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 10 Steps to a Greener Bathroom

  1. Go Low-Flow. Install a low-flow showerhead (2.5 gpm or less - gallons per minute) and a low flow faucet aerator (1.0 gpm) -- they reduce water consumption by up to 50% (which reduces the amount of electricity you need to heat that water!) Check out this list of low-flow but high-pressure showerheads.

  2. Skip the bath. A 10-minute shower uses less water than a typical bath.

  3. Shorten your shower. The average shower lasts 8 minutes, and a standard low-flow showerhead uses 2.2 gallons of water per minute. Taking a 10-minute shower every day uses 1,600 gallons more water per year than an 8-minute shower (conversely, a 6-minute shower uses 1,600 gallons less) - two minutes can really add up! Get a timer to help you stay mindful of your shower length.

  4. Check your water heater. Make sure your water heater's temperature is set at the lowest comfortable setting to avoid wasting energy, and insulate the tank to keep heat from escaping.

  5. Make your toilet low-flow. If you're looking for an easy way to turn your toilet into a low-flow model, make a water displacer by placing a plastic bottle (0.6-1.0 liters) filled with water inside the tank -- this will reduce the amount of water your toilet uses every time you flush.

  6. Report leaks to your property manager/landlord. Leaks account for 13% of home water usage; and a leak of one drop per minute wastes 60 gallons of water per week.

  7. Don't forget the lights. Replace bulbs in your bathroom fixtures with ENERGY STAR-qualified lights (CFLs or LEDs). CFL bulbs with the ENERGY STAR rating use 75% less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs and last 6-10 times longer -- so you save money on your energy bills and on light bulb replacement costs.

  8. Keep electronics unplugged. Don't forget the electronics in your bathroom -- they are responsible for "vampire" energy use as well. So, make sure to unplug your hair dryer, curling iron, electric toothbrush, hair trimmer, etc. when you're done with it!

  9. Buy recycled products. Try buying recycled toilet paper. If every U.S. household replaced one 4-pack of 300 sheet virgin fiber toilet paper with a 100% recycled product, it could save 1.6 million cubic feet of landfill space.

  10. Waste not, want not. Reuse old plastic shopping bags as waste basket liners - it keeps you from having to buy trash can liners, which saves you money and saves the resources that would be needed to manufacture the liners.

RESOURCES

Learn how to make your toilet low-flow with a water displacer.

Learn to wrap your water heater.