Save Water in 2020

Save Water in 2020

Now that we’re over a month into the New Year – are you sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions? While eating healthy, hitting the gym, and losing those holiday pounds are often high on the resolution list – it’s important to remember the importance of saving water. Did you resolve to save more water this year?

If you’re looking for helpful tips and ideas to save water, you’ve come to the right place. WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created an excellent resource to help you stay on track.

January

  • Take the “I’m for Water” pledge and commit to saving water throughout the year. If you’re just starting now, don’t worry! You can take the pledge any time.
  • Learn about how you can reduce water usage by first getting to know your water bill. Are you currently using too much?

February

  • Look into purchasing WaterSense labeled fixtures for your bathroom and kitchen.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and try reducing your shower time to save even more water.

March

  • Celebrate ‘Fix a Leak Week’ by checking pipes throughout the inside and outside of your house for leaks. Make sure no water is dripping in shower or drain pipes – if it is – be sure to remedy with pipe tape.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is used. Did it change?

April

  • Celebrate Earth Day! Lay mulch around your flowers and plants to prevent evaporation after watering.
  • Only water your lawn when needed.

May

  • April showers bring May flowers! If you’re concerned about keeping your grass and landscaping lush, be sure to check your watering system to ensure no water is being wasted.
  • Do you have an irrigation system? Look for an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program to help maximize efficiency.

June

  • Look for rebates should you choose to install WaterSense labeled solutions in your home.

July

  • With high summer temperatures, avoid watering your lawn and plants in the middle of the day. This will reduce quick evaporation of water.

August

  • Happy World Water Week! Celebrate by committing to wash your clothes only if you have a full load.

September

  • Calculate how much you can save by using WaterSense labeled products in your home.
  • Thinking about adding new landscaping to your yard this fall? Research native plants that don’t require a lot of water to survive.

October

  • During Energy Action Month, swap out any inefficient showerheads with ones that release fewer gallons of water per minute.

November

  • Check your toilet for leaks.
  • Consider getting a new WaterSense labeled toilet to reduce water usage by up to 60 percent.

December

  • Be sure to scrape leftover food from your plate into the trash to avoid wasting water rinsing dishes off.
  • Get an early start on your 2021 resolutions and take the I’m For Water pledge again!

Are you up for the challenge this year? Making small changes each month can truly make a difference. Help save water this year and every year by committing to using and wasting less today!

The End of Plastic Pollution?

The End of Plastic Pollution?

Earth Day 2018 marked its 47th anniversary on April 22 and the organization has declared this year’s theme as ‘Help end plastic pollution’.

It’s unimaginable to think how our lives would be without plastic. Plastics are so ubiquitous that we completely rely on its convenience, comfort, safety, low cost, and the multiple uses in thousands of products in our daily lives.

Flexible, resilient, lightweight, and strong, approximately a third of plastic used today is in packaging. Roughly the same amount is used in building materials such as plumbing, piping, carpeting, and vinyl. Other uses of plastic include automobiles, furniture, toys, and lifesaving medical supplies and devices. The plastics used in bottles and wrappers allow us to take food and drinks with us anywhere.

In a nutshell, plastics are indispensable and are widely used in our homes, offices, and industry every day.

But where does all this plastic eventually end up?

Bottle trash in oceanSome of it can be recycled. Quite a bit ends up in the trash and landfills. And more than you can imagine ends up loose as plastic pollution, eventually making its way into our waterways. There are millions of tons of debris floating around in the water—and most of it is plastic. It is estimated that up to 80% of marine trash and plastic actually originates on land—either swept in from the coastline or carried to rivers from the streets during heavy rain via storm drains and sewer overflows.

Therein lies the Earth Day challenge to help end plastic pollution.

Plastic, because it’s nonbiodegradable, can be around for up to 1,000 years or possibly even indefinitely, as compared to other forms of trash. Different kinds of plastic degrade at different times, but the average time for a plastic bottle to completely biodegrade is at least 450 years.

Consider the lifespan of these typical plastic products before they naturally biodegrade:

  • Plastic water bottle – 450 years
  • Disposable diapers – 500 years
  • Six pack plastic rings – 600 years
  • Styrofoam cups – 50 years
  • Plastic grocery bags – 10 to 20 years
  • Extruded polystyrene foam – over 5,000 years!

