My kitchen was easily the biggest ‘waste generator’ in my home – especially when it comes to water.
Whether it is a suddenly leaky tap in the sink or the water I tossed away after soaking pulses overnight, there seemed to be an endless drain of ‘waste’ water.
And this bothered me deeply enough to find some new ways to deal with old water.
Does hard water in your kitchen bother you? Worry no more. This one-time solution will manage the calcium and magnesium in the water, making the water soft. Drop this water softener in your overhead tank, sit back and relax!
Because if a kitchen uses a lot of water, it also has the potential to save much of it – beyond fixing leaky taps via a plumber. In fact, the water that most of us assume has only one place (the drain) can be used in multiple sustainable and profitable ways.
So here are some solutions I implemented, which can be useful additions in any kitchen.
1. Most of the water wasted in a kitchen comes from when you soak pulses/grains or wash pasta/dal before cooking. About a vessel full of water goes down the drain although it is not contaminated. The cool water is perfect for your plants. Instead of straining the water into the sink, do it in your garden instead. Not only will you save water but also the time you spend in watering plants.
2. I deliberately didn’t mention rice in the list above. Did you know that rice water is an excellent hair conditioner? The Red Yao tribe women from China are famous for their long-flowing soft hair. Their secret is that they wash their hair with rice water. You too can give it a try. The easiest process is to soak rice in water for about 30 minutes and then keep aside the starchy water. Some prefer fermenting the starchy water first or even using the water rice is boiled in.
How to use this conditioner: Shampoo your hair and rinse it off. Massage your hair and scalp with the starchy rice water and keep it on for about 20 minutes. Wash it away with warm water. (The technique doesn’t work for certain hair types, but there’s no harm in giving it a try.)
3. How much of the water do you use when you turn on the tap? Faucets that release a heavy flow of water are wasting litres of it over a day. The United Nations has pointed out that of the 600 ml of water we release while washing hands, only about 350 ml is used. Now, the one-time-effort solution to save up to 80% of the water you release is as easy as fixing an adaptor to the faucet.
Check out our collection of these adaptors and choose the one that fits your kitchen tap the best.
4. Steaming vegetables is healthier than boiling them, and they tend to taste a little better, while still being firm. It also saves a lot of water. Need we say more?
5. Make it a point to use proportionate utensils for each meal. Bigger vessels consume more water washing up, so try to use as small (or appropriate-sized) utensils at all times.
6. After a happy round of cooking, many utensils usually end up with their bottoms coated with food remains. Don’t try to scrub them out under running water. Instead, mix baking powder or vinegar with your dishwashing liquid to ease the scrubbing.
You need not have water running from the tap, and you don’t even need to soak the utensils!
7. Have you ever calculated how much water we waste if we wash all of our vegetables and fruits separately? If you are planning a full meal with several vegetables and you wash each of them under a running tap, you will be wasting several litres of water. There’s an easy solution to this as well. Soak all of the vegetables in the pot that you intend to cook in!
Discard the water in your garden, and there you go!
As for someone who spends thousands of rupees on water tankers each month and daily watches the struggle of my neighbourhood for clean and useable water, I understand how precious these litres of water are.
And if saving water also reduces work, I don’t see a downside to this regime at all!
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)