Saving water doesn’t always mean fixing the leaky faucet.
We’re used to a certain sophistication in first world countries. Much of the water that we do use is wasted because of our lifestyle preferences.
When it comes to zero waste, it’s important to think about the journey of whatever it is that is being used. In this particular post it’s water.
“It’s no wonder that the Hawaiian word for ‘fresh water’ is wai and the Hawaiian word for ‘wealth and prosperity’ is waiwai.” –Ocean Conservancy
Water is a beauty of its own. We need water. It adds tremendous value to our lives. There are certain areas of our lives that require a bit more water and you can’t get around it. For me, I have found that saving water when I’m cooking, doing laundry, and using the bathroom and kitchen have been the most challenging areas.
I had always thought that the only way to save water (other than fixing the leaky sink) was by collecting rainwater. But there are many ways to save water that don’t include extravagant rainwater catch systems. If you are looking for easy ways to save water, check out the list bellow!
- Turn the heat down on the stove– This step completely changed how I cook my food. When I started my zero waste journey, I thought “Okay, how can I use less water than I am now?”
I used to burn my food a lot. My stove would be crusty from all of the water that had boiled over. Most people (including myself) fill a large pot full of water, set it on the hot stove, and walk away. We usually find ourselves running back to the stove because we start smelling this burning smell or hearing the stove top burning from the excess water.
That all changed when I discovered steaming! I knew how to steam….it just never crossed my mind as a way to cook unless I’m steaming vegetables. Honestly I used to be very set in my ways when it came down to the how-to’s of cooking. But I have found that in my experience, food can be cooked just as well (or better) when it is steamed instead of boiled.
I tried this out on my pasta when I was making spaghetti one night. Instead of filling the pot half full of water, I filled it enough to cover the pasta but that was it. Needless to say that dinner was mm mmmmm delicious and the pasta was cooked to perfection. I only had to watch the water level and add water when needed. And yet, I still used far less water than I would have when if I had taken the boiling option.
BONUS: On top of saving water, you can save money on the energy bill. Excess heat causes your A/C to work even harder. By trapping the steam, you’re saving both water and energy!
2. Cut out animal products– Animal agriculture is in the top sources of water waste. Seek out alternatives for the animal products you use. For instance, nut or oat milk instead of dairy milk. Even if you’re not vegan or veg, cutting out heavily processed meat and dairy is better for your overall health anyway, so it’s a win-win!
3. Reduce your food waste- Be resourceful of where and how you get your food. Food waste contributes to 45 trillions of gallons of wasted water a year. Yikes! Don’t just throw away your leftover food scraps. Discover some interesting ways to cook with them! Eat fresh, locally grown produce to ensure there’s little to no manufacturing.
Composting ensures that your leftover food scraps are not going to waste. It’s the quick and easiest way to get started on the path toward a greener life.
- Downsize– If you don’t need it or wear it, why waste soap and water on something that will continue to collect dust? Get rid of clothes that aren’t adding any value to your life anymore. Downsize your wardrobe to keep only the essentials. That doesn’t mean you have to wear the same thing every single day. It just means that your closet won’t be full of clothes you no longer wear or want to wear.
Also, just because you wear it once doesn’t mean it’s dirty.
Less dirty clothes = less water used for washing
2. Wash as much as you can all at once– Washing laundry in large quantities is much more efficient than starting small batches. You’ll be cleaning your laundry faster and not wasting water to do small, simple loads.
You can also check out some laundry alternatives to drying your clothes. The Laundry Alternative site offers spinner dryers for a decent price. It’s basically the spin cycle on a standard washing machine except you need to catch the water that drains from the spout. Run that water through a filter and you have some recycled water!
How do you save sweet H2O during the harsh summer months of continuous 90+ degree weather? And how can you save water if you have a garden in the first place?
- Water retaining containers– If you’re container gardening, find containers that retain water at the bottom. They will prevent your plants from drying out and having to water them every single day. They’re a big life saver when you forget to water your plants!
2. Drip irrigation– Have you ever watered a plant and watched all that precious water drain from the bottom? Place another plant bellow to catch the excess water. Eventually you’ll have a nice homemade irrigation set up!
3. Mulch– Placing a layer of hay or wood chips on top of your garden bed will prevent the water in the soil from drying out. If you have a compost pile, add some semi-decomposed material on top of the soil.
4. Water retaining plants– Some plants hold water better than others. Plants like succulents and Aloe Vera are very easy to take care of. They require small amounts of sunlight, little watering, and can be left unattended for days. I water my Aloe Vera plant every 2 weeks maybe. He’s a loner but fabulous.
BATHROOM AND KITCHEN
- Shut the faucet off– A quick and easy way to start saving water is by simply turning off the faucet when you’re not using it. Even when washing your hands. Think about it like this. You’re supposed to wash your hands for up to 20 seconds each time. Consider how much you do wash your hands per day. If you carried a jug around with you to collect all the water you let run down the drain, how much do you think it would measure out to be?
2. Conserve shower water– Typically the first thing people do when they start their shower is wait for several seconds for the water to heat up. The last thing I want to do is to step into a cold shower. But sometimes it’s easy to leave the water running and become distracted with your hair or something weird you found on your body.
Either step into that cold shower, or collect the water!
So why bother?
Saving water is so important. Our fresh water is not a renewable resource and the majority is found in the polar ice caps. Most of the water on Earth is found in the oceans but of course is not fresh. Humans have very little access to fresh water. It’s our responsibility to be frugal and save what precious little water we have.