Our lives without plastic use is not going away anytime soon.  But there are many small (although important) things we can do right now to protect our waterways and help end plastic pollution. The most obvious is to try to keep as much plastic as possible out of the waste stream in the first place.

These simple behavioral changes can have an impact:

Stop buying bottled water

Glass of waterDrink from reusable containers and fill with tap water. Consider that close to 50 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash each year and only 23% are recycled!1   If that isn’t’ enough to convince you to stop buying ‘disposable’ water bottles, a recent study by ORB Media, did testing of 259 plastic water bottles from nine counties that revealed microplastic particles in the water from 242 of the bottles.

Recycle more

Recycling seems obvious, but we can do so much better!  According to The National Geographic, an astounding 91% of plastic is not recycled.3

recycle

The benefits of recycling is equally astounding. Not only does recycling reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, but it prevents (air and water) pollution, saves energy and money, creates jobs, and has a tremendous positive impact on the environment.1

To find our more on the specifics of recycling in your area, check out Earth911.org’s recycling directory.

Stop using disposable plastics

Ninety percent of disposable plastic in our daily lives are used once and then thrown out—grocery bags, food wrappers, plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws, coffee-cup lids, etc. In the United States alone, approximately 102.1 billion plastic bags are used every year.2   Start reducing waste by bringing your own bags to the store, silverware to the office, or travel mug to Starbucks.

Buy in bulk

Bulk produce

Single-serving yogurts, travel-size toiletries, packages of snack food—all these items of convenience not only cost more but produce more trash than purchasing larger containers. Consider buying in bulk and in larger packages, then portioning out into smaller reusable containers.

Switch from disposable diapers to cloth

The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. 1 Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.

Cook more and pack your lunch

VegatablesNot only healthier for you, cooking at home helps reduce the endless surplus of plastic packaging – take out containers, food wrappers, bottles, and eating utensils. Choose fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items with less packaging…and pack your leftovers or lunch in reusable containers and bags.

People around the world will celebrate Earth Day April 22.  However, the challenge to help end plastic pollution can’t be a one-day event.  Rather, we should strive to create a culture of environmental stewardship and make significant changes in our daily lives to reduce, recycle, and reuse our dependency on plastic.

We can start today!

 

1 www.epa.gov

2 www.thebalance

3 www.news.nationalgeographic.com

Earth Day 2017

earth-day-2017Earth Day is celebrated by over one billion people globally on April 22 each year. Credited as being the catalyst for the modern environmental movement, Earth Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1970. The Clean Air Act was passed later in 1970, the Clean Water Act in 1972, and the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Earth Day went global in 1990, and has since become the world’s largest global observance, celebrated in over 192 countries.

T&H employee-owners participated in the 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup in 2016, and we will again be participating in 2017.

Earth Day serves as a reminder for all of us to make small changes in our daily lives to improve our environment. Whether eliminating disposable cup usage or practicing water conservation, simple changes can make a huge impact when implemented on a global scale. At Tata & Howard, we do our part by having a dedicated Green Committee that is focused on making our offices as environmentally friendly as possible through small changes, such as eliminating disposable flatware and cups and providing reusable water bottles to all employee-owners. We also actively participate in environmental events such as the Charles River Cleanup in Boston, MA, taking place this year on April 29.

Earth Day is also an opportune time to reflect on the impact of our work. Here at Tata & Howard, improving our environment is an integral part of virtually everything we do. Tata & Howard was founded in 1992 as a water engineering consulting firm, and providing innovative solutions for water supply, treatment, and distribution has been a primary focus since that time. Over the years, sustainability has also become of key importance, ensuring that our local communities have a safe, clean water supply for generations to come.

wastewater-treatment-plant
The design of the Canaan, VT/Stewartstown, NH wastewater treatment plant includes several green features.

In 1997, we started providing wastewater engineering consulting services as well. Since that time, wastewater treatment has changed and improved to the point that wastewater has even been utilized for direct potable reuse. Energy efficiency and sustainability in wastewater treatment operations are now paramount, as are green energy solutions. We are committed to incorporating options that are both efficient and environmentally friendly, as well as being cost-effective. We recently completed a wastewater treatment plant upgrade project in Vermont that included several green and sustainable features, including VFDs and solar panels, and the project won an ACEC/VT Excellence in Engineering Merit Award earlier this year.

