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Bathrooms offer a number of greening opportunities, particularly in the areas of water and energy use. Opportunities abound for making smart purchasing choices that can reduce the amount of toxins to which both workers and patrons are exposed, as well as the amount of waste needing to be managed.

Choosing less hazardous cleaning products that have positive environmental attributes, and taking steps to reduce exposure can minimize harmful impacts to custodial workers and building occupants, improves indoor air quality, and reduces water and ambient air pollution, while also ensuring the effectiveness of cleaning in removing biological and other contaminants from the building’s interior.

You can make smart environmental purchasing decisions for bathrooms not only with cleaners, but also with a variety of other products. For example, switching to paperless hand-dryers (PDF) (2 pp, 109K, About PDF) or purchasing hand towels with post-consumer recycled paper content are small changes that can make a big difference. Did you know it’s possible to compost paper hand towels from bathrooms? To learn more, visit the composting information page.

There are multiple opportunities for pollution prevention in the hospitality sector which can lower operating costs and reduce environmental impacts. EPA can help businesses find the solutions that work best for specific facilities. For more information, visit the EPA Hospitality website.

Although not unique to bathrooms, lighting retrofits and water efficient faucets and toilets, can save significant amounts of money and dramatically reduce water use. EPA’s Energy Star partnership programs offer a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings, and rewarding improvements. For tools that will assist you in calculating your cost savings if you purchase or upgrade to Energy Star qualified commercial equipment and in calculating your return on investment (ROI), please visit the calculator tool.

Remember that most fluorescent lamps are considered Universal Waste under federal regulations and must be recycled or disposed of properly. Rules have been developed to streamline the environmental regulations for these wastes and reduce the regulatory burden for businesses that generate these wastes. For steps to managing your Universal Waste Lamps in an environmentally safe manner, please visit: EPA’s guide to establishing a recycling program for mercury-containing light bulbs.

IIn order to make your long-term operation more environmentally friendly, you may want to create a plan that includes all aspects of greening your operations and one which is easy to understand and implement. This can be done through the creation of an Environmental Management System . If you are building a new facility or remodeling an existing building, there are significant opportunities to construct in a manner that reduces the environmental impact of the building and can save money in the long run.

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