A graphic of a faucet with a water drop over a photograph of the Maumee River with ice.Around the holidays, many of us cook big meals and wind up washing a lot of dishes. There are great opportunities to conserve water (and save money on your water bill!) throughout the season. We’ve put together some of our favorite tips.

First let’s look at the food preparation side. When rinsing fruits and vegetables, rather than running the tap constantly, fill a bowl with water to use for multiple rinses. Water used to boil vegetables can be used to make vegetable broth, which is also a handy way to use your vegetable scraps. You can even go the extra mile and begin composting kitchen scraps this winter. (Ohio EPA put together a handy guide for getting started.) Finally, instead of thawing turkeys and other meats in hot water, plan ahead to put these items in your refrigerator. The USDA recommends that when meat is thawed in water, the water should be changed every 30 minutes to reduce the risk of pathogens – this is a huge water expense that can be eliminated just by defrosting in the fridge.

After a big holiday dinner, there are bound to be lots of dirty dishes. Scraping food waste into the trash or a composting bin offers a chance to save water by not running the sink for an unneeded pre-rinse. When it comes to actually washing dishes, rather than constantly run the tap, use a pre-filled sink. With two sinks of water, you can fill one with soapy water for washing and one with clear water for rinsing clean. If you have a dishwasher, these almost always use less water than washing dishes by hand.

You can also encourage holiday house guests to take up water saving practices you probably do already: only running full loads of laundry, turning off the washer when brushing teeth, and taking care to use just one glass throughout a meal to cut down on the number of dishes to be washed. Personalizing guest glasses offers a chance to be festive and creative with charms, markers, or paint pens.

Happy holidays and warm winter wishes from the PCS Team.