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Ten Ways To Green Your Bathroom–And Keep It Fabulous

One of the smallest rooms in your house is also the easiest to green.  But for many people, their bathroom is a sanctuary, a place they go to relax in a hot bath or shower.  You might not want a spartan existence for this place.  That doesn’t mean you can’t go green.  You can make your bathroom eco-friendly without sacrificing luxury by knowing a few tricks and where to shop.  Find out how, after the jump…

  1. Low-flow showerhead. They’ve come a long way, baby.  Because of my incredibly thick, curly hair, I need water pressure as much as the next person.  Today’s low-flow shower heads save water without sacrificing pressure.  Metaefficient reviews the best of the low-flows here.  Even better, check out Shower Start, a device that saves water while you’re getting your shower water to the desired temperature.
  2. Think biodegradable–in soaps, shampoos, and conditioners.  Many beauty products contain petroleum, which you’re just washing down the drain.  We buy Dr. Bronner’s in bulk, because it’s a money-saving way to get fair-trade, vegetable-based, biodegradable soap in a variety of awesome scents.  However, check out your local farmers market.  There’s often vendors selling locally-made, eco-friendly soaps.  Even Target is now carrying more environmentally-responsible personal care brands, like the ever-popular Burt’s Bees.  You even can see all the eco-friendly products we’ve covered here.
  3. Razors.  Think disposable heads, not entire razors.  Preserve makes great razors from recycled yogurt cups, and you need only buy the heads after you’ve bought the first set of handles.
  4. Toothpaste. Tom’s is the leader in green toothpaste options–you can easily recycle their aluminum tubes.  If you can’t find Tom’s, try to find Crest in the small bottle, not tube.  You can recycle it, and it has no superfluous packaging, just the bottle containing the toothpaste.
  5. Give up baths.  At least as your regular means of washing.  For most people, they use more water in a bath than a shower.  Miss that luxurious bubble bath soak?  Lush, my absolute favorite purveyor of bath products and a totally eco-friendly company, now has “emotibombs“, which are like bath bombs for the shower.  You can get the same aromatherapy without all the water use of a bath.
  6. Use your products…until they’re gone. I’m 100% guilty of this, because I love buying different bath and beauty products.  Consequently, I had a bathroom full of half-used shower gels, lip glosses, and lotions.  What a waste–of money and resources.  I finally put a moratorium on buying any new products until I used up what I had.  It was a great way to declutter my bathroom and avoid putting perfectly-good items in the landfill.
  7. Think soap instead of body wash. It doesn’t weight as much, so you can ship more product for less fossil fuels.  Lush even makes a shampoo bar that they claim lasts way longer than a regular bottle, at a fraction of the shipping costs  with minimal packaging.  Get a cheap soap dish to make soap last longer through proper drainage.
  8. Turn off the water–while washing face and brushing teeth.  It’s a no brainer, but if you’ve made it a decades long habit to keep the water on, it might take a while to retrain your brain.  Do it anyway.  Even better, get an aerator for your sink–you’ll use less water without even knowing it.
  9. Get new bulbs–CFLs are old news.  You probably have them all over your house (I hope!).  But many times, people are reluctant to put CFLs over the bathroom mirror because they think the light is too harsh.  However, new CFLs come in a variety of wattage and spectrums.  Read more about what’s available here.
  10. Save toilet water.  If you can afford it, put in a dual-flush toilet, which allows you to choose using more or less water with each flush, depending on what you’re flushing.  If you can’t, you can easily and affordably displace water in your toilet tank with sand-filled plastic containers.

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Written by Kelli Best-Oliver

A former high school teacher, I'm currently a part-time writer/full-time doctoral student at the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities, studying leadership in education from a critical pedagogy perspective along with public policy.

On the green side, I'm interested in local food and agriculture (Iowa girl, born and raised), sustainability education, DIY projects, and grassroots activism. I'm slowly turning my South City, St Louis home into an urban farmstead.

On the hoping-to-be-greener side, I love reading, yoga, soccer, music, backpacking, knitting, pop culture and trivia, my Tuesday Night Dinner Club, traveling, Guitar Hero, dive bars, and sitting on front porches with my husband and a cold beer.

I came to Green Options via a post on Sustainablog,working the St Louis angle to get Jeff to let me in. I have a personal blog chronicling (what else?) life in South St. Louis.

Follow me on Twitter!

Comments

  1. Great post, Kelli. These ideas are not only green, they save money. #6 reminds me of an old Simpsons episode where they save money by combining all their soap remnants into a single giant bar of soap.

  2. Damn, you beat me to the punch. My next “3 Things” article was going to be on this very subject. Now I need to actually think of something new.

    Great piece, KBO.

  3. Great article, very informative and encouraging! I am big fan of Lush products as well. I am sharing this article with friends and family 🙂

  4. I have been making a conscious effort to turn off the water (actually been doing that for awhile), and am always yelling at my family. I figure we’ve saved a lot — but not enough. But every little bit helps.

    I’m REALLY big on this book about little steps that add up to big changes: Green Goes with Everything. Our homes — our bathrooms — have so many toxins in them. This author (she’s a Today show contributor and consumer advocate) gives us a really readable primer on how our homes are making us sick and alternatives to green us up, both in terms of health and in terms of helping our planet.

  5. Even greener than disposing of used razor heads or blades… is just not shaving at all! 😉

    I’ve saved money on razors as well as shaving creams/soaps, not to mention tons of TIME, since deciding to go ‘au naturel’ a few years back. And I don’t get itchy when the stubble comes in… and I don’t scare loved ones with scratchy stubble either!

    It’s just such a relief not having to bother… and my hubby thinks it’s sexy! 🙂

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