What’s greener – baths or showers?

Shower head by Bharat TalrejaOk, that sounds like a bit of a no-brainer but let’s elaborate on it a bit:

What’s greener a bath – which allows the water to be recycled on the garden or into a grey water system – or a shower where the water just goes down the drain?

How about if the bath water is heated in a gas boiler and the shower is electric?

(photo by Bharat Talreja, c/o sxc.hu)

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22 Responses to “What’s greener – baths or showers?”

  1. Mike says:

    Well electricity is theoretically more sustainable than gas, so electricity wins out there.

    My guess would be that the amount of energy used to clean and transport water (and to maintain those systems) far outweighs any savings you might get from a grey water system or whatever.

  2. bev says:

    i live in the south east at the moment so i’m going to start taking more baths and using the water in my garden. but i’m going to have a problem avoiding soaps and shampoo – because i don’t think that’ll do my veg any favours – any suggestions for alternatives?

  3. Mush says:

    Showering using a modern electric ‘instant’ shower uses less than a bath in both terms of water usage and energy consumption.

    You could also shower with the plug in the bath so as to re-use the water?

  4. Neil Moss says:

    Why does shower water have to go down the plug hole? If its an “over the bath” shower like mine, rather than a shower cubicle the water will still end up being collected. Doesn’t solve the soaps, detergents and general bodily grime killing off your prize marrows though… :)

    • louisa says:

      Hi Neil,

      Yeah, I was thinking of those fancy people who have a separate shower cubicle.

      We have an over-bath shower too and it sometimes scares me how much water we use up if we have a long shower with the plug in – especially when compared to the days before I had a shower at home and regularly had shallow baths. It makes me realise that the bath/shower dichotomy isn’t always that clean cut…


  5. sarar says:

    If you want to be really green and if you’re not too stinky, you could share your bath water with a close friend/neighbour/work colleague and then use it on the garden afterways!


  6. mia says:

    Did I hear on the radio sometime that power showers are worse than baths?
    Re soaps, etc, I saw a recipe for a hair rinse made from horsetail! I am currently using hemp oil soap which is nice. I need to sort myself out with a more natural shampoo though.

  7. john powell says:

    My sister captures her shower water by using a large flexible bucket, the kind of thing used by gardeners. She, like me, then uses the water to flush the toilet as well as plant watering. I save bath water, from the kids baths, and use that on the ornamentals and for washing the car. You should avoid using grey water on plants which you may eat, that may include things like nasturtium and day-lilies.

  8. I have a stream in my backyard, so I got a water pump to get water from the stream for my plants. Well, actually, I haven’t done this as yet, but when I do, goodbye 20% of my water bill!

  9. Well, depending on how long the shower is, the shower could be greener. And shower water can be reccled into flower beds too, Louisa!

  10. Anteater says:

    You can cut down on your shower time like this. Turn the water on until you’re all wet. Turn it off. Soap yourself really good, shampoo your hair, whatever. Turn the water back on only until the soap/shampoo is all rinsed away.

  11. For an alternative to shower gel that will be safer for your plants, have a look at Ecover shower gel – http://www.ecover.com/gb/en/Products/Body/20050708+douchegel+UK.htm.

    Why not put the plug in the bath while you shower, then siphon the water out of the bath into a greywater water butt. A banbeater – http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/recycling_bath_1.php is useful for this.

    Also, try taking a stopwatch into the shower with you. You are probably in there for a lot longer than you think.

  12. mark parry says:

    to anyone who is thinking of taking water from their local stream please be aware that you do need an extraction licence to do this otherwise you cauld find yourself with an even bigger bill to pay. If you want to reuse your rain water look up the titan envireau. It reuses your rain water to flush your toilet and wash your clothes in your washing machine i can’t see why you can’t plumb your waste water from your bath, shower, basin and sink to go through its filtration system.

  13. Lyssa says:

    My hubby uses the shower… using Anteater’s suggestion of turning the water off inbetween getting wet and rincing off. I use baths and use the same water to wash me and both our children, have done since they were very little.

    • Bobbie says:

      Lisa, my mom used to do the same for our family of 5. The dirtiest one got the water last. he he

      • Lyssa says:

        lol… Same here… luckily my girls are small so I can do them at the same time… when my youngest was under a year I used to fit in too!! takes way less time too!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ew. just take shorter showers people, its kinda gross and unsanitary to reuse water from showers to bathe other people :P theres a fine line between green and Gross

  15. Cathryn says:

    I stayed at a friend’s house in Mexico that had no water heater. The family simply placed a large container (garbage can) in the shower, filled with water, and when someone needed to bathe they water was heated on the stove in a large pot and mixed it with the water in the can. I think this was a great way to conserve water.

  16. Less time under the shower = more green!!!! But I can’t stand the long showers :))))

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