By André Fonseca, Zypho
We currently see a lot about plastic waste and the environmental damage it causes. However, as we know it’s not only plastics that are creating issues, it’s the overuse of everything, from water to fossil fuels, from packaging to fashion items.
Fortunately, buying habits are changing and more of us want to buy eco-friendly products.
Unfortunately, many of the systems such as those used in bathrooms were designed when there was less concern for the environment.
Showers require heat and power, bathtubs are made from non-recyclable materials, and cleaning products can be aggressive etc. What can families do to ensure they have an eco-friendlier bathroom than they do today?
Installing low-flow fixtures
Water is a resource we need to protect. People started by turning off taps when brushing their teeth and installing more water-efficient toilet flushes.
However, we can take water-saving even further with low-flow fixtures in your bathroom.
For example, the dual-flush toilet which helps to reduce the average water consumption per flush to four litres or less.
Another, more recent, example is the Nebia Spa Shower, which uses 10 precision nozzles to atomise the water. This saves up to 65% of the water!
Recycling bathroom fixtures
Our bathrooms contain some of the largest items in a home and most are non-recyclable.
Most baths are made of fibreglass or acrylic ‒ materials that are difficult to recycle. A main reason for this is their durability and longevity, which is a good eco-credential to have.
However, a German company called KALDEWEI has created bathtubs made from steel enamel. Every tub comes with 30-year guarantee, giving it the same longevity as traditional bathtub materials. However, these steel bathtubs can be completely recycled.
Another material to consider is recycled tiles. Most tiles are created from virgin materials, using vast amounts of natural resources. Bedrock Industries creates bathroom tiles from recycled content. This saves other materials from going to landfill.
Recapturing heat energy
Many of us enjoy the convenience of a power shower. If you have a smart meter, you’ll see just how much energy power showers use!
Have you ever considered that a lot of that heat energy is simply disappearing down the drain? In a power shower heated to 40 degrees Celsius, the water going down the drain is still around 38 degrees.
Zypho has created an innovative recovery/ recapture system that can be retrofitted into existing showers to recapture that heat. All that 38-degree water is used to pre-heat the fresh mains water going up to the shower, helping to save up to 67% of the energy cost of heating a shower. It’s a very simple yet effective way to recapture energy!
Using eco-friendlier cleaning products
The bathroom is an area most families want to be exceptionally clean so they opt for strong, intensive cleaning products.
Ammonia or bleach-based products are popular. They have great antibacterial and antifungal properties yet are particularly bad for the environment and can be toxic.
A simple alternative is to make your own cleaners from natural products such as white vinegar and lemon. This combo cuts through grease and oil very well and is also very gentle on the environment.
If you’re not a fan of the vinegar smell or don’t have the time or inclination to mix your own cleaning products, you could opt for an environmentally-friendly cleaning brand such as those from Seventh Generation or ECover. ECover’s packaging is even made from sugarcane so it’s also biodegradable!
There are now many opportunities to make your family bathroom more eco-friendly. In some cases there may be some additional upfront costs. However, these can be offset with savings running costs. Of course, the environment will benefit from the choices made and you’ll be helping create a better future for your family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
André Fonseca is the CEO of Zypho, a company developing internationally-patented shower-drain heat recovery solutions for domestic and commercial showers.