Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price

One last recycling post

at least for now.

The other day, I went to wash dishes and paused. My modus operandi entails letting the water run continuosly while I wash each dish and then rinse it off. This can sometimes take 15 to 20 minutes depending on how many dishes I've let pile up.

But for the last several months, I'd been learning a new, more conservative method. It's a system developed by the saint in my life who loves to cook. The impetus? A $500 water bill (part of it was caused by a running toilet) and a need to conserve.

I don't know much about gray-water recycling, but as I understand it, this is a variation of it.

Here's how it works:

There is always a pot in his sink with a few inches of water in it.

When the dishes get significantly high (he has a much lower tolerance for this than I do) the washer will use the standing water in the pot to wash each plate, glass, fork, knife and spoon. I forgot, before commencing with the washing, the washee will fill the tea kettle with water and put it on the stove to boil.

Once all the dishes are washed and placed in the other half of the sink, the pot of soapy water is emptied in a bucket near the sink. The now-boiling tea water is emptied into the pot and used to rinse eash dish. You boil the water so you don't waste water runninig it until it gets hot.

After, the rinse water is then saved in the pot for the next time the dishes need washed.

Having done this for several months, I can attest that the dishes always come clean and they don't taste soapy.

And here's the thing about any kind of conservation. Once you start, you feel guilty every time you don't.

So, back to me and my own dish washing strategy. Instead of letting the water run, I open my cupboard, pull a mixing bowl down from the shelf and fill it with water.


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