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Do you know the risks your bathroom poses?
Do you know how dangerous your bathroom is to your own health?
Do you understand the burden your bathroom puts on the environment?
More than any of that, do you know how you can mitigate that risk?
The bathroom can have a huge impact on the environment. Every day, gallons of water are wasted in the sink or shower.
Toilets greedily consume water and toilet paper with each and every flush. One-time use bathroom products are often made from plastic and fill landfills for years to come.
Then, there is your shower curtain.
The shower curtain is a practical device that most people take for granted. It lines the bathtub or shower in order to keep water from getting on the floor.
Because of this utilitarian value, most people assume that there are no alternatives for their shower curtain. In fact, most people overlook their shower curtain entirely.
They do so at their own peril and at the peril of the environment.
Fortunately, this does not have to be the case.
Keep reading to find out about your options for an environmentally friendly shower curtain. In this article, you will learn the following:
- The reason shower curtains are controversial
- The environmental burden caused by shower curtains
- The health risks posed by shower curtains
- Options for a better shower curtain
- The best environmentally friendly shower curtain brands
- Other frequently asked questions about shower curtains
Table of Contents
The Truth About Shower Curtains
The problem with shower curtains has nothing to do with their intended function. Obviously, having a shower curtain makes sense. It keeps your bathroom clean.
However, the problem stems from the way shower curtains are made. Most shower curtains are made with plastic.
Plastic is durable and holds up well with moisture. It can be cleaned with some ease. At first glance, plastic shower curtains are a logical choice for your bathroom.
At second glance, the picture is not so rosy.
Plastic is a huge environmental hazard.
Your plastic shower curtain can be part of the problem.
Your natural shower curtain can be part of the solution.
The Environmental Toll of Plastic
Plastic has been a pivotal tool in society. It has been widely used thanks to its versatility and durability. This widespread usage has come at a cost.
In particular, the virtues of plastic have also become its downfall.
Because plastic is so durable, it does not decompose easily. This is great when you need a plastic tool to last for a lifetime. It is not so great when plastic ends up getting thrown out.
The reports are sobering:
- Plastic has been found in the Mariana Trench, the deepest place in the ocean.
- Plastic can be found in the stomachs of 90 percent of sea birds.
- By 2050, there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
- Plastic is a primary product of fracking.
- Plastic waste does not decompose.
These facts are really just the start. Plastic is a dangerous choice for humanity, which is why it is important to limit its use.
This can start in your bathroom with a plastic-free shower curtain.
The Health Risk of Shower Curtains
Your interest in a sustainable shower curtain is also more personal. Besides the environmental toll of standard plastic shower curtains, there is also a real health risk.
It is unsettling to think about.
You go into the shower to clean yourself.
With a plastic-based shower curtain, you may inadvertently be poisoning yourself as well.
The risk stems from the chemical composition of some shower curtains. Most shower curtains are made out of polyvinyl chloride. You have probably heard of it as PVC.
Many environmental agencies have pointed out that PVC is potentially toxic. The chemicals released during production pose a huge environmental hazard.
The risk is not limited to production. These plastic shower curtains could be toxic when you hang them in your shower. PVC shower curtains may release toxic fumes.
The risk is especially prominent with brand new shower curtains. These gases are composed of volatile organic compounds, and traces can be detected in studies for up to three days after a new shower curtain is installed.
These facts are why many oversight groups now recommend against using PVC for shower curtains. In response to these reports, many major retailers started shifting away from PVC for shower curtains.
Stores like IKEA, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond have all started to diversify their options for shower curtains. This means there are more options than ever for a PVC-free shower curtain.
Finding the Best Material for Shower Curtains
Obviously, opting for a PVC-free shower curtain is a smart choice.
However, the alternatives are vast. If you really want an environmentally friendly shower curtain, you have to know what those options are.
To start, there are safer plastic options. As PVC has fallen out of favor, many manufacturers have started to use less toxic plastics instead. The options include polyethylene or polyethylene vinyl acetate.
While these types of plastic are less toxic, they are not without a negative environmental impact. You may be limiting your exposure to toxic chemicals, but the other real risks associated with plastic are not addressed.
