Whilst travelling around the world is great fun, there really is nothing better than returning home and enjoying all those creature comforts you often take for granted.
Many of the eco-friendly tricks and tips you picked up along the way can easily be transferred to your home, so you can live in a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious way.
One of the main things to think about when spending time at home is the amount of water you use. Most water consumption takes place in your bathroom, so it’s a good place to start if you wish to help conserve this scarce resource.
In this article, you’ll find plenty of eco-friendly bathroom inspiration, with 7 steps you can take to create a more eco-friendly bathroom.
1. Find a friendlier flush
Flushing your toilet uses up to 23% of your total annual water consumption, so it is one of the first things you should address to maintain an eco-friendly bathroom.
Most modern toilets come with a dual flush, which gives you the option of a shorter flush for liquid waste and a longer flush for solid matter. It certainly pays to check what the total flush capacity of your toilet is. If it is a single flush with a large capacity (e.g. 6 litres or over), you could be wasting a lot of water.
Another thing to consider is whether you have a leaky cistern. By this, we mean a cistern that constantly runs into your toilet pan. There’s a simple way to check this: Stick a piece of toilet tissue to the back of your pan at least half an hour after flushing. Leave it there overnight (or for at least three hours). If the toilet tissue is still there when you return, your cistern is fine. However, if it has disintegrated or disappeared from view, the likelihood is that your cistern is leaking. The best remedy is to replace your toilet with a more eco-friendly, dual flush version.
2. If it’s yellow…
…let it mellow. If you’ve ever travelled to countries or even cities where water is in short supply (Cape Town is a good example), you may have heard this mantra before.
Living in the UK, we often take water for granted. It rains all the time and we’re surrounded by the stuff, so it isn’t an issue, right? Well… what many people don’t realise is that London is actually drier than Sydney or even Istanbul. So, if you can stand the sight of a little bit of pee in your toilet, it’s a great motto to live by.
3. Cut your showers short and bathe less
One of the more obvious tips, taking a shower instead of a bath can save plenty of water. However, you could easily go one step further and limit the time you spend beneath your shower. Many water authorities are now recommending 4-minute showers, which use around 40 litres of water. And it’s pretty easy to do. Simply set a timer on your phone or smartwatch and switch off when the alarm goes off. Not only will it help you save water, you might even get into the office on time for once!
4. Shower smarter
Another great way to go green in the bathroom is to carefully consider which shower you choose. An electric shower can save on both water and energy. Taking water exclusively from the cold supply, it only heats the exact amount of water you need (just like a kettle), plus, with an eco mode, you can limit the water flow, yet still enjoy a satisfying shower experience.
Take things a step further by investing in a smart showering system. These space-age showers allow you to fully customise and control every aspect of your bathroom, from water temperature to the amount you use. You can even sync it up with your own smart home system, so it can be voice-activated.
If you simply don’t have the budget to splash out on a brand new shower, why not buy a water-saving shower head instead? These innovative handsets add air into the mix, limiting the flow without limiting your enjoyment.
5. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth
This may be a really obvious water-saving tip but it’s amazing how many people admit to keeping the tap running as they brush their teeth. All that flowing water adds up and can waste over 6 litres for every minute you brush.
6. Fix drips and leaks fast
The constant drip, drip, drip of a tap or shower can be really irritating. However, it could also waste plenty of water too—up to 90 litres per week, in fact. That’s why drips and leaks should be addressed as soon as they are discovered. A new tap or shower valve can be purchased for a relatively modest outlay, and it’ll certainly offset the amount of water you’d lose over time.
One thing to check for, when buying any tap or shower, is WRAS approval. The WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) offer certification on a wide range of bathroom products, to ensure they use water efficiently. Also, make sure you check that any tap comes with a ceramic disc cartridge. They are much more durable than old-fashioned rubber washers.
7. Underfloor heating—not only nice for your toes
Aside from saving water, there are also some neat ways you can reduce your carbon footprint within your bathroom.
Unless you’re taking a “staycation”, it’s most likely that you only really spend time in your bathroom first thing in the morning and during the evening. So why waste energy in heating it throughout the day?
Underfloor heating allows you to heat your bathroom only during the times you use it, which could potentially save you money, whilst reducing the amount of energy you require. Plus, thanks to modern technology, today’s smart thermostats can even learn the optimum times and temperatures for your home.
So, when you return home from your latest eco-friendly travels, why not apply these tips and tricks to your bathroom and do your bit for the planet?