It’s the first Monday of the month, and I’m starting a new feature here at Live Renewed, the Simple Steps Series. I know that for some people the idea of going green just seems really overwhelming. We been talking a lot about making changes, and overcoming obstacles, but sometimes you just want a really simple, really easy, no thought required kind of step that will make a difference but really not take a lot of time and energy on your part.
So, on the first Monday of each month, I will share a Simple Step. Something quick, easy, and pretty much painless that you can do to go a little “greener”. And since we’re also all about saving money while we save the planet, you can bet that the Simple Steps will help you save in that area too.
Really, I wanted to name this series the Quick, Easy, Painless Steps to Live more Frugally Green, but I figured that was just a little bit too long. So, Simple Steps it is.
Okay, I hope that you are ready for our first Simple Step, because it is a good one! At least I think so.
If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.
Yep, that’s right, we’re talking about flushing the toilet!
I first came across this saying when at a college friend’s cabin in Northern Wisconsin. I guess they had a sensitive septic system, and they were really generous and always allowing lots of people to stay at their home away from home. So, there was a sign in each of the bathrooms as a reminder not to flush the toilet, except in necessary situations.
After spending a great long weekend at that cabin in college, I never really thought of the saying again, until we moved into this house, and 1. We had to start paying for water because our old house had a well and septic system and this house has city water, and 2. I started being more concerned with conserving water than I had been previously in my life.
As you may remember, cutting back on our family’s water usage is the current obstacle that we are trying to overcome. So, I thought this Simple Step fit in well with what we are currently working on around our house, and I wanted to share it with you.
Basically, it works just the way it sounds, and the outcome is that your flush the toilet much less during the day than you would if you flushed each time you use the bathroom.
Consider these facts:
-Americans are flushing 4.8 billion gallons of clean, drinkable water down the toilet EVERY SINGLE DAY. Read it again, 4.8 BILLION gallons.
-Most newer toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush. You can look on the toilet by the brand imprint or under the lid to see what the gpf (gallons per flush) is for yours. When you combine the number of average flushes per day, the toilet is the home’s biggest water user waster.
-If you flush your toilet only ONCE less per day, you will save the equivalent amount of water that the average person in Africa uses ALL DAY long for all of their drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning needs.
When I read that the average toilet (including mine, I checked) uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush, it kind of shocked me. I mean, I know that toilets use a lot of water, but then I imagined it this way: I thought about what it would be like to pour a gallon and a half of milk down the drain every time I flushed the toilet. Wow! That is A LOT of milk, I thought. What a waste that would be to pour perfectly good milk down the drain.
Well, that’s exactly what we’re doing with our water when we flush the toilet. Would it really be an inconvenience for you to flush the toilet less often?
Okay, I’m done trying to convince you that this is a Simple Step that you should take, beginning today. But, I am also trying to set you up a little for a great and unique giveaway that I have coming up later in the month that’s related to… you guessed it, water!
Obviously, this is a tip that I only use at my own home, when it’s just our family at home. If we are having guests, or we are guests at someone’s home, or out in public, I do not follow this rule. But at our house, if it’s yellow, we let it mellow!