6 Easy Ways to Conserve Water

Each day, the average family of four uses 400 gallons of water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Yet there are so many easy ways to be prudent in our choices and cut back on waste in our daily lives.

While you already recycle, reduce, and reuse, there's more you can do—especially when it comes to conserving water. These six small ideas make a big impact.

1. Go natural

Choose soaps, shampoos, conditioners, body scrubs, and other bath and beauty products that are free of pthalates, formaldehyde, parabens, and other potentially toxic chemicals that ultimately drain out into the water supply. These chemicals contribute to water pollution and disrupt the natural balance of plant and animal life in our waterways.

2. Support recycling

Purchase bath and shower products that are sold in containers made with recycled products, and remember to recycle those containers again. Also eco-savvy: products that use minimal packaging.

3. Take showers instead of baths

A short shower uses less water as well as less energy to heat the water. And not only will you save resources, you'll save money on your utility bills.

4. Install low-flow showerheads

On average, a four-minute shower using a showerhead installed prior to 1992 sends 20 to 40 gallons of water down the drain. Showerheads sold since then come under Federal regulations that require lower water flow rates (so if yours is 20-plus years old it's time to go shopping). A low-flow showerhead can reduce that water drainage to 10 gallons. Newer faucets come with aerators that further reduce the amount of water that needlessly goes down the drain.

5. Lighten your laundry load

Choose plant-based, biodegradable, and concentrated laundry detergents and wash your towels and washcloths in warm water rather than hot. Skip the dryer and hang your towels and clothing outside in the sun during spring and summer and on an indoor rack during colder months.

6. Let your hair dry naturally

When the weather cooperates and if your hairstyle permits, let your hair dry naturally and, to speed up the process, go outside and brush your hair under the sun.




Arizona State University Water Resources Research Center: Pharmaceuticals in Our Water Supply

Environmental Working Group: Skin Deep Costmetics Database

U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Savers-Reduce Hot Water Use for Energy Savings

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Protecting the Environment At Home and In the Garden. Web. 10 May 2012