Reducing Water Waste In The Kitchen: Tips For Sustainable Living

Do you care about how your home impacts the environment? We all contribute to the nation’s carbon footprint through the way we use water, especially in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are some easy changes you can make in your kitchen to make it more environmentally friendly and efficient so that you waste less water.

Even though many people believe that sustainable living is expensive and requires costly changes, the reality is that small actions can make a massive difference in the long run. Sustainable living also starts with eco-friendly habits.

We have compiled a few tips to help you foster an eco-friendly environment in your kitchen and live sustainably. We start by providing a few statistics that show the state of freshwater today. The article then looks at why we need to conserve water. Finally, we present the practical tips you can take to ensure that you play your part in conserving water.

Some Quick Statistics

People living in areas where clean water is scarce understand its importance. However, most of us still take clean drinking water for granted.

Here are some numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO) that could give you an idea of the dire water situation faced by others:

  • 785 million people don’t have access to a basic drinking water service; among them are 144 million people that rely on surface water.
  • Across the world, 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces.
  • Drinking contaminated water kills 485,000 people every year.
  • By 2025, 50% of the world population will be living in water-stressed areas.
  • 22% of health care facilities in the least developed parts of the world do not have water services.

Why Use Water Efficiently

There is no substitute for water. Our planet is unique and, more importantly, habitable because of it.

Globally, water scarcity has become a top concern for many homeowners trying to conserve water and reduce unnecessary consumption. There has been much talk about reducing one’s carbon footprint as part of a green lifestyle. Therefore, whether or not there is a water shortage, it’s important to conserve water for a sustainable lifestyle.  

Additionally, by saving water, you’ll save money on utility bills and energy costs. This is a reality acknowledged by the US Department of Energy’s Energystar.gov, which says, “Using water-saving techniques can save you money and diverts less water from our rivers, bays, and estuaries, which helps keep the environment healthy.”

Energystar.gov also notes that “It can also reduce water and wastewater treatment costs and the amount of energy used to treat, pump, and heat water.” The site adds, “This lowers energy demand, which helps prevent air pollution.”

If you use a septic system, conserving water could help you extend the life of the system. Even if the municipal system services you, saving water ensures that the system is not overloaded. Where overloaded, the system can burst and spew water with sewage into roads and nearby yards.

Now that we know why we need to save water, let’s look at specific actions to save water and live sustainably.

Fix Leaks

Leaks from households, namely leaks from valves, pipes, faucets, and plumbing fixtures, are some of the biggest sources of water wastage. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide.”

EPA.gov estimates that an average home can lose almost 10,000 gallons of water a year due to leaks. The agency adds that one in every ten homes has a leak that wastes 90 or more gallons of water per day. Therefore, do not ignore a dripping faucet.  

But how do I know that there is a leak in my home? EPA.gov has some ideas.

  • Keep track of how much water your family uses every month. If there is a sudden increase, or a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons during a cold month, there is a leak.
  • Check your water meter before and after two hours of no water usage. If the numbers change, you may have a leak.
  • Dry the sink or bathtub thoroughly and leave then for an hour. If you see any water in the sink or tub, then there is a leak.

Install Water-Efficient Products

One of the easiest ways to save both water and energy is to install water-efficient products. Undermount sinks save water with their extra deep bowl that allows you to soak and wash dishes and glasses simultaneously.

Find stainless steel undermount sinks that are eco-friendly and promote environmental sustainability.

Add a low-flow faucet or simpler aerator to your kitchen sink; it will help you consume less water. Low-flow faucets with motion sensors are the preferred solution nowadays. Even though they are sophisticated, they are actually affordable, make life simpler, and help to decrease the amount of water you use.

Use Dishes Sparingly

Most of the water used in the kitchen goes to washing dishes. Using dishes sparingly can help you save the amount of water you use to wash them.

The Green Action Center, an organization that highlights green commuting, composting, and waste reduction for sustainable living and resource conservation, has some tips on how to save water. The organization notes that using more dishes implies more washing, which needs more time, and extra water.

