What do you do to reduce your consumption?

One thing that annoys me is we seem to be in a downward spiral, with companies making new or ‘improved’ products in attempt to make us consume more. The more we consume, the more these same companies produce and the more turnover they have.

This is example and how we have found a solution:

Over the past decade or so we have noticed that the viscosity and nozzles of dishwashing liquids have changed. Years ago we used to buy the concentrate varieties and these were thick liquids in containers with comparatively small hole nozzles. It took some effort to squeeze liquid from the bottles and the bottles as a result tended to last months before needing to be replaced.

Today, most concentrated dishwashing liquids are a lot runnier (less viscous) and the the nozzles on the bottles have larger openings allowing higher volume to be more easily squirted from the bottle. Our solution was to take a pump off another container (a sorbolene cream pump pack) which had the same standard cap thread, cut the pick up tube to length and then attach it to the top of the dishwashing liquid bottle.

The result is:

We now have a pump pack which allows us to meter out the amount of dishwashing liquid we need. One pump is usually enough to wash up all our dishes, but if we are having foods which may have a higher fat content, we may need to empty the sink and refill to complete a wash. Before the change, a 450mL bottle would last about 3-4 weeks (3 washing events per day). Now we get at least 6 weeks from the same sized bottle. In effect we have reduced our use by about 50% without affecting the washing up results.



We use mechanical timers on our garden taps for garden watering. They don’t need batteries, are fairly inexpensive, and using some self control as regards time setting allow adequate watering but reduces over watering. It saves a lot of water wastage (beyond the use on the garden in the first place).


We wash mostly in the dishwasher with tablets (Ecostore). I break the tabs in half, which makes the pack last twice as long, and the dishes appear to be just as clean as with a full tablet.

One of the largest household water consumers is the flushing toilet, but the idea of taking perfectly good drinking water and mixing it with poo or pee and flushing it away seems so wasteful to me that I installed a composting toilet when building my house. This has essentially zero water use, and the fan consumes less than 0.1kWh per day, in our off-grid solar powered house.

Also while on the topic of water saving, we’ve been growing vegetables in aquaponics systems for the past 5 years, with the added advantage of having a continuous supply of rainbow trout. When we had a large veg garden in the dirt, it consumed more than 10 times as much water as the aquaponics for similar amounts of produce.


We often eke things out to use the very last drop. Examples are when liquid soaps such as dish detergent, shampoo or shower gel are almost gone, we put a little water in the bottle to thin out the last dregs and use it until it’s gone. (We also put a pump dispenser on the dish detergent bottle.) Laundry detergent is used at less than half the recommended dose, as per Choice’s test results.
Butter papers are used to grease baking trays, cream bottles are rinsed with milk and added to coffee, and dare I admit it, we use one teabag to make 2 mugs of tea (some brands are better than other for this!). One super-sized chicken breast is ample for 2 people (why are they so big here? British chickens have much smaller breasts!). Parmesan rinds are never wasted, always eaten. Jars of mustard when almost empty are turned into salad dressing with the addition of oil and vinegar. I hate wasting food, and some of our best meals have been those inventively using all the scraps that would otherwise be discarded!


There are many with the conservation / reduce mentality - but right now, today, I am watching the family of my neighbours empty the contents of their parents house into a skip bin - I have seen a stack of china, a box of glassware, a large china pot, framed pictures, clothes - all just going to the tip. No thought for the past or the future.

With that mentality of ‘chuck because I can’t be bothered’ still current, it seems Australia has a long way to go to make a difference.


What a great idea Peter.

We used to have wall mountable pump packs (used to be able to buy from Bunnings or sometimes from the cheap stores) to do the same thing. One had dishwashing detergent and the other had hand lotion for the wife woman. We had similar in the bathroom for hand soap and hand cream.

We have the pump packs in the bathroom, but not in the kitchen. I will do as you have suggested.

Thanks :smiley:


We are bigger chicken eaters than the UK! :joy: (In both senses)