6 Easy Ways to Make Your Bathroom More Eco-Friendly

Eugenia Liew
6 Easy Ways to Make Your Bathroom More Eco-Friendly
One toothbrush: doesn’t seem like a big deal on our planet impact-o-meter, right? Now imagine that one toothbrush for each of the 5.6 million residents in Singapore, or the 8 billion worldwide, and suddenly the perspective changes. Our lifestyle choices – collectively – add up to a huge impact on the planet!
Though our daily rituals can be sources of environmental footprint, they also provide a means to create impact. Which is why the bathroom is a great place to start if you are looking to green-up your home. From beauty to bath and beyond, there are many sustainable swaps we can make in this part of our home that are gentler to our planet, and (believe it or not!) our wallet too.
Here are some ideas that can help us create a more eco home:

1. Say No to Plastic!

Try listing out the plastics in your bathroom, and chances are you will run out of space on the page. From items like toothbrushes and floss string, to bottles of shampoo and hand wash, to tubes of creams and toothpaste …it’s a landfill out there!
Removing plastics entirely may therefore seem gruelling, but the good news is that many alternatives exist. Bamboo, for instance, is among the new sustainable materials taking over shelves. It is already being used to create toothbrush handles, combs, even earbud sticks! These items are priced usually higher than their plastic counterparts, but it’s typically a small premium and fits most budgets.
Bamboo is stepping in to replace plastics in many everyday products. Image Credit: Photo by Nacho Fernández on Unsplash
Another way to avoid plastics is via boycotting wasteful packaging. Head to your nearest zero waste store, and look out for the refilling stations. Here you can pour/scoop out products – from eco enzymes to soap nuts to rose water – in your own containers, and in the quantity you need!
Finally, steer clear of microbeads – these are miniscule plastic balls that are used by several exfoliating products even though they evade water filtration systems, and end up as pollutants in rivers, lakes and oceans.

2. Head to the Bars

Look up the ingredient list on your handwash; what’s the first thing you see? Yes, it’s water! Water creates volume and weight (and carbon footprint) as it travels from factories to you. It also usually necessitates the need for strong preservatives. An easy sustainable switch is to choose solid soap and shampoo bars.
Artisanal bar soaps with luxe ingredients add pizzazz to the counter and go gentler on the skin too. Image credit: Aurelia Dubois via Unsplash

3. Detox your Skincare Routine

All of us pay attention to the food we eat – the sugars, the preservatives, and so on; we show concern over what we put into our bodies. But what about the things that go onto our bodies?
To screen the sustainability quotient of your personal products, start with the stated details on the item labeling. Does it avoid animal testing? Does it support fair trade? Does it include known allergens? Of course, ingredient lists are often hard to decipher, and you may need help to recognise the potential immunotoxins and hormone disruptors in there. So look up product watch by Environmental Working Group (EWG). Their international database includes all major brands, maps their toxicity and is easily searchable.
Among the toxins to look for is the anti-bacterial agent Triclosan, a hormone disruptor that is already banned in cosmetics in the European Union, but continues to be present in some cleaning agents in other markets.
Judge your product by its label. Does your favorite brand do full disclosure on its packaging? Image Credit: Secondsguru
Judge your product by its label. Does your favorite brand do full disclosure on its packaging? Image Credit: Secondsguru

4. Be a ‘Green’ Grime Warrior

Besides using toxin-free skin products, you can also get greener cleaning products for a more eco-friendly bathroom. The same guiding principles apply:
Prefer powders, bars and tablets instead of liquid formulations.
Look out for harmful ingredients in the label – the EWG database for cleaners is a great resource to get answers.
If the idea of constantly screening everything you buy is tiring, take the easier and cheaper approach of using fewer products – you can zero in on multi-purpose cleaning agents. The traditional Castile Soap, for instance, can be used for a wide variety of uses. Then there are formulations such as Agape and Simply Good – both Singapore brands with sustainability and flexibility on their cleaning agenda! Buy these in bulk and you can use them for everything from washing vegetables to mopping the floor.

5. Go Creative

Local fairs and farmer markets – with their eye-catching displays of handmade soaps and artisanal oils – are a great place to look for products with quality ingredients. But if you have the inclination for creativity – why not make your own beauty, and even cleaning products? You can be sure about the wholesome goodness of what you are using, while cutting the cost as well as the packaging.
Here are some formulations for bathroom cleaning to get you started with basic ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. If you are hoping for customised guidance, there are many makers in Singapore who can teach you to build from scratch while avoiding newbie pitfalls (keep track on Secondsguru’s calendar here).
Simple ingredients such as dried orange peel add fragrance and grit to this DIY face scrub. Image Credit: Secondsguru

6. Turn Off the Tap

Did you know that half of the water consumption in Singapore homes is in the bathroom, and most of that, in the shower? So do turn off the tap – no idling please! – and fix all leaks to minimise water wastage. A well-known sustainability swap for showers is switching to buckets. At the very least, restrict yourself to 5-minute showers. If you have renovation on the cards, purchase low-flow faucets or dual-flush systems for a truly eco-friendly bathroom.
Wondering how your household usage compares to the rest of Singapore? Look up the bill or SP Services app – and you can see where you stand versus the national average.
Minimise water usage in the bathroom to have maximum impact on your water; Bonus: you reduce your utilities bill!.
Minimise water usage in the bathroom to have maximum impact on your water; Bonus: you reduce your utilities bill!.
Each person has a part to play in protecting the environment. Though saving the planet may require some “inconvenient” steps, it is way more inconvenient to have an inhospitable planet that our conveniences are creating! Use this guide to an environmentally friendly bathroom to get started on your journey.
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This article is authored by Secondsguru, a social enterprise empowering communities towards greener living. With its offerings of corporate workshops and community projects, Secondsguru focuses on solutions that make sustainable living fun, creative & practical for all. Website | FB I Instagram
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