Go Green part 3, water conservation
Two weeks ago when I posted tips on how to reduce the amount of waste your house produces, April asked a very important question. She wanted to know about washing cloth towels versus using paper towels during a drought. I promised her at the time that I would write up a post about how to conserve water. That is the point of today’s post.
Many people find it strange that a place like Miami, on the water, built on a swamp where it rains everyday in the summer, could have problems with drought conditions, but that we do. And it is a concept that many people have trouble accepting. Water is a limited resource on our planet and we, as inhabitants of this earth, must behave responsibly to make sure that there are adequate amounts available for future human and environmental use.
Let’s start with the basics. For every drop of water that is wasted down our drains water treatment plants have to expend energy to process the water and make it potable again. The more energy used (and wasted) by the water and sewer department, the higher your water bill. So if care for the environment doesn’t get you excited, think about your wallet. Be self absorbed if you must, but be green to save for yourself both money and resources.
- Don’t leave the water running when you brush your teeth, shave or wash your face. Only turn it on when you need to rinse your face, toothbrush or razor.
- Compost or scrape food scraps into the trash instead of running the disposal. Garbage disposals require the use of a lot of water.
- Don’t do half full loads of either laundry or dishes. Wait until the load is the maximum capacity for your machine and run it with the least amount of water you can.
- Don’t buy bottled water! Check out Frankly Green for the disturbing statistics about waste and energy expended from American use of bottled water. Use a filter if you feel strongly against drinking from the tap. Keep water in the fridge instead of letting it run to cool down.
- Check your water fixtures. It is extremely common for water to leak from the rubber seal in the back of a toilet. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water a day. Leaky faucets can waste 15 or more gallons a day with a minor leak. Sometimes the solution is as simple as getting a new rubber O ring.
- Put a zip lock bag (see, you can reuse them) with a weight in it in the back of your toilet. That will allow your toilet to flush with less water.
- Take shorter showers. Start by trying to cut a minute off of your shower time. Make it a household game: who can shower in the shortest amount of time and still get clean.
- Use a bucket of water to wash your car instead of the hose.
- Don’t leave the water running when you’re washing your dishes. Only turn it on when you rinse.
- Sweep your front porch and from walk instead of hosing them down.
- Know your lawn and outdoor plants. Different types of plants require different amounts of water, some dramatically less than others. Don’t water all in the same way.
- If you have sprinklers to water your lawn, make sure they are properly aimed. Water your lawn, not the pavement.
- Put mulch around the base of trees, shrubs and bushes in your yard. Mulch will keep the ground cooler and prevent water from evaporating as quickly meaning you will have to water less often.
- Keep a bucket or pail in your sink when you wash vegetables. Save the water and use that to water your plants. Do the same with water that runs while you are waiting for it to heat up.
- Allow your grass to grow a little higher before mowing and/or set your mower blades a notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation and therefore more time in between required waterings.
- Put this one in the file marked DUH! but don’t water your lawn on days when it rains.
- If you bring your car to a car wash, do some research first. Make sure the one you patronize recycles it’s water.
- Use less detergent when you wash dishes. More detergent means more water necessary to rinse. Or better yet, see my post last week about ways to clean using baking soda and lemon juice. They leave no residue.
My next Go Green post will be how to be greener with your baby and tips on saving energy.
Consider this a reminder: April 22nd is Earth Day. This link will bring you to a map of World Wide Earth Day events. Find one near you and participate in any way you can. April 25th is Arbor Day. This link will bring you to a list of suggestions of ways to celebrate in your community.