By: Mel

Who would have thought a simple domestic chore could turn into the cauldron of contention? I remember once asking a friend (we took turns washing up) whether they would mind rinsing them afterwards as I noticed that although there was plenty of soap going into the washing up process, little of it was being rinsed off. My simple request was met with a barrage of insults and a note that I should be grateful that any washing up was done at all.

washing-up_1886717aEgo aside, he got the message after seeing how unsatisfactory scummy dishes were to actually eat off. Back then soap was more of a concern than water but as ever my attention is on water and how much we squander in every day tasks. I have a friend now who washes dishes under running water and never fills the sink so for a few knives and forks and a plate or two, endless litres end up down the drain. And, based on the first rather hot response, I find myself yet again in a quandry as to how to approach the subject.

On the matter of water and it’s sustainability I had along conference call to one of the top thought leaders in Australia who is responsible for helping companies become more sustainable in their use of natural resources. He has found over his three years of intense work in this hotly emotional and economic issue that huge results can be achieved if we make simple shifts in our resource usage habits. So I am trying to lead by example, using the hot water tap to fill watering jugs with the cold beginnings of the flow, until the hot water runs through. Then I fill a third of a sink with biodegradeable washing up liquid and wash from the lightest soiled item to the heaviest. All items are then rinsed in another sink a third full of hot water, to finish the process.

Dishwashers are light on water in comparison with how many items they clean but not all of us has one so the vigil over the sink and how much water gets thrown away each day is something to consider. But how to broach the subject? Thanks for washing up but please don’t waste the water?