It is amazing how an extra day every 4 years can be good for your soul. If only it feel in the summer though, it would have made my No Impact Leap Day much easier. Regardless I found the overall day to be easier than I expected and I think I owe that to my planning. I started the day with water in buckets, the thermostat turned down, lights off, wireless off and the car in the garage.
I have the luxury of being able to work from home when I need to. So for this experiment I was able to cut my commuting to zero. By working from home I saved 0.01 metric tonnes (or 10kg) of CO2e emissions (calculator).
I did drink water during the day because that is the healthy thing to do. I used the Brita jug in the fridge to fill my reusable water bottle throughout the day. I didn't have a shower at all (which means no working out), I didn't use any water to brush my teeth and I used my water stockpile to flush the toilet. I saved water from when I am brushing my teeth while waiting for the water to warm up so I can wash my face. I kept a bucket under the tap to collect the water. I suggest that you try this out. It is an eye opener as to how much water is wasted while you wait for it to warm up. I turned the water to the toilet off when I first woke up and throughout the day followed the 'if it's yellow let it mellow' philosophy. When I did need to flush I used the bucket of reserved water. It takes a bit of practice though as you need to make sure that you pour the water in all at once and not slowly pour it in. It is the force of the water going into the bowl that will cause the toilet to flush.
The result of all of this was that I was able to go the entire day without using any new water! On average we use 10 cubic meters of water a month. I would say of that my portion is about 25% (I think that may even be high). That would mean I saved roughly 0.09 cubic meters of water.
Obviously I had to use some because the fridge needed to stay on. I also needed to work from home so my laptop was plugged in. I did my conference calls from my BlackBerry though so I was not using a phone that was plugged in. I also unplugged our wireless and used just the router for my internet. I only did work related items throughout the day and then the computer was off at night.
I did have to use the microwave to heat my homemade soup. I held off as long as I possibly could but I was sick and eating salad was just not doing it for me. I knew I needed some soup to make me feel better. I am actually shocked I lasted as long as I did considering I was not able to have my morning tea.
I did not eat any meat and ate food that I had already prepared. Food was probably the hardest item for me because I have changed my diet lately and am eating more protein but in cutting meat out for the day my options were a bit limited.
I dropped the house temp by 2 degrees and put on a hoodie. When I got cold I put a blanket on. I made sure the curtains were closed in the house to keep all the heat in. Not using any water or doing any laundry helped with this as well since our water heater and dryer are gas.
I had a zero waste day and this includes recycling! I did put items into the compost (vegetable scraps, tissue, toilet paper). I sooo wanted some Shreddies but if I had had them I would have emptied the box creating waste and recycling so I didn't have any. I also scheduled a donation pickup with 2 boxes and a suitcase full of items going to a local charity.
So overall I think it was a major success and I feel like I had a real impact on the day! The major take away for me was water and how simple it was to reuse the water I had collected. It was also an eye opener as to how much water is wasted throughout the day. I may have convinced Joey to even do his own experiment where he does not leave the tap running in the bathroom and the kitchen for an entire month to see the reduction in consumption.
Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring me a gray water system this year. ::fingers crossed::
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