On a (loo) roll
This week, I have tried to identify all environmental issues involved in my regular bathroom activities, aiming to do everything I can to improve my footprint – especially cutting down to a plastic-free bathroom.
Today I have outlined which parts of our daily bathroom activity have an impact on our 18 steps and it came down to these nine: #1 Recycling, #2 Plastic Bags, #3 Single-Use Plastic, #4 Microbeads, #6 Paper, #7 Water, #8 Chemicals, #11 Heating, #13 Lights and #15 Work.
#1 Recycling – Quite a few things from our bathroom can be recycled. Toilet paper tubes, packaging boxes and empty plastic bottles are excellent examples. Choosing what you buy based on its packaging is a great way to make sure that you can recycle all or most of what you buy. Remember, always wash out your containers before recycling and help out your local recycling station by only putting what CAN be recycled in to the bins. You can find out where you can recycle everything here: www.recyclenow.com
N.B. Most of the time, plastic bags are NOT accepted!!!
#2 Plastic Bags – Like most people, we have a bin in our bathroom that currently uses a plastic liner… Biodegradable alternatives are available and can be found easily with a quick search on Ecosia. I have found these D2W bin liners which are cheap, are better for the planet and can be found in several different sizes: www.amazon.co.uk/D2W-Black-Refuse-Sacks-Pieces/dp/B006CQU6JQ/ref=pd_bxgy_325_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=X0RKD45HGYP9Y2HG6DMD
#3 Single-Use Plastic – The majority of bathroom products come at least partially packaged in or made from plastic. Sometimes alternatives are hard to find but they are beginning to appear more and more frequently as plastic pollution hits headlines so keep your beady eyes peeled! For example, shower products can now come in recyclable bottles or not in plastic at all. See: https://beautykubes.co.uk and https://www.faithinnature.co.uk for starters.
#4 Microbeads – This is already a fairly well-tackled problem with assistance from the government ban but they can still be lurking out there in some of your products. If you are struggling to identify where they might be lurking, use www.beatthemicrobead.org to help.
#6 Paper – In the bathroom, the biggest use of paper will undoubtedly be toilet paper. In Britain, we are particularly bad for excessive toilet paper usage, using almost 18 kilos or 80 rolls per person every year which results in the loss of over 2 million trees a year (by my calculation). We have found uk.whogivesacrap.org which offers tree- (and wallet-) friendly toilet paper and uses profit to build toilets for those who need them. Why go elsewhere?!
#7 Water – In Scotland, it would be big news if there was ever a shortage of water. But that doesn’t mean we can be careless. Shortening showers and running taps less are amongst the easiest things anyone can do for #Green18.
#8 Chemicals – Almost all products for showering, shaving, teeth-brushing and cleaning have natural alternatives with minimal impact on the environment. Another quick Ecosia search will help you to find effective alternatives to your products that don’t wash harmful chemicals into the oceans. Again, see: beautykubes.co.uk and www.faithinnature.co.uk but also www.ecover.com and www.methodhome.com to get you on your way.
#11 Heating – This is a flat-wide issue but I have included it because there is a heated towel rail in the bathroom. This only comes on when the central heating is on and so is never used for bathroom specific reasons. However, if it isn’t needed it could be turned off whilst the rest of the flat is heated. Use your smart meter to monitor your energy usage!
#13 Lights – Another flat-wide issue. Our bathroom is windowless and so requires the light to be on whenever the bathroom is being used. You can maximise energy savings by making sure the light is on only when the bathroom is in use! Keep using your smart meter to monitor your energy usage!
#15 Work – Most of us can’t control what we use when we are at work. Just remember to take your principles along with you to the office and keep them environmentally minded. Environmental solutions are available in almost all instances these days so work with your employers and help them find out about tree-saving toilet paper or natural soap!
Check out our update on Sunday to see how our bathroom products are falling short of the #Green18 challenge so far!