The new academic year may still be a month away, but it will be here before you know it. Unless you’re living in private halls where all the bills are covered, you are responsible for utility bills. Even if bills are covered, eco-conscious students can use these tips to cut down on water use.
Why Should You Save Water?
The most obvious reason is to save money on your water bills. But did you know in the UK:
- Some three billion litres of drinkable water are wasted every day
- The average person uses 150 litres of water every day
- About a third of the average household gas bill is spent on heating
That’s a lot of wastage, too high bills, and ecologically problematic.
Start with the Simple Things
We don’t want to teach anyone’s grandmothers to suck eggs, so we’ll just recap some tips you’ve no doubt heard all your life:
- Don’t let the tap run when brushing your teeth
- Don’t have the shower on full power
- Don’t leave the tap running when washing your hands
Some are difficult as we’ve become used to washing our hands more due to COVID-19 health advice.
But of course, there are other things you can do to help.
In the UK, we boil food, a lot. We eat a lot of rice and pasta and in each case that uses a lot of water which will often end up down the drain. The thing is, we’re using too much water when making pasta and rice. Collectively, that’s a big problem, especially for pasta where we use far more than we need. Some tips here:
- Use a rice steamer to go in the microwave. They are quick and efficient, and you typically only need 600ml of water to 250g of dry rice. That makes around four portions.
- Check online to determine how much water you should use to boil pasta. Dried pasta will naturally use more than fresh, but we’re still using too much.
It may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how some people will still put the machine on to wash 2-3 tops. According to electricity companies themselves, two half loads use more energy than one full load. If you need a single item cleaned, handwashing is preferred. If you really must do a small load, use an eco-setting on the machine, or a quick wash.
We’ve already covered shorter showers and don’t leave the tap running, but there are two other critical tips. Current advice is that we shouldn’t shower every day – there’s no need, and it may be counterproductive anyway. Also, make sure you only flush the toilet on a short flush when relevant. A more extreme measure? Don’t flush every time.