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Welcome to Green Gal's blog, where you'll find stories, recipes, gardening updates, and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems. This blog is written by a young woman entrepreneur who is also a beginning farmer-gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

CTWW: Creatively Saving Water

I should really be reading Paradise Lost, but I figure if I spend 30 minutes writing this post right now, it will actually be written. The homework will get finished because it has to, but updating this blog is not mandatory. However, I really love the connections I've made through it and the interesting things I've learned from readers and from reading other bloggers, so I'm making it one of my priorities. That being said, some weeks, you may hear nothing from Green Gal, but I'll be back when school work slows down. Ok, now for the post!

This week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge is to "conserve water by not wasting it. Consider every drop which typically gets poured down the drain and find creative uses for it. Examine your water use and see where, and how, you can make improvements."


When I heard what the challenge was, I started thinking about ways that water is used that we don't always see or think about. Here are some thoughts I had on creative ways to reduce water use that we often forget about. Turning off the water when brushing your teeth is something you can see, and so for those of us who are conscious of water use, it's easy to remember. But here are some actions we can take that don't always remind us of the water use associated with them, and a few that do directly remind us of water, but which have become so habitual that we forget the water waste associated with them can be eliminated:

  • Reuse your dishes and cups in your home throughout the course of the day. Every time you grab a new plate, it's one more thing that will require water use in the dishwasher. The longer it takes to fill up the dishwasher (or the more times you wash dishes if you don't have a dishwasher), the more water you're using. Reduce water consumption by remembering which glass was yours that morning, and instead of reaching for another mug or plate, reuse the one from earlier. Only run the dishwasher with a full load to also save water and energy.
  • Wear clothes more than once if you can, such as jeans and sweaters that tend to not get dirty as easily. The same principle applies to this one as the dishes one--the fewer times you fill up the washing machine, the fewer times you have to run it. And always remember to wash your clothes with a full load to save water and energy.
  • Finish your glass of water instead of dumping it down the drain. I see this happen at restaurants and at home. You fill up your glass, but at that moment you aren't really thirsty enough to keep drinking it. Solution: only fill up your glass with as much water or juice as you want, and then drink all of it. Your body could probably use the extra fluids anyway, especially during the summer. If you really can't drink it and it's water, feed it to a plant.
  • Wash your hair less often. I know that when I take a shower and wash my hair, that shower ends up being way longer than when I don't wash my hair. This solves two issues: the over-shampooing of our hair, which makes it actually more oily and unhealthy, and water waste. To learn more about going no 'poo, or stopping or reducing the amount of chemical shampoo we apply to our hair, check out this link.
There are probably hundreds of other ways to reduce water waste in our everyday lives, and I am curious to see what other CTWW readers have come up with. Thanks for reading!

How are you reducing water use in your everyday life?

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing these great tips on saving water. One way we conserve water at our house is to water our yard either in the evening as the sun is setting or very early in the morning. This helps avoid evaporation during the heat of the day. For years I have turned off the water when brushing my teeth or doing dishes. I try to pinpoint the water use only in those moments when the water is needed. And I never dump water down the drain from a glass. It all feeds our houseplants or outdoor plants. I especially love to give a vitamin-filled drink to a front yard fern when vegetable matter gets mixed with water from boiling or steaming.

    Paradise Lost, eh? I took a class on John Milton in college. I memorized the first 26 lines and still remember them: "Of man's first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe....[etc.]" Good luck with your assignments!

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  2. We use two gallon containers to catch the cold water that comes out before hot water reaches the tap. We usually put the full jugs next to the washing machine and use the water when we wash clothes. We get our water from a private well, so it's especially important in drought years like this one that we don't waste any of our water. Since our well pump uses electricity, avoiding water waste also reduces our electric bill.

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  3. Wonderful tips! I especially like the one about filling up your water glass. For me it's become a challenge at restaurants to only get the water I want. Servers come around and top of glasses and we barely notice but then, when people leave their table, there are glasses full of water sitting there ... which will be tossed. So I try to get the server to only fill it half way ... it takes some effort on my part, both paying attention as they come around and trying to explain to them that I don't want to waste it. Perhaps anyone who serves could get in the habit of asking clients if they want a full glass ... I'm guessing that many people would say no and that they perhaps only want half. Thanks, as always, for a wonderful post!

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  4. Great tips! Drinking all the water in your glass is completely harmless and actually good for you. So many of us walk around slightly dehydrated that it just doesn't make sense NOT to empty your glass down your gullet; it just takes the effort of will to do so even if you don't have the sensation of thirst at that particular moment.

    Also the "one water glass a day" tip is very useful; otherwise it's too easy to build up a big stack of dishes to wash. What I do is pick out a favorite stainless-steel coffee mug ($1 at any thrift store), use if for my coffee, then fill with water and carry throughout the house all day. One cup, unbreakable and easily cleaned must have saved me hundreds of cup washings a year!

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  5. Since our yard is the epitome of Darwinism at work anyway, our approach to watering the lawn satisfies both our water-frugality, and our extreme laziness: we don't. Unless it's super, super dry. So we don't waste water, we don't have any sprinklers to move, and there's less mowing.

    More time to read Milton, Blake, et al.

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  6. Thanks for the tips! Just to let you know you're on Canopy Avenue's Sunshine Award list. :)

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  7. Great tips! I am baffled by the obsessions of waiters to keep your water glasses full. Most of the time, the glasses get refilled without me even noticing and saying that I do not need more water.

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  8. I'm not sure of reusing the dishes but with cups no problem with that. I think assigning water bottle for each family member can be a solution.

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I love reading comments and am always up for a discussion! Thank you!

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