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  • Writer's pictureAnita Vandyke

5 ways to reduce water waste

#DayZeroApril - this month’s challenge is to reduce water waste. Water is life and this month I want to highlight how much of a precious resource it is.

Day Zero is the term coined for the day on which Cape Town’s water supply will be shut off. This is the first major city (4 million people) which will run out of water due to drought. The city is the same size as Los Angeles and just smaller than Sydney. When the water runs out, citizens will have to collect their rationed water every day. Can you imagine 4 million people without access to tap water in their home? This is a real crisis. I wanted to use this month to highlight this issue (please google it) and also to share tips and tricks on how you can reduce water waste in your daily life.

1. Put a bucket in the shower.

I got this bucket from the thrift store and it costs only 50 cents! I keep it in the shower so that I can catch water from when the shower heats up or any excess water when I shower. I then use the water to water my plants! This is particularly handy if you have a large backyard garden that needs watering everyday. No waste, plants are happy, you’re clean! Win-win-win!

2. Bring your own bags.

This is a snapshot of my zero waste shopping kit. I have a variety of bottles and jars and 3 straw bags ready for a bulk store shop! Please don’t use plastic bags, just bring your own instead! Did you know it takes 90 litres (24 gallons) of water to make 500g (approx 1 pound) of plastic? Not only does plastic take hundreds of years to breakdown and is a major pollutant in our waterways, it is a resource that requires lots of water to process. It’s time to make the switch and bring your own bags!

3. Reuse your water!

Water is a precious resource, we can not take it for granted. Whenever I boil pasta, steam or boil veggies, I let the water cool and reuse it to water plants. I even use some of the water for cooking, such as adding to soups or sauces.

Most of use live in a society where we can turn on our taps and we have fresh, clean water. However, in most of the developing world, water is a precious commodity. Let’s respect every drop of water and not waste it. Capture it, reuse it and respect it.

4. Make a stock box for your freezer!

Food waste is one of the biggest sources of energy and water waste. Think of the energy used to grow, harvest and transport your food to your local supermarket. In many cultures it is considered a huge taboo to waste food. A quick way to remind people to save veggie scraps is to create a stock box in your freezer. I label a container especially dedicated for stock veggies so that all members of the household know to put their veggie scraps in there before sending it to the compost heap. Such an easy switch - it’s all just a matter of changing habits!

5. Steer clear of fast fashion.

Fast fashion is extremely resource intensive. Did you know it takes 2,700 litres of water to make just one t-shirt , which is enough water for one person to drink for 900 days. This is why I choose to buy everything secondhand. Everything in this picture is secondhand except for the mirror.

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