Therefore, you might want to consider a natural shower curtain. For sustainability, options made in fabrics like linen, hemp or organic cotton are preferable.
When thinking about fabrics for a non-toxic shower curtain, you have a variety of factors to consider. You have to look at the sustainability of the fabric in addition to the functionality in the bathroom.
Fabric shower curtains are water repellent. Fabric products are generally softer to the touch and more attractive than plastic. This can create a better aesthetic.
However, it is important to know that many options for a sustainable shower curtain will need care. Fabric can quickly have issues with moisture, which is why your bathroom should be ventilated well.
No matter what material you choose, clean your shower curtain often. Research suggests that your shower curtain is probably the dirtiest place in your bathroom.
The good news is that fabric alternatives for an environmentally friendly shower curtain can be washed effectively on a regular basis.
Choosing the right material is going to be a matter of preference. Fortunately, as more people are interested in options for a plastic-free shower curtain, more brands are offering such products.
The Top Brands for an Environmentally Friendly Shower Curtain
If you are interested in an environmentally friendly shower curtain, then you are in luck. There are a variety of options that can help you stay safe and protect the planet.
As you consider the options, you must think about what factors matter to you most. If you are looking for something that is entirely organic and biodegradable, then fabric options in hemp, linen or organic cotton are the way to go.
However, if you still want something that is more water resistant and less prone to mold and mildew, then you may be interested in a PVC-free shower curtain. These options may still include some form of plastic, but the plastic is far less detrimental than PVC options.
The brands listed below offer quality products, and each one has a keen focus on environmental issues. There are other brands available, but if you really want the best, start your shopping here.
One of the best loved brands for organic fabric items is Rawganique. Rawganique carries apparel, accessories and home goods. This includes a selection of shower curtains.
When you shop at Rawganique, you can expect to find a plastic-free shower curtain. The brand carries many variations in hemp, and it also has a few selections in organic cotton. You can shop for curtains in different colors and sizes to fit any bathroom need.
Because fabric can have trouble with moisture, Rawganique works hard to fight back. For its hemp shower curtains, the cloth is specially woven to prevent leaks and promote drying. Since all the fabrics are organic, there is no risk of toxic exposure.
Rawganique is a trusted brand in the green industry. It has been in business since 1997, and it got its start in Europe. The company is fully committed to keeping the production process safe and organic from start to finish.
To source its hemp and cotton, Rawganique works with suppliers that do not use chemicals. The manufacturing is done at a factory that uses safe, natural methods. If you buy a non-toxic shower curtain from Rawganique, you can be fully confident that you will not be exposed to any outgassing or fumes.
As an added bonus, Rawganique has comprehensive options for your natural showering decor. In addition to offering plastic-free shower curtains, the company also carries complementing curtain rings that are made from organic hemp and natural wood closures.
Another iconic brand in organic home goods is Coyuchi. Coyuchi got its start in 1991, and it has been carrying natural, organic products for decades.
The company draws inspiration from coastal themes. The mood and feel of its products are fresh and vibrant, but the company’s commitment to the environment is not just for appearances. Instead, Coyuchi offers a range of goods for your home, and each one is crafted with the environmental toll in mind.
To do this, Coyuchi focuses on organic materials and regenerative processes. It is simply a part of the company’s overall business model. The company knows that 10 million tons of waste come from the textile industry every year, and Coyuchi does not want to be a part of that.
To that end, Coyuchi has various cotton and linen shower curtains for your consideration. Its organic fabrics are sourced without chemicals and other by-products. According to the brand’s website, the simple act of choosing organic cotton can reduce global warming potential, minimize acidification, cut back on soil erosion, limit blue water consumption and more.
While these environmental factors are important, that is not the only thing Coyuchi is known for providing. In fact, Coyuchi also produces gorgeous products that enhance the look and feel of your bathroom.
Shop for different colors and textures to find the right natural shower curtain for your bathroom. Coyuchi focuses on earth tones with simple, elegant prints and patterns that look good in any space. It is proof that you do not have to compromise on style when you go environmentally friendly.
The final brand to think about for your next organic shower curtain is Good Planet. Good Planet is a Canadian company with a variety of products focused on wellness, daily living and more. You can shop for yoga products, baby goods and a biodegradable shower curtain.
