Green Wednesday: The Magic of Buckets

Yes, this is late. But pet well-being trumps blogging every time, friends.

So, I’ve never been one for proselytizing, personally. The projects I do for this blog are as much for me as they are for anyone reading. And I don’t even want to set myself up as a paradigm of perfect, sustainable behavior. Because I’m not — by a long shot. (These people, however, might be close.)

I’m hoping I never come across as a maniac insisting that everyone live a particular way. Not every method works for every person. That’s a fact of geography, at the very least. For example, my parents back “Up North” have a far superior recycling program at their disposable that I do. Solar panels are kind of useless in some climates. We do our best. It’s all we can do.

But if I convey one thing to you this week, if I can convert you to know notion, it really should be this: buckets are freaking awesome.

For three reasons I can give you right now:

1) Laundry. As I’ve posted about in the past, I do my laundry by hand. In part because our laundry room is creepy and in part because the machines available are heartbreakeningly inefficient. Not EnergyStar by a long shot, let me tell you. Plus they cost a $1 each per load. And that’s precious beer money we’re wasting. So every week I wash my clothes in the sink. It gets messy. And annoying. And who has washerwoman hands and a crick in her neck from doing laundry in 21st century America, honestly? (Maybe don’t answer that question . . . )

But lo and behold, the magic of buckets. For a while, I was considering buying one of these hand-cranking machines. But in reading the consumer reviews (can I stress how helpful that can be?), I found that the machines can also be annoyingly inefficient.

You know what really works? A five-gallon bucket and a plunger. Obviously a new plunger. Don’t use your other plunger because that’d be kinda gross.

I mean, you’re still doing labor by hand, but the spill factor is not a problem if you put the bucket in the bathtub and you don’t have slouch or bend over to do it. In fact, it was almost kind of fun.

2) Bathing. No one is more in love with hot showers than me. Trust me. No one. You can ask my college roommates. Don’t speak to me before the morning shower has happened. It is more important than caffeine and breakfast combined.

But it’s very easy to be wasteful showering these days, even with water-save heads and other neat attachments. Hard to say much very valuable H20 we just let slide down the drain. According to this chart, it’s around the area of 2.5 gallons per minute. 60 minute showers? Ouch.

Unless, of course, you’re washing using a 1-gallon bucket. One for washing one for rinsing. I’ll admit, not as pleasant in the winter . . . but if you can wait to bathe until a warmer part of the day, not as uncomfortable as you might think. And a definite yes for the summer. I always feel cleaner after a bucket bath or a navy shower. Maybe because the soap doesn’t get washed away immediately.

3) Compost. I know I’m personally intimidated by these very fancy, crazy expensive set-ups you can by all over the internet. They are a bit scary — and they make my bank account cry. But in doing a bit of google research, I’ve found that there are several methods of composting that require . . .  you guessed it. A bucket.

For example:

a. The Gamma Lid Approach

b. Bokashi

c. The Coffee Can Gambit (Okay, not a bucket, but close enough.)

d. Table-top Unit (for apartment dwellers)

I haven’t decided which of these methods I’m going to try first, but when I do, you’ll be the first hear about it.

Why else are buckets awesome? Ideas? Thoughts? Stories?


4 thoughts on “Green Wednesday: The Magic of Buckets

  1. omg, I shower with a bucket EVERY DAY. I even did a blog post about it. If you can improvise some kind of dipper, it’s almost like having an actual shower.

    Only . . . okay, so, it got kind of chilly here. Like, the temperature was in the low 70s, sometimes even the high 60s. That meant the water was even colder. And THAT meant that the showers were really miserable. Like, “I am not receiving nearly enough compensation for dumping cold water over my head every day.”

    Do you use warm water in your buckets? Once or twice, I’ve managed to get my hands on a kettle full of warm water, and added it to my bucket (about 5 gallons, maybe less). It didn’t make the water HOT, but it sure did make me more comfortable, enough so that I think it was probably worth the gas expended to heat the water.

  2. 1) I respect ur ability to continue doing laundry by hand. Now that the bugs are dead here, I’ve gone back to using cold water and much less machine drying. Jeans though… they take so long to dry. It’ll be nice when it’s warm out again and I can put things in the sun.

    2) You’re a crazy person.

    3) I read the table top method. I’m a little unclear about where I should dump things once the bucket is full, and I think the bucket might get full before it’s done decomposing. 😦 Also, there is definitely no where I could put it that it would be able to stay warm enough to work. Composting frustrates me.

    • 1. The radiator is helpful in this capacity.

      2. Not really.

      3. Compost is incredibly frustrating and difficult when one lacks a yard or the ability to alter said yard. Because ultimately that’s where it goes. There’s a little garden patch outside my door. Maybe I’ll plant something there in the spring and use the compost there…

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