7 ideas to create a sustainable bathroom
Creating a sustainable bathroom can seem a little intimidating, expensive and even impractical, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ve made life easier for you with our top tips on how you can make a positive impact on the environment.
With the term ‘Climate Crisis’ becoming part of our daily language, it’s no wonder people are looking for ways to make more sustainable choices.
We now know that the past five years were the hottest ever on record and plastic is found everywhere from the ocean to within our food and we all want to help make a positive impact.
Looking at our own lifestyles and homes and how we can make changes, big or small, is a great place to start. The good news is there are plenty of innovative and simple ways to affect our carbon footprint.
The design world is quickly responding to the need for sustainability and there have been significant changes in the world of bathrooms, with many eco-friendly fixtures and fittings hitting the market. Thanks to the innovative techniques from these companies, we can face the environmental challenges head-on. To set you up for success, we’ve collated ideas on how you can create a sustainable bathroom.
- Water saving devices
With it being the focal point, saving on water is an obvious place to start when wanting to create a sustainable bathroom. You might have heard that taking showers instead of baths can save a significant amount of water, but even a 10-minute shower with a standard shower head can use around 80 gallons of water. You could look at reducing your shower time to 5 minutes, but this is going to be a challenge for many of us. Instead, installing a low-flow shower head could be the answer.
When saving water, you also need to think about your toilet, however finding an eco-friendly solution here may be more suitable for those looking for a bathroom overhaul. Installing a low-flow toilet is a fantastic way to reduce your footprint. Thrifty sustainability experts also suggest filling a water bottle with water or buying a ‘Toilet Tank Bank’ that hangs on the inside of your tank to reduce the amount of water within, which can create a similar effect.
- Eco friendly decorating
By redecorating your bathroom in an eco-friendly way, you can not only help the planet but also your health. Many standard bathroom paints and materials contain compounds and chemicals harmful to both the environment and our bodies, so making this swap is a double win!
Most household paints contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are chemical compounds that are not only harmful to our health but also contribute to global warming. It’s not just a freshly painted room that’s the issue either; VOCs can also be given off for years after the paint has dried.
Choosing to use low VOC paint has become an easy option thanks to legislation that has come into force regulating the use of these chemicals in paint, so in recent years the availability of low VOC paint has thankfully increased.
We all know by now the harm plastics are creating in our environment, therefore switching out materials for more eco-friendly ones, whenever you come to remodel or renovate is a great way to create a sustainable bathroom.
Metal, glass, bamboo, cork, and porcelain are all fantastic choices when thinking ‘green’. Not only will you be helping the planet, but all these materials help to give your bathroom a stunning aesthetic. They are incredibly durable so these materials will last a while, can be reused, or recycled meaning they hold value well over time too.
When choosing to use wood in the bathroom, ensure you opt for solid wood or recycled and reclaimed materials, which are much safer and more eco-friendly than cabinets or vanity sinks made with plywood, particleboard, pressed wood, and medium-density fibreboard (MDF). The glue used in these materials contains formaldehyde, damaging to our health and the environment. The choices for sustainable bathroom furniture are growing too. Cabinets are now made from bamboo or recycled concrete, and countertops made from recycled glass or paper.
When it comes to your bath fitting, think about replacing your acrylic tub with a steel one. Not only is this a gorgeous design choice but will significantly reduce your environmental footprint.
Because acrylic is created by burning fossil fuels, it creates a carbon footprint that is less than desirable. Whereas steel is a naturally occurring raw material, therefore these bathtubs are completely recyclable when they come to the end of their lifespan. Not only this but they also have the added advantage of being able to conduct heat much better than acrylic bathtubs saving on household energy too.
Final touches to your bathroom décor often include tiles. By choosing tiles made from recyclable materials, you can really ensure every inch of your sustainable bathroom has been thought of. Made from 98% recycled materials, including shards of glass, broken sanitary products, and glaze waste from ceramic manufacture, innovative tiling companies have produced a recycled surface material loved by architects and decorators alike.
- Eco Friendly energy-saving bathrooms
When around half of your home energy bill is for heating water, thinking about energy saving fittings is a no-brainer when creating a sustainable bathroom.
According to Energy Saving Trust UK, you may want to consider these energy-saving improvements to lower your carbon emissions:
- Replace your boiler with a more efficient model.
- Fit energy saving controls to make sure your boiler only provides heat where and when you want it.
- Switch to renewable technologies for generating electricity and heat.
You might also consider installing underfloor heating as a good option for renovating a sustainable bathroom. Underfloor heating is known to be more efficient than a typical central heating system and uses less energy. Rather than use conventional heating like a regular radiator, underfloor heating radiates heat from the entire surface of the floor making the temperature more consistent in the room.
- Let nature provide
Becoming eco-friendly often involves looking to nature for innovation and ideas. Using natural materials helps to create a beautiful aesthetic, but you might want to think bigger and brighter!
By using natural light such as a bathroom skylight, you will not only provide lighting for your space but also solar heating, helping you save further on energy costs and carbon emissions. Natural light is also known to reduce and prevent mold and mildew with the added benefit of better ventilation, which is a plus for your health and in turn reduces the need for harmful cleaning chemicals.
If natural lighting isn’t an option, why not conserve energy in your sustainable bathroom by installing LED light bulbs. These energy-efficient lights last much longer than traditional bulbs, and they don’t have to be replaced as often.
Purifying the air in an eco-friendly bathroom can be as simple as placing small plants like ferns or succulents on a windowsill or countertop where they’re able to get enough light. Plants also add a calming aspect, helping to reduce stress.
- Use sustainable single-use products
If a total remodel is out of the question, don’t worry. You can still create a more sustainable bathroom with smaller changes! Swapping out your daily products for environmentally friendly choices is a great place to start.
There are lots of fantastic companies providing sustainable solutions to single-use products such as buying toilet paper made from sustainably grown bamboo or recycled paper or swapping out your regular plastic-based dental floss for a zero-waste silk floss or bamboo toothbrush. Given that we floss daily (or at least should be) and replace our toothbrushes every few months, both products add significantly to the amount of plastic we pile on the environment and in our oceans.
When choosing bathroom supplies, it is important to not only look at products made from sustainable materials but the packaging too. Many eco-friendly companies now use biodegradable materials or packages in compostable paper boxes, taking you one step closer to being environmentally friendly.
- Eco-Cleaning products
Now even cleaning our bathrooms can have an environmental impact. Whilst it may be tempting to pick up your old favourites or go for the cheap and cheerful options, many standard off-the-shelf cleaning products aren’t good for either your body or the environment in the long term.
In recent years, a vast range of environmentally friendly cleaning products have become readily available in our supermarkets, so there is no longer the need to hunt them down in specialised shops.
The harsh chemicals from cleaning products eventually end up in our waterways and soil, damaging our delicate ecosystem and disturbing the natural balance. Eco-friendly cleaning products are much more biodegradable and have far less of an effect on the environment.
- Ditch single-use containers and choose to refill
When opting for cleaning products and personal care with fewer chemicals, it’s also important to think about the packaging they come in. There is a vast range of products available including refillable ones, which means we can use options that are safe for the environment and plastic-free.
When you think about the number of single use bottles we use for bathroom sprays, shampoo, lotion and soap it can be quite overwhelming how quickly it all adds up. With a little bit of an investment to purchase reusable containers and by buying shampoo and other similar products in bulk you will save money over time as well as keeping plastic out of our landfills and oceans.