If nothing else, 2020 made us take a closer look at our homes. As personal quarantines and social distancing became part of the vernacular, home improvement stores saw a huge uptick in overall sales. Whether it was renovating the entire kitchen or just tackling the old dusty “honey-do” list, things got done around the home.
But as you think of ways to spiff up the home, now is a great time to do your part of the planet, too. If you’re able to work from home, you’re already helping the planet with reduced vehicle emissions. So why not take it a few steps further?
Even though we’re spending more time at home, some steps can be taken to help with the energy efficiency of the home. New appliances, being more mindful of turning off lights when you leave a room, or even just turning off the water as you brush your teeth.
Recycle Bathrooms Items
For many of us, it’s second-nature to recycle soda cans, wine bottles, milk jugs, and other plastic bottles we get from the kitchen. Mostly because it’s so easy to rinse out and toss into the kitchen bin. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for bathroom recyclables.
Maybe it’s because lotion bottles are difficult to rinse out, we don’t think about recycling while taking a shower, or it’s just easier to use the bathroom garbage than to remember to take the materials to the kitchen. So what’s keeping you from putting a small bin or bag in the bathroom for recyclables?
If your shampoo, lotion, and other bathroom products have a “1” or a “2” on the bottom, they can be recycled. Even though the pumps aren’t recyclable, the bottles themselves are. Collect toilet paper rolls and dump them in the recycling once a month.
Even toothpaste tubes can be recycled, although they can’t be included in curbside recycling. Although Portland doesn’t currently have a way to recycle toothpaste tubes, there are places in the U.S. that will take your spent, rolled up tubes.
Recycled Material Ideas For Bathroom Design
It takes a certain design eye to use recycled materials when renovating a bathroom. First, you have to consider the size of the bathroom and just how much “design” it can handle. And will these changes make sense in the real world? Having an old bucket as a sink might look super cool – but is it easy to clean?
Often referred to as upcycling, not only will you keep an old sink or cabinet from heading to the landfill, but you can also keep other materials out of the dump as well. Portland is well known for its eco-friendliness, so it should be too difficult to find stores chock-full of materials for design ideas.
The Goodwill is a popular place to go find good deals. Don’t want to wade through old sweaters and board games? The ReBuilding Center concentrates on construction materials no longer wanted by their previous owners. Doors, old cabinets, fixtures, and more can be upcycled to give your bathroom a shabby chic look or some rustic charm.
It’s a two-way street, too: Replacing toilets, vanities, and the like? Before hauling it to the dump, check-in with one of these donation facilities. They won’t take everything off of your hands – this isn’t a place to take your garbage. You may even be able to keep some items for your own upcycling.
Google is invaluable for upcycling ideas. An old window, a few hinges, and a drawer can be reimagined as a bathroom medicine cabinet. A new coat of paint and a little carpentry turns a dusty chest of drawers into a new bathroom vanity. Storage tins can be reimagined as bathroom recycling bins with a little bit of twine and glue.
There are big steps you can take to help the planet (changing out appliances), but don’t forget about these smaller steps you can take that help just as much.