Saving Water Indoors
Your pick! Here are the top 3:Stainless steel, cast iron, and glass are safest, greenest and most recyclable. When taken to popular vote in our Facebook group, “the magical kitchen”, I believe that cast-iron would win over all three points. Any of the three are great in my opinion.
Glass and stainless steel:With glass and stainless steel, the best method for getting crust out of the pan is to soak it with hot water. Oftentimes, using a flat edged spatula on the gooey crust once it’s soaked will get most of your pan problems taken care of. Follow up with a scrubby of your choice. I like compostable stiff bristled dish brushes, and Skoy brand scratchy, no stick safe cloths made from recycled plastic. Use high-heat cooking oil instead of no stick spray. No stick spray has some random chemicals in it that you don’t want in your body. All you need is a tiny smear of oil for the exact same effect. Do not take this too far-just a tiny smear 😉 Glass is obviously going to be more fragile, and not as common these days for stove top ware. I still see it both glass and stainless steel stove top cookware at thrift stores- for your greenest money saving option. Be wary of the quality of stainless steel you find in a thrift store. If it weighs nothing then leave it on the shelf. Thicker stainless steel pans with heavy bottoms are preferred-especially if they have a copper coating on the bottom. Also check for deep blemishes on the cooking surface, with both stainless steel and glass pans. These might make them hard to clean.
Cast iron:Cast iron has its own set of rules and regulations, and is different to care for than other cookware. Some people believe- and practice- that you do not wash cast iron at all. These guys just wipe it out really well and season it with oil as needed. For me? I know a little too much about the health effects of rancidity in oils to have this method be my top choice. Most of the people I know do actually wash their cast iron carefully, and then add oil to it afterwards, making sure the pan is very very dry before adding the oil. Others wash often, and only season their pans once in awhile. And yes you can revive a rusty cast iron pan!
And the winner is…As long as you fill your dishwasher all the way, and it is a well working dishwasher, you’ll save a good amount of water by letting the machine do the work. So go ahead and load the dishwasher to the max!
If you insist…If you are the type who loves to do the dishes by hand, the best water-saving option would be to fill three sinks or tubs a little more than halfway. One will have soapy water for soaking and washing, one with rinse water and one with second rinse water. The 3rd bucket (2nd rinse) is optional, depending on how you feel about the exquisite purity of your rinse water.😉
The dirty details:So many factors depend. Here’s the bottom line. The average automatic built in dishwasher uses 6 gallons per entire cycle of water. Energy star-rated dishwashers usually use 4 gallons per cycle. When you do calculate in the difference between heating the water for doing the dishes by hand or with a dishwasher, and other energy used, a fine working dishwasher that isn’t too old should probably be the most energy and heat efficient. All things considered, it will always depend on the age and efficiency if your dishwasher versus your mad dishwashing water-saving skills. I wish you the best of luck! You’ll be hard-pressed to do the number of dishes in 4-6 gallons that your machine probably could do!
Low-water dish prep:Be mindful of how much water you use when you rinse your dishes in preparation for the dishwasher. Know your dishwasher and how well it works for you, in order to avoid over soaking before the dishwasher. Also, spray rinse things immediately verses having to soak later. It’s a world of difference. Having a spray nozzle hose installed in your sink that actually has a lot of pressure will change your life, by the way. Invest in that upgrade in your home if possible! To be extra water conscious, you could even save your rinse water and water your compost with it! Watering plants with it is not recommended because it might attract pests or microbes that you don’t want around your plants.
Compost! Yes! Do it! =D
Composting turns your food scraps back into wonderful, nutrient-rich dirt that you can use for many many reasons, but especially on your flower and veggie gardens!
What’s the problem with food waste, again?
Food waste is actually a huge problem in landfills, specifically because of its role in the creation of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are created many ways, and are one of the leading causes of global warming.
Food scraps in landfills directly contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming, when the food waste decomposes improperly without enough oxygen. This happens in massive quantities in landfills, because the masses are throwing too much food in the garbage instead of composting it
According to the EPA, in 2012, 20% of landfill usage was taken up by food.
That is a lot of food waste to worry about when you take it global- 35 million tons in 2012. Imagine if even half of that were composted to create dirt for vegetable growing for the masses?
Our land has been fried by pesticides, herbicides and GMO plantings. Some farming practices across the world actually involve spraying edible crops with sewage, because there is no access to acceptable fertilizer or compost.
Incorporated as part of a waste/farm management system on a national or international level, 16-32 million tons of compost would create miracles. More could change the world forever.
