Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Buckets of Water

Two years ago, I volunteered a lot of my time at my son's school with the PTA Environmental Committee (aka Green Team).  My first big volunteer opportunity was for the Fall was then that I became a master at asking for and receiving donations.  During that time, I spent a lot of time with another volunteer-- Barbara-- that like me was always trying to make simple changes in the things that she did to lessen her (negative) impact on the environment.  One day, she went on about how "all the buckets of water" around her house drove her husband nuts.  I, honestly, didn't really know what she was talking about... buckets?  Really?!  And... I was too embarrassed to ask (why??  I'm not sure)... so I just shook my head in agreement like I got it.

This I knew:  The Earth is covered with water, but out of all that water only 1% is fresh usable water and every bit of water that is on the Earth today... has ALWAYS been here... 

I am humbled by water as it is the ultimate in reuse.

Needless to say, I spent a week trying to figure out what in the world she was talking about...

I was bound and determined to "get" it.  SO... every time I used water I thought... "Buckets??  Why would she have buckets??"  Of course, there's the shower thing... but we turn on the water when we get in (don't have to let it heat up... it's already heated :) ).  SO... I thought and I thought.  Then the simplest of thoughts came to me, 

"Where can I save water?  What water doesn't have to go down the drain?  How do *I* use water more wisely??"

And with those thoughts... all of these ideas rushed to me about being a conscious water user and moving beyond just turning off the tap while brushing my teeth or washing dishes.

Every bit of water that goes down the drain goes to a water facility where it's treated and cleaned for reuse.  (On that note, everything we put down the drain by flushing or garbage disposal that can be removed is done so at the water treatment facility and sent to the landfill... save a step and quit flushing stuff or using the garbage disposal.)   

SO...The first thing that I did was stop pouring water from boiling pasta, steaming or shocking veggies down the drain.  It's no secret that nutrients find their way into the water... why not water plants with it or just pour it outside? So I use a sieve or strain my pasta/veggies into a colander set over a bowl... when the water cools... I dump it outside in our bushes, yard, etc. :)  I do the same with drinking water that has sat around, extra coffee... you name it... it finds it's way outside and never down the drain.

So, I don't have buckets of water all around my house, but I do understand why she did.  By not pouring water down the drain... I reuse water to reduce buckets of waste and so much more  :)