It has become clear that some activities, which have become regular and normal in the lives of people in the developed world, have negative consequences for the environment. Driving to work creates pollution that contributes to making the air in highly-urbanized cities unbreathable. Clothing, especially from fast fashion brands, creates waste from the moment it is manufactured up to the point where it becomes another garbage in a landfill.
It will come as no surprise that your bathroom habits and behaviors are helping destroy the planet. Here’s how.
The Impact of Tissue Paper
Americans have gotten used to using tissue paper whenever they go to the bathroom. According to estimates, the average person uses 50 pounds (ca. 23 kg) of tissue products every year.
While your regular tissue paper is both biodegradable and comes from renewable sources, it is still harmful to the environment primarily because it is made from trees.
When trees are cut down, plenty of bad things happen. Local wildlife loses its habitats and sources of food. There will be nothing to capture and absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
A bidet, a device that shoots up water to clean your underside, can decrease, if not totally eliminate, the need for toilet paper. It is popular in Japan and in European countries but still pretty much unknown in the United States. It is more sanitary to use it whenever you go to the bathroom than toilet paper and, yes, it is considered better for the environment because it creates less physical waste and keeps forests filled with trees.
The Incredible Waste Generated by Brushing Your Teeth
Your dentist recommends that you change your toothbrush after three months of use. Imagine how many toothbrushes you had to use and dispose of your childhood right up to this point in your life.
That is not all. When you brush your teeth, you use toothpaste, too, which comes in a packaging. In addition, you waste water by keeping the tap running while not in use.
You cannot stop brushing your teeth lest you want to suffer from dental cavities. So, what can you do?
First, stop using toothbrushes with plastic handles. Switch to one that is made of bamboo. Bamboo is biodegradable and reusable. As an alternative to plastic, it is nicer to the environment.
Moreover, bamboo, which is technically a type of grass, grows fast. Whereas a tree takes decades to mature, bamboo can be harvested after three to seven years.
You can also choose to replace your regular toothpaste with something that comes with recyclable or plastic-free packaging. You can also get toothpaste in tablet form in most eco and bulk stores.
Most importantly, when you brush your teeth, remember to turn the tap off. It will save you up to 4 gallons (ca. 15 l) of water.
The Bad Side of Showers and Baths
Having a warm bath is one of the most relaxing and luxurious experiences that anyone can have. Doing it frequently is not good for the environment.
Aside from the obvious, which is using a lot more water than you need, when you have a bath, you use products that may contain ingredients that are bad for the environment. Your antibacterial soap, for example, contributing to antibacterial resistance. Sulfate, found in most bathroom products, may be toxic to aquatic animals.
Showering for a really long time is not good for the planet either because you waste more water.
As a solution, cut the time that you spend in the bathroom. Anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes should be enough to scrub your entire body clean. Moreover, pay attention to the ingredients added to your bathroom products.
Using the bathroom multiple times a day is unavoidable. However, by changing your habits and behavior, you can minimize the damage caused by your activities to the planet.