Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Water Conservation in the Laundry Room

Up and down the West Coast, residents are facing drought conditions and searching for ways to conserve water. One of the biggest water gulpers? The laundry room! I have always been concerned about conserving water, but it has become even more of an issue since we recently moved our family from Fargo, ND, to Fresno, CA. In Fargo, we were always worried about having too much water. The Red River flows south to north, so when the spring thaw begins south of that region (and has not begun in the North), the result is a river that frequently floods the area. In Fresno - and most of California - the drought conditions are dire, especially for the farmers who grow a significant portion of the food we buy across the country. It is a beautiful area surrounded by views of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and groves of citrus, olives, almonds, grapes and much more. More than 300 crops are grown in California’s Central Valley, so you can well imagine the importance water and the consequences such water scarcity could have not only for the farmers but for the entire country. Accordingly, I have upped my game in the water conservation department and would like to share some tried and true tips for the laundry room. Use cold or lukewarm water for your wash cycle instead of hot, except for those unmentionable loads and clothes that have greasy stains. It uses more energy to heat the water.Only wash full loads of laundry when possible but, if you are washing a smaller load, make sure you are using the appropriate water-level setting.According to Energy Star, most front-loading washing machines are energy- and water-efficient and use just over 20 gallons a load, while most top-loading washing machines, unless they are Energy Star-rated, use around 40 gallons a load. So, if you are shopping around for a new washing machine, look for a model that is energy- and water-efficient, it will save you money in the long run and conserve valuable natural resources immediately.Repair leaky faucets. This is a tip for everywhere in and outside your home, not just the laundry room. If you are renting a home or apartment, it is important to report leaks to management as soon as possible. Even when I use a restroom in a restaurant or store, I report leaks when I notice them and hope they will be fixed (and others will report them as well).Do not put clothes in your hamper unless they need to be washed. This is a tip I am constantly reminding my daughters to heed. They are notorious for trying something on, deciding not to wear it and, instead of folding it back up, they throw it in their clothes hamper. This means you end of doing more laundry than is actually necessary.One of my favorite water-saving tips that I have never had the opportunity to do is have a plumber re-route my greywater to irrigate trees and plants rather than having it go down into the sewer line. This tip is courtesy of a fantastic site full of tips for conserving water, Water Use It Wisely. Obviously, you would need to check with your city and county to make sure you are allowed to do this in your area or if you need to go through a special approval process. I recently drove by a golf course in Los Angeles that had a banner proclaiming that they maintained the course with recycled water, so I am pretty sure I would be able to do this in my area. As I learn more about water issues in my new home state, I will be sure to write more tips on how to conserve water. Here’s one to leave you with: Don’t keep the water running when you are brushing your teeth! About the author Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer based in Fargo, ND. She is the founder of MyGreenSide.org and tweets at @MyGreenSide. Wendy is a wife to an amazing man and a mother of two awesome little girls. Everything she does is seen through this lens. Her passion for sustainability is a gift from her parents, who were green long before it was "cool to be green." You can hear Wendy each Tuesday when she brings Simple Tips for Green Living to "The Christopher Gabriel Program." Stream the segment at approximately 8:20 a.m. (CST) at WDAY.com. Learn more about Wendy Gabriel - See more at: http://1800recycling.com/2015/03/how-can-you-conserve-water-in-laundry-room-#sthash.qtLihobZ.dpuf

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