We are water hogs. And I'm trying to clean up my act. In the US, the average individual daily consumption of water is 159 gallons, while more than half the world's population lives on 25 gallons. I've put together a list of easy ways to curb our family's consumption and in the process, I'll be saving money along the way.

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Our Best Eco-friendly Laundry Ideas

Greener Laundry Tips

Let's start with laundry. If you are akin to the typical American household, you'll wash, dry and fold about 400 loads of laundry this year. Mindful parents are thinking of ways to save water and energy. While I cannot think of any ways to keep your kids cleaner (who wants to skip spaghetti and meatballs!), I can give you a round up of ways to lighten the environmental load.

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  • Switch to HE Front Loader: Conventional washers use about 40 gallons of water per full load. That's a lot of fresh water going to waste. Front loaders like the Whirlpool Duet can reduce water use by nearly 40 percent. The water sits at the bottom on the washer and the laundry flips around on a horizontal axis--much more efficient--saving you 20 to 25 gallons of water per wash.
  • Line Dry: Turn that dryer off and place your laundry in the air to dry. While this isn't practical with everything, we line-dry our shirts and towels. You'll save a few bucks and all the energy that was powering your dryer--and it is much gentler on your clothes. For more tips on letting it all "hang out" go here.
  • Cold Wash: When you can swing it, switch from warm to cold. Heating the water uses extra energy. We wash just about everything dark colored in cod.
  • Wear it Multiple Times: No, not when it is stinky or stained. But somehow my kids got into the habit of tossing pjs in the hamper after one wear. No way!
  • Cut back on the detergent: Read the instructions on your laundry detergent. Chances are you've been using too much. Not only does this hurt your fabrics it also leads to more bottles in the trash.

Ten ways for parents to cut down on water consumption:

Now, let's move on to water: it's one of the world's most precious resources and we use a heck of a lot of it here in the US. Here are some ways to shape up!

  1. Shower don't bathe: Showers generally require less water than baths, coming in at 20 gallons versus a bath's 50 gallons.
  2. Batch the baths and throw both kids in the tub at the same time.
  3. When bathing babies, use the sink: You'll only need a few cups of water for a baby's bath.
  4. Switch to a low-flow toilet: The EPA says look for a WaterSense labeled toilet, which uses 20% less water. Compared to older, inefficient models, WaterSense labeled toilets could save a family of four more than $90 annually on its water utility bill.
  5. Low flow water heads or aerators: You can increase the faucet's efficiency by 30% without sacrificing performance.
  6. Low impact planting: Consider succulents and other plants that require less watering.
  7. Use mulch around trees and plantings to prevent evaporation: Adding 2 - 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture.
  8. Don't run the water when you brush your teeth: Save 10 gallons a day
  9. Only run the dishwasher when it is full
  10. Ditto for the clothes washer: Save 1,000 gallons a month.


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