Saving water in the kitchen

There are quite a few ways to save water in the kitchen. First, lets look at where water is used. There is food prep, cooking,  clean-up, and miscellaneous use.

A great way to make the water in your kitchen do double duty is to have a grey water system. It can be as rudimentary as washing vegetables in a dish pan and then carrying the dish pan outside to water plants. Here is a great post on grey water. http://thesustainablehome.blogspot.com/2008/04/safe-use-of-household-grey water.html Another method for capturing grey water is a funnel called Envirosink that is installed behind your sink and allows you to run the water till it is hot or cold, and capture that water for reuse. You could also pour water into it from containers like your dish pan. The Envirosink can be directed to a collection tank for processing or direct use.

When preparing food for meals, be aware of how much water you use. If you do not have an aerator on your kitchen tap, get one. It should slow the flow to 2 gallons per minute. When vegetables or fruits get washed, wash them in a dish pan or large pot of water. Don’t let all that valuable water run down the drain. We keep a five gallon bucket near our sink so we can pour water into it throughout the day and empty it onto trees, bushes or plants. Don’t use running water to defrost foods. Let them sit in the fridge overnight or use your microwave.

If you cook food by boiling it such as pasta, vegetables or eggs, let the water cool down and add it to your compost pile or garden. If you have ants or weeds in an unwanted location, the hot water water will kill them both. When cooking, chose your pot size wisely. Too large a pot will not only use more water than necessary, but use more energy to heat up as well.

When cleaning up, don’t throw all those food scraps and peels down the disposal, start a compost pile. If you are in an apartment or have a really good excuse for not composting, use that grey water from washing your veggies to run the disposal. Think creatively. There is a big debate about whether or not dishwashers use more or less water than hand washing. Well my answer is sometimes more and sometimes less. What it boils down to is exactly how much water is used in total for each method. Some people pre-rinse all their dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. Don’t do this if you have a new D/W. I do this because we have an 18 year old D/W. I only use about a gallon of water for all the pre-rinsing. An older or non energy star D/W can use 14 or more gallons per load. Whereas an energy star model will use more like 8.5 gallons/load. So, if you could measure how much water you used to hand wash dishes, it would have to be less than your D/W used to be saving water. One method for hand washing, if you have the sink room, is to have a basin for the initial de-grimming of the plates. Then a basin of warm soapy water. Then a basin of warm water to rinse. The first two basins could hold as little as one gallon of water. The rinse basin may need three. This gets you five gallon/load. So not only did you save water, but you saved electricity as well.  If you hand wash in basins, you can save the water, if you use a D/W you cannot. Just remember to use biodegradable soap. [Edited to add: When using a dishwasher always run a full load of dishes.]

The last couple of miscellaneous thoughts about saving water in the kitchen are, first, don’t let the water run till it is cold to get a drink. Keep a pitcher of filtered water in the fridge. And lastly, but may be the most important is to fix any and all leaks as soon a they are discovered. A leaky faucet can waste thousands of gallons of water per year. If you can’t fix it right away, keep a container under the faucet. As long as the container is clean, the water will be clean enough to use.

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4 Comments

  1. Artume said,

    May 13, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Love your blog! I especially like the trashion-related posts, but the saving-water series is great too. Keep writing.

  2. May 14, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Lots of great information. I hadn’t thought about boiling water as a way to get rid of ants (a neighbor has that problem) or using pasta water to kill weeds.

  3. Gina Buss said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Great post! I also think its important to only run the dishwasher when its completely full. A ton of water is wasted if someone is only running their dishwasher when its half full or with just a few pots and pans. (Same principle goes for the clothes washer)

    Thanks so much for article.

    Gina Buss
    ProtectingOurEnvironment.com

  4. wasteweardaily said,

    May 14, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Artume- Thank you for the compliment. I’ll try to keep it up. The blog is all about waste, which is why I am highlighting how not to waste water. I’ll try to put some trashion posts in as well.

    Artbystrongheart- We have a lot of ants in FL and I don’t like ant poison.

    Gina- Thanks, and I don’t know how I left that out. You are so right to point out that a dishwasher should be full, and run on the energy saver setting.

    Thanks for the comments,
    Cindy


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