T&H provides UST removal services.

In 2011, we added an environmental services division to Tata & Howard and have since worked on countless projects solely aimed at cleaning up our environment. In implementing these response actions, we also strive to eliminate or reduce total energy use, air pollutant emissions, greenhouse gases, water use, materials consumption, and ecosystem and water resources impacts. These projects include VOC removal, in-situ soil and groundwater treatment, offsite soil recycling and reuse, brownfield remediation, and underground storage tank (UST) closure and removal. Our remedial actions at these properties remove toxins from our soil and water, eliminate toxic vapors from affecting indoor air quality, and help to make our world a safer, greener place. We also provide stormwater services, including NPDES MS4 permit compliance as well as Low Impact Development and Best Management Practices. All our stormwater services help to reduce the harmful impact that stormwater runoff has on the environment.

Earth Day is the perfect time to assess the impact of our personal habits on the environment, as it is also a time to think about the value of our profession. As our business continues to grow, we will enhance our capabilities with services that improve our environment and increase sustainability. At Tata & Howard, every day is Earth Day, and we are proud of the work that we do to protect our natural world.

Happy Earth Day!

Tata & Howard Participates in 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup

Tata & Howard Participates in 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup

 

On April 30, 2016, T&H employee owners participated in the 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup
On April 30, 2016, T&H employee owners participated in the 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup

MArLBOROUGH, MA, MAY 4, 2016Tata & Howard participated in the 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup on Saturday, April 30. The event drew over 3,000 volunteers who helped pick up trash, remove invasive species, and assist with park maintenance. Tata & Howard team members were assigned to remove trash from the Dedham section of the riverbank.

“We were thrilled to be a part of the Charles River Cleanup,” said Karen Gracey, P.E., Vice President of Tata & Howard, who also participated in the event. “As an environmental engineering firm, one of Tata & Howard’s primary objectives is clean water. Volunteering at the Charles River — enjoyed by many of us at Tata & Howard as an area of prime recreation — directly enhances that effort.”

The Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup, organized through the Charles River Watershed Association, is part of the American Rivers’ National River Cleanup, a nationwide annual event focused on removing trash from America’s waterways. Originally launched in 1991, National River Cleanup has grown astronomically and now encompasses over 6,000 cleanups involving over 1.3 million volunteers nationwide. Since the inception of National River Cleanup, over 20 million pounds of trash and debris have been removed from America’s rivers.

“We are proud to be part of a national community that actively participates in bettering our environment, and we look forward to participating in additional river cleanups in the future,” added Gracey.

For more information on the National River Cleanup or to find a local cleanup, visit www.americanrivers.org.

Earth Day 2016 — 10 Simple Steps to Improve the Environment

earth_day_2016Earth Day, which falls on April 22 each year, is celebrated globally by over one billion people and is largely credited with being the catalyst for the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States in 1970, and was quickly followed by passage of the Clean Air Act later in 1970, the Clean Water Act in 1972, and the Endangered Species Act in 1973. In 1990, Earth Day expanded to a global level, being celebrated in 141 countries and bringing environmental issues to the forefront of the global scene. Earth Day has since become the world’s largest global observance.

While Earth Day boasts some impressive statistics, simple changes are still the easiest and most effective way to practice environmentalism in our daily lives. If all one billion people who celebrate Earth Day were to implement just one small change, the cumulative effect would be monumental. At Tata & Howard, we are big believers in continuously improving our personal habits in support of the environment, in the form of small steps. For example, this year we expanded our recycling efforts to include comprehensive, single stream recycling, and we replaced the corporate office’s Keurig with an environmentally-friendly Bean2Cup brewer. So in celebration of Earth Day, we’ve compiled 10 simple steps to improve our environment that we can all easily implement in our daily lives:

Plastic pollution has become epidemic
Plastic pollution has become epidemic

1. Eliminate the use of paper plates and plastic utensils
Paper plates are made from virgin wood, contributing to deforestation, and are manufactured by paper mills that use toxic chemicals that can contaminate waterways. Speaking of water, did you know that it takes half a gallon of water to produce ONE 10-inch, medium-weight dinner plate? And plastic utensils are no better. Plastic cutlery requires petroleum and chemicals to produce, fossil fuels to transport, and is typically made from non-recyclable plastic.

