Category Archives: Energy

4 Ways You Waste Water (and What You Can Do about It)

4 Ways You Waste Water (and What You Can Do about It)

With a growing global population and a changing climate putting more and more pressure on our water resources, the issue of wasted water is one that we can no longer afford to ignore. And while it’s certainly a very good thing that water recycling is becoming a more common practice, the best way to make the most of our water resources is to avoid wasting water in the first place.

However, it’s not always easy to tell whether or not you’re wasting water; or, if you are, how much you’re wasting. Most of us have learned to watch out for basic water wasting mistakes like leaving the tap running when brushing your teeth, but unfortunately, there are plenty of other ways that we waste significant amounts of water without even realizing it. Read on to learn about four ways you might be wasting water, and what you can do to change that.

  1. Washing dishes

dish washingHow much water you use—and potentially waste—when washing your dishes depends on a number of different factors, including your dishwashing style (if you wash dishes by hand) and how you use your dishwasher (if you have one). This means that the most water-efficient way to wash dishes will be different for different people. For example, if you like to wash your dishes with the tap running, you’re using an average of two gallons of water for every minute of washing: in other words, you could use as much as a bathtub’s worth of water by the time you’re done. However, if you just run enough water to fill up two plugged sinks or basins, one for washing and one for rinsing, you can cut down considerably on this amount.

Dishwashers are the same story. Modern, efficient dishwashers, according to a survey by the American Water Works Association, typically need less than 10 gallons of water to wash an average load. But if you run your dishwasher when it’s not completely full, or if you need to pre-rinse your dishes because you have an older or less effective dishwasher, chances are good that you’re wasting water.

  1. Watering the lawn

Many people think of watering the lawn simply as a chore that has to be done regularly, but few stop to consider that lawns are some of the biggest water hogs in urban environments. The UK-based water conservation group Waterwise estimates that the sprinklers typically used on lawns can consume as much as 265 gallons an hour. In addition, not only do many homeowners water their lawns in the afternoons—usually the hottest part of the day, when significant amounts of water are lost through evaporation—but the lawns themselves are often composed of introduced species of grass that are not always best adapted to their present environment and therefore need excess amounts of water to survive.

To help limit water waste from lawn watering, the first thing you should do is avoid watering between noon and 8:00 pm in order to encourage better water retention. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you might consider replacing water-hungry grass species with plants or grasses that are native to your area and thus won’t need as much water.

  1. Swimming in your backyard pool

poolYour backyard swimming pool may be a refreshing place to be in the summertime heat, but it’s likely wasting more water than you realize. Depending on the local climate and the pool’s overall surface area, a swimming pool can lose up to 1,000 gallons of water every month through evaporation alone. Pools can also develop significant leaks over their lifetime as a result of cracks in the foundation, tears in the liner, or damage to the pipes; astonishingly, the Arizona-based company National Leak Detection estimates that 30% of all pools have a leak of some kind. Both these problems are of particular concern given that most pools have automatic refillers, so owners are likely not even aware that their pools are losing any water at all.

The best way to stop your swimming pool from wasting water is to opt for using your local community or municipal pool to cool off instead. However, if you’re not willing to give up your own backyard oasis, be sure to have it checked regularly for leaks and cracks, and always put a cover on the pool when you’re not using it to prevent evaporation.

  1. Throwing away food

Food waste is a growing problem in some countries, and it’s made worse by the fact that wasted food translates to wasted water. That is, when you throw away that leftover beef stew or that milk that’s gone bad at the back of the fridge, you’re also throwing away all the water that went into producing those items. For example, the average American throws away 64 eggs every year, which is the equivalent of wasting 5,260 gallons of water (or about 105 bathtubs full). The “water footprint” of meat is even bigger; the 11 pounds of beef that the average American throws away each year results in 19,800 gallons of water (397 bathtubs) being wasted.

Fortunately, people are becoming more aware of the need to fight food waste, and there are plenty of easy ways that people and businesses can reduce the amount food they waste.

13 Things Made from Recycled Materials

13 Things Made from Recycled Materials

You probably don’t give your plastic water bottle much thought after you throw it in your recycling bin. However, the fact is that material from recycled objects ends up in all kinds of surprising places (maybe even the jacket you’re wearing today). Read on for a roundup of 15 amazing things that you didn’t realize… Read More…

A Look at 5 Big Trends in Waste Collection

A Look at 5 Big Trends in Waste Collection

Changing times call for changing vehicles. That could be the new motto for today’s waste and recycling industry. Just as waste and recycling practices evolve in response to new innovations and technologies, so to do the tools needed to carry out those practices. This includes the vehicles responsible for the collection and transportation of municipal… Read More…

These 9 Inspiring Companies Are Committed to Zero Waste

These 9 Inspiring Companies Are Committed to Zero Waste

In today’s sustainability-focused society, companies are more committed than ever to diminishing the amount of waste they generate. They do so through initiatives such as office recycling or food waste collection programs. In recent years, however, a growing number of companies have taken their waste reduction efforts to the next level. Through a variety of… Read More…

A Look at the Energy Potential of Landfill Gas – Part 2

A Look at the Energy Potential of Landfill Gas – Part 2

Part two of our exploration into the energy potential of landfill gas (LFG) moves from the “how” of converting LFG to energy to the “why.” Read on to learn more about the benefits that LFG energy projects can bring to landfills, local communities, and the environment. You can also find out about how waste management… Read More…

A Look at the Energy Potential of Landfill Gas – Part 1

A Look at the Energy Potential of Landfill Gas – Part 1

A natural byproduct that is generated when organic material decomposes in a landfill, landfill gas (LFG) has attracted significant attention in recent years due to its potential as an alternative energy source. In part one of this exploration, you will learn more about what LFG is and the various ways it can be converted into… Read More…

Myths and Misconceptions about Waste-to-Energy

Myths and Misconceptions about Waste-to-Energy

Despite the fact that waste-to-energy technology is becoming an increasingly important part of sustainable waste management programs all around the world, many misconceptions still surround this important waste treatment method. Read on to learn the facts behind some of the most persistent myths associated with the waste-to-energy industry.   MYTH: Waste-to-energy facilities pollute the environment… Read More…

A Look at the Costs and Benefits of Bioreactor Landfills

A Look at the Costs and Benefits of Bioreactor Landfills

Could bioreactor technology be the innovation that eliminates our current dependence on traditional landfills? That’s a question that all kinds of organizations, from waste management professionals to the Environmental Protection Agency, want to know the answer to. While there’s certainly no question that bioreactor landfills offer many benefits over conventional ones, they are not without… Read More…