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Saturday, 8 November 2008

Poll: If it's yellow, let it mellow?

We all want to save money, of course. And saving the environment surely isn't a bad thing either, but would you go as far as flushing your toilets less frequently to save water?

I remember the first time I was invited to spend the night in a European's home. I was studying abroad and some friends of friends who lived a fair distance outside the city were hosting a party. Because they lived in such an inconvenient location, they were nice enough to let a few of us crash at their place for the night. After everyone else had cleared out, our host brought me a clean towel, showed me which door had the big dog behind it, and other such things. Among them was the house rule:
If it's brown, flush it down. If it's yellow let it mellow. Actually, that's a pretty American way of saying it. When they said it, I think it came out more like, "Only flush it if it's solid."

It took me a minute to comprehend what they were saying, and I sincerely hope that my face did not reflect this or whatever
was going on in my head. I was raised on penny-pinching, waste-not-want-not frugality but this blew my mind. As it was, I'd only just begun to think of the two-buttoned toilets I found in Europe, with a big-flush for solids and little-flush for liquids, as commonplace. The idea that there were actually people in this world who didn't flush their toilets every time in order to save water was still a little beyond me.

It's been many years since then, and I realize now that somewhere along the way I adopted a version of this rule, though saving water wasn't always the main reason. Maybe I didn't want to wake my sleeping puppy. Maybe I was just too lazy to pull the lid off the toilet and manually flush the thing because we still hadn't gotten it fixed. Maybe it's because I'm in a long-term, committed relationship with a man from that same country so all sorts of weird things don't seem weird to me any more. Whatever the reason was, I adopted it.

Would, or have, you? Would it make a difference if I told you that the average person flushes about 18.5 gallons of water a day and that those 18.5 gallons make up just over 30% of that person's indoor water use each day?

Vote in the poll to your right to find out how mellow we really are.

1 comment:

Betsy Bargain said...

I do this sometimes in my own personal bathroom in the back of the house. If you have been drinking enough water, there's no smell or anything. I don't even pay for water, but there is a drought where I live, and I don't like to waste water.