Easy ways to an eco-friendly bathroom

Once bathroom towels wear out and need replacing, opt for organic cotton which are pesticidefree and use much less water in their production.

Just a little thought is all it takes to make a big — and almost effortless — improvement in bathroom eco-friendliness without compromising personal hygiene and housecleaning, writes Carol O’Callaghan

THE best suggestion I’ve heard for reducing plastics is to treat yourself to an ice-cream cone instead of keeping plastic containers in the freezer.

If only it was all so enjoyable, but if you want a quick start this weekend on going green, the bathroom is a great place to make easy changes with immediate impact.

Water it down

Switch off the tap while teeth-cleaning; apparently it saves a whopping three to four gallons of water a day per person.

Go with the flow

Opt for bamboo toothb r u s h e s i n s t e a d o f plastic which end up littering the ocean and swallowed by sea life.

Keep the bath for occasional soaks, unless you spend 16 minutes under the shower, so you might use as much water. As another incentive, consider the bonus of using less energy to heat the extra water.

Be like a panda

Lovely though it is to luxuriate in a deep bath, showers are so much friendlier to the environment, typically using a fraction of the water. Pictures: iStock

Let’s embrace bamboo, at least in our toothbrush, but be sure to dry it off so it doesn’t split.

I glued mine back with success in make-do-and-mend mode, and I’m now feeling rather virtuous.

Minty freshness

Welcome back bicarbonate of soda as a toothpaste alternative which can be bought in a tin or cardboard box.

You won’t get the foaming sensation but adding food-grade peppermint essential oil offers the familiar flavour.

Feeling flush

Have you considered the growing trend for flushing only after every second number one?

If that’s a shocker not to be borne, take comfort that the trend has not yet caught on for more significant deposits.


As no one has yet come up with an eco-alternative to toilet paper, let’s reach for rolls made from recycled materials. Go further and buy them loose or in paper packaging.

‘Wood’ you try these instead

Plastic cotton buds are a blight like drinking straws. Wood versions are available and look nicer styled in a pot in the bathroom.

Cotton on to this

It takes 20,000l of water to make a kilogramme of cotton — the equivalent of a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Choose organic towels and facecloths, but don’t throw out what you have until you need replacements.

It’s curtains for PVC

Want to replace a shower curtain? Opt for non-PVC which can be recycled.

When life gives you lemons

Make lemonade and use the squeezed-out skins to clean limescale off shower doors. I did it at home with success, admittedly on light limescale.

Heavier marks may require the vigour of elbow grease.

Sharp thinking

Isn’t it easy to grab a plastic bag of disposable razors at the supermarket?

Less easy, though, to pick up a packet of blades for a traditional razor, but remember, demand creates supply.

Let’s face it

Who would have thought something as innocuous as a facial scrub could be problematic for the environment?

Micro-plastic beads which create the scrub action are the culprits, so check the packaging for a reference to “polyethylene” and avoid it.

Wish I had known better when I made an offending purchase as now it’s a problem if I use it, and a problem if I sling it.

Raise the bar

We’ve certainly plumbed new depths in our throwaway culture as something in the region of 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are discarded annually. Shall we consider the shampoo bar? I’m using one at the moment.

Net loss

Shower lilies must be the silliest things invented to scrub our skin. Hard to grip, and harder still on our skin, they’re made of plastic netting which loves to hold onto bacteria. What about the machine-washable facecloth instead?

Wash your hands of it

Let’s try to return to traditional bars of soap and dispense with plastic containers of the liquid variety.

Muse for a second on the microscopic creepy crawlies sitting on the liquid soap pump, yet we’re persuaded that soap bars are germ-laden even though they’re washed under the tap when used.

Is there any excuse not to use a soap bar? If you really prefer the liquid, reuse your container by opting for a brand offering refills. At the moment this is the domain of health shops but with enough demand it could lead to more widespread availability.

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