The Boba Lobby is Anti-Environment

As anyone who knows me is aware, I’m a boba freak. As I write this post at 10:30 AM, I’m already craving a boba (a.k.a. “pearl tea”), and I know I am not strong enough to resist it – later this afternoon I will probably be drinking one, only the first of two or three I’ll have this week.

Aside from the extraordinary sugar levels and suspicious nature of the tapioca that constitute the “boba” balls, my obsession is concerning mostly for the following reason: it makes me culpable of something that I rarely considered prior to watching this