Recently I came across a great article on the issue of flushing the toilet, can, throne, lavatory, water closet, latrine, loo or whatever is most comfortable to call the collector of our bodily wastes.  In January, the sustainable living website, Chelsea Green, published an article referring to ways individuals can save clean water when performing the daily task of pushing (or not pushing) the tiny lever on their toilet tanks.

Sure, it is an act most of us take for granted.  But for our new green students, consider this; every time you flush you are actually disposing approximately one to three gallons of drinkable water.  That drinkable water comes from our desalination plants around the islands that require a lot of energy to desalt that water and pump it to homes.  If you are not on the public water supply network, you are still wasting precious water from your cisterns that can be saved for drier days in the year.

Over 25% of all the clean, drinkable water you use in your home is used to flush toilets.  If you live in an older home, your toilet most likely uses three gallons of water per flush. Some of the world’s population depend on three gallons of water for all their uses per day, while we can use that much in one flush.


We don’t intend to illustrate how we all waste water without giving you a few suggestions on ways to preserve this resource.  To guide you in the right direction and for better flushing try the following:

  1. If you are building or remodelling, consider a slim-line toilet rather than a full-size toilet which uses more water to flush.   
  2. There are newer models of toilets that use today’s technologies to help consumers save water.  Purchase a dual-flush toilet that allows you to select what type of flush you need; light flush using 0.8 gallon for your liquid bodily waste or for a heavier flush, select the second button, for your solid wastes.  According to Treehugger; the sustainable living media outlet, these toilets can help owners reduce their water usage by 67%.
  3. If you have an older toilet and replacing it with a newer toilet isn’t an option, place a small plastic bottle of water or other displacement device, such as a displacement bag to offset the amount of water used in the tank.  This will help to reduce the amount of water needed to fill the tank.
  4. Apart from toilet paper, only flush items that have gone through your digestive system and are well broken down.  Other items waste a good flush and can clog your system.  Simply dispose of them in the trash.
  5. A drop of food colouring in your tank can tell you if you have a leak or not.  If 30 minutes after flushing the colouring appears in your tank, you have a leak.  Contact your plumber to assist you in this minor repair.  You will be saving water and money on your water bills.
  6. There is a little rhyme that says, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”  That’s easy to remember and even children will enjoy learning that tip in water conservation.

We hope this information will help to make you a smarter flusher.  For more information on ways you can save water around the home or office, please check out the book Water: Use Less – Save More, by John Clift and Amanda Cuthbert. 100 effortless and yet beneficial ways  we can all work to save our water resources.