Go to fullsize imageIn speaking about saving money with a friend (Cleaver Mama, I am talking about you), we were discussing our water bills.  They keep going up, up, up!  It could be because both of our family numbers keep going up, up, up as well.  Increases in family size, means more baths/showers, more laundry, more dishes, more of everything!  We just send a lot of water and money straight down the drain.  We definitely need to “Green” up our houses on this topic!  Not only can we save a TON of change, we can create little changes that mean a whole lot to the World’s water supply.  It doesn’t get better than this!

“If many little people in many little places do many little deeds, they can change the face of the Earth”  ~African Proverb

Greening the blue in the kitchen:

Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator to keep it cold.  That way you don’t have to run the tap to get cold water. 

Try not to use/waste ice.  Making it takes water (duh!) and often we just let them melt at the bottom of an empty glass and throw it out.  Some countries don’t even serve ice in restaurant drinks because of fresh water worries. 

Only run full loads of dishes in the dishwasher.  This will save water and energy.  Each washing cycle uses about 25 gallons of water.  A river will literally be running through your kitchen if you run it all the time for small loads.  My hubby prides himself on his dishwasher loading abilities.  It’s like he’s a dishwasher engineer.  He will go to great lengths to squeeze one more cup in there.  So I think our house is pretty good on this one!

Also, don’t “wash” your dishes in the sink before putting them in the dishwasher.  I thought that’s what we got these machines for…to save washing time, so don’t prerinse!

If you do wash dishes in the sink, don’t let the faucet run.  Fill the sink with soapy water and fill the other side of the sink (or a wash tub) with water to rinse.  OOH!  This will save me the big bucks for sure.  I tend to run my rinse water from the tap.

Also, soak caked on, stuck on food by placing some water in the pan.  Let it sit.  Then scrub.  Don’t turn on the hot water and let it keep running on the pan while you try to chip away the crusty food.  That’s a lot of water going down the drain!

Use biodegradable dish soap when you wash your dishes in the sink.  When you are finished, you can pour the “gray water” on your indoor or outdoor plants to save watering costs. 

Use boiled water that has cooled from boiling eggs to water plants.  Great nutrients for plants.

Use the boiled water from cooking veggies to make a soup instead of dumping it in the drain.

Don’t use your garbage disposal!!!  It takes a lot of water to grind up left over food stuff. (Not to mention the electricity.)  Composting is the best way to go.  On multiple “Green” levels.

Greening the Blue in the Bathroom:

Stop the flushing!  If it’s yellow, let it mellow.  If it’s brown, flush it down.  Don’t be too grossed out!  If you flush your toilet only one less time per day, you could save 4.5 gallons of water each time.  That is as much water as the average person in Africa uses all day (including cooking, bathing, and drinking).  (The Green Book, 2007)

If you love to consistently flush (as I do) put a plastic bottle full of water in the toilet tank to decrease the amount of water used.  We have one toilet that was not affected by this but the other has a little bit of a hard time getting the “big jobs” flushed.  We just had to become a little more selective when considering which throne we wanted to sit upon at certain times.

If you are replacing a toilet, get a dual flush toilet.  A light little flush for liquids, and forceful flush for non liquid waste.

Never flush trash down your toilet.  Put those boogery kleenex in the trash.  Don’t feel tempted to flush it.  That’s 4.5 gallons right there!

Check to see if your toilet is leaking and wasting your hard earned cash.  Put a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank.  If it seeps into your bowl over time (don’t flush for a while), you have a leak.  Fix it!  You could save 250 gallons of water a month by this little action.

Don’t let the water from the faucet run while you are shaving or brushing your teeth.  For rinsing your shaver, put some warm water in the stoppered sink.  Then you won’t have to keep turning it on.  If you turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, you will save 10 quarts of water each time you brush.

Replace your shower head/faucets with low flow aerating ones, they reduce water flow by up to 50%.  We have done this in our showers and have noticed very little pressure difference.  Don’t be fooled by those that say you will have bad hair because of doing this little saver.

What’s better…taking a shower or taking a bath?  A shower!!  The average person uses 20 gallons of water for a bath and only 10 gallons for a shower.  Save those baths for special occasions.  Yipes!  I am bad at this.  I LOVE taking a bath to relax at night.  Is the fact that it’s a Wednesday a special enough occasion to take a bath??

Cut down on the shower time!  One minute of showering or running the bath water usually uses about 3-5 gallons of water.  Make it a race with the clock.  Shower for less than five minutes.  Better yet, shower with a partner for less than five minutes.  Even better, shower with a partner for less than five minutes and only turn on the water when you need to rinse.  Turn off the shower as you soap up.  Can we say Brrr….

 One more thing….leaks can really waste water over time.  To find out if you have any hidden leaks in your home, don’t use the water for 2 hours.  Record the start and finish amounts on your water meter.  If the numbers have changed over the 2 hours, you have a leak.  Find it and save.

Whew!  What a list!  Don’t think you can’t make a difference by doing these little things in your own home.  If you do all these things think how much water you will NOT be consuming and how much money you will be saving!  And we haven’t even talked about how you use water outside your home yet!

For another quick to do list go HERE or HERE.

Sources:  The Green Book, 2007.  1,001 Ways to Save the Earth, 2007.