Seventh Generation Commits to Reducing Its Water Footprint

Did you know that of all the water in the world, only 3% is fresh? And that less than one third of 1% of this fresh water is available for human use? The rest is frozen in glaciers or polar ice caps, or is deep within the earth beyond our reach. To put it another way, if 100 liters represents the world's water, about half a tablespoon of it is fresh water we can use. 

As a company, Seventh Generation cares deeply about its water footprint. We're actively working to reduce the amount of water that goes into our products, as well as the amount used in their manufacture and transport. 

This fall, we went one step further and challenged everyone who works at Seventh Generation to take the issue of water conservation to heart. Together, we committed to nearly 500 actions designed to reduce our personal water footprints, and we're working on even more.

If you've been looking for ways to reduce your water use, what we can report is that it's remarkably easy.  Little actions, performed every day, can add up to incredible savings. Remembering to turn off the faucet while we brushed our teeth, for example, saved 5-10 gallons/person/day -- or 200 gallons a week for a family of four. Adding faucet aerators to our bathroom sinks saved another 5-10 gallons/person/day. Multiply those actions by the number of people (and their families) who took them and we've managed to reduce our water usage by thousands of gallons a week!

Taking shorter showers was another action a lot of us committed to. Did you know that keeping shower time under 5 minutes can save as many as 1000 gallons a month? (If you have teens at home, we know this can be a major challenge!) Chris, our Facilities Specialist, came up with a fun way to keep track of time: "I choose a song on my phone each morning to use as a shower timer. I never select more than a 5-minute song but I do often choose a shorter song to cut down my time, then it's a race against the clock!"

Other water-saving practices we adopted -- and you can, too -- include:

  • Running only full loads in dishwashers and washing machines to save as much as 1,000 gallons a month
  • Skipping the pre-rinse before loading dishes into the dishwasher
  • Relying on nature to water our lawns
  • Fixing leaky faucets -- a simple, do-it-yourself project that can save 140 gallons a week

Join us as we continue to track our water usage and look for new ways to save. Let us know what you're doing to reduce your water footprint by posting back to this blog. Together we can make a huge difference -- so let's keep the good ideas coming!

photo: lrargerich