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RISMEDIA, February 26, 2011—(MCT)—Giving your bathroom a green mini-makeover can help reduce your monthly utility bills and you’ll also be saving a whole lot of water, one of our most precious natural resources. Some upgrades won’t cost you a penny, others will cost a few bucks, and a few bigger investments will bring a bigger payoff down the road. Do your part and make a few upgrades to your inefficient bathroom because it’s the one room where we waste the most at home.

Let’s start with the free stuff. Turning off the water when you brush your teeth is an easy way to save 2,000 gallons of water per person, per year. You can also save thousands of gallons of hot water in the shower when you turn off the water while you shampoo, shave, or lather up. Take it one step further and replace an older showerhead with a relatively inexpensive low flow model and save more than three gallons of water every minute someone is in the shower. And it’s not just water you’ll be saving. You are likely using heated water in the shower, so you’ll also be saving energy and money because you’ll be heating less water.

The biggest water hog in your bathroom is likely the toilet, especially if it was installed prior to 1994. Older model toilets need as much as seven gallons of water per flush compared to models built after 1994 that are required to use less than two gallons per flush. Replacing an older toilet with a water-conserving model is one upgrade with an immediate water conserving impact.

If it’s not in the budget, there is a no-cost or low cost solution to reducing the amount of water used with each flush. It’s called a water displacement device and you can make one for free with a plastic jug, some gravel and a couple minutes. Or you can spend less than $25 and buy a device that drops into the back of your toilet tank. By reducing the amount of water the toilet wastes, the average household can save about 17,000 gallons a year.

Of course, there are other things besides water that go to waste in the bathroom. Many times, we don’t recycle all we can such as shampoo bottles, soap packaging and even those cardboard toilet paper rolls. Having a small recycling container in the bathroom will help you and your family recycle those valuable items instead of letting them waste in a landfill.

The bathroom is one room where we can really make a difference. Do your part and make a few upgrades that will have you on your way to wasting less, immediately.

(c) 2011 Terri Bennett Enterprises, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.