Saturday, April 18, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere....

W A T E R ....

The whole world is facing a shortage of clean water and in western lifestyles, water is a huge key to our comfort level. Consider how advertising has nudged us into lifestyle changes in the last 30 years--very few of these are possible in an area that has a real water shortage:

Showering twice a day--morning and night.

Washing hair anywhere from 5 to 14 times a week forces us to buy conditioners as well as shampoo. Interestingly enough most shampoos are formulated to remove other hair care products like hair gel better than they are formulated to clean natural hair oils.

Hot Tubs, jacuzzis, multiple showerhead stalls--every luxury magazine on the stands shows huge bath tubs to be the epitome of luxury even when the whole world is begging for drinking water.

Washing clothes after every wearing--in an age where the average western worker goes to an air-conditioned office 8 hours a day, is it really necessary to wash clothes after every wearing?

Changing sheets daily or weekly--our basic fear of germs and bugs has been turned into a marketing ploy. This site actually says we need to own 3 sets of sheets for each bed and change our sheets every week. One set was the norm 50 years ago and most people didn't even have their own beds 100 years ago(many still don't!)

Floor cleaning--sweeping daily used to be the norm, now steam cleaning is the "best way" to clean floors? Notice the fear-based language used on the steam cleaning link--asthma & allergies--damp moping would do the same thing for a lot less money and energy.

Toilet Flushing--use 1 1/2-5 gallons of water to flush away 6 ounces of pee? How did that get to be the standard?

HOA mandated lawns and landscaping; Even water starved places in Western countries cling to these outdated home owner association rules! In parts of Australia and in many parts of Arizona, California and Nevada it is an offense to let your lawn get brown even in Cities where watering your lawn is illegal 6 1/2 days a week.

Car Washing has become an obsession and many people visit the carwash more often than they take their kids to parks. Where I live in Seattle it is common to see people leave the food bank and then stop and pay $6.00 for a carwash on the way home.

Pressure Washing Houses--There are over 5100 companies within 10 miles of me that pressure wash houses. Considering that pressure washing can significantly reduce the lifespan of a roof or siding job and the amount of rain we get, this seems like a ridiculous amount of pressure washers to me. Yet, somehow, pressure washing has become a part of regular home maintenance and some of my neighbors can get fined by their HOAs for failing to do it regularly.

All of these things have been transformed into normal activities by advertising and in the future we will see a trend toward the opposite side--less water usage. Products to look for in current advertising and near future advertising:


Dual Flush Toilets

Stink-Free underwear

Mist Shower heads

Waterless Car Wash


Swallow Toothpaste-no rinsing(and the advertising will say it is better NOT to rinse)

Compost Toiletries Products(actually seen this one as Pee & Poo bags--use once and then compost instead of flushing. These will be approved for areas that already have curbside compost containers)

Personal Water Filters(instead of bottled water-now being tested in Africa) Look for these in Flavored Versions with or without vitamins.

Sheets and towels with antibacterials built in so that they can be used for long periods of time without being washed.

Laundry detergent with super cleaning and future protection--clothes will still pass the sniff-test after wearing, thus saving money and water.

Dryclean Sonic Washers-already in use in Japan.

Unwashed food at the grocery--new advertising will stress that washing food strips the nutrients out and that food should only be washed right before eating or cooking--this will transfer the cost of washing(and the liability) from the producer to the consumer.

Compostable "Dish Liners" a new name for paper plates that will make dishes reusable between washings. These will be thinner and very cheap so they will seem more desirable than washing dishes every time they are used.

Bowl obscuring toilet products will hide the contents as well as deodorize and kill off all harmful germs. Maybe a dark colored bio-oil that floats above the mess to provide a visual and smell blocking barrier on top of the water.


Dry Wash Shampoo-- Powdered product to shake in and brush out.

Scotchgard Fabrics-- stays cleaner and cleans easier

Home Drycleaning kits--new advertising will show that they work just as well for washable clothes as they do for dry-clean only.

No rinse cleaning products-these have been around for decades but new advertising will stress how safe they are to use--no "harmful chemicals".

Astro-Turf yards--no mow & no water but they still conform to most HOA rules.

Plastic and silk flowers are being advertised as "beautiful without all the water and chemicals needed to produce flowers."

Dress Shields save on cleaning costs by shielding the underarm area from sweat--these will be popular for men and women alike.

Nude Gyms--no workout clothes to wash, followed by a dip in a cleansing antibacterial pool where the water is reused indefinitely--this might actually replace daily showers for many people as the idea takes root.

More dehydrated foods--pasta(like ramen noodles) and beans that only need a small amount of water rather than being boiled in larger amounts.

Washer cycling systems that reuse gray water instead of using all clean water. Example: Kitchen faucet overrun will be saved for clothes washing and then used again for flushing(and maybe used again in the home garden).

Side by Side Public Water Systems can replace the potable water systems we now have. Recycled gray water can be piped in for use in washing, flushing and outdoor use while clean water is piped in separately for showering and drinking.

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