Hello there Sew Greeners! It is I, your tired, blogging delinquent contributor Amber Clisura here to give you a little knowledge about the behind the scene concept for this month.
So one of the many of the things that we have been doing over here at SG is trying to create a framework around what it is that we are doing. Now this frame will sometimes compliment what is going on inside and sometimes it will just be a little thing that you, the Sew Green reader, should take an extra second to ponder for the month. This month we are starting (albeit it a little late) on the topic of:
It’s everywhere. We need it to survive. We get headaches if we don’t drink enough of it a day. Our food needs it to grow and our planet needs it to be in balance. It is the life force from which all things come. So it’s pretty damn big isn’t it?
We are hoping that this month you can take a second and observe your own water usage. Be conscious of what you’re doing. Maybe you’ll change it, maybe you won’t. We aren’t asking for anything but for you to just be open to consciousness. For our part we are going to bring you some articles that talk about virtual water consumption, perma culture pools and me? I’m going to give you 10 things that if you start them right now, not only will you be more conscious of the water you use, you will save money and water. Two things you can never have enough of in this big bad capitalist world we live within.
10. Carry your own water bottle. There is much talk about the benefits of drinking water. So do it in your own bottle and save money and the environment! Not only that but try to drink out of something that isn’t a Nalgene or a plastic bottles. Though Nalgene bottles are better than most they still off gas like any other plastic – just slower. Try a Sigg or like me, a mason jar with a lid. A little heavier but safe as can be!
9. Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year which will add to the cost of water and sewer utilities, or strain your septic system! It’s simple – check it out here, here or here. Just tightening the faucet isn't helping your problem so take the hour and save your planet!
8. If it’s yellow… you remember the adage don’t you? It’s valid all the time not just in drought conditions. Is it a little gross? Yeah sure it is… but the amount of water you save is amazing. Tally it for a week. Many old toilets flushing use about 7 gallons of water! Some of the newer toilets (80s and 90s) use 3.5 gallons to flush. If your landlord is super diligent then maybe, just maybe you own a toilet that uses only 1.5 to flush. On the average though a household can go through 147 Gallons of water just in toilet flushing alone! That’s almost 1800 Gallons a year! Don’t have a landlord who wants to replace the toilet? Can’t afford a new one? Easy – drop a brick in the tank and that cuts out about a gallon. Two bricks knock out two! Put the bricks in a ziploc bag or other durable holder. Bricks break down and need to be contained in order to avoid plumbing problems. Look for displacement containers at your local hardware store.
7. Don’t shave your legs/face/arms/whatever while you shower. It took me a LOOOOONG time for this one. If you can only do it while you are in the shower then turn off the water while you do it. Those five minutes of water (about 300 gallons a month) that you saved you can indulge in somewhere else.
6. Take a bath instead of a shower. Fill the tub 1/3 full and then scrub a dub dub! Use the final burst of showerhead time to rinse off. Done and done!
5. Use your gray water on plants! Fill a basin full of water for your dishes instead of keeping the water running. When done, take basin outside and water plants. No plants outside! Hang a planter box off one of your windows and plant bee loving flowers! The bees need the help right now!
4. Water your plants deeply and not frequently. This sort of thing promotes drought tolerance and creates deep roots. Also get a soaker hose for larger yards. This cuts down on over-watering and helps get water quickly to the area that needs it the most.
3. Never pour water down the drain. Ever. Where can you use it? There is another place for it. In your toilet, in your yard, in your houseplants… you get the idea.
2. Wash your hands in a basin. Fill up a small bowl and later your hands in that instead of running water.
1. (And since I’m a fashion diva) Wash your clothes in cold water and hang dry. Yes, even those cashmere sweaters! Turns out they don’t need dry-cleaning at ALL! Nope. Cashmere is just like the hair on your head. Washing it in cold with some Johnson’s baby shampoo and laying flat to dry is the best way to care for your cashmere (or any wool) sweaters. There are hand washing instructions here, here and here (use cold not hot water, color safe bleaches or environmentally safe detergents.)
I hope that this inspires you just a bit to look around your water. If you find that it is all too much – then just tell someone else to read this article. Maybe they will try one of these items out and save just a dash more water than was saved the month before. After all, every drop counts.