Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

5 Ways to Save Water While on the Can

Here I sit, broken-hearted, because we’re using up too much of our supply of clean water unnecessarily.

One of the worst offenders is the way in which most of us flush away our bodily waste. We take for granted the convenience of pulling a little lever and having gallons of clear, crisp, drinkable water transport our leavings far away.

But consider this: clean water requires huge amounts of energy to be chemically treated and pumped into our homes; it uses up groundwater, which puts stress on woodlands and causes damage to wildlife habitats in wetlands and rivers; and although it may seem abundant, many regions will need to keep a substantial supply on hand to stave off water shortages and summer water rationing.

This precious resource is literally going down the crapper.

Here are some facts about water usage, from Water: Use Less—Save More by Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert:

  • Over a quarter of all the clean, drinkable water you use in your home is used to flush the toilets.
  • Older toilets can use 3 gallons of clean water with every flush, while new toilets use as little as 1 gallon.
  • Many people in the world exist on 3 gallons of water day or less. We can use that amount in one flush of the toilet.

Here are 5 steps you can take to reduce your water usage (also excerpted from Water):

1. Remember the rhyme: “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” You will save a lot of water!
2. If you have an old toilet, you can reduce the amount of water it uses by putting a “displacement device” in the tank. Use small plastic bottles filled with water or a displacement bag designed for toilet tanks. Displacement bags may be available free from your local water department or can be purchased from a hardware store.
3. Avoid flushing anything down the toilet that has not previously passed though your digestive system, apart from toilet paper – it’s a waste of water and might block the sewer. Bag it and bin it.
4. Choose a slimline toilet rather than a full-size toilet; they use a lot less water per flush.
5. When you are buying a new toilet, look for a dual-flush toilet, or a low-flush toilet, which uses only 1.6 gallons per flush.


The Future Is Hopeless, So Give it Your All

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Carbon farming alone is not enough to avoid catastrophic climate change, but coupled with new economic priorities, a massive switch to clean energy, and big changes to much of the rest of the way our societies work, it offers a pathway out of destruction and a route to hope.Along the way carbon farming can also […] Read More

Welcome to the Lyme Wars

Lyme disease infects a minimum of 300,000 people per year in the United States and millions more throughout the rest of the world. Symptoms run from mild lethargy to severe arthritis to heart disease to incapacitating mental dysfunction. Although tests have improved over the past decade, they are still not completely reliable, and antibiotics are […] Read More

Look Under Your Feet for Global Soil-utions

For several years, Chelsea Green has been publishing books that look under our feet for solutions to some of the most vexing problems facing the planet – hunger, drought, degraded farmland and grasslands, damaged waterways, and much more. Those books focus on (mostly) one thing: Soil.  In 2016, we’ve published two more important books that […] Read More

Feed Bees Biodynamically with Bee Tea

In this excerpt from An Unlikely Vineyard, Deirdre Heekin offers tips on how to biodynamically care for bees – just as they do everything else on the farm. Here, she provides a recipe for “bee tea” which is useful when feeding bees between winter and spring, when a hive has been robbed, or when starting […] Read More
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