Water and sanitation awareness isn't just for developing parts of the world. There's a lot you can do from your own home.
- Take quick showers. Long showers actually use more water than the average bath!
- Fix leaky faucets and toilets. Toilets are the biggest user of water in the house, and 20% of them leak.
- Consider replacing your toilet with a water-saving model. You can save 8,000-21,000 gallons of water a year this way.
- Only use dishwashers and clothes washers when they include a full load. Limit dish pre-washing. Consider upgrading your clothes washer to a front-loading, water-efficient model.
- When brushing your teeth and washing your face, turn off the water. Turn it on just for rinsing.
- Be sure outside water faucets are turned off when not in use. Leaving them on usually results in a drip that wastes water.
- Landscape with native plants or consider a xeriscape. Only water what your plants need, and do so at night or in the early morning.
- Add a rainwater collection system to your property, and use the collected water for irrigation.
- Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after every step in food preparation.
- Wash hands before eating and after using the bathroom, handling garbage and touching pets.
- Use separate cutting boards for cooked and raw foods.
- Wash cutting boards after each use; sanitize with bleach water once a week.
- Replace dish cloths and dish towels daily; replace sponges weekly.
- When buying chemical products, buy just enough to do the job. Dumping leftovers may be illegal and contaminates the soil, water and air. Look for non-hazardous or less hazardous substitutes for each job.
- Do not pour harmful household products down a sink, toilet or bathtub drain unless the products are made for that purpose.
- If you require the use of medical needles at home, do not throw loose or used needles in the garbage or recycling container, and do not flush them. Check with your environmental agency for recommended disposal methods.
- Recycle used motor oil. Dumping used motor oil from a single oil change can ruin a million gallons of fresh water–a year's supply for 50 people.