Every drop matters.
Despite the fact that the bulk of us have access to ever-running streams of water on a daily basis, this fountain of life is not infinite. We all need to do our part to conserve water so that we can continue enjoying clean, healthy sources for decades (and hopefully centuries) to come. Some methods feel more extreme than others, requiring a lot of work on your part to make a difference — like installing a rainwater-catching tank on your roof, for instance. But luckily, not all water conservation efforts require that much work and financial investment. Here are five small changes you can make in your daily life that help to preserve this precious resource.
1. Use your dishwasher.
This one sounds super counterintuitive to us, but running a fully-loaded dishwasher is actually far more efficient than doing your dirty dishes by hand. For one, you end up using a lot less water per dish to get everything clean. And then the heat of the dishwasher disinfects all of your kitchenware in a way that your hands cannot (because your skin can’t handle the same high temperatures the machine can). So the next time you think you’re doing the environment a favor by avoiding this appliance, just load those dishes up and wait to run it until it’s truly full.
2. Only flush when necessary.
Unflushed toilets do have a clear “ick” factor for a lot of people, but here us out for a moment. If you’re only going number one, you’re not leaving solids in the bowl or creating a potential germ infestation issue (urine is sterile). So you can go to the bathroom several times before flushing that entire tank of water down your sewer system, preventing the unwanted waste of gallons and gallons of water.
3. Only accept a glass of water at restaurants if you know you’re going to drink it.
These drinks come standard at most eateries, but if you’re choosing to sip on coffee or tea instead of that water, it’s going right down the drain the second you pay the check and leave the table. So be conscious of your habits to avoid that unnecessary waste. The same logic follows for when your friends host you at their homes and when you’re prepping meals in your own kitchen. If you pour it, plan to drink it.
4. Eat more foods with smaller water footprints.
Different types of fruits, vegetables and even meat products require different amounts of water to produce. So if you really want to reduce your impact on our water system, do your research and find out which foods use the least amount of water before heading to the grocery store and buy those more often than their water-draining counterparts. For example, beef requires way more water than chicken, oranges require way more water than strawberries, and almonds require way more water than pistachios.
5. Start a compost bin.
Instead of throwing your food scraps into the garbage disposal and letting that water run as the mechanism grinds them away, set up a composting bin for those same pieces of food. They have containers designed both for in-kitchen and garden use, so there’s no need to worry about it making your home smell like rotting food, and they’re surprisingly easy to maintain. Plus, after your food breaks down and fertilizes the soil base in your compost bin, you can use that soil to grow amazingly successful home crops — tomatoes, basil, you name it, you can grow it.