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Many people fear that if they wash the recyclables they waste precious water. If you’ve been concerned about this too, keep on reading!
Does the two noble goal: recycling and saving water contradict each other? Fortunately, the answer is no! The biggest benefit of recycling is not making the effort to manufacture virgin materials from primary sources again. And this means saving huge amount of water and energy. Compared to the toxic industrial wastewater of mining, extracting and processing materials, the amount you use at home to wash up is marginal. Furthermore, just think about oil, the raw material of plastics. Oil spills, which happen a lot more frequently than how often it reaches the media’s attention, pollute natural waters and cause the death of many living beings. Additionally, unconventional oil production is also a huge source of water pollution. Another advantage of recycling, is that less landfill space is needed, and those leaky landfills can pollute waterways with highly toxic water.
According to the life cycle analyst expert, James Norman, asked by TreeHugger, an aluminum can weighing 200 grams takes 13,7 liter water to manufacture from virgin materials, and a steel can of the same size takes 9,2 liter. It is easy to see then, that if we simply wash them with all our other dishes, it won’t take as much water. Other sources say that it takes 3-10 times the water to make metals from virgin material compared to reclaimed materials.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you should be washing up in a wasteful way. On the contrary, it is very important to acquire water efficient washing up skills! Follow our tips:
1. Use up the remaining product by diluting shampoos and shower gels with some water. For example, fill the shampoo bottle with warm water, and use it to dampen your hair! If you do this a few times, the bottle will be crystal clear!
2. If you have a dishwasher, it takes no time at all to add a few yoghurt cups, ice cream tubs, tin cans or any other dirty packaging with the rest of the dishes. It is very important to only start the dishwasher with a full load, so this will make it more efficient if you have run it half-empty in the past.
3. If you wash the dishes by hand, the best is to wash up in standing water. This way it won’t take more water to wash recyclables. If you really cannot stand the sink method, then make sure to use water saving faucet aerators, and close the tap frequently when not needed.
4. Use biodegradable and eco-friendly dishwashing soaps, and tablets, so you create less pollution!
5. As for the packaging of cleaning products and detergents, fill them with water or if they are smaller soak all of them in a basin! When they are all rinsed out, you can flush the toilet with the soaking water, or use it as a mopping up liquid, depending on what kind of products are in it. Of course never mix products that are dangerous with each other, but hopefully you are using safe, natural cleaning products.
6. And the most important rule is to avoid disposable packaging whenever you can, which results in the most saved water!
Clean recyclables are more marketable, which means that recycling can spread better and become more accessible. And the environmental advantages of recycling benefits us all! To make it possible, always follow the rules of your collector company has!