useLESS water, Green Initiatives' 3rd action campaign, aims to reduce the water used for flushing our toilets. Toilets are one of the main sources of water consumption in our homes, and thus provides the greatest opportunity for us to save water. Sadly, nearly 30 per cent of the water we use at home is literally flushed away. Reducing the amount of water used for flushing toilets can lead to significant savings in water consumption.
Thus, the underlying mantra of the campaign is: It's easy to useLESS!
Today, the average water consumption of an individual is 150 liters per day. Surprisingly, this number does not include industrial or agricultural water consumption! In certain cities, including Shanghai, per capita consumption of water is significantly higher, using on average more than 200 liters of water per day.
One flush of a standard Western toilet uses the same amount of water that the average person in the developing world uses for an entire day, including; washing, drinking, cleaning, and cooking.
Every day, a person flushes a toilet 4.5 times on an average, sending 9-13 liters of water down the drain, PER FLUSH. Considering Shanghai's population of over 24 million people - one can only imagine the massive amount of water that gets flushed down the toilet every single day!
How many liters does an average toilet consume?
In China, older toilet tanks contain 9 or 13 liters, and while the current standard is 6 liters, various manufacturers employ systems that only use 5 or even 4.5-liter toiler tanks. Some even have two flushing options to save more water. If you are not sure how much water your toilet contains, you can easily determine its volume by measuring the tank:
- Measure width x depth (front to back) x height of the water in the tank,（unit: meter）
- Divide the answer by 1000
- You will get the number of liters your tank holds
A person flushes the toilet approximately 4 to 5 times per day, using an average of 58.5 liters of toilet water every day.
As is the case in all our action campaigns, our aim is to make it EASY to be sustainabile. The truth is, a simple trick can help save up to 270 liters of water, per person per month. The below image illustrates what this simple trick is:
Place a water or pebble-filled bottle in your toilet tank, so that each time you flush you would be saving an equivalent amount of water!
The Logic: By placing a bottle in a toilet tank, less water is needed to fill the tank, and thus the amount of water being flushed out decreases with every flush.
Our target is to collect 500 pledges in one month, which approximately equals 33,750 liters of water saved - per person, per month, when using a 1 liter bottle.
This means that with just 500 pledges or actions, we could achieve a collective saving of 405,000 liters of water in one year!
How to Participate
Campaigns gather momentum and continue to grow when the actions are easy and convenient to participate in, and this action campaign embodies that thinking.
1. Place a plastic water bottle in your toilet tank by following the instructions above. If still not clear, read below or contact a GI team member (WeChat: Greenimpact)
- Find a bottle (0.5L - 2.0L) to be placed in your toilet tank. The size of the bottle will vary depending on the size of your toilet tank
- Ensure that the bottle is set-up properly in your toilet tank:
- Fill the bottle with water or with small heavy items (i.e., sand, pebbles, etc) to make them heavy and ensure that they do not float inside the tank
- Ensure that the bottle does not cover the valve at the bottom of the tank for water discharge
- After the set-up is complete, make a mental note of the size of the bottle in 'liter', for the next step!
2. Pledge to the useLESS water Campaign by filling out a few simple questions by visiting this link or by scanning the QR code below.
The questionnaire will allow you (and us) to better understand your water use. All the collected data will allow us to measure the impact of the pledges to ensure that we can meet, and ultimately, exceed our goal!
3. Get 3 friends to pledge to the useLESS water Campaign. Sharing is caring, please tell your friends to do the same!
More Ways to Participate
A. Share the campaign banner, WeChat post, and survey QR code on your social media. Also share your photos that have the ability to inspire others.
- WeChat: Join the useLESS water discussion group (send friend request to: 'greenimpact'), and share the campaign on your personal moments!
- Instagram: Follow 'Green_Initatives' and tag #USELESSWATER
- Facebook: Like Us, and tag #USELESSWATER
B. Become an 'influencer' on the useLESS water Campaign and give us your feedback to improve the campaign, and find more ways to reach out to a larger community.
C. Implement the campaign in your office, school, parents home or other locations. Be sure to send us the data of how many more toilets you have 'impacted' through your action.
- Find a narrow bottle that is as big as possible.
- Depending on the size of your tank, you can even use bottles that hold up to 2 liters.
- Make sure that the bottle does not cover the valve at the bottom of the tank and be careful that it does not interfere with the float that measures the water level.
- One can even place some heavy items inside the bottle (i.e., small rocks) to keep it from shifting around the tank when the toilet flushes.
As you can see, it’s easy to useLESS!
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Even though the camaign had ended, you can still pledge using the survey , even after the first three weeks have been completed. Head to the survey link to continue pledging to"useLESS Water".
A simple action can make a meaningful and measurable impact on a small scale. Looking forward, this campaign can easily extend past the pledge-period, influence behavior towards water consumption outside of China, and create a positive butterfly effect across the globe. We hope that this action campaign will be a starting point to inspire change, and spread awareness, and take action in communities to contribute towards the common effort of making our planet greener!