National Geographic shares with us some tips on greening up the loo! Who knew that small changes to the way we go about our business could make such a wondrous change in saving the planet?
Thanks to NatGeo's True Green Home Book for these amazing tips.
or Swim: Don’t let the faucet run, wasting our most precious resource, as part
of your family’s daily bathroom routine. Embrace the drain stop and use your sink as it was
intended, by pouring in some water to wash your hands and face or to shave. Don’t run the faucet
when brushing your teeth—use a cup of water instead. Any of these simple ideas can save as
much as one gallon of water a minute. Check that your drain stop is actually keeping water in the
basin, as a leaky plug equals water wasted.
Flushed Away: Toilet flushing is responsible
for about 30 percent of all water used by the average American household, which means that almost
44,000 gallons of quality water is flushed away per family every year. Upgrade to a high-efficiency
or WaterSense-labeled toilets; without one, your single-flush unit can use 3.5 to 7 gallons in one
flush, compared to a high-efficiency unit’s 1.3 gallons or less. Check with your local
government—you might even be able to switch to a waterless composting toilet. If you’re stuck
with your old model, place an inexpensive toilet dam (available from your hardware store) in the
cistern to reduce the amount of water in each flush, or fill an empty soda bottle and place that in
the cistern. Silent leaks can waste up to 200 gallons a day: drop a little food coloring into your
tank and wait 15 minutes—if the color turns up in the toilet bowl, call your plumber.
Reading Material: That two-ply
designer toilet paper is indeed an expensive luxury. Amazingly, every ton of paper recycled saves 17
trees, 380 gallons of oil, 4,000 kilowatts of electricity, 3 cubic yards of landfill and 7,000
gallons of water. But recycled toilet paper makes up only 2 percent share of the American
market—much of the rest is made from plantation-grown or native forest trees. Make the switch
to environmentally friendly toilet paper that is unbleached, chlorine-free and, if possible, 100
Light Showers:Showers are the biggest resource-guzzlers in the home, but you can reduce this just by
spending less time in the shower and using a timer. Replacing your old showerhead with a
WaterSense-labeled or energy-efficient model can save you almost 3 gallons of water a minute. Take
advantage of rebates and offers provided by your local government or water authority to make the
switch. If one out of every 100 U.S. homes was retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could
avoid 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year. Keep a bucket handy to collect gray water for
use in the garden. Install a thermostat that keeps hot water at a usable temperature so no cold
water is wasted.
Picking up the
It is essential to have an exhaust fan in your bathroom to reduce mold
and other harmful contaminants, but that’s no reason to forget the fan’s negative environmental
impact. Choose energy-saving exhaust fans that are thermostatically controlled and not connected to
the light switch, so they turn on when the air temperature rises rather than when someone turns on
the light. Clean the fan’s filter once a month to ensure that it runs efficiently.