Recycling and Saving our Water

Water is a precious commodity that we all need and use in a number of different ways on a daily basis. In fact, according to Waterwise, a non governmental organisation and a leading authority on water efficiency, here in the UK each and every one of us uses approximately 150 litres of tap water every single day, which amounts to an awful lot of water. However, if we include embedded water too, then this figure rises to a staggering 3400 litres. The problem we all face is that water is an essential part of life and as such, we must all endeavour to safeguard the quality of our water both now and in the future. Pollution is a global problem that affects us at a local level so what are governments doing about it and how can we help? The Water Framework Directive The Water Framework Directive came into force in December 2000 and it states that by the year 2015, we must restore our waters to good health.

Waterwise, along with nine other non governmental organisations have launched a "Blueprint for water", that basically outlines a ten point plan to meet the objectives by the year 2015. The steps involved include wasting less water, addressing damage to our rivers and wetlands, reducing pollution and making sure that water stays clean, is priced fairly and that those who pollute the water, pay penalties. What can we do at home? There are other steps we can take at home too. Most of us are now very familiar with the concept of recycling in general. Nearly all local authorities have kerb collections in place for at least two different types of waste material and we are all encouraged to be more environmentally aware by reducing the amount of waste we produce in the first place, re-using what waste we can and recycling the rest.

Water is no different but unfortunately many still take it for granted. The truth is, we are already experiencing water shortages in the UK, and if we don't take action now then the situation could become a lot worse in years to come. So let's look at the different ways we use water.

In the home we use water for drinking, bathing, washing the dishes and clothes, flushing the toilet, cooking and cleaning and outside of the home we use it to water the garden and wash our cars, hose down our streets and so on. However, water is also used in other ways; for example, it is embedded in foods, drinks, your car, your electricity supply and even in the paper you use. Shockingly, one sheet of A4 paper has around 10 litres of water embedded within it.

If we all take note of how much water we are actually using and make a bit more effort to reduce that amount and minimise wasting water, collectively we could make a significant difference to ourselves and the planet. How to reduce the amount of water you use ? Make sure that any leaking or dripping taps are fixed straight away. A dripping tap can waste around 5500 litres of water over the period of one year ? Try to take a shower rather than a bath; a shower uses a lot less water ? Don't keep the tap running constantly when you are washing dishes or carrying out toileting routines, get into the habit of turning the tap off when you don't need it ? Water your garden in the evening or early morning when less water is likely to evaporate, avoid using sprinklers ? A lot of the water that we use in the home doesn't need to be as pure as drinking water, for example the water we use for plants, in the garden and for flushing the toilet. Invest in a water butt to catch rain water and use this in the garden and for your plants ? Set your printer to print on both sides of the paper and make sure you recycle any waste paper and avoid the temptation to throw it out along with household rubbish ? Consider investing in new water efficient appliances in the home, a dish washer for example, uses a lot less water than hand washing the dishes, you can also buy low flush toilets and energy efficient taps ? Put a hippo into your toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water being flushed down the toilet and don't flush the toilet unnecessarily.

Collect other water you have used and flush the toilet with that ? Don't put half loads of washing into your washing machine, wait for a full load ? Keep cold water in the fridge, particularly during hot weather so that if you want to drink some cold water, you don't have to run the tap waiting for the water to get colder Conclusion A little bit of effort goes a long way. If we all spared a moment to think about what would happen if we didn't have a constant supply of clean running water, we might think twice before turning on the tap.

Dave McEvoy is an expert in skips and skip hire . Read his 'National Skip Hire Guide' for more useful information and waste disposal advice.

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