Let's Stop Running Water While We Brush Our Teeth

Posted on March 08, 2022

Sus Sec April Website

Ask anyone in the South why their water bill increases during the Summer, and they’ll probably attribute it to watering their lawn. Well, they aren’t wrong, but the extra water needed for landscaping exacerbates an already present problem. Think about it, how many of your daily tasks call for water? Washing dishes, washing laundry, taking a shower or bath, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and using the bathroom just to name a few. So, yes, we need to be mindful of how much water we use during the Summer, but we also need to be more sustainable with our water usage habits in our daily lives year-round.

How does using water increase global CO2 emissions?

Water usage accounts for 6% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. Annually, U.S. residents produce 320 million tons of CO2 from the energy needed to move, treat, and use water. A majority of this energy comes from water heaters and other appliances like washing machines which account for 529 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year in the U.S. Your kitchen sink is a sneaky culprit of water-related energy usage, particularly if you use a gas-boiler water heater. Leaving the kitchen sink running leads to a whopping 346 pounds of CO2 emissions every year. All of these things add up.

What habits can we adopt to be more sustainable water users?

You might think that running a dish washer is more energy demanding than hand washing dishes, but that actually isn’t the case. Dishwashers have been found to use less water and less energy than hand washing dishes. It is estimated that dishwashers could reduce emissions by up to 72% compared to hand washing.

Although most of the energy needs associated with washing clothes comes from drying them, washing clothes in cold water can be considerably more energy efficient than using hot water. Washing a load of laundry at 140 °F produces about 7.25 pounds of CO2 compared to only 1.32 pounds of CO2 produced by washing a load of laundry at 86°F.

Do you draw a bath regularly? If so, this is another opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint. By replacing a daily bath with a three-minute shower you could cut out 460 pounds of CO2 per year. To reduce CO2 emissions even more, replace your old shower head with one that uses less water. Keeping your time under the water in the shower limited will also help reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of shaving in the shower, run a small basin of water and use that to shave instead.

We can all make efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. Start by adopting one of these habits into your everyday life. You don’t have to make a drastic change today and adopt everything that you just read – but it would be great if you did! Turn the knob on the clothes washer to “cold”. Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth. Take a shorter shower with water that’s a little cooler than you might normally use. If every one of us adopts one of these habits, the combined effect would be incredible for our environment. Try to adopt one of these habits over the next month and join us again in May to learn another habit that can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Read the full article “The Hidden Impact of Your Daily Water Use” by Christine Ro at https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200326-the-hidden-impact-of-your-daily-water-use