April 24, 2007

Conserving Water, Japan Style

Yesterday I posted about ways my family tries to save electricity. Today I move on to water conservation. I'm impressed with the way Japan conserves water and we just go with the flow (sorry) of what people tend to do here. The main difference is bathing habits. In Japan, families typically fill up a big bathtub with hot water. Each family member uses the same bathwater (eewww, yuck) but takes a quick shower to get clean before relaxing in the tub (oh, okay, like a hot tub). The shower is in the bathroom right next to the tub. So instead of my family of four each taking a ten-minute shower to get clean and relax, we each take a five-minute shower to get clean and sit in the tub to relax for as long as we want. I figure we use about half of the water we would otherwise.

But wait, there's more. I said earlier that we get in the tub after showering so even after the four of us have taken a bath, the water is quite clean. Rather than letting it go down the drain, we use a special hose attached to our washing machine that siphons water from the bathtub to wash clothes. Pretty nifty. Most washing machines sold here come with these gadgets.

Our new place doesn't have this but most toilets in Japan have big (大) and small (小) flushing options. The uses are self-evident.

So what are your water conservation tips? Let me know in the comments.

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