counts! By : Roxane de Jong
Table of contents Introduction
Saving water: in the kitchen
Saving water: washing
Saving water: in the bathroom and toilet
Saving water: other ways and in general
Introduction Are you a young adult? Are you about to live on your own for the first time? Do you want to save money? Do you want to be kind to the environment as well? In this booklet I will provide you with a number of household tips aimed at reducing:
your water usage your daily expenses your ecological footprint
Yes, it’s a three-in-one package: clean, cheap and green! But first some basic data about water.. In the Netherlands we use approximately 1,1 trillion liters of water per year. Of this incredible amount, 800 billion liters is used in our households ("Water in Huis"). If you look at Figure 1, page 2, it is clear that in the Netherlands we use a lot of water in the bathroom and in the toilet – and that includes you and me!
Average Water Use in Holland other 5%
Kitchen 7% Washing 16%
Bathroom and Toilet 72%
Figure 1 source: Verstandig Leven voor 34-35 Water comes in two types: unfit for consumption, such as salt water & polluted water fresh water, which is what we humans can use. Of all the water in the world only 3% is fresh water ("About the Freshwater"). Much of this water is unfit for consumption due to pollution by industry, raw sewage dumping and ‘gray water’ . To make water fit for consumption, it has to be purified first. This is especially the case with surface water from rivers, lakes etc. Groundwater is usually already clean, but it has to be checked for pollutants as well.
Water needs to be treated before consumption, but also after using it. This is called sewage treatment. Most of the sewage water comes from households. In figure 2, page 3 you can see the origin of household sewage based upon different functions:
Origin of Household Sewage Others Kitchen 5% 10%
Figure 2 source: "Sewage Treatment"
The used water needs treatment before it can safely be let back into the environment. The water we use will eventually come back to us running through our own taps, or in the food we eat, because water is in a constant cycle (see figure 3, page 4). So it is important to keep it clean, and to waste as little as possible. We can actually save money by not having to purify water in the two stages that were mentioned. Saving water also means we can do a better job keeping our environment healthy for animals and vegetation, which is in our own interest too. 3
Figure 3 source:"The water cycle" First of all, let us look at drinking water. A typical Dutchman drinks about 21 liters of bottled water per year (the average Belgian even drinks 148 liters!). Also, the average Dutchman will not be able to spot the difference in taste between bottled water and tap water ("Water in Huis"). There is a high cost for the environment caused by the waste of plastic bottles. If an average bottle contains 0.75 liters of water, the result in waste will be more than 125 million 4
bottles per year, since a approximately a quarter of the bottles used is not recycled ("The Effects of Bottled"). The environmental impact is even worse, because the plastic bottles are produced from crude oil. The transport of these bottles to shops, restaurants and homes will cost even more oil and will also produce air pollution. So this booklet actually starts with some clean, cheap and green advice to you- to use more tap water. Cheers!
Saving water housekeeping tips
Be smart and turn on your dishwasher only if it is completely filled with dishes. And choose the right washing program. Run a short program if your dishes are not too dirty. You can save energy that way too!
Always clean your vegetables before you eat them! A great tip is to clean your vegetables in a bowl or fill half of the sink with water instead of washing the vegetables with running water. Every time you will save 30 liter or more. (Verstandig Leven voor 34)
Love to drink cool water? Keep a water jar in the fridge so that you do not need to run water down the sink to have some cold water.
Frozen Broccoli . N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/articles/frozen-food>.
Plan ahead if you would like to eat a dish from your freezer. Don't defrost your frozen foods with running tap water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave. Save 189 to 568 liters a month. (Verstanding Leven voor 35)
Washing Sick of putting some of your clothes in the tumble dryer, air some of your laundry outside, it saves water!
Jacket. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://www.gettyimages.nl/detail/ 98918423/Flickr?language=en-US&location=NLD>.
Same process as the dish washer, turn on the washing machine when it is full. Choose the right washing program; if laundry is not very dirty, choose a shorter program.
