I work really hard to conserve water: I take short showers; I don't leave the sink on when I brush my teeth. But I'm hardcore. How can I save some of the water I use in my toilet?

Easy Answer: Ever considered peeing in the shower?

An average toilet flush takes about 3 gallons of water, according to the USGS. So there's water to be saved.

The easiest and cheapest way to reduce the amount of water you flush down the toilet is pretty simple: flush less often.

You've probably heard: "if it's yellow, let it mellow"; just know you'll probably have to scrub your toilet more often to keep it clean.

And, if you're feeling really ambitious (if that's the right word?) consider peeing in the shower. (I'm assuming this would also increase your bathroom cleaning time by a bit.) The Brazilians make it look so fun!

You can also reduce the amount of water your toilet uses.

The cheap way: Put a recycled 2 litter soda bottle or half gallon milk container in your toilet tank. It could save you hundreds of gallons of water each month. Just be sure to flush before you put the bottle in the tank. And don't use a brick; it can disintegrate and cause problems.

The more expensive way: Install a low flow toilet. Some cities will send you a rebate if you replace your standard water-hungry toilet.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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Hello just thought i would certainly let you know one thing.. It is 2 times now i have landed on your website in the last 2 days searching for completely unrelated things. Odd or what?

Oh My! I thought I was the only one. I also keep a bucket in the shower to catch water when I am running it to get it warm. I almost fill a 5 gallon bucket for each shower. It's a great source of water for potted plants.

Hi Anne,
I've been curious about greywater--have you had any problems reusing your shower water? Do you filter it at all? Do you just use it on houseplants? Or any other ways?


Hey Anne, Great idea. Before I saw your name, I thought you might be my Sister from PA who does the same thing. I think that I will do the same also. Thanks for a great idea. Keep up the conservation. Just don't pee in the bucket.

Hey Anne, Great idea. Before I saw your name, I thought you might be my Sister from PA who does the same thing. Good article! Thanks for sharing! I want to recommend to my friends.

Really? Flush less?

Agriculture is responsible for 87 % of the total water used globally. If you want to affect a positive change in the environment by conserving water your best bet is not to eat as much. Alternatively, don't have children. We don't need more people.

I have a shut-off knob at the regular shower head - actually part of the diverter to the hand-held shower head. I get wet, then shut off the flow while I soap up, shampoo, shave...even pee...and turn it back on to rinse. Probably run water for only a quarter of my shower time. It does dribble a little when shut off, so I can get a bit of water to help with soaping. Diverter was maybe $5. And it's great to have the hand-held shower head, too - maybe another $10.

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