Sustainable homes are growing in popularity, with more new construction and recent renovations featuring solar panels and environmentally sound building materials, but there are still pressing concerns about the impact our lifestyles have on the environment. One way we can reduce this impact, however, is by practicing sustainable water use. By reducing the amount of water we waste and making smarter decisions about recycling greywater, we can minimize our impact on this vital resource.
Daily showers are one of the most wasteful ways that we use water. That’s not to say that cleanliness isn’t importance – nobody wants to be the guy with bad body odor – but that we don’t always approach hygiene practices in the most responsible ways. By installing water conserving shower heads, you can cut down on how much water flows down the drain while you’re scrubbing. It’s also important to limit how long your showers are; more than ten minutes is excessive and wasteful.
Fill It Up
Washing machines and dishwashers are both fantastic inventions and hand washing your dishes is actually more wasteful than using a dishwasher. What you have to look out for, however is the half filled load of dishes or laundry. When you don’t fill your machine, you waste water – the machine will still fill up. Some newer washing machines can gauge how full they are, so that’s not always the case, but if you’ve got an older washer, wait until you have a few more items to toss in before you turn it on.
Flush Less Frequently
While not every household is comfortable with the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” approach to the bathroom, all homes can reduce their water waste by installing a more efficient toilet, or even by simply putting floaters into your toilet tank. To do this, all you need is an empty soda bottle. The bottle takes up room in the tank, preventing it from filling all the way and reducing how much water is used when you flush.
It’s also important not to use your toilet as a trash can. Many smokers toss finished cigarettes into the toilet and then flush them, but this wastes gallons of water each time. The same goes for tossed tissues and any other kind of waste you’re inclined to throw in. That’s not what your toilet is for.
Most of us hate to get into the shower before it warms up, but what about all that water that gets wasted? Water that goes down the drain during this phase barely qualifies as greywater – it hasn’t been used – so stick a bucket under it and use it to water the plants. You can also capture greywater from your washing machine and collect rainwater for landscaping projects.
Water is a limited resource and many people throughout the world don’t have access to enough of it. That’s why it’s so important for those of us with access to clean, running water, to respect this valuable and life sustaining resource and not waste it. Saving water is as simple as buying a new faucet or sticking a bucket in the shower – and over time these little things make a big difference.