Wednesday, 4 December 2013

I think my children might smell … and other ways to save water.

I don’t think I wash my children enough. My daughter has had a faint tomato stain on her chin for quite some time and there’s a definite musty odour wafting from my son’s head.

I’d like to blame it on being green and saving water but, to be honest, by 6pm I just can’t be bothered. They don’t like it, I don’t like it, and so they stay dirty.

Don’t get me wrong – we’re not animals. I at least give them a quick wipe over with a wash cloth and wet their hair a bit to create the illusion of clean. Unless of course they’ve been swimming, in which case I don’t bother. After all, a pool is just like a giant bath, isn’t it?

The evenings I do bath them, I’m not sure it’s much better. I don’t so much clean them as sit on the loo seat painting my toenails, watching them sit in water. My role is purely as a lifeguard.

I realised how pathetic my child-washing technique was last year when I broke my shoulder and a friend of mine had to bath them for me. The poor smelly things didn’t know what hit them. They were lathered and scrubbed to within an inch of their little lives. She even washed between every individual toe and then got some fresh water to rinse them off afterwards - no used soapy bath water here.

Judge me if you like, but it turns out my woeful parenting is accidentally saving the planet. We use around 150 litres of water a day each and a bath uses about 80 litres. So by not bathing my children every day I’m practically an eco-warrior.

But if you’d rather not save water in such a disgusting way, there are more hygenic options – here I’ve listed the ones that require the least amount of effort.

1. Don’t flush away rubbish – makeup tissues, cotton balls etc.

2. Have more short showers, less baths (a 5 minute showers uses around 40 litres – half that of a bath. Unless you have a power shower which is bad. If you do have a power shower think about changing to an aerated showerhead instead. )

3. Turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth.

4. Make sure your dishwasher is full, use the eco setting and don’t bother pre-rinsing plates – just scrape them.

5. Put a jug of cold drinking water in your fridge, so you don’t waste water waiting for the tap to run cold every time you want a drink.

6. Put a washing up bowl or plug into your sink to catch excess and use it to wash your veg in or water plants.

7. Only fill your kettle with what you need.

8. Use a lid on your saucepans – it’ll reduce the amount of water lost so you don’t have to put as much in, and also speed up cooking times.

9. Use the most water efficient setting on your washing machine and make sure it’s full.

10. Fix dripping taps. Even I can do it, so it can’t be that hard.

These are all things most of us know already, but we just get into bad habits. So just try to adopt a few new ones and let the green-ness seep in without you realising.

Why do we need to save water? Water is in an endless supply, but good quality water isn’t. Also, the energy used to pump the water around the place and to heat it in our homes is huge, and produces lots of greenhouse gas emissions.

Where our water goes

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