Water And Oceanography

How to Conserve Water

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"How to Conserve Water"
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It's amazing how simple it is to conserve water and recycle at one and the same time! Isuspect, like many of you out there, you're concerned about the human impact on poor old Mother Earth. A lot of us have, for a good number of years, dutifully taken trips to the bottle bank, put the odd veggie peeling and a few grass cuttings onto the compost heap, or placed paper, cans and plastic bottles either into special banks or into recycling bins which are collected from home, but I've slowly been taking things a step further.

Not only do I now do the above and work from home thereby cutting my carbon dioxide emissions in travel time, but I even order my groceries online from Asda (a major subsidiary of Wal-Mart just to enlighten my friends in the US) which are delivered straight to my door (again, lowering carbon emissions as one delivery van can replace half a dozen cars on the road). Unfortunately these groceries arrive in plastic carrier bags. That being said, the store are amazingly eco friendly they tend to supply local produce as and when possible and the delivery drivers happily take back any carrier bags from the previous delivery, but as I wasn't entirely sure what happened to the used bags once they were returned I decided to think of practical ways of re-using a few of them myself at home.

With the current steep rise in fuel prices, the global recession, high mortgage interest rates etc I'm constantly looking for ways I can save money and have begun growing my own vegetables on my little plot of garden. I'd grown runner beans and tomatoes for a good number of years, not always successfully. Before I began working from home I found that during particularly hot periods the plants really could have benefited from a good watering during the day but as I wasn't close enough to home to be able to do it in my lunch break, by the time I got home in the evening they, much like myself, looked decidedly droopy and forlorn which affected the crop. Although since working from home I have a bit more time for watering, if I have a really busy day and the clients are demanding their work back within tight deadlines the poor old veg have to go on the back burner.

This year though, I seem to have sussed it. Before I put the tomato and bean plants into the ground, I 'planted' a plastic carrier bag in the bottom of the hole. The carrier bag ensures that the moisture stays longer around the plants which means that I don't have to water them so often so I'm hoping for a much better crop and not only am I saving money by increasing my crops so I don't have to buy so much greengrocery, but I'm also saving water. This year I decided to grow some cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces and carrots for the summer and some Brussels sprouts for the winter so I've done exactly the same with them and so far so good! All my plants look incredibly healthy and I rarely have to water them more than once a day, sometimes I can even leave them two or three days if the weather's dry but not too hot. Of course, by growing my own veg I'm also reducing my carbon emissions/footprint as the veg don't have to travel from farm to supermarket and I don't have to travel to get to get them (apart from the leisurely 20 second walk down the garden to pick them!).

I've also discovered a use for my cat's resealable, foil-type biscuit bags. If I have any 'smelly' rubbish (such as fish skin/bones or chicken bones) I put it in the bag and seal it up. I use the bags for two or three days until it's either full or becomes extremely offensive to my nasal passages on opening. This means that my kitchen swing bin doesn't have to be emptied nearly so often and nor do I get flies and maggots in my household waste bin outside. Our local council now only collects household waste once a fortnight and I'm proud of the fact that my wheelie bin rarely goes out more than every six weeks and still smells as fresh as a daisy! Eco friendly and cost efficient less plastic bin liners, and no bug sprays or disinfectant/soap required!

I've also got into the habit now of putting chicken/fish skin/bones into a covered dish overnight after we've had dinner, putting them out in the garden the following morning for the local magpie/rook families and then just collecting the remains around dusk. This not only gives the birds a good feast but goes some way towards protecting the smaller birds or rodents as, like us humans, it's far easier for the magpies/rooks to pick up a ready meal than go out and catch it on the move!

We use any empty bread bags or greased proof type cereal bags as freezer bags. We tend to buy chicken portions, fish, etc 'in bulk' (as it's cheaper to buy that way) and split it once it's delivered to us so, rather than buy freezer bags, we just re-use the bread bags again, eco friendly and cost efficient. If the bags are used just for storing frozen veg and come out intact then I wash them under a hot tap and store them to be used again.

Obviously there's a limit as to how often you can re-use the bags but at least they're not just discarded willy-nilly onto our ever increasing rubbish dumps and I feel I'm at least going some way to helping the planet. So, go PPPP - 'Plant the Plastic for Plentiful Produce'!

More about this author: Jackie Money

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