5 Ways to Reduce Water Waste

reduce water waste

Water waste is just as big a problem as plastic waste. Did you know only 1 percent of the Earth’s water is actually drinkable? Fresh, drinkable water isn’t an infinite resource: There’s only so much of it, and we aren’t making any more. That’s why it’s so incredibly important we reduce water waste in all areas of our life.

 On a side note, I’m writing this post in celebration of World Water Day, March 22, a day dedicated to observing our relationship with water. It’s a fantastic day to advocate for sustainable management of freshwater resources. I encourage you to reflect on your relationship with water today, and do your best to improve it. Ask yourself: What are some ways I can conserve water around the home? At my job? Hopefully, this post will help you begin to answer those questions, but I really encourage you to reflect deeper on this topic yourself. 

Often times, while living a zero waste lifestyle, we too often focus on the disposable waste (like plastic cups, paper napkins, etc.), and not enough on other forms of waste (like energy, food and water waste). This is a shame, considering being zero waste is so much deeper than how much trash you can fit into your glass jar.  I really encourage you to broaden your horizons and think critically about the ways we waste all kinds of things – not just trash. Without further ado, here are five ways to reduce water waste.


How to reduce water waste

reduce water waste

Lets never take this beautiful, essential resource for granted! We all need water to survive. It’s a basic necessity for human life. Lets make sure we do our part to conserve it. Here are five unique ways to reduce water waste in your every day life.


1. Salvage pasta and produce water

reduce water waste

Making some pasta? Washing some produce off? Save the water for later and feed it to your plants!

If you just made pasta, let the water cool off before feeding it to your plants. You don’t want to harm them with boiling hot water, after all.

You can also even cook with pasta water as well, if you have no houseplants to feed it to. The pasta releases some of its starch as it cooks, making for some nice salty, starchy water. It makes a great thickener for sauces!

As far as produce water goes, I’m referring to the water you use to wash fresh produce. Like when you’re making a salad but want to wash off the lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes first?

Whenever I wash my produce, I typically only use straight up water (no fancy commercial washes), so I like saving it for my houseplants.

I put a bowl underneath the strainer I use to wash my produce in, so it catches all the water. Then I dump it straight into my plants’ soil! You can also filter the salvaged water into a glass with a narrow opening if that will make watering your plants easier.

Doing this will really help you reduce water waste, plus it helps you out in the process!

2. Keep a bucket in the shower

reduce water waste

You know when you’re waiting for the shower water to heat up and it’s ice cold? That’s water wasted down the drain.

Instead, try keeping a shower bucket handy. You can stick the bucket right under the faucet while you wait for the water to heat up.

You can use the water you catch for so many different things: Watering your plants, flushing the toilet, or hand washing delicate undergarments. Those are just a few options – feel free to get creative!

3. Use real plates, not disposables

reduce water waste

If you’re living a zero waste life, you already know how great reusables are for avoiding waste. But they also help reduce water waste!

Did you know it takes 8 gallons of water to make one paper plate? Lots of people think they’re saving water when they use disposable plates (because you don’t have to wash them in the sink or dishwasher), but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

It doesn’t take 8 gallons of water to wash a reusable plate, that’s for sure. So washing dishes, either by hand or by dishwasher, actually saves water compared to using disposables.

The next time you have a meal, or invite friends and family over, serve up some grub on reusable plates! It’ll also save you money just reusing what you have.

4. Drink more water

reduce water waste

It may seem counterproductive, but drinking more water actually saves water. That’s because other drinks actually require more water to make.

Did you know drinking one bottle of cola consumes around two or three bathtubs of water? That’s crazy, right?

The reason is because growing sugar cane uses a lot of water (along with water-polluting pesticides). A lot of water also goes into the plastic packaging for soda bottles as well.

I personally drink water all day long, but I do make an exception for tea. I can’t miss my cup of green tea in the morning.

Thankfully, tea leaves don’t require nearly as much water to grow as coffee beans. Just one cup of coffee takes about 140 liters of water, while a cup of tea only takes about 34 liters.

Obviously you should still stick to drinking more straight up water than anything else, but the occasional cup of tea is an acceptable option as well.

Mind you, when I say drink more water, I don’t mean from a plastic water bottle. It takes a lot of water to make those plastic bottles (many of which find their way into our waterways as litter anyway).

Besides, why pay money for bottled water when you can get it straight from the tap? You can always get a filter if you can’t stand the taste of tap water.

I personally use a stainless steel water bottle and charcoal water filters to stay hydrated on the go.

Speaking of drinking water, be sure to drink all the water you get while out a restaurant! Otherwise they’ll just dump it down the drain. If you can’t finish it, put it into your travel mug or stainless steel water bottle for later, so it’s not wasted.

5. Skip the shower

reduce water waste

So, I’m not telling you to be stinky here, but taking a shower multiple times a day isn’t necessary. You can even skip taking it on a daily basis and still be okay.

Showering is definitely less wasteful than taking a bath, but if your showers are frequent and long, it can waste gallons upon gallons of water.

Skipping even one shower a week adds to huge water savings. It also can help your hair, believe it or not. Showering too often can really strip your hair of beneficial oils!

Personally, I like to shower every other day. It works for me and helps reduce water waste, so why not?

Also, when I do shower, I try to keep the duration under 20 minutes. They say you should take super short showers to reduce water waste, but I find it nearly impossible to take five minute showers. Kudos to you if you can though!

You can shorten the duration of your shower by opting to shave after your shower, using a glass of water to dip your razor in instead.

You can also listen to a 10 minute playlist as you shower and challenge yourself to finish up by the time the playlist ends. That’s a fun way to shorten your shower, for sure!

reduce water waste

What are some ways you try to reduce water waste?

For other unique ways to kick waste to the curb, be sure to check out my tips on reducing food waste.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it! If you like my content, sign up for my newsletter to get notified every time I write a new blog post.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


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  2. I love these 5 ways to reduce water. Especially de 5th option. In 1 time a month my kids take a bath because for me it's taking to long to fill and they shower every two days, and.. we shower together. So, every two days i will take a shower with the girls or my husband 🙂

  3. Not only would this help slow the coming of water shortages, it would also cut the household costs for water and sewer. In this particular time in our country if saving water means saving money then we need to be doing both now and for our future.Hinada

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