When you stare out at the ocean or turn on your kitchen faucet, it’s easy to believe that water is an infinite resource. The truth is that clean drinking water is very limited. In fact, only one percent of the water on earth is suitable for human consumption. Sadly, this water is being polluted so quickly that it is difficult to maintain an adequate water supply in some areas. In just more than a decade, nearly half of the world’s population will live in a high water stress area. Water conservation matters and is the best strategy to ensure water availability for all.
First, seek out seconds
There are many ways we can conserve water, from turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth to using the rain to wash your cars. While these small actions will certainly add up, there are other things you can do that will have an even greater impact. One of these is to simply avoid buying things new. Instead, look to the second-hand economy before you invest in anything. Gumtree explains, “The second-hand economy is a multi-billion dollar sub-industry which helps reduce waste from landfill and brings communities together. Any time you sell, swap, buy or donate a used item, you’re part of the second-hand economy.”
Buying — and or selling — second-hand makes a lot of sense when you consider how much water it takes to produce new items. That vintage-style T-shirt you’re wearing took around 713 gallons just to make it to the store shelf. A quick trip to your local thrift shop or a weekend perusing yard sales in your neighborhood would have presented you with equally appealing apparel that would’ve saved enough water to meet a single person’s needs for seven full days. Larger items take even more water to produce, with a single vehicle requiring 39,000 gallons to make it from the production line to your driveway, according to Automotive World.
Old advice still applies to the new world
It’s worth mentioning that recycling is also still an effective way to eliminate both water consumption and to reduce the strain on our waterways. Gemini Research News has covered the issue of plastic clogging up lakes and rivers extensively. These freshwater contaminants might look harmless, especially considering that we drink from these very same bottles. However, in the long term, plastic breaks down into microplastic, and the truth is that we really aren’t sure how that affects the environment.
Make sure to utilize your curbside recycling bin, and remember that plastic bottles and aluminum cans aren’t the only materials that can be recycled. Aside from these, newspapers are also candidates for recycling and, as Waste Management reports, one ton of newsprint saves 7,000 gallons of water along with 15 trees and 71 gallons of oil. Glass, metals, and any plastic with the recycling symbol can also be added to the pile, and therefore kept out of the landfill. It is a good idea to check with your local municipality for more information about what’s accepted in their recycling program.
Yes, it’s that important!
Water conservation is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, your home, your family, and the world. Protecting our natural resources is also crucial for plant and animal life, and conserving water is one of the best ways to save energy (and money). Focused conservation efforts may even help solve Florida’s widespread sinkhole problems.
You don’t have to change your lifestyle to make water conservation a part of your life. But, small actions, such as buying used instead of new and recycling what you can, will go a long way toward ensuring that water remains an available resource for our children and grandchildren.
Looking for other ways to integrate conservation into your lifestyle? Check out these articles:
- 5 Ways to Save Water that You’ve Probably Never Thought Of
- Detect and Chase Down Leaks with the 10-Minute WaterSense Challenge
- Six Activities to Teach Kids about Water
- Appreciating Water by Saving it in Simple Ways
- 100+ Ways to Save Water
Water – Use It Wisely is proud to feature guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author of this article, Neil Stawski, believes we aren’t doing enough to protect our planet. He created ClimateWise.co to educate the public and help people get smart about climate change.