Besides all of this, our landfills are filling up at an alarming rate, and 20% or more space every year would really really help the Earth out! Not that we should be filling it…
So guess what? You can opt out of that cycle at any time, and switch it up to help save the Earth!
You can still compost!
If you have no use for compost, (hello, apartment dwellers) that’s okay! Don’t panic! Here are some ideas:
You can offer it up on a platform like Craigslist for free in the garden section.
Do you have a gardening, composting friend that you could gift it to?
Otherwise, take it to a local community garden or park, and just put it with the dirt with their flowers or trees.
If you see that they have mulch going (wood chips over the flower beds or by the trees) do not lay your compost down over the mulch. That would just be rude. 🤓 Find a place with bare dirt.
Vermicomposting!There are several ways to compost, but my #1 instant compost start up suggestion for everyone is actually vermicomposting. Yep, that’s composting with worms in your kitchen! I know- worm composting sounds like it would be the most complicated. But it’s actually the least complicated and fastest, plus the least smelly! Imagine all of those food scraps, and how much space you realize they take up in your trash can. You know how smelly those get after a couple days? No more of that with worm composting!
You can probably even switch to paper trash bags once you have no food waste in the garbage!No more plastic bags because of composting? OMG! It’s another miracle! Plus, you’ll take your trash out less, and it will smell much less, probably not at all. Rinse anything with food in it prior to trashing it for best results. Combine this with recycling, and your trash output is going to be nearly nothing really fast! How good will that feel? Its just a little bin in your kitchen- it has some worms and a couple other crucial starter ingredients in it. It sounds gross but it’s really cute. The worms eat all of your leftovers and turn them back into dirt- in about 2 weeks, flat- without ever smelling up your kitchen at all. Be sure you get the right kind of worms for kitchen composting. The best ones for vermicomposting are called red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) and redworms (Lumbricus rubellus). These little fellas prefer compost to soil, and are easy to keep alive. You can purchase these worms easily, or see if you can get them from a friend or off Craigslist, etc.
One ingredient laundry soap:
Laundry soap can be easy to make! But since the recipes I like the best call for Dr. Bronner’s (or other brand) Sal Suds, and you can just add 2 tablespoons to your laundry instead of detergent, I choose that as a seriously fantastic laundry soap.
Just two tablespoons of Sal Suds in the a laundry makes it nice and clean and soft. Less less packaging yet!
Another instant switch is a little nut… called a soap nut!
These amazing little guys suds up in water and do a great job cleaning your clothes. The best part? You can reuse each soap nut several times, and you can find them in fully compostable, non-plastic packaging. Plus, you can compost them when they won’t suds anymore!
And now, the literal difference between detergents and soaps: The ultimate simplicity of it is that detergents typically contain chemical compounds. Soaps do not necessarily, and are usually alkaline. So you can call it laundry soap from now on!
1) Dry synthetics Fabrics separately.
You can add a few spritzers of vinegar water to your dryer load to reduce static cling.
Ground that static:
2) Run dry clothes through a metal hanger. To do this: hang a plain wire metal hanger, or hold it in one hand by the hanger part. Thread the garment in question through the the triangle shaped hole that is the middle of the hanger.
Make sure the garment touches the metal wire on the bottom of the hanger a bunch as it passes through. You are running the wire along the garment as much as possible, essentially. If needed, do this a couple of times! Voila! This is my favorite trick- it works really well, and is 100% available just by upcycling something else!
3) You can purchase many styles of dryer balls. These balls tumble around with
your clothing and reduce static and fluff the clothes that way.
Many people are satisfied by upcycling tennis balls for this purpose. Others are concerned about the rubber in the balls heating up and getting into their clothes smell.
The most natural, effective, compostable, and renewable/reusable option seems to be wool dryer balls. Be sure you get them from a sustainable and humane source. All animal products are always in question around here. You can even get them made out of scrap wool- the most sustainable option of all.
Out and about:
4) If you’re out and about and you have noticed static cling, you can put a safety pin near your armpit on your sleeve to help, and also apply lotion to your skin. Supplement and health food stores usually have sample lotions you can use without buying!
5) A fine mist of distilled water might help in a pinch as well, but sometimes water makes static worse as the evaporation cycle comes about.
The cowboy way:
6) The honest to goodness, #1 way to avoid static cling is to line dry everything.
Add some vinegar to the rinse water to soften the water, and dry your clothes out in the shade- preferably with a breeze for the whole dry. It’s better for the colors anyways.
If your clothes are smelling like vinegar, think about adding some essential oils to the wash water also.
You can also partially dry your clothes in the dryer before line drying to get wrinkles out. It will still save electricity!