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How to be more eco at home

View profile for Ilaria Giurini
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5 ways to be greener in your bathroom now!

1. Use soap bars instead of shower gels

There is a chemical, as well as aesthetic, difference between liquid soap and soap bars. Soap is made from a combination of fat/oil, water, and an alkali (traditionally lye). Liquid soap, on the other hand, is usually a synthetic detergent, made from chemical compounds rather than fats and oils. Swapping to solid soap bars is often on lists of things you should do to reduce your plastic waste, and for good reason. You can usually buy soap bars loose or in recyclable cardboard packets (just avoid Dove soap bars, which are plastic wrapped inside their cardboard box). Liquid soap, on the other hand, will always come in a plastic bottle.

Those plastic bottles of liquid soap are also much heavier than a soap bar, due to the increased water content. That means they’re also more difficult to move around, and use more energy in transportation. It also takes more energy to produce in the first place — using up to five times more energy to produce liquid soap than a solid soap bar.

2. Buy sustainable loo roll

Research by Ethical Consumer has identified that mainstream toilet roll brands are going in the wrong direction, using declining amounts of recycled wood pulp and sourcing from areas of critical deforestation. Instead opt for one of the new overtly eco brands that will deliver in bulk (less packaging and shipping).

3. Say goodbye to wipes of all varieties

Wet wipes, paper towels and makeup removing cloths might be convenient cleaners in a pinch, but their daily impact on the environment is longstanding and far-reaching. Thanks to their largely non-biodegradable composition and the 100 years it takes them to decompose, many of us are seeking eco-friendly alternatives to removing our makeup, wiping down our countertops and cleaning up little ones’ messes. From reusable cloths to cleaning sprays and biodegradable wipes, there are a number of eco-friendly companies catering to these growing environmental needs.

4. Put a recycling bin in your bathroom

Our bathrooms are filled with shampoo bottles, toilet rolls and cleaning products which could easily be put into our recycling bins when finished with. Yet research shows our green intentions are washed away as soon as we step near a toilet. Often homes have one central recycling bin located in the kitchen, so when in the shower or washing your face it can be tricky to remember to transfer it to that bin. This is why having a recycling bin or bag in the bathroom might be useful, if there is space.

For example many people don't realise that bleach bottles can be easily recycled - simply make sure it's empty and put the lid back on. Recycling just one bleach bottle saves enough energy to power a street light for 6.5 hours, so the value quickly adds up.

5. Spend less time in the shower

On average we apparently spend eight minutes in the shower. That’s double what we should be spending. And I mean ‘spending’ quite literally – at 30p a pop, UK families are wasting £416 a year keeping clean.

Tips to save water when you shower:

  • Invest in a water-saving shower head.
  • Keep your showers to no longer than five minutes, or use a water-saving timer that lets you know when you’ve exceeded 35 litres.
  • Try not to run your shower before you get in – keep your shower set at your preferred temperature so you don’t have to spend time adjusting before use.
  • Use a less powerful setting to reduce water use, or select the eco shower setting if you have one.
  • Over time, the water that escapes from a dripping shower adds up – get it fixed to avoid needless water waste.