Waterwise Wednesday: Plastic Laundry

Clothing, especially those made from synthetic fabric, sheds microfibers when washed. The microfibers are small enough to slip through washing machine filters, dryer lint catchers, and municipal water treatment. Synthetic fibers contribute to microplastic pollution in the nation’s waterways since they cannot degrade.

Reduce microplastic/fiber pollution with these tips:

1. Wash less. Wash clothes only when they’re visibly dirty or smelly. Sponge or dust off little messes and air out if it doesn’t really need a wash.

2. Do full loads at coolest temperature to get clothes clean when washing is necessary. This helps preserve fabric and colors.

3. Line dry. Dryers and heat break down fabric faster and increase shedding.

4. Choose natural fibers. Cotton, wool, linen, hemp, silk and lyocell are natural biodegradable fabric fibers.

5. Can’t part with the fleece pullover or nylon running tights? Try a guppybag or coraball to help capture the microfibers.

Graphic: Statista based on research at Plymouth University, UK

Waterwise Wednesday: Halloween Treat Tips

Savoring candy treats is part of the Halloween experience, ward off cavities with these water tips.

1. Eat and Drink (Water). Enjoy a glass of tap water with candy or chocolate to help keep sugar rinsed off the teeth.

2. Swish and rinse teeth with water after enjoying a sugary snack.

3. Consider a fluoride rinse when brushing or drink flouridated tap water. Flouride helps strengthen teeth to prevent cavities.
(Scottsbluff does not flouridate, Gering does).

4. Encourage brushing and flossing after a treat session.

5. Choose better sweets for teeth.

Graphic: America’s Pediatric Dentists

Waterwise Wednesday: Drops to Watts

Graphic: EPA.gov/Watersense

Saving water saves energy. Simply running a faucet for five minutes uses about as much energy as a 60-watt incandescent light bulb staying on for 14 hours, according to the EPA.

How can you save both water and energy?

1. Use less water or use it efficiently – shorter showers, full loads of dishes, turn the tap off while brushing teeth or washing dishes, use a hot water kettle or microwave to heat only the water you need.

2. Find and fix leaks in toilets, sinks, sprinkler systems and appliances.

3. Use cold water instead of hot when possible – laundry, washing fruits and vegetables (use the rinsewater for house plants), rinsing cleaning products

4. Install low-flow fixtures and faucet aerators in showers and sinks.

5. Replace worn out and older inefficient appliances with Water Sense and Energy Star labeled products tested and designed to use water and energy more efficiently – toilets, washing machines, and water heaters are big ones.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Falling Leaves

Photo © Mishkaki

As falling leaves drift to the ground, please clear them from storm drain grates and put them to better use. Leaves can easily clog storm drains creating preventable flooding and nutrient overload pollution.

There’s several good uses for those fallen leaves:

1. Shred and spread on the lawn for a nutrient boosting mulch.

2. Convert them to compost either in your own pile or put them in a city yardwaste bin and we’ll compost them at the Yardwaste Facility.

3. Use the leaves as mulch in your garden beds to protect the soil and hold moisture. Next spring till them into the soil for extra nutrients.

Waterwise Wednesday: Handwash vs. Dishwasher

Photo © Ctacik Hands in gloves washing dishes at the kitchen

Dishwashers use half the energy, one-sixth of the water and less soap than hand-washing according to research at the University of Bonn, Germany. Dishwashers beat the hand washers in both efficient water use and cleanliness level.

Need a dishwasher? Consider these tips to get the most efficient and effective:

1. Choose an ENERGY STAR dishwasher

2. Scrape food into the compost. Don’t iwaste water rinsing.

3. Choose an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent.

4. Run full loads, on the “light” cycle and turn off the “heated drying” option.

5. Repair a dishwasher before replacing it.


Waterwise Wednesday: Fall Fertilizing

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Fall, right after the first freeze, is the best time to fertilize the lawn and combat weeds as the plants take the fertilizer and herbicide deep into their systems as they shut down for the season.

Remember to apply chemicals “Sparingly and Caringly” – using only the amount needed according to instructions – to promote plant health and prevent waste. Sweep any extra back onto the lawn after application to prevent loss in runoff as fertilizer and pesticides are the top non-point source pollutant in US surface waters.

Waterwise Wednesday: A Slight Delay

Autumn officially started on Monday, but turning of the leaves will be delayed until mid-October according to the Weather Channel.

Cooler temperatures coupled with less daylight prompts leaves to change color; however, warmer evening temperatures haven’t slowed chlorophyll production yet.

As a bonus, the extra moist summer should encourage brighter more vibrant colors once the leaves do change.

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Waterwise Wednesday: The Call to All

There’s no one big solution to preserve water, but in fact a multitude of strategies utilizing the time and talents of many different people. For example,

– Municipalities and water utilities provide basic safe water and sanitation

-Researchers, Inventors, and Innovators continue to develop advanced water treatment and reuse systems for gray water and stormwater

-Engineers are making desalination more efficient

-Ag research and irrigation specialists improve plant and irrigation efficiency to grow more food with far less water

-Policymakers protect natural ecosystems and guarantee water for the environment

-Businesses designing and producing more efficient water-using appliances with less water use in the production process

-Builders and advocates creating access to clean water and sanitation

-Tech companies working with agencies and utilities to develop smart-technology to help price, manage, and use water efficiently;

– Educators, residents, and conservationists improve our homes and institutions to manage water sustainably.

We all have a role in preserving water. What do you do?

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Waterwise Wednesday: Plastic Rain in the Rocky Mountains

Over 90% of Rocky Mountain rainwater samples gathered for a United States Geological Survey contained microplastics, plastics less 5 mm or less. While urban samples contained more plastic, samples from remote sites indicate microplastics may be more pervasive.

Some microplastics are released as tiny particles like fibers from synthetic clothing or car tire fragments. Others fibers come from the breakdown of larger plastic items like bags and bottles. The particles migrate and have been found in the remotest parts and people on the planet.

To see the report: https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2019/1048/ofr20191048.pdf…

Waterwise Wednesday: In Dew Time . . .

It’s dew season, when the clear, calm nights cause surface temperatures to fall below the dew point.

A nice rainstorm coupled with thick green vegetation, (like ripening fields, gardens, or thick lawns) and clear night skies could develop dew for several mornings until the moisture evaporates from the ground.

Dew time is part of the change of seasons here in the Panhandle and makes for wet treks to school, the alley trash can, or marching band practice.