Green @ Home: Reducing Our Water Usage

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Name: Shayna
Location: Oakland

I'm a firm believer in the concept of baby-steps. Grandiose ideas are great, but as for becoming reality? The follow-through just isn't always there. Like Janel, I think it's the small, feasible actions that become a part of your daily vocabulary that really make a difference. For my home, that means using cloth bags, recycling, composting, line-drying clothes in warm weather and buying local when we can; and we're always on the lookout for new ideas to add to our arsenal. This summer, faced with a mandatory water reduction, my family is looking specifically at reducing our water usage...

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If you live in Alameda county, you already know about the mandatory water reduction program. Our home is quite small and after conducting an informal survey amongst neighbors and friends, I found that our water bill is relatively small despite all of the planting we've done recently. Faced with a mandatory reduction of 19% of the average of our water bills, we're a bit overwhelmed at the idea of reducing our water usage even more. Here are two easy ideas that we've managed to pretty much seamlessly incorporate in to our daily life.

1. Using a bucket in the bathroom shower. Instead of watching all of the water go down the drain, we collect the water in a bucket and use it to water our newly planted fruit trees. A good bucket of water every few days keeps the trees happy and we haven't turned the hose on them in over a month now....

2. Using a tub in the kitchen sink. We didn't realize how much water we wasted in the kitchen just washing off fruits and veggies and rinsing our hands while cooking. I found the perfect size tub to keep in one side of our sink. Now, every time that faucet goes on, we collect water for the garden or for our houseplants. We use biodegradable soap and even empty the leftover coffee in to the bucket.

What other real tips do you have for us? We want all of your ideas!

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INFO:

Please send us photos and info on how you live green@home. This is not a contest, just a way to build up an AT inspirational database of sorts on how real folks are living greener at home.

Simple, straightforward ideas are welcome, like how you deal with your recycling bin in a small kitchen, and so are ambitious projects - like your amazing green roof. We hope to have a big archive of ideas to inspire us all by the end of the month.

PRIZES:

6-26-ecover1.jpg6-26-ecover3.gifIn exchange for sharing your green@home ideas, Ecover will reward the first 100 ApartmentTherapy readers, who submit photo/essays demonstrating ways in which their lives are green, with their choice of Ecover Liquid Laundry detergent, Ecover Dishwashing Liquid, or Ecover Glass & Surface spray cleaner. Each of the first 100 will also receive Ecover Heavy Duty hand cleanser.

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Raksha Bella will reward one lucky sweepstakes winner with a complete bedding set made from all certiefied Indian organic cottons. The set includes a queen-sized duvet cover, quilt, two pillow cases and two European shams in the winner's choice of three designs. The Classic Collection from Raksha Bella features sumptous textiles in traditional Indian prints, handblocked with lowimpact and vegetable dyes. Choose from the Raj Paisley (available in Indigo or Rum Raisin), Tree of Life (in Canton & Mimosa) or Indian Rose (in Dusty Cedar, Cress Green or Indigo). A retail value of $1,165.00.

HOW TO ENTER:

To enter the Green @ Home Giveaway, please submit below. Submissions will be posted from July 7th to August 1 and winners will be notified by August 8th.

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RULES:

Please, only one submission per person. Duplicate submissions will be discarded.

This is not a contest.

The first 100 posted submissions will receive a gift from Ecover.

The winner of the Raksha Bella Sweepstakes will be randomly drawn from all complete entries (even those that aren't posted).

Winners must claim their prize within three business days after the date of notification of such prize. A Sweepstakes winner's failure to respond to the prize notification within the specified three business days will be considered such Sweepstakes winner's forfeiture of the prize and an alternate winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries.

To enter, you must be a U.S. resident, age 18 or older to enter. Employees, partners and vendors of Apartment Therapy and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter. We will disqualify any entries that we believe are generated by scripts and other automated technology. When applicable, the winner may be required to execute and return within five business days an Affidavit of Eligibility and a Liability and Publicity Release to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner will be selected.

All prizes will be awarded. No substitutions including for cash are permitted, except that Apartment Therapy reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater monetary value for any prize. Winners shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Sweepstakes Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Apartment Therapy, 22 Howard Street #4i, New York, NY 10013.

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