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OPINION: Let that yellow mellow

Flushing your toilet has a larger impact on the environment than you may think

Many homes across the country have a motto, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” This saying encourages water conservation when it comes to flushing the toilet.

The amount of water a toilet uses depends on how old it is. If your toilet was made before 1982, then it could be using anywhere from five to seven gallons of water each flush. Newer toilets use about two gallons per flush. The average person flushes about five times each day. That is 10 gallons of water thrown out every day.

You can check how much water your toilet uses by looking at the little block right behind the seat or under the tank lid, or you can check for the year in the tank of the toilet which could give you a good idea of how much it is using.

Flushing can also be very dirty. Each flush can spew water as far as six feet. That could reach your toothbrush! So letting the yellow mellow may help you avoid having your toothbrush become more covered in germs.

Saving your flush also saves water. Water usage is projected to increase by 55% from 2000 to 2050. This increase creates problems as 21 of 37 aquifers across India and China, and the U.S. and France are draining at an alarming rate.

CA is a good example of overuse of water. The state’s aquifers receded about 16 trillion acre-feet per year. That caused CA to have 1,900 wells dry up from 2011-2016. Letting the yellow mellow could have helped save some of that water.

Each time you flush your yellow down the toilet, it’s like flushing three tenths of a cent with it. This adds up to about $10.95 per year. You can save $7.66 each year by letting the yellow mellow. Not only does saving your flush save water, but it also saves money.

If you were to flush every third time you used the restroom, you would be saving about six gallons of water each day. That means more clean water for drinking, or showering, or even future flushing.

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