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Striving for Sustainability

Now that we are back in Indianapolis for a few months, we are getting back into our old routine. Work, eat, sleep, and repeat. We have also become blatantly aware how wasteful our past life was and is slowly becoming again.

Before the van we recycled everything we possibly could, we didn't use plastic water bottles, and we tried to be nice to the environment. While we were on the road, we were more environmentally friendly than we had ever been in our lives. Let us explain...

MJ built us a weed sprayer shower while we were traveling and it turned out to be a super water saver.

And we are always looking for a reason to share this picture:

The weed sprayer holds 2 gallons of water. Typically, we would shower at the same time and only use the two gallons the sprayer would hold. Let me break that down for you, we were using 1 gallon of water each to shower. ONE GALLON!

I did a quick Google search to see what the average american uses in a normal shower. The results are both surprising and disgusting.

In an average home, showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.9 lpm).

Now let's talk about the toilet. If you're grossed out about peeing/pooping outside then you better skip this part.

We noticed a few days ago that my mom's toilet reads 1.8 gallons per flush. Here's a story problem for you.

If 4 people live in a house and each flushes the toilet 5 times a day, how much water will be wasted in a week? In a month? In a year?

Because we're feeling generous, we'll give you the answers.

One Week: 252 gallons

One Month: 1,116 gallons

One Year: 13,140 gallons (3,285 gallons per person)

So while it wasn't always ideal, digging a hole and doing our business in the woods ended up saving A LOT of water.

At this point in our lives we can't cut out TP all together but we can definitely cut back! You may be thinking, how is toilet paper bad for the environment?

We don't want to skip the part about blowing through 10 million trees annually to make enough TP for the entire world, but reports also tell us it takes 37 gallons of water to make ONE ROLL of butt-wiping toilet paper.

If you're interested in learning more about toilet paper, we really encourage you to listen to our friends Josh and Chuck from the Stuff You Should Know Podcast. No, they aren't really our friends, but we listened to them so much while we were traveling that we feel like they are.

Listen to: A Dry Look At Toilet Paper

Last, but definitely not least: Plastic water bottles. We never really used these in our former life, traveling life, or present life, but we see so many people who do and it breaks our hearts. Please consider buying a long-term water bottle that you can refill over and over.

Indianapolis held a marathon last weekend and there were semi-loads of water bottles. WHY?!?!?!

We'll say it again, please considering buying a water bottle that you can refill over and over again. Mother Nature will love you for it.

Vanlife has made us more aware than ever about how much waste we create. It seems like other people are also concerned about being less wasteful but it takes a real conscious effort everyday to do so. Unfortunately, we aren't going into the back yard and digging holes to poop with our dogs.Not because we don't want to, but the neighbors might get a little freaked out. Have any good world saving life hacks you'd like to share? Lets us know in the comments!

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