GOOD

Americans Flush $5 Billion Down the Toilet Every Year

The typical American flushes away 24 gallons of water each day, nearly a quarter of our total water consumption.

Dan Lewis, author of the daily newsletter Now I Know (“Learn Something New Every Day, By Email”) joins us Wednesdays with surprising facts about the world of business.


The United States government has many different departments—among them the Department of Treasury, the Department of Defense, and more recently, the Department of Homeland Security. Each of these departments has agencies within them, and one of them, the Environmental Protection Agency, hosts the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. If you ever wanted to know anything about water, they are the people to ask.

The average American uses 90 gallons of water each day [PDF], of which only about two gallons go toward drinking and cooking. In fact, we use twice as much water—four gallons—washing dishes than we do in preparing and eating our meals. Laundry uses, on average, 8.5 gallons of water a day per person, while 25 gallons of water a day per person go toward lawn watering and pools.

But our topic today, toilet flushing, requires between1.5 and five gallons per flush, depending on the age of toilet one uses. Combined, the typical American flushes away 24 gallons of water each day, nearly a quarter of our total water consumption.

We don’t naturally quantify all that flushing in dollars and cents, but like everything else in life, toilet water costs money. The OGWDW estimates that the average cost of water is $2 for 1,000 gallons, or, approximately 4.8 cents per person, per day, for 24 gallons of toilet water.

In total, the roughly 300 million Americans spend more than $5 billion dollars a year flushing their toilets.

Bonus fact: Mankind has been looking for ways to improve the taste, clarity, and odor of water seemingly forever. Ancient Sanskrit and Greek records reflect a variety of water treatment measures dating back roughly 6,000 years! [PDF]

To subscribe to Dan’s daily email Now I Know, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Photo
via (cc) Flickr user kevinpoh

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