Water scarcity is a real issue throughout the world, so paying attention to your water usage and being mindful of ways you can save water can help future generations.
Saving water at your own home is easy to do. You install a toilet bladder, avoid watering your flowers and yard in the midday sun, and harvest rainwater and you’ve already made a great dent in your usage.
Saving water when you’re away from home can be a little trickier, though. You’re not going to carry around a toilet bladder to use at a restaurant or friend’s house. These tips will help you feel good about your water-saving efforts, no matter where you are.
Use a Refillable Water Bottle
Conserving water can be as simple as considering which container you’ll drink it out of. To use pick the best container, buy a refillable water bottle or flask that you can carry with you in your car, bike, or while walking.
Disposable water bottles take water to produce. So do refillable bottles, but you’ll be reusing those hundreds or thousands of times compared to a single-use. It’s smarter and better for the environment if you stop using disposable water bottles entirely.
Reuse Towels at a Hotel
Chances are, you reuse your bath towels multiple times before washing them at home. Our to-do lists are long enough without having to wash and fold extra laundry unnecessarily. Who wants to do that?
But at hotels, many of us feel more indulgent. We don’t treat our hotel rooms like we’d treat our house, and we leave those soggy towels on the bathroom floor, secure in the knowledge new ones will be brought to our rooms the next morning.
But with laundry making up as much as 16 percent of the water usage at a hotel, those reused towels can add up quickly in terms of saved water and reduced bills. It just takes a second to hang up your towels, and there’s no reason you can’t use them for the full week of your vacation.
Depending upon the length of your vacation and how many towels are in your room, you could save one load of laundry during your trip just from reusing towels. That can save at least 14 gallons of water or more if the hotel doesn’t use an energy-efficient appliance.
Eat Locally When on Vacation
When you’re travelling, look for roadside fruit stands and restaurants that advertise using locally-grown foods. Transportation of food from one country to another or one state to another can add a lot to the water footprint of the food you eat. It takes resources and energy to get that food moved.
The fruit you buy at stands hasn’t been washed as much as packaged foods in your grocery store has, and it generally isn’t packaged in plastic that takes water to produce. If you don’t see any packaging on your food, you’re saving water usage just from that.
Pick Foods Low on the Food Chain
Foods higher on the food chain take more water to produce. The bigger the animal you’re about to consume, the more water it took to get that food on your plate.
Beef takes about 1,847 gallons for every pound of meat, compared to pork at 718 gallons per pound. Chicken takes less water to produce than either of those meats.
Even better, opt for a few meatless meals every week while eating out in restaurants or on the road.
Drink Water and Skip the Other Beverages
Plain old water is your best bet for quenching your thirst and saving water. Other popular beverages use far more water to produce.
- It takes 1,056 gallons of water to make one gallon of brewed coffee.
- A gallon of beer requires 296 gallons of water to produce.
- A gallon of wine takes 872 gallons of water to make.
If you’re tired of water, reach for tea. It only takes 108 gallons of water to produce one gallon of tea.
Carpool or Ride Your Bike
Producing gasoline takes water, so the less fuel you burn on driving, the less water you’ll be using. To conserve water, see if you can start an office carpool. It will save you and your coworkers money while also cutting down on water usage.
A better bet if you can do it is riding your bike or walking to wherever you’re going.
It All Adds Up
Sometimes the steps we take to save water can seem so small in the grand scheme of things. But every little bit truly does add up. And if enough people make a few changes to conserve water when they’re away from home, it will make a big difference in the long run.
What are some of the ways you save water outside of your home? Let us know in the comments section below.