From low-flow toilets to faucet aerators, there are several bathroom innovations many homeowners have embraced. If you want to create a truly eco-conscious bathroom though, there are many newer technologies your local showroom and home improvement store don’t have. The following are four eco-friendly bathroom innovations you probably weren’t aware of, as well as why you should consider adopting these technologies in your home.
To save money, many homeowners have installed a low-flow toilet in their bathroom; however, there is another technology that has existed for nearly 30 years. Still, many don’t know this eco-friendly option exists. A self-contained composting toilet works by taking water completely out of the equation. The excrement is deposited in a traditional toilet and carried below ground through a large pipe. Then, the excrement is mixed with a variety of products that aid in safely breaking down, or composting, it. The initial price of installing the unit, which involves digging under your home and fitting a variety of ventilation pipes to remove the unwanted smell, can be costly. Over the long run, the cost of running a composting unit is far less than the approximately 30 gallons of water the average American household uses each day. Be aware that once the composting bin is full, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to bury or dispose of the decomposed material. This ultimately might be the reason composting toilets aren’t a popular choice.
Several eco-conscious homeowners choose reclaimed or sustainable-growth flooring for their bathrooms. While both are “green” options, they have one downfall: the price. If your budget is more modest, consider recycled flooring. One of the most cost-effective options is recycled ceramic flooring, which is manufactured with 30 to 100 percent reused materials. The cost varies depending on manufacturer, but usually there is little to no difference between the price of installing traditional flooring and recycled ceramic flooring. Additionally, consider using a non-toxic adhesive, which is pricier but worth the expense.
If you don’t have the budget to install recycled flooring or a composting toilet, but want to do your part, there’s another technology for you to monitor your water usage for less than $15. A small, plastic water usage gauge attaches easily to your sink or tub drain and monitors the amount of water used while encouraging you to take shorter showers. For example, some units you attach to the shower drain begin to beep or glow green for the first few minutes after water is detected. As minutes pass, the light glows yellow, which is a sign you need to stop. Once the gauge is beeping erratically and glowing red, it’s time to finish up and get out of the shower. Usage monitors are relatively new, so you might have trouble finding one at your local showroom or home improvement stores. There are a few websites that offer these devices that can save you hundreds on your water bills.
For whatever reason, Americans are indifferent to bidets, although they’re common in most European households. If every American household installed a bidet in their bathroom, it could save nearly 15 million trees each year. If you’re considering a bidet but don’t have the money to install a separate unit, there is a high-tech alternative. A handful of manufacturers now offer toilet seats with a warmer and bidet. The unit attaches to your toilet like a traditional seat, and uses a combination of water and warm air to perform the job normally reserved for toilet paper.
No matter your budget, there are a variety of green tips for your bathroom. Along with using these technologies, remember there are simpler ways to save the environment and your money. Take shorter showers, be thoughtful with the toilet paper and remind the kids to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth.
About the Author: Joseph Herman is a guest blogger and environmental activist. Joseph is currently using reclaimed and recycled materials to remodel his bathroom.