Whether a novice cook or a master chef, you use water while you’re in the kitchen. You may turn on that tap without thinking too much about it, but did you know that the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home? Roughly 70% of this use occurs indoors (source), and about 10% of that is in the kitchen. Every time you fill a pot of water or wash off your veggies, you contribute to that number.
Small changes in water conservation here and there can really add up (and save you some bucks on your water bill).
Why conserve water? There are numerous reasons; here are a few:
It helps to preserve the environment. By reducing the amount of water you use, that also reduces the amount of energy needed to clean the waste water. And if you use less water, there is also less energy needed to provide that water to you. That results in less pollution, and less fuel resources needed. It also reduces water shortages. We have a finite supply of water, but an ever-growing population and need for water. If we conserve water now, we can be better prepared in the case of drought or other water shortages. See more great reasons to conserve water here.
What you put in your cart matters. April is Earth month, and to recognize you for caring about the earth and earth-friendly practices, we are rewarding consumers just like you at grocery stores around the country.
Our “Mystery Shoppers” are watching what you put in your cart, and if you are shopping consciously, we might pay for your purchase for you! Stay tuned on our Earth Month page for more details!
Shop like the earth depends on it.
Conserving water doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming – it can actually be fun. Make it a game and get your kids involved so they become young conservationists. You’ll save time and money in the long run when you put these ideas into practice today.
First, prepare. Check your most recent water bill to find out how much water you’re currently using and make that your benchmark. Strive to reduce that amount each month. Suggest a family prize for each month that your water usage is lower than the month before, and if your total bill is reduced significantly, make a plan for a fun way to spend the savings.
Once you’ve set your benchmark, there are two things you can do to potentially reduce your water usage immediately. Again, get the whole family involved.
1. Look for leaks.
2. Install low-flow faucet aerators.
Got a drippy kitchen faucet? Here’s how to fix it!
Thought it was hard to install a low-flow aerator on your kitchen faucet? Think again!
Finally, if you want to look for leaks elsewhere in your home, check out this video on how to use your water meter to learn if you have a leak:
Once you’ve set your benchmark and taken care of the big ways you may be accidentally wasting water, it’s time to get intentional in your kitchen water habits. Here are some ways to save water while cooking and cleaning.
Only fill a pot of water as full as it needs to be; use a smaller pot to prevent the temptation to use too much water. When possible, steam your vegetables instead of boiling. That uses even less water.
Turn off the faucet when you don’t need the water. If there are perpetual offenders in your house, make it a game to “catch them” with the faucet on and assign a point system. The person with the least points wins a “Water Conservationist” award.
When washing vegetables, fill a bowl half-full of water, and use that to clean all your vegetables. No need to keep the water running over them while you scrub.
When thawing meat, take it out of the freezer the day before and put in the fridge. You can save a lot of water by planning ahead, instead of immersing it in water to thaw.
When hand-washing dishes, fill a sink half-full of wash water and one half-full of rinse water instead of running the faucet during the wash/rinse process. Pre-soak any crusty dishes in a little bit of water to make them easier to clean. Use less dish soap for washing, which will preserve the rinse water longer; you likely use more soap than you need anyway.
If you have a newer dishwasher, you usually can scrape the food off and load; no need to pre-rinse the dishes. Run the dishwasher when full. Try not to run half-loads. If you have an older dishwasher, consider saving up for a newer, more efficient one, which can save you hundreds of gallons per year.
For extra points, you can reuse your cooking water and your rinse water. Let cool and use it to water your house plants or your outdoor garden. You can also reuse your cooking water for more cooking, for example, use the water you boil your potatoes in for baking bread.
By following these simple tips, you can save water and money. Do your part this Earth Month to conserve!