We refinished our bathroom recently and we tried to do it with as little impact as possible. It turned out to be much harder than we thought, but we still did what we could.
One of the things we did was keep our bathtub instead of buying a new one like many people recommended.
We did not listen to the advice to buy new because the reasoning people gave just wasn’t strong enough for us. Basically, most people said we should get a new tub because we were getting everything else new anyway.
That was not a good reason for us because, despite the pink color of the tub, we actually liked it. It’s a solidly made cast iron tub — great at keeping the water hot, and a nice, comfortable shape to lie and relax in. Why destroy it and dump it in a landfill when it was perfectly good at being a bathtub? We didn’t want that waste on our conscience. Not to mention the environmental impact of manufacturing a new tub to restock the warehouse for whatever supplier from which we would have bought a new tub.
So instead of buying new, we decided to have our old, trusty tub resurfaced. It was a win-win-win situation. We got to keep and use something old thus limiting environmental impact, resurfacing was about half the price of buying a new tub, and we got the white color we wanted.
Although the benefits were far greater, there were some set-backs. The chemicals the company used to strip and resurface the porcelain were strong and toxic. I didn’t like my family breathing in the lingering fumes from the process. Luckily,the process itself was actually much faster than I had originally expected and the weather wasn’t bad so we were able to open some windows to vent the house. However, we did what we could to stay out of the house for a while to breathe fresher air.
Also, there was more responsibility with getting the tub resurfaced as opposed to buying a new one. A new one would have been installed and ready to go. A resurfaced tub cannot be used at all for the first two days. Which is fine because we could’ve been without a tub for that long as the old one was taken out and a new one was installed anyway.
But we also had to do some extra work for the next 30 days — thirty days! We could shower and bathe in the tub after the first two days, but whenever we were done, we had to wipe down the surface to make sure there was no puddles or droplets or water sitting on the surface. We also had to ring out the shower curtain and fold it back up over the curtain rod to dry. I also wiped down the walls and shelf to prevent drips from pooling in the tub.
Now, what we had to do wasn’t hard, but it was inconvenient. Every time I felt annoyed at having to do it, though, I thought about how much I still liked my decision to keep our old tub for the reasons I listed above.
This is just one scenario, but I think it is a good example of how living better is sometimes harder. Whether it’s the extra work to fix up something old, separating recycling and compost from trash, bringing your own shopping bags to carry purchases, or walking instead of driving, living better can be harder. But we must remind ourselves that in the end, it’s totally worth it.