In particular, Good Planet carries hemp shower curtains. The selection is limited, but the quality of this curtain makes it worth a look.
The hemp is eco-friendly and woven tightly to prevent water leakage. Because of hemp’s natural properties, it is strong and durable. It is not prone to bacteria or fungi. This means that your sustainable shower curtain from Good Planet will not even need a liner.
To keep your plastic-free shower curtain in prime condition, simply wash the product every few weeks. It also helps to boost the ventilation in your bathroom.
Good Planet opened in 2003. Although it started as a green gift store, the brand quickly developed a loyal following. With this customer base, the company expanded its selection to include different home goods including shower curtains.
Still, the company retains its core values. Its mission is to help customers live a better life through simplicity, health and environmental awareness. Green Planet knows that every product it carries has an impact, and it actively seeks to minimize that impact with every sale completed.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may be thinking about a sustainable shower curtain. However, you may still have some questions. Fortunately, we have easy answers. Keep reading for the answers to some of your frequently asked questions about environmentally friendly shower curtains.
What is the best material for shower curtains?
Any time you are looking for the best, the answer is going to be a little subjective. After all, what you decide is best really depends on your personal preferences.
In terms of a sustainable shower curtain, consider what you value most. If you want a PVC-free shower curtain that is still highly water resistant, then PEVA or other non-toxic plastic options may be your best bet.
However, if you are looking for an organic shower curtain or a plastic-free shower curtain, you might try hemp, linen or cotton instead. Other options to consider are bamboo, birch and more.
Are shower curtains biodegradable?
This question varies dramatically depending on the type of shower curtain you use. If you are still using a plastic shower curtain, then it is probably not biodegradable. There are some PEVA or EVA shower curtains that do break down and are compostable.
If you want a biodegradable shower curtain, then your best bet is to look at natural fibers. Organic cotton, hemp and linen all break down quickly when thrown away. This makes their environmental toll very minimal.
It can be hard to tell whether or not vinyl or PEVA shower curtains can get the job done in terms of biodegradability, but you can always have confidence that your organic shower curtain will not sit in the landfill for years to come.
Can you recycle a shower curtain?
Because shower curtains are traditionally made from plastic, you might be tempted to think they are recyclable. While many plastics can be recycled, this is not the case with most shower curtains. Typically, standard plastic shower curtains will not be safe to throw in with the rest of your recycling.
Additionally, fabrics cannot be put in your recycle bin, but they can be recycled. However, if you are interested in recycling your old fabric shower curtains, you will have to find the right outlet to accept your donation.
It is worth pointing out that some shower curtains are actually made from recycled materials. This includes plastic ones. Some brands reuse old plastics to make new products. Therefore, you may not be able to recycle your shower curtain, but you can buy a recycled shower curtain.
How do I stop my shower curtain from getting moldy?
No matter what type of material you choose for your next shower curtain, you will have to contend with mold. Mold is inevitably a concern in every bathroom. Because bathrooms use so much water, the risk of mold is pressing and real.
There are some easy tips. If you are using plastic or vinyl, it is easy to wipe down the material after each shower. This eliminates build up and prevents a lot of issues.
The issue is more complicated with fabric. With fabric, try to keep your bathroom ventilated, and always spread your shower curtain out between showers. This allows the fibers to dry more quickly. To really keep things clean, wash your shower curtain every few weeks for the best results.
What can I do with my old shower curtain liner?
If you use a shower curtain liner, it is good to replace it regularly. If you are worried about the environmental toll of this choice, then take heart. These liners are not typically recyclable, but you can reuse them to great effect.
First, make sure your liner is very clean. Then, you can use it for many other activities. It can make a great play mat or drop cloth. You can use it while camping to line the ground and keep yourself dry. Your liner can be placed on the floor to stop messy eaters from damaging the ground. It can even be repurposed as an art smock during craft time.
Because liners are made from durable plastics, they offer a lot of possibilities. Use your imagination, and keep these liners from the landfill.
Saving the environment is a big job, but it can start with small steps. You can take your first step with an environmentally friendly shower curtain.
Consider the drawbacks of plastic shower curtains, and weigh the advantages of an organic shower curtain instead. Then, pick the right one for your bathroom and the planet.
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