You could make a strong case for arguing that protecting the environment is, at the end of the day, essentially a matter of smart shopping and ensuring that your buying decisions reflect your environmental beliefs. The good news is that it’s becoming easier and easier to do this regardless of where you live, thanks to the internet. Even if you’re on a budget you can still do your bit for the environment with more affordable purchases such as toiletries. For those with more money to spend, investment pieces such as shower cabins are both environmentally-friendly and luxurious. Here are three ways you can achieve sustainable luxury in your bathroom.
Rethink toiletries and cleaning products
Our first tip is to forget any squeamishness you may still have about old-fashioned, solid soap. Yes there are some cheap and nasty brands out there, but there are also some really nice ones. Lush, for example, sells beautiful solid soaps and there are plenty of other environmentally-friendly stores with good options. You may even find some at your local supermarket. Solid soaps are more compact than liquid soaps and hence have a lower transport footprint, also they generally come in cardboard packaging rather than plastic.
Solid shampoos and conditioners may be harder to find, depending on where you live (although you can certainly buy them online), but they offer similar environmental benefits to solid soap. As an added bonus, although not strictly environmental, solids don’t leak and can be easier to store (due to their compactness compared to liquids).
The trick to making these items seem luxurious is simply to package them as luxury items. Invest in nice containers for them, so that they function as decor as well as practical necessities. If you’ve set your heart on liquid bath and shower products, then invest in some reusable containers, which you can then refill from larger packs. You can even buy reusable containers to install in your bath, shower or shower cabin, thus helping to get a bit of clutter off the floor and to give a more streamlined, spa-like look to your bathroom.
For cleaning products, look for natural options as much as possible. Sadly, you may find yourself needing to use harsh chemicals from time to time, but try to keep this to a minimum. When it comes to regular cleaning, such as removing soap suds and toothpaste drops, a good cleaning cloth or brush, some hot water and some elbow grease can work perfectly well.
In all honesty, there’s probably nothing on this earth can make cleaning feel luxurious, but you can help make your bathroom have more of that “hotel chic” look, by hiding away your cleaning tools in closed storage, even if it means putting them away in an attractive tub which is out in plain sight.
Update your textiles with sustainable alternatives
If you already have standard textiles such as towels, washcloths and bath/shower mats or rugs, then from an environmental perspective, it makes sense to “use them up”, in other words, to get the maximum usage out of them. This means either keeping them yourself long enough to justify their environmental footprint before upgrading when you replace them, or, passing them along to someone else in need before you upgrade.
When you go to upgrade your towels, your options will depend on your budget. As a minimum, you can simply avoid textiles which are dyed with environmentally-unfriendly dies and ideally avoid ones which have been bleached as well. If your budget allows you could look for towels in materials which are noted for their sustainability credentials such as organic, fair-trade cotton and bamboo. Choose larger, thicker towels for extra snuggliness and hence a touch of budget luxury.
Swap out your bath for a shower or shower cabin
According to the U.S. Geological survey the average shower uses between 2 and 5 gallons of water per minute, whereas the average bath holds about 36 gallons, which means that you could shower for between 7 and 18 minutes for the same amount of water as you would need to fill a bath once.
You may think that baths win for longer soaks, but that isn’t necessarily the case, because your bath water will start to go cold as soon as it comes out of the tap, which means if you want a long wallow, there is a very good chance you’re going to have to drain away some of the original water and refill, hence using even more water.
Therefore, there is a very compelling case for swapping out baths for showers or shower cabins. Both will save water, the latter, in our opinion, have the edge on luxury. A standard shower is just that, a shower cabin, however, can include extra features from FM radios to hydrotherapy massage jet, steam generators and aromatherapy modules. They can also be easier to install since they are self-contained and hence eliminate the need for tiling.