One of the best examples of saving water by using dishes sparingly is to have one glass dedicated to drinking water throughout the day. Let’s say you drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day, and you use a fresh glass every time. In that case, you will use eight glasses a day. A family of four will use 32 glasses. However, if you have a dedicated glass, each person only uses one glass per day.

Use a Dishwasher

A study conducted by the University of Bonn in Germany compared the amount of water used to wash 144 items using either a dishwasher or hands. Results showed that it took 13 liters of water to wash the dishes by machine and 100 liters by hand.  

When washing dishes, Consumerreports.org suggests that you do not pre-rinse them. Instead, scrape the food off before placing the dishes in the machine. The same source also suggests that you should only run the machine when it is full whenever possible.

Consumerreports.org also advises that “Energy Star dishwashers are about 15 percent more water-efficient than standard models.” They also come with the added advantage of not making too much noise.

Rinse Produce in a Large Bowl

Most people rinse their vegetables with the faucet running. Even though faucets come in different sizes, an average faucet can allow between one and three gallons of water to flow per minute.

You can save considerable amounts of water by using a large bowl of water to peel and rinse all your fresh produce when cooking. When you are done cooking, you can use the water in the garden.

Refrigerate Drinking Water

How often do you allow the water to flow until it’s cool enough to drink? If indeed, your faucet allows between one and three gallons per minute, you could be wasting a lot of water by doing this. You can save water by keeping your drinking water in the refrigerator so that it’s always at the right temperature for drinking.  

Use Waste Water

Most of the water we throw away after using it only once can often be used again. For example, water drained from cooking pasta or rice can be used for watering plants either indoors or outdoors.

You can cook several things with the same water. For example, the water you use to boil an egg can be stored and later used when boiling potatoes, and vice versa.

Even though the water we use for washing the dishes may be mixed with oils and detergents and therefore not suitable for use in the garden, the sustainability platform Reset.org suggests that “with proper filtering and treatment it can be highly beneficial for crops.”  

Get Everybody Involved

It’s crucial to ensure that everyone is reading from the same page when it comes to saving water in the kitchen. Hence, it’s important to encourage children to save water. This will teach them the general importance of sustainability.  

Take a Holistic View to Sustainable Living

The key to sustainable living is living a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle that benefits ourselves and the environment. This implies avoiding products that are manufactured with materials that do not support sustainability. Also, you should make conscious choices about your consumption.

The key to sustainable living is living a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle that benefits ourselves and the environment. This implies avoiding products that are manufactured with materials that do not support sustainability. Also, you should make conscious choices about your consumption.

It wouldn’t be very helpful to conserve water in your kitchen but still not be environmentally friendly in other parts of your life.

Sustainable Living Tips

Here are some more tips to ensure that you take a holistic perspective to sustainable living.

  • Reusable bags are an easy way to reduce the number of plastic grocery bags disposed of in landfills.
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products instead of harsh, chemical-laden products. In your pantry, you might have baking soda, distilled white vinegar, lemon juice, or castile soap (plant-based).
  • Cutlery and chopping blocks are essential kitchen items, so why not buy an eco-friendly one? In contrast to plastic cutting boards or mats, a wooden cutting board makes a beautiful addition to a kitchen.
  • The plastic utensils and Styrofoam bowls, plates, and cups can be put aside. Make sure your cabinets are stocked with recycled glass cups and ceramic or metal plates and bowls. The wooden cooking and serving utensils in your kitchen will add charm. They are just as good as their plastic counterparts but look much better.
  • It may be true that plastic containers conveniently store dry or raw foods, but consider switching to eco-friendly containers instead. Seek out silicon, glass, or metal products.
  • Having reusable and sustainable items in your kitchen repertoire will result in waste reduction. You can reduce this waste amount even further by composting your organic kitchen scraps, which will turn into nutrient-rich soil.

Conclusion

You can save a lot of the water you usually use by replacing outdated faucet aerators with new ones, taking care of leaks, running the dishwasher only when it’s full, and reusing your kitchen water. Conserving water in this way is one of the most cost-effective methods. With improving technology, you can surely find the perfect kitchen sink, whether installing a new sink or replacing an old one because you are trying to conserve water.

It’s important to remember that small affordable everyday steps can help you save water. Even though it may be hard to remember to save water initially, it becomes a habit over time.

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