One of the things Tom and I decided to rethink about our current life (here) is our effort toward sustainable living. As renters, in fact, we've always put off some greener choices that require major investment, like solar panels, until we owned a house. This summer we traveled extensively, and had the chance to see a number of green solutions that people in other parts of the world employ. In the process, we began to see how limited our thinking had been.
In fact, there are countless little things we can do right now, even in our "temporary" home (where we've been for over a decade!), to reduce our family's environmental impact. We started by reviewing our water management, inspired by some of Tom's relatives, who are the greenest family we know.
We've always been careful about not wasting water, by using the water we wash our fruit and vegetables with to water plants, and by catching the excess water in a cooking pot while running it to the right temperature for washing dishes. But what about the water we run before taking a shower?
About 3½ liters of water runs out before our shower reaches a comfortable warmth. With five of us showering, that means about 17½ liters of water wasted. That's a lot of wasted tap water.
So, we got a large jug (with a nice spout for easy pouring, which is an important feature since the full jug is pretty heavy). We leave it in our tub, and use it to catch that pre-shower water. Once it's full, it goes here:
(I never thought I'd post a photo of our toilet!)
We use it to flush the toilet, instead of using the water in the tank. One small step, and with no effort we save up to 17½ liters of water each day. And just as important, doing this little chore works like a reminder to all of us, of the many other small steps towards sustainability that we can take, right now. Rental home or no rental home, it's time for us to start thinking greener.