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A Bucket a Day Helps Hold Global Warming at Bay

2/24/2010 1:01:00 PM

Tags: Dan Chiras, conserving water

A couple years ago, I was speaking at the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education’s annual conference. One of the attendees brought a dozen two-gallon buckets that she handed out to anyone who wanted one. Their purpose? To collect shower water as it heats up, rather than letting the water run down the drain. “The water can be used to water plants or flush toilets,” she said.

Being a water and energy miser, I took one and have been using it religiously for the past two years to flush the toilets at my home in Colorado and at my residence at my educational center (The Evergreen Institute) in Missouri.

Water BucketYou might want to give this a try, too. To flush a toilet with a bucket of water, pour a few quarts into the bowl directly over the opening. Pour quickly. This sends the waste water down the drain. Once the bowl drains, pour a few more quarts gently into the bowl away from the opening. This will fill it once again. It won’t take long until you’ve mastered this technique.

Interestingly, each two gallons I collect saves three gallons of water a day. That’s because I typically get two 1.5-gallon flushes per bucket, saving 3 gallons per day. In a single year, this technique can save 1100 gallons.

The bucket technique also helps you gauge when it’s time to hop in the shower – possibly saving more water. In my house, by the time the bucket is about three-fourths full, the water is hot and ready to go. No guesswork or hand sampling water temperature!

This technique also saves energy. The more water you save, the less energy is required to deliver it to your home – either by your well pump (for those of us who live in the country) or by your local water provider.

So, a bucket a day can really help hold global warming at bay. It’s a small step, but when added to the many other things we can do, can result in huge savings. Why not give it a try?

Above: Collected water can be used to water plants or flush toilets. Istockphoto/Don Nichols

Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .

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2/27/2010 10:28:29 PM
Please, stop with the global warming lies. It does not exist. Global warming believers need to put their efforts into something that matters. It didn't take much for most to believe in this scam. Now that the data has been compromised and the facts are in, why do they still believe?

2/25/2010 5:29:16 PM
Great tip. I live in Los Angeles and I started using a recycled cat litter container for my "shower water". I use the water for my garden and the occasional toilet flush. I also used a container while i had a leaky pipe. I collected the water until I was able to fix the root issue. It felt good to minimize the water waste.

2/25/2010 10:57:34 AM
I know GW is the coolest thing since the wheel, but really? Does every tidbit and tip HAVE to be linked to GW? This tip is amazing in its own right. I am interested in harvesting rainwater and properly using "rain" gardens, so this tip is an exciting addon to what I've been contemplating on starting in my suburban household. The fact that the PTB are re-starting from scratch their findings and tabulations as to GW, shows that the confidence once associated with this "fact" has been seriously compromised. However, conservation for conservations sake (and simply because its the right thing to do), is always smart.

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