The bathroom may be one of the most expensive areas of your office to run. Think about it. From lighting the area to powering toilets and sinks that consume loads of water, to the amount of paper towels thrown into a landfill, bathrooms are money pits. They are also a nightmare for the planet earth.
So how can you cut your business’ carbon footprint and costs at the same time? Follow these top 10 things you can do to make your restroom green and save money.
- Upgrade the Toilet
The EPA announced that a family of four can save up to $90 a year if they switched to a high-efficiency toilet. Now, think of how many toilets are in your office and how many people are using them. That’s a lot of money flushing down the toilet.
Switch to a low-flow toilet. They only use around 1.3 gallons of water with each flush. If you already have a low-flow toilet, you can control the amount of water usage even more by putting in a dual-flusher. This is set up so that if you only have liquid waste in the bowl, you push one button that releases around .8 gallons of water. The second button is equipped to release around 1.6 gallons to flush out solid waste.
If getting a new toilet is too pricey for you, you can also install a controllable flush handle on the toilets you already have. However, there’s also the MacGyver route for the real penny-pinchers out there. You can place pebbles…or even a brick in the tank to reduce the amount of water consumed as well.
- Green Up the Cleaners
There is no doubt that a clean bathroom is essential for any workplace. Sure, bleach gets the job done (and you can smell that it’s disinfecting everything), but it’s also toxic and hazardous to the environment.
As it is, the waste created in bathrooms is unhealthy for workers to breathe in. Adding synthetic and toxic fumes to the mix will only do worse things to the immune system. This will actually cost your business money in the long run as callouts due to illnesses may become more frequent.
Switching to cleaners made from all-natural ingredients is the best bet to detoxify the bathroom while keeping the employee’s health and the environment safe. If you are looking to cut even more costs, you can make your own cleaner. Fill an amber bottle half way with white vinegar and the other half with water. It’s a strong smell, but if you can tolerate bleach, you can tolerate a little vinegar.
- Go Touch-Free
You’ve heard the saying. You give an inch and they take a mile. Sometimes you need to cut people off because they don’t know what’s best for themselves or the environment.
It’s no secret we all go into the bathroom to expel waste. In the bathroom, it’s easy to transmit those germs from a toilet handle to a faucet, all the way to the paper towel dispenser. Going touch-free will eliminate the spread of bacteria.
- Confront the Paper Towel Problem
Perhaps the biggest waste of resources in the bathroom is paper towels. The amount people use to dry off their already clean hands is absurd. One answer is to go electric. Set up a hand dryer where you can dictate how long it runs.
Maybe even you can ditch the whole paper situation. Some companies are going to cloth. Instead of a waste bin, there is a laundry bin. From there, the cloth towels are washed and reused. However, this may be impractical if you do not have laundry onsite. Nor it may be not be as cost-effective for your company based on your washing machine and dryer’s water and electricity usage.
No matter how you handle the paper towel situation, just make sure it is used from post-consumer waste. Recycled paper is perfectly efficient for bathroom paper towels. This will help save trees.
If you want to go the greener route, you can also turn your paper towels into compost. Many composting programs are popping up across America. This would require getting a separate wastebasket for paper towels. Line it with an eco-friendly can liner, and compost the paper.
- Put the Lights on a Timer
You can ask them to turn the lights off when they leave until you are blue in the face. However, sometimes you have to do the work yourself.
Put the lights on a motion sensor and a timer. If someone opens the bathroom door, it will kick on. Minutes of inactivity, and the light goes back off. So, if your employee is scrolling on Facebook for a long time, this will turn the lights off on their fun.
Also, be sure to switch out incandescent light for LED lights. These are far more energy-efficient. Not only will they bring down electricity bills, but these bulbs will last longer as well.
- Install Aerators on the Sink
Faucets are an easy way to cut water usage in half. All you need to do is screw this little attachment to the tip of the faucet. From there, it regulate how much water comes out. Combining this along with timed hands-free sensor will go a long way in cutting costs of running sink water.
- Go Bulky
Buying in bulk is a wise way to up your supplies. For one, the more you order in one shot will cut down on deliveries. This saves on pollution from driving, packing supplies, and man-hours of putting away supplies more times than you need to.
On top of that, there’s always a discount when it comes to buying in bulk. If you buy each supply you need individually, that can add up real quick. So, getting your green paper towels, cleaners, and toilet paper in bulk is the best way to go for your bank account.
- Keep the Air Clean
We all know that the bathroom is a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s a confined area with a lot of moisture. This leads to buildup of mold which can cause anything from allergies to respiratory infections.
All bathrooms need adequate ventilation. Install exhaust vents into your bathroom to draw out the stale air and re-introduce clean air. Doing this will also eliminate the need to use toxic cleaners such as bleach. If mold isn’t growing, there’s no need to bleach it!
It may sound crazy, but you might want to invest in a plant or two. Having a plant in the bathroom will reduce humidity while simultaneously absorbing all the air pollutants. For one, try a spider plant out. They do not need direct sunlight and thrive with little watering.
- Get One Cleaner and Stick With It
You see so many labels on cleaning products promising they their specialty is toilets or sinks or floors. However, a lot of cleaners are capable of doing it all.
Don’t fill up your chemical cabinet with hundreds of different cleaners. Go with a green multi-purpose cleaner. From there, take our advice and buy in bulk. You will save money on less products and save landfills from more plastic packaging.
- Stay on Top of Cleaning
The best way to keep you bathroom green is to keep your bathroom clean. Don’t give bacteria a chance to grow. If routine checks are done, it will be a quick wipe down with very little use of paper towels or cleaners.
On top of saving on cleaning supplies, maintaining a clean bathroom will save on employee hours. The cleaning people will be spending less time on long intensive cleans and doing shorter spurts, boosting their productivity. Plus, the less bacteria your employees are exposed to, the less sick time they’ll need to take you up on. Keeping a clean bathroom is a win-win for everyone!