Energy Diet

We’ve been trying to cut down on bottled water for some time now, but we have to admit it is still a hard nut to crack: We either forget (or lose…) our stainless steel water bottles or we go to a restaurant and are ashamed (or forget) to ask for tap water.

At work we have a water cooler and since the municipal tap water from my work place is not that tasty, I have been drinking from the cooler. I refill my stainless steel bottle though, but I guess it does not count… Luckily enough the current water from the municipality where we live is considered to be the best and healthiest treated water from the country, so at home we only drink from the tap.

We are aware that our efforts in this matter need some polishing, but we have already seen much improvement, since two years ago, for example, we would not even think about the action of purchasing a plastic bottle, drinking it in 40 seconds and throwing it away.

To understand what’s behind all this, watch this video. Some of you have certainly heard from Annie Leonard and her Story of Stuff project. In a simple animation film, she goes through all the Stuff’s stages: extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. Basically she explains where it comes from, what it takes to make it, where it goes when we dispose of it.

So, everytime I get in a forget-my-bottle-phase, I watch this video and try to figure out ways to reuse those plastic bottles. I started collecting them to do something like this or this, but I have been procrastinating on the matter… (see below).

What I did though was to put a full 1-L plastic bottle inside each toilet (we have two). Tip: It does not work with toilets with interior water tanks, unless you break through the concrete…. This way, each time we flush, we’re saving 1 liter water. That, combined with the dual flush system we’ve got, is the perfect way to save water in the toilet. 

Oh well, it was about time we got something right!!

We have a huge balcony and half a dozen plants and herbs’ vases. I’ve been planning a balcony garden for what seems like forever, but so far I’ve only managed to grow parsley, coriander, chives and a resilient chili tree which is getting through its third summer (wow!).

Last winter I managed to water my few plants with the water generated by our dehumidifier (not so eco-friendly, but very useful in a 100% humid home like ours…) and we even put, even though accidentally, an empty barrel outside with the purpose of collecting rainwater. It worked, but after the “rain season” the rainwater on the barrel originated a strange ecosystem of its own and we had to throw it away…

There is also another possibility, which is to water plants with greywater (water from your shower, dish washing, hand washing…).

But there are plenty other ways to save water, at least 111 ways!

Here are some of our favorites:
-“Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.” (I’ve heard this one before!)
-“Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.” (I had never though about it before, but it makes sense… if we had a lawn…)
-“Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.” (Smart…)
-“If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.” (Oh dear…)
-“Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.” (Noted!)
-“Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.” (Where? Where?)

And the old time favorite: Have a bath* with someone you love. It´s fun, sexy and saves water!

* Excuse me! You mean a shower, right?


  1. Chad Lipton
    June 21, 2011, 10:29 am

    Regarding your tip about the showerhead: Consider installing a low flow showerhead. Standard showerheads provide 2.5 gallons per minute (that would fill a one gallon bucket in 24 seconds). Low flow units use 1.75 or 1.5 gallons per minute. Generally, the water pressure is the same or more. It’s only the total amount of water that is reduced.

    Great idea/picture for saving toilet water. Here is an innovative idea that is similar to yours:

    Here are some more water tips: