Monday, December 12, 2011

Saving Water During The Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching….as well as that extra pant size. With more family time and bigger notches on your belt, comes gallons of wasted water. A typical American Christmas dinner for six people requires over 30,000 gallons of water. To help you stay green and on Santa’s water saving “good list”, listed below are 6 ways to save water during Thanksgiving.
1: Run the dishwasher efficiently.
Holiday guests dirty up many dishes, but when it's time to clean up, make sure that you're running your dishwasher in the most efficient way possible. Scrap plates instead of rinsing them with hot water, and making sure the dishwasher is full each time it runs. To save on the costs of heating water, avoid special cycles like pre-rinse and rinse-hold, which can be unnecessary, and stop the dishwasher before it's time to dry—the dishes can air dry, instead.
2: Cooking That Turkey
The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. It takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds. If you are like many Americans, you need to 'speed-thaw' the bird. Keep the turkey in the original tightly sealed bag and place it in a clean and sanitized sink or food service safe pan. Submerge in cold water and change the cold water every 30 minutes. The turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. Our imaginary turkey is 10 pounds so it would take 300 minutes with 10 changes of water. If you used only 10 gallons of water each time, it would add up to 100 gallons per turkey. If 1/2 of the turkeys in the US were speed-thawed, that's over 2 BILLION gallons of water. Any way you look at it, we use enough water to create a sizable Turkey Lake just to get Mr. Gobbler ready to cook.

3: Impressing your guest

Your having the family over at your house this year for Christmas? Impressing the aunts and uncles with a nice green lawn are always high on your list but unnecessary and wasteful. Cut down watering on cool and overcast days and don't water in the rain. Adjust or deactivate automatic sprinklers. You can save up to 300 gallons per time but opting to impress the extended family with your homemade bread.
4: Leave the China in the closet

Use Recycled-Paper Products instead of setting out your grandmother’s fine china. Products made from 100 percent recycled paper require much less water in their manufacturing than do those made from virgin paper. Who really wants to clean dishes anyways?
5: Cleaning up the Leftovers
Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more (even better--compost!).

Approximately 30 million of us will watch football after the meal. The next spike occurs at halftime of the football game. Just like clockwork, American toilets will flush 30 million times and use 108 million gallons of water - enough water to fill an entire football stadium! Water efficient toilets would save 62 million gallons of that water. With the meal, time zones in the US go from east to west and stagger the energy and water use. The football game happens in real-time and much of the country hits the bathroom at the same time.
The point of all this is not to have you eating bologna sandwiches for Christmas, but as you let your belt out after dinner, you may want to give thanks for living in a time and place that allows such enormous energy and water use.