automatic taps, also called sensor taps, on your sink basin. Not only do these touchless taps turn on precisely as and when you need them, but they usually have a low flow rate that minimises your water usage, too.
Cistern displacement devices
A cistern displacement device (CDD) is a very simple device that is placed in the cistern and displaces around one litre of water every time you flush. That can produce savings of up to 5,000 litres of water a year. What’s more, most water companies provide them for free.
If unresolved, a dripping tap could waste up to 5,500 litres of water a year. The most common cause of a dripping tap is a washer that needs replacing, which is something that you can easily do yourself.
5. Source reclaimed materials
To improve the sustainability of our bathrooms, we need to get past the notion that everything has to be new to be nice. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When creating a more eco-friendly bathroom, think about using reclaimed sanitary ware or repurpose furniture rather than buying brand new. For example, antique metal bathtubs are incredibly fashionable at the moment and you can create this show stopping centrepiece without buying a product that has been created from new.
If you’re looking for a project, then a salvage yard can be a great source of materials, with timber beams, stone, handmade tiles and much more all up for grabs. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do the refurbishing yourself, specialist suppliers that sell fully restored items such as vintage sinks, Victorian baths and reclaimed wood flooring could be a better choice for you.
6. Rely on recyclables
Sustainability doesn’t just come from reclaiming or reusing old products and materials. If you want to buy new, then always try to find recyclable products. For example, our ceiling panels are practical and stylish but also 100% recyclable.
Flooring and accessories made from cork are an excellent choice for eco-friendly bathrooms as no trees need to be cut down to produce the cork and it can be fully recycled. Rubber and engineered wood are also eco-friendly bathroom flooring options that are manufactured sustainably and can be recycled after use.
7. Install a smart home device
Smart devices are giving us more control in our homes and many are improving our eco-friendly credentials at the same time. Most relevant to your bathroom is a smart thermostat, like the Nest Learning. Installing this type of smart device gives you more control so you can keep on top of your energy usage, particularly when heating water. That makes it an effective way to reduce your bills and save the planet at the same time.
8. Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs
They cost a little more in the first instance, but LED lightbulbs use 90% less energy, making them far more cost-effective than the conventional bulbs in your home. There are all kinds of customisable LED lights out there, so you can create the desired atmosphere in your bathroom while boosting your eco-friendly credentials.
9. Choose zero-waste personal care products
One of our planet’s biggest polluters is not our bathroom fixtures and fittings but the personal-care products we choose to use and the plastic packaging they come in. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than 8 million metric tonnes of plastic enters our oceans every year.
By making a few simple changes, such as buying bamboo toothbrushes, switching to shampoo bars and choosing zero-waste cleaning products, we could drastically reduce the amount of plastic we pile on the environment.
Whether you’re starting a new bathroom design from scratch or just looking for a few sustainable changes, these are a few of the simple and cost-effective steps you can take to create a more eco-friendly bathroom.