I had another post lined up for today, but since I woke up with a stomach flu that left me tethered to the couch/bed all day, I decided to share this great guest post about creating more eco-friendly bathrooms instead. Stay healthy and safe this weekend!

Your bathroom hasn’t been updated since the 1990s and you’re ready to make an environmentally conscious leap into the 21st century, but where do you begin? Fortunately, bathroom necessities — from the toilet to the vanity — have come a long way in the past 15 years, meaning your dream of having a modern and eco-friendly bathroom can be realized. The following are five simple ways to create an eco-friendly, stylish bathroom.

When in Doubt, Go “Low-Flow”

The term “low-flow” is often found on bathroom accessories and necessities, but you aren’t sure what the term means and how it can positively affect your monthly water bill. Basically, low-flow products perform the same duties as their traditional counterparts, but newer technologies allow them to use much less water. For instance, a traditional toilet uses around 3.5 gallons of water each flush. A low-flow model only requires 1.6 gallons per flush. A low-flow showerhead sprays about 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while a traditional model wastes 4 to 5 gallons per minute. Low-flow technology is becoming so advanced and commonplace that many of these products are also becoming less expensive than traditional ones, meaning you can help save the world without breaking your budget.

Recycled Ceramic Is Always the Best Option

When it comes time to redesign your bathroom, there are a number of tile and flooring options. From granite and travertine to linoleum and porcelain, you can revamp the look and feel of your bathroom at any number of price points. If you want to create a modern and eco-friendly bathroom, choose recycled ceramic products, which are a lot easier to find than you might think. Aside from being relatively inexpensive compared to granite, travertine and about every other type of natural stone, recycled ceramic is durable, easy-to-clean and resistant to water damage. Seek out a product that’s made from 55- to 75-percent recycled material.

Choose “Green” Cleaning Products

You’ve spent time, energy and money so your bathroom doesn’t step on Mother Nature’s toes, but you still use potentially hazardous products to eliminate soap scum, fingerprints and stains. There are a number of manufacturers that create “green” cleaning products, many of which are reasonably priced but still more expensive than their traditional competition. If a green product’s price doesn’t fit your budget, consider creating your own environmentally friendly products with items found under your kitchen sink or inside the bathroom drawers. From white vinegar and baking soda to cream of tartar and lemon juice, there are inexpensive ways to concoct your own safe, inexpensive all-purpose cleaners.

Recycle Your Water

It’s estimated a leaky faucet that drips once per second wastes 3,000 gallons of water per year. If this much water is wasted by a slow drip, can you imagine the thousands of gallons your family uses annually to wash their hands or brush their teeth? For around $2,000 you can install a gray-water recycling system on your sink that stores and uses any water you put down the drain. The tank than diverts and recycles the water each time you flush the toilet. The systems are available across the United States and retrofit to your existing plumbing in only a few hours. The initial investment might seem pricey, but the long-term savings and effect on the environment makes installing the system worth it.

A Few Final Touches

Aside from installing a low-flow toilet or creating an elegant shower surround with recycled ceramic tile, there is a multitude of other methods to create an environmentally friendly bathroom:

  • Choose a green shower curtain constructed from organic cotton or hemp. These products are durable and water resistant so you may not even require a PVC liner.
  • Shower with the window open. This will save on electricity by turning off your bathroom’s exhaust fan.
  • Incorporate greenery. Aside from being aesthetically pleasant, bathroom plants can help purify the air and reduce humidity.

The increased demand for environmentally friendly products means you can use them for much less money than you might think. No matter if you’re purchasing a low-flow showerhead or tankless water heater, search for a great price and never settle for less than an amazing deal.

About the Author:  Steven Jacobs is a guest blogger and interior designer. He’s always seeking fun, funky and inexpensive ways to create an environmentally friendly bathroom for his clients.

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