The United States Environmental Protection Agency has dedicated September 19-25 as Pollution Prevention Week. They — and us here at Green Living Science — are using this week to celebrate and highlight practices that reduce or prevent pollution from being released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment or disposal.
Tip 1: Reduce your water use
Why Save Water
Did you know that less than 1% of all the water on Earth can be used by people? The rest is salt water (the kind you find in the ocean) or is permanently frozen and we can't drink it, wash with it, or use it to water plants.
As our population grows, more and more people are using up this limited resource. Therefore, it is important that we use our water wisely and not waste it.
Turn off the Tap!
Just by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime, you can save as much as 4 to 8 gallons of water! That could add up to more than 200 gallons a month, enough to fill a huge fish tank that holds 6 small sharks! The same is true when you wash dishes. Turn off the tap! Scrape your dirty dishes into the trash—then put them in the dishwasher (if you have one).
Taking a shower uses much less water than filling up a bathtub. A shower only uses 10 to 25 gallons, while a bath takes up to 70 gallons! If you do take a bath, be sure to plug the drain right away and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub. To save even more water, keep your shower under five minutes long—try timing yourself with a clock next time you hop in!
Fix That Leak!
Fixing a toilet leak is a great way to reduce household water use and boost water conservation. If your toilet has a leak, you could be wasting about 200 gallons of water every day. That would be like flushing your toilet more than 50 times for no reason! Test for leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak!
Beat the Heat!
Watering your yard first thing in the morning is a great first step to water-efficient landscaping. Avoid watering your yard in the middle of the day. Watering when it's hot and sunny is wasteful because most of the water evaporates before the plants have time to drink it.
Who Needs a Hose?
An easy way to save water is to use a bucket and sponge when washing cars and bikes. Washing your bike or car with a bucket and sponge instead of a hose saves a lot of water. A hose can waste 6 gallons per minute if you leave it running, but using a bucket and sponge only uses a few gallons!
Tip 2: Calculate your carbon footprint
Your home, transportation and waste uses all impact your carbon footprint. The EPA has a great calculator you can use to help you calculate your current carbon footprint, and gives suggestions on how to reduce that footprint — and how much of an impact that will make.
To use the calculator you can click HERE.
Tip 3: Plant drought resistant native plants in your yard
One way to help reduce water usage in your yard — and also help the pollinators thrive, and add curb appeal to your house — is to fill your flower bed with drought resistant native plants that are happy to grow right here in the Detroit Area.
These plants need less water, and will thrive with you giving them very little attention. MSU extension has a great and full listing of plants with their sun needs and size of the plants for more information that you can find HERE. Some of our favorites include:
Tip 4: Think before you shop
Before you shop ask yourself a few questions (from this infographic from the EPA)
Do I need it? Will I use it? Do I already own it? Can you borrow it?
How green is it really?
Is it built to last, made from recycled materials, sustainable?
Can you reuse it?
Can you buy it used?
For a full list of items you can do at home, or to identify things you can do at work, see the EPA website HERE.