Earth Day is a good reminder for all of us to be conscious of how our actions impact the Earth. Fortunately, there are many surprising changes you can make right at home, like investing in quality water treatment. Treated water is good for your home appliances, plumbing, hair, skin, and health but can also have a positive impact on the environment by reducing your home’s carbon footprint.
Eliminate single-use plastic bottle usage
Environmentalists have been warning consumers about the negative implications single-use plastic bottles have on our Earth for years, but usage is still prevalent. Globally, more than 1,000,000 plastic water bottles are sold every minute, contributing to this multi-billion dollar industry but also to overflowing landfills.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Not surprising then that plastic bottles and bottle caps rank as the third and fourth most collected plastic trash items in the Ocean Conservancy’s annual beach clean-ups in more than 100 countries. Without these extensive clean-up efforts, plastic bottles are left in the environment to decompose for hundreds of years, leaking dangerous and harmful chemicals during the process.
Bottled water is marketed as a cleaner, healthier, tastier alternative to tap water. Younger generations are growing up believing that water comes in bottles and that taps aren’t for drinking. Most Americans have access to safe drinking water but rising concerns about potentially harmful contaminants, which have been found in every state in the nation, drive consumers looking for alternatives to tap water.
What Might Be in Your Tap Water?
Contaminants can end up in our water in a variety of ways. Nitrates, one of the most common contaminants in rural areas, primarily come from agricultural run-off and fertilizers. Lead can end up in drinking water from corroded plumbing pipes and fixtures often used in the city’s infrastructure or homes build before 1986. And, new laboratory tests found that polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are harmful chemicals used in water repellants and non-stick pans, are detectable in all major water supplies in the U.S.
So, how do you avoid these contaminants without turning to bottled water? Install a reverse osmosis system (RO) or contaminant reduction system in your home. A RO drinking water system filters out impurities and contaminants in your tap water by forcing the dirty water through a semi-permeable membrane that traps the unwanted materials, resulting in clean drinking water on the other side. A reverse osmosis system is the perfect solution for nitrates and lead removal.
Another solution is a contaminant reduction system which combines the power of a carbon block cartridge inside the ONE™ filter with a water softener. This technology is certified to remove both lead and PFOA/PFOS from water. This product provides high quality, chemical-free water throughout your entire home, so every tap is safe for your family.
It’s best to start by contacting a water treatment professional to properly test your water and recommend the right solution based on those results. Then, you can rest assured you’re drinking the very best quality water right at home.
Decrease chemical detergent usage
Everyone wants a clean home, but many chemical detergents and cleaners we use end up going down the drain, which leads to our rivers and oceans, causing severe contamination and threats to our ecosystems.
Instead, consider natural cleaners that don’t contain harmful chemicals such as vinegar and baking soda. Another way to decrease your impact is simply by using less. If you have hard water, however, you may have noticed that cleaning your home, clothes, and even your hair requires more soaps and detergents. That’s because hard water contains dissolved minerals of calcium and magnesium, which lessen the cleaning power of detergents and shampoos.
Soft water requires up to 50% less cleaning product to get the job done, meaning less chemical pollution and more money in your pocket. And since it cleans better overall, you’ll also save time and elbow grease, plus use less water, which is another bonus to Mother Nature.
Lower your energy consumption
All energy sources have some impact on our environment. Electricity, for example, requires fossil fuels like coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Burning these fossil fuels create CO2, which can have adverse effects on the environment like global warming. So, as consumers, we can protect the Earth and conserve natural resources by decreasing the amount of energy we use.
Upgrading your major appliances to more energy efficient models can help reduce your home’s carbon footprint and save hundreds of dollars a year on your energy bills. But this can be a significant upfront expense that needs to be paid over a period of time. Instead, consider starting with a water softener, especially one designed with Water Efficient Technology or W.E.T., which uses up to 50% less salt and water. Softened water can help preserve the life of your appliances but, more importantly, keeps them operating more efficiently, lowering your energy consumption.
Hard water creates limescale and other deposits that can wreak havoc in your home and drive up energy costs. It can cause build-up and clogging in your dishwasher and washing machine, as well as your plumbing fixtures and piping. One of the appliances affected most by hard water is your water heater.
A study conducted by the Water Quality Research Foundation revealed that when soft water was used with gas water heaters specifically, homes had a 15% reduction in their carbon footprint over a fifteen-year water heater service life. Water heaters using soft water subsequently affect the performance and efficiency of showerheads, faucets, and appliances throughout your home, having a positive impact on the environment and their overall lifespan.
Protect our water sources
There are plenty of other easy ways to protect our water sources and planet right from your home. Make sure to properly dispose of hazardous or toxic substances like pesticides, motor oil, leftover paint, mothballs, and medicines. Calling your county’s recycling and waste center or researching their website will provide helpful guidance on proper disposal.
Another way to make a positive impact is to find a beach, stream, or wetland cleanup in your area and volunteer your time. If there are no active groups, consider starting one by using this collaboration toolkit. Whether you’re inspired by Earth Day or are looking to expand your environmental efforts, the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do, both big and small, to make a difference.
Safe water at home for Earth Day and beyond
Water treatment can have many positive environmental and savings impacts. Start by having your water tested by a water treatment professional. They can accurately assess the condition of your water and advise which equipment will address your concerns and help you reduce energy usage and waste.