2. Use a refillable water bottle — and fill it with tap water!
Most families toss almost 90 pounds of plastic in the trash every year, and plastic takes about 500 years to biodegrade. An abysmal one in seven plastic bottles is recycled, contributing heavily to the world’s plastic pollution problem. In addition, bottled water is hardly any better than tap water in terms of quality and safety. Bottled water costs more per gallon than gasoline, even though it is very frequently just tap water with some extra minerals thrown in for taste. Drinking tap water from a refillable water bottle is smart not only for the environment, but also for your health — and your wallet.

3. Choose reusable over disposable
As mentioned, paper and plastic both have a significantly negative impact on the environment. Instead, bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store, use cloth napkins instead of paper, replace paper towels with microfiber cloths, and choose cloth diapers for baby.

leaky_faucet4. Repair leaky faucets and toilets
Leaky toilets can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day — or the equivalent usage of an entire family of four — and leaking faucets can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per year. Repairing these leaks will help save our world’s most precious resource, and will also lower your water bill.

5. Collect rainwater for use in gardens
Collecting rainwater is easy with a rain barrel, which catches stormwater runoff from rooftops. This collected water can be used later to water lawns, gardens, and flower beds. Rain barrels come in a variety of styles and colors, and can make a beautiful addition to your landscaping while helping to protect the environment.

6. Turn off and unplug all electronics when not in use
Computers, cell phones, printers, video gaming consoles, tablets, wearable fitness trackers — these all depend on electricity, and are often left plugged in and running, even when not in use. Completely shutting down and unplugging these devices when not in use will help to reduce your carbon footprint — and your electric bill.

7. Buy only fair-trade, sustainable coffee
Traditionally grown coffee is an environmental nightmare: it is one of the largest contributors to the decimation of our world’s rainforests, is the second-most pesticide laden food crop (second only to tobacco), and is often dependent on unfair labor practices. By choosing fair trade, eco-certified coffee, you are assuring that the coffee you are drinking is both environmentally friendly and humane. Not one to brew your own joe? Bring a reusable mug when visiting your local coffee shop.

white_clover_groundcover
White clover is hardy, disease-resistant, and stays green even during moderate drought

8. Green up your lawn
No, not with fertilizer — with ground cover! Outdoor watering accounts for over 30% of household water usage in the United States, and planting ground cover can reduce that outdoor water usage as much as 50%. Ground cover does not require supplemental watering, remains green even during times of moderate drought, and helps prevent soil compaction. In the northeast, white clover is a pretty and popular choice.

9. Start a compost pile
Composting our vegetable and lawn scraps helps the environment in many ways. Organic waste in landfills is typically covered by trash and is therefore forced to decay in an airless state. This anaerobic decay produces methane gas, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Therefore, composting our vegetable and lawn scraps helps to minimize the effect that landfills have on climate change while also reducing the speed at which landfills are, well…filled. Also, compost helps to feed and improve the soil, minimizing the need for chemical fertilizers.

safer choice10. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products 
Traditional cleaning products rely heavily on synthetic chemicals, which are now understood to be dangerous to both the environment and our health. This year, EPA launched an initiative called Safer Choice to help individuals and businesses choose more environmentally friendly products. Safer cleaning products for every type of use, from stainless steel to carpet to laundry to dish soap, can be found on EPA’s Safer Choice website.

These are just a few ways in which we can do our part to green up the environment and to reduce our carbon footprint. This Earth Day, let’s all vow to make a few simple, small changes to improve the environment in which we all live. While one person changing one habit may be seemingly insignificant, one billion people changing that same one habit would have an unprecedented impact on the health of our world. Happy Earth Day!