Another great thing to save the environment is to use eco friendly washing products, they are less polluting so it will be easier to purify the water. Eco-friendly Washing Powder. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://www.envirocitizen.org/catalog/ for-the-home-laundry-c-1_147.html?nop=25&sort=2a>.
Use the saving function for soap water and rinse water of your washing machine if possible.
Bathroom and Toilet Install a water saving shower head. It is cheap and the most effective way to save water. It will save up to 50.000 liters per year. (Verstandig Leven voor 35). Shower head. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://www.grohe.co.uk/en/ why-grohe/save-water/p/25_44833.html>.
Do you like your shower and would you still like to save water? Consider the following: if you plan to shower for longer than 5 or 6 minutes it might actually be better to take a bath (depending on the size of the tub and running half a bath saves water too, of course). (Water Saving Tips). Try to limit the time of showering: every minute less spent in the shower may save as much as 15 liters of water, depending on the type of shower head.
After opening the tap to take a shower, catch the cold water in a bucket while you wait for hot water, and use this water for your plants, garden or fill the kettle. You will save 1 -2 liters of water! (Verstandig Leven voor 40)
By fully opening the tap you will waste a lot water; usually there is no need to maximum pressure to have a proper shower, brush your teeth etc.
Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. A running tap wastes 15 liters per minute. (Water Saving Tips.
To rinse your razor blade, use water in a cup or a glass, not running tap water. This also goes for the electric razors.
In your new house install the water saving dual flush type toilet. You will save 3 liters of water per flush of urine! ((Verstandig Leven voor 41) If you donâ€™t have a dual flush system fitted yet, you can save water by placing a bottle filled with water in the cistern (but make sure that it does not interfere with the flushing mechanism). Eco-friendly toilet. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://www.grohe.co.uk/en/why-grohe/saveEvery time you flush, water/dual-flush-toilets/p/ you will save the equivalent 25_44835.html>. of the contents of that bottle. (Verstandig Leven voor 41)
Other ways and in general If you have a leaking tap, immediately fix the tap. A leaking tap can waste up to 750 liters per month(Climate Action). Try not to fix it yourself or you will waste a lot more
water, ask a plumber.
Use a broom and bucket of water for washing down the patio rather than water the hose. Also, when you wash your car, use a sponge and water/soap from a bucket.
If you have a garden, install a water butt in the garden to collect the rain water. That way you always have water to use for watering the garden (or plants in your home) without the need to use fresh water from the hose pipe. Or a cheaper way is just to leave some buckets in your garden.
Water butt. Np, n d. Web 24.2010.<http://the-plantdirectory.co.uk/water-storage/wall-mounted-water-butt-160-litre>
If you were a nerd in your science classes, you would probably know that you should water your lawn in the evening or in the early morning so that the water will not evaporate.
Sprinkler. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://blog.zoysiafarms.com/ page/2/>.
Donâ€™t cut the grass too short; when the grass is too short it is less resistant to dry weather and intense sunshine. Grass. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://duvalllawns.com/>.
Check the weather forecast so that you know when you need to water the plants and lawn in the garden.
Weather Symbols. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <http://www.dreamstime.com/weather- forecast-icons-image4875684>.
Best clean, cheap and green tip: make sure that all pipes and taps are properly installed so that no water will leak. For the toilet you may check this by adding a few drops of coloring liquid to the water in the cistern used for flushing. This will make leaking water in the toilet bowl clearly visible. A small leak may lose 36 liters per day. Larger leaks may cause a loss of as much as 96,000 liters per year ("Water in Huis"). Drinking water in the Netherlands costs between 1.21 and 2.10 Euros per cubic meter (= 1,000 liters). By preventing or repairing one large leak you may therefore save as much as 200 Euros per year ("Water in Huis"). Just imagine what will happen if all Dutch (16 million) limit their water consumption by running their taps for one minute less a day; we will save almost a quarter of a billion liters of water… every day. You don’t have to be a ‘tree hugger’ to be aware of your water consumption levels - simply think of your own bills. Save money directly by not wasting a lot of water – and save the environment too!
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