Last week I talked about ways to green your living habits in the kitchen; this week I tackle the bathroom.
Many people waste a lot of water in the bathroom without thinking about it.
A whole bunch of bathroom activities require water — washing your hands, flushing the toilet, brushing your teeth and taking a shower, to name a few.
One of the biggest ways you can save on water usage is by only running water when you're physically using it.
Keeping the tap turned off while you lather your hands or brush your teeth can save many gallons of water every day — the average faucet lets out about 2 gallons of water per minute.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, turning off your faucet while brushing your teeth twice a day can save as much as 240 gallons of water per month. That's 2,880 gallons per year you could save.
Water that comes through your faucet has to be treated before it gets to you, which takes lots of energy and resources.
The water that leaves your house as sewage also has to be treated, so any water that flows unnecessarily through your house is getting treated twice but never getting used.
Another fun way you could save water in the bathroom, as suggested half-jokingly by a friend of mine, is to pee in the shower, thus preventing the need for a toilet flush later.
You could also take shorter, colder showers to save on water and the power used to heat it.
If you take baths, try to take more showers. The average bath uses an estimated seven times more water than the average shower, according to the EPA.
If your toilet is an older model, you can replace it with a new, high-efficiency model. The EPA says new toilets use at least 60 percent less water than old models from before 1992.
If you can't afford to or don't want the hassle of replacing your toilet, there are other ways to avoid using so much water. One way is to put a brick in the bottom of the tank, which forces the toilet to use less water to fill its reservoir back up. Another trick is flushing only when necessary — 'if it's yellow, let it mellow' goes the humorous saying.
Switching away from water usage tips, if you have electric razors, toothbrushes, hair dryers, curling irons or other bathroom appliances, unplug them when they don't need to be on or charging.
Even if they're not on or charging, if they're plugged in, they're often still pulling power from the outlet.
Another green bathroom habit is reusing your towel. You're clean when you get out of the shower anyway, so using the same towel a couple of times helps reduce the amount of water and energy you're using on cleaning laundry.
Amanda's Animal Fact of the Week
Opossums are North America's only marsupial mammal. Baby opossums live in their mother's pouch for two to three months before they move onto her back, where they live for another one to two months.