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Earth Day 2015 — Small Steps Bring Big Change [INFOGRAPHIC]

Today is Earth Day 2015, and a good time to reflect on our consumption and waste. While it’s important to modify our personal habits, it is equally important to revise habits in the workplace. In our work as an environmental engineering firm, Tata & Howard constantly aims to incorporate sustainable initiatives and green technology into our design and services. And, because we believe that the long-term success of environmental activism will require small but significant changes from the majority of people, we also incorporate green initiatives in our day-to-day office activities.

disposable_coffee_cupsIn years past, we have instituted paper, battery, and toner recycling programs, and we have eliminated disposable water bottles by installing plumbed water coolers that utilize public water. This year, we elected to eliminate disposable cutlery and drinkware from our offices in an effort to reduce our collective carbon footprint. In addition, all employees are encouraged to swap out disposable coffee-to-go cups for reusable tumblers when visiting our beloved Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.

First, let’s look at some fast facts on disposable coffee cups:

  • Hot paper and Styrofoam cups used at places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are not recyclable.
  • We throw away 58 billion cups per year.
  • It takes 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water to produce the materials for the cups.
*Data taken from a 2006 study. In 2010, 23 billion paper coffee cups were used. *Data taken from a 2006 study. In 2010, 23 billion paper coffee cups were used.
*Infographic data taken from a 2006 study. In 2010, 23 billion paper coffee cups were used.

And that’s just cups. Add to that the billions of plastic utensils and, well…you get the point. In fact, Americans toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times. So, in celebration of Earth Day 2015, we whisked away all disposable drinkware and utensils, and asked employees to bring in their own reusable drink glass, coffee mug, and personal set of silverware for in-office use. Don’t worry: employees who forget their cutlery or drinkware on a given day won’t be out of luck — but they will be out $1.00, which is what it will cost them to “buy” a disposable fork or cup. All monies collected in this way will be donated to Trees, Water & People, whose mission is to improve people’s lives by helping communities protect, conserve, and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. Believe it or not, $1.00 is enough to plant ten trees! To encourage full participation, Tata & Howard is offering a prize for the most creative mug or glass, and the winner will be announced on Friday afternoon, April 24.

Brooke Cotta, Marlborough's Green Ambassador, stands by the water cooler with her reusable dinnerware
Engineer Brooke Cotta, Marlborough’s Green Ambassador, stands by the water cooler with her reusable dinnerware

Tata & Howard has also formed a company-wide Green Committee as well as appointed Green Ambassadors, who are green representatives at each office. These individuals are hard at work coming up with additional ways to “green up” our offices. Some ideas have included implementing formal single stream recycling programs, generating less paper waste by going paperless when possible and always printing double-sided, participating in Ride-Your-Bike-to-Work-Weeks and carpooling, and recycling or replacing K-Cups. The committee will be meeting on an ongoing basis and will be implementing new green initiatives throughout the year. For some inspiration, we looked through some fast facts, and were surprised by what we found:

Waste:

  • The garbage in a landfill stays for about 30 years.
  • 84 percent of all household waste can be recycled.
  • By reducing our waste 1% per year and recycling and composting 90% of our discards by 2030, we could save 406 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent every year. This is the equivalent to shutting down 21% of our nation’s coal-fired power plants.

Aluminum Cans:

  • Five billion aluminum cans are used each year.
  • In America, 1,500 aluminum cans are recycled every second.
  • Recycling an aluminum soda can saves 96% of the energy used to make a can from ore, and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.
  • Throwing away one aluminum can wastes as much energy as if that can were 1/2 full of gasoline.

Paper:

  • paper recyclingEach ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution.
  • The 17 trees saved above can absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Burning that same ton of paper would create 1500 pounds of carbon dioxide.
  • The construction costs of a paper mill designed to use waste paper is 50-80% less than the cost of a mill using new pulp.
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.
  • Approximately one billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • Almost 90% of cardboard is recycled but only about 50% of printing and writing paper is recycled.
  • The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about two billion trees per year.

Recycling-plasticPlastic:

  • We throw away more than 60 million plastic bottles a day.
  • Most families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year.
  • Every year in the U.S. nearly 200 billion beverage containers are sold, two-thirds of which are landfilled, incinerated, or littered

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mindfulness of our personal and corporate waste needs to become of a priority, and while it isn’t feasible to completely change our habits overnight, it is entirely possible to improve our carbon footprint by implementing small, sustainable changes over time. Every small step helps, and if we all work together on taking those small steps, we will soon find we’ve collectively run a marathon towards improving the health of our world. Won’t you join us?

Happy Earth Day 2015!

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Earth Day – Water Conservation

April 22nd marks the 44th annual Earth Day, and with it comes an increased urgency to protect our natural resources and to mitigate the damage that we are doing to our environment. Here at Tata & Howard, our passion is water. Only 1% of the world’s water is available for use as drinking water, and we support the goal to keep it safe, clean, and abundant. While government agencies such as the EPA aim to protect our nation’s water supplies from being depleted or contaminated, they can only do so much. True conservation comes at a grassroots level — from the individual. The average American uses 140-170 gallons of water per day, a number which can and should be reduced drastically. Below, we have collected some ideas to help save water in your home.

WATER CONSERVATION IN THE HOME

grifoLock up leaks
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. Without flushing, let it sit for 30 minutes. If the color seeped into the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. In addition, a leaky faucet can waste 100 gallons a year. That’s the equivalent of 180 showers! The good news is that most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.

Tame the trash
Dispose of tissues, insects, food, and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet. Every time you flush, five to seven gallons of water goes literally and figuratively down the toilet. Avoid flushing unnecessarily.

High_speed_shower_filteredShore up your shower
Showers can use five to ten gallons of water every minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to wash and rinse off. A 5-minute shower uses about 20 gallons of water, while a 10-minute shower uses over 40 gallons! Also, inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy to install. “Low-flow” means it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute.

Protect your pipes
It’s easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.

Turn off the tap
Leaving the tap on while brushing your teeth or shaving wastes a whopping five gallons of water. Turn the water off while you brush. For shaving, fill the sink with a few inches of warm water in which to rinse your razor. When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing. Wash all dishes first, then rinse them all at once. And, don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or use a spray nozzle.

whirlpool-washerjpg-17cfac7dfb6bb944_largeLoad your loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Don’t pre-rinse dishes. Most dish soap manufacturers recommend against it, and it saves additional water. With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an extra five gallons. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers with new Energy Star rated washers which use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving frontload washer.

Cool your canister
Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.

Reuse the rest
Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or cleaning your home.

WATER CONSERVATION IN THE YARD AND GARDEN

Fresh.mulchPlant your property
If you are planting a new lawn, or overseeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses and choose shrubs and plants that thrive with less watering than other species. Replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants, which use less water and are more resistant to local plant diseases. Plant slopes with varieties that will retain water and help reduce runoff, and group plants according to their watering needs.

Mind the Mulch
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2-4″ of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the dripline of each plant to form a slight depression, which will prevent or minimize water runoff.

Love your lawn
Water your grass and trees more heavily, but less often. This saves water and builds stronger roots. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty eco-safe tuna can on your lawn; when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount. Also, water your lawn only when it needs it. If you step on the grass and it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, it needs water. Watering lawns during the early morning hours or evening when temperatures and wind speed are lowest reduces losses from evaporation. Most lawns only need about 1″ of water each week. In addition, allow your lawn to grow to 3″ before mowing. This practice promotes water retention in the soil. During dry spells, you can stop watering altogether and allow your lawn to go brown and dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, the morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn back to its usual vigor. This results in a brown summer lawn – and a green residence.

1280px-Alexander_Muir_flowerbedsGroom the gardens
Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs and flowerbeds. Adding compost to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention, and will improve the health of your plants. Avoid over-watering plants and shrubs, as this can actually diminish plant health and cause yellowing of the leaves. When hand watering, use a variable spray nozzle for targeted watering.

Eco your auto
Clean the car using a pail of soapy water, and only use the hose for rinsing. This easily implemented practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car.

Sweep the street
Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.

In 1990, 30 US states reported ‘water-stress’ conditions. In 2000, that number rose to 40. In 2009, the number rose again, to 45. Today, some states find themselves in an actual water crisis, and the number of water-stressed areas continues to rise at an alarming rate. One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to alleviate this water stress is to take measures within our own lives. Families should practice water mindfulness together, with parents teaching their children and leading by example. Saving water at home requires minimal effort and expenditure yet provides a positive and powerful environmental impact. And, if you are one of the 85% of Americans receiving your water from a public water supply, these ideas will save you a significant amount of money as well.

Happy Earth Day!

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