Ladies and gentlemen, grab your wrenches …
The EPA has announced “Fix a Leak Week” in mid-March. It’s the perfect time to save water by fixing those household leaks. You’ll also prevent home damage, avoid cleaning those nasty hard-water stains, and feel good about the environment — and maybe save a few pennies.
In the process of trying to reduce our garbage, I’ve come across several items that I needed and wanted to not buy — and conversely, several items I hated to throw away but couldn’t easily recycle. By reusing these items, necessity meets utility. Quite some time ago, when I started cleaning everything with baking soda instead of scouring powder, I wanted a convenient container – like the one scouring powder comes in. I found an old plastic peanut butter jar in my laundry room, used a nail to punch a bunch of holes in the lid, and voila – my baking soda shaker makes cleaning the bathroom a tiny bit easier.
Organic Needle reminded me to do an update on our performance during the Riot for Austerity, which I started 10 months ago. This is the 90 percent challenge that I’ve mentioned on this blog — with the goal of cutting consumption by 90 percent from U.S. average consumption. Here’s the update on what I did and how it turned out:
Spring is coming, which means most of us will have more uses for extraneous water. Here are some ideas of how to make the most of your water: Save the pasta water. Many Italian recipes have you blanch veggies in boiling water, then cook the pasta in the same water. Then, this same water can go to moisturize your compost pile or water a garden — within reason. If you’re a pastaholic, you might produce enough starch to choke your plants, so take it easy. Put a bucket in the shower. Catch the flow while you’re waiting for the water to heat up. Use it to flush the toilet (dump it in the tank or right into the bowl). If it’s clean, use it the same day to get a head start on your kid’s or pet’s bath (don’t let soapy or grey water sit for re-use — it’s too […]
First, for those of you outraged at us Coloradans’ not being allowed to harvest our roof water, the Colorado Senate is working on it: The Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee approved a plan to allow homeowners to collect water that drains off of roofs up to 3,000 square feet so ranchers and farmers could use it to water livestock and metro residents could use it to water their lawns and gardens.
If any of you lie down each night for a restful sleep and doze off to the guilt-inducing sound of a leaking toilet, take my word for it: FIX IT! And fix it now. Instructions always say you can tell a toilet is leaking by putting food coloring in the tank, waiting 15 minutes and seeing if any of the color has infiltrated the bowl.
Grocery costs have had the highest year-over-year increase since 1990 – here’s an article that looks a little bit at why. I know I’ve noticed this trend (especially on cheese, which used to go on sale for $2.50 to $3 per pound, and now seldom drops below $3.50) — have you? What will you do with your economic stimulus check from the government? And in what seems to be a weekly toilet trend on this blog, Slate this week published “It’s time to drink toilet water,” a sobering look at water usage. Finally, we need some humor around here! I am generally quiet about my burgeoning fiber and spinning addiction (an addiction, it must be said, that inexplicably causes grown people to drool, sometimes literally, when touching wool), but this article is a perfect connection – at last, the government is looking into REAL sustainability (and soft, soft wool).
Think Green, Live Green challenge: I’m no filmmaker, but if you’re handy with the videocam, here’s a chance to put your green life in action: http://verdavivo.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/think-green-live-green-challenge-2/
Putting effort into conserving makes a BIG difference. Here’s how things added up for our family of three from our biggest ways of living green in 2007: Hung laundry out to dry, spring through fall (October/November). In seven months, about 140 loads of laundry (conservatively) saved $69 and 630,000 watts of electricity. Composted all vegetable waste. Two to three half-gallon(ish) bins move out of our kitchen every week, turning about 130 pounds of stink-producing waste into fertilizer. Brought my own shopping bags to all the stores where I shopped. At a per-month average savings of 43.6 plastic bags, I refused approximately 523 bags in one year. Switched just about all our light bulbs to CFLs — 23 light bulbs. If we save an average of 46 watts per hour (replacing a 60-watt bulb with a 14-watt bulb), and use the average bulb just 1 hour per day, we’ll save 386,170 […]
OK! Are You Going to Be This Way the Rest of the Time I Know You? not only likes to conserve water, too, she also is more talented than I and converted my water use chart into a jpeg for me. Voila, the illustration of our water use the last few years! (We are billed bimonthly, thus six bills per year.)
No weekly wrap-up, so this will have to do. The other day I came across this excellent post about ways to save water in your home. We have implemented most of these ideas, although I really wish we had an on-demand/tankless hot water heater. It drives me crazy when I turn off my shower (especially when it’s at night, just before bed … ergo, no one will need any hot water for at least 8 hours) and hear the water heater click on. However, our budget doesn’t currently allow for a new water heater, especially when our current one is a high-efficiency standard tank heater that’s just three years old (and for that matter, we replaced a “shorty” water heater at a cost of more than $1,000 at our old house a couple of years before we moved).
This post explores a difficult topic for my lazy side aspects that appreciate modern conveniences. In my old house, when we bought a secondhand portable dishwasher, I was the woman lounging on the sofa, sighing in bliss, “I am knitting and watching TV while that wonderful machine is washing the dishes!” My current home came with a dishwasher, and that was that. Our dishwashing world went dark the other day when, in the laundry room, I noticed yucky brown water dripping through the floor/ceiling onto my (seldom used) dryer. I waited, watched it happen again, and realized yes, the dishwasher is leaking. So, for several days, we’ve been washing dishes by hand and debating our options. Our problem might just be a leaky hose, but we’d probably be wise to replace the ancient beast (and pass it on to someone else in need).Many green bloggers wash dishes by hand to […]
Ever wondered how to find out how much water your shower or sink uses? Most faucets have a number etched into the aerator. Unscrew the aerator from your sink and it will say “3” or “2.0” or if you are fortunate, “1.5.” This refers to the gallons per minute your water fixture spews into your tub or sink. Two, 2.5 or fewer gallons per minute is low flow. If you want to check the showerhead without unscrewing it, put a five-gallon bucket under the shower, turn the shower on at normal flow, and time one minute. If the bucket is half full, the shower uses 2.5 gallons per minute. If it’s two-thirds full, it uses more than three gallons per minute.