Are you ever actively trying to save water?
When you turn on the shower or fill your glass, you probably take for granted the clean water that comes out.
But millions of people around the world aren’t so lucky.
In fact, 3.6 million people – including 1.5 million children – die each year from water-related diseases.
The water crisis “claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns,” according to the United Nations Development Programme.
If we all pitch in, we can help change that.
We’ve compiled a list of steps every traveler can take to reduce water usage and save water.
This list is not just for travelers or for when you are traveling.
This is something you can do everyday at home as well.
You can start right now.
How to save water
Use less water when showering
An average shower goes through 5 or more gallons of water per minute.
Low-flow showerheads make a big difference.
In addition, many single knob tub faucets enable you to pull the knob out for more water or push it in for less.
You have the ability to use a lot less water while showering if you can do this.
Cut Back on Bathing
Consider showering every other day, especially if you’re not working up a sweat each day.
Or, step in and rinse off for just a minute.
Shower yourself at super speed.
You will get the same effect — it won’t be relaxing of course — but you will at least be clean.
When you need to take longer showers, use a shower timer.
Most shower timers run for 5 minutes but you can always flip them over and increase your time when necessary.
It’s an easy way to save water, even for kids.
Also, you can see how long you are showering and work to reduce your time.
Wash your clothes when they are dirty instead of tossing them in the laundry bag after wearing them for a couple of hours.
This is especially true of towels after bathing.
Pack Eco-Friendly Soaps
Bring low-impact soap, laundry detergent, and dish soap to make sure the water you do use isn’t polluted.
Buy this for your home and lessen the impact you make on the environment on an ongoing basis.
Turn Off the Tap While Brushing
Most of us shut off the water at home when we are brushing our teeth, but good habits sometimes fall by the wayside when we are traveling.
image credit: darkpatator
Reuse Cooking Water
When you’re cooking in a hostel, there’s no reason you need a pot of water for your potatoes and another one for your pasta.
Instead, cook the potatoes first and reuse the water for the pasta.
Read the Signs
When you’re hiking, don’t wash your clothes or bathe in fresh water streams unless it’s permitted.
Skip Bottled Water
If tap water is safe to drink, always forgo bottled water in favor of a stainless steel water bottle or glass water bottle.
You can go a step further by installing a filter on your fridge, providing you with fresh, clean water.
You can find most refrigerator filters online or at practically any hardware/appliance shop.
Green Travel Bottled Water
Although water bottles may seem like an unimportant part of traveling green, with the sheer amount of waste produced by bottled water each, even one bottle can make a difference.
So what are the “shades” of green travel with a water bottle?
Green or Pea Green: Buy Bottled Water
Green travelers may not own or want to carry their own reusable bottle on their trip, but they don’t want to buy and waste a new bottle each time.
Thus, a green traveler might buy a bottle of water at the airport, and reuse that same bottle for most or all of their trip, refilling it many times.
Greener or Kelly Green: Bring Bottled Water
A greener traveler is also reluctant to bring her own reusable bottle – she thinks “maybe I’ll lose it, maybe TSA will confiscate it, maybe it won’t look professional.”
So, the greener traveler brings an empty, non-reusable bottle from home.
Then at the end of the trip she can recycle it.
Note that you shouldn’t refill bottled water bottles more than a few times, as it’s not good for your health.
photo credit: aarontait
Greenest or Forest Green: Bring a Reusable Bottle
The greenest travelers bring their own reusable bottle.
If you already own it, any reusable bottle is better for the environment than buying bottled water.
Besides being environmentally friendly, bringing your own bottle of water can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a trip.
If you are concerned about what type of reusable bottle is best for your personal health, next week we will write a comparison post of reusable water bottles.
Teach Children How to Save Water.
An additional tip is to teach children from an early age to save water.
They can easily be taught to turn the water off while brushing their teeth, monitor their time in the shower, and make other easy changes.
They will learn how important it is to save water.
When good habits form early, they can last a lifetime.
Faucet Face contributes to clean drinking water charity
There are some companies who support providing clean water in developing nations.
Faucet Face is a company which offers a program called 1 for 100.
They donate 2.5% of all sales of their glass water bottle sales to a charity, Third Millennium Awakening (TMA), which provides clean drinking water to areas in need.
Faucet Face also donates a complete water filter to a family in India for each sale of five of their glass bottles.
These filters eliminate 90-95% of impurities from water.
The filters are easy to maintain and do not cost anything to use.
Faucet Face – Glass Water Bottles
These glass water bottles from Faucet Face are a great way to promote drinking tap water and to discourage the purchase and consumption of disposable water bottles.
Their creative bottles are made from thick, sturdy glass with BPA-free caps.
They are perfect to take on the go in place of a regular water bottle.
They are also great to leave in the refrigerator for fresh tasting, cold water while at home.
These bottles are 8″ tall and hold 14.4 ounces.
Conserving water is important
Researchers estimate that 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life.
It is hard to believe but sadly true that nearly 1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean, safe drinking water.
In the US, companies used the energy equivalent of 86 million barrels of oil to produce and transport plastic water bottles in 2007 alone. Make a difference.
Take steps to change your habits and actively work to save water.