The Planet

The Swedish King Thinks We Should Ban Baths

by Aarian Marshall

November 24, 2015
Image via Flickr user Julian Burgess

Carl XVI Gustaf, the reigning king of Sweden, said the idea came to him the morning of his interview with the Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. “All bathtubs should be banned,” the king said. “Just imagine it!”

No, the head of state is not some dirty hippie—he would just like the world to save more water. Sweden’s “green king” said he had been forced just that morning to take a bath in his showerless hotel room. From a translation by The Local

“It took a lot of fresh water and energy,” he said. “It struck me so clearly: It’s not wise that I have to do this. I really felt ashamed then, I really did.” 

Later in the interview, he cautioned that the suggestion was a little “lighthearted.” 

“But there is a truth there,” he maintained. “Those small details have an enormous effect.” 

Could the destruction of precious porcelain bathtubs really help the planet? A 10-minute tub soak uses about 30 gallons of water, though most can hold up to 42 gallons. A low-flow showerhead, however, uses 20 gallons over the course of 10 minutes. Showers it is—unless you’re regularly taking very long ones with a high-flow showerhead. 

For those who cannot kick the tub habit, This Old House magazine recommends reusing bathwater to feed the home’s greenest residents. “Plants don't mind a little soap and, well, skin cells,” the publication notes.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, via Wikimedia Commons user Bengt Nyman

Back in Sweden, the kind is finding other ways to help the environment, too. The Telegraph reports that he “now drives an eco-friendly car despite a lifelong reputation as a ‘petrol-head.’” The king will also be attending the United Nations climate change conference in Paris next month.

Time to pick up your game, President Obama, and embrace the bath-free life.

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The Swedish King Thinks We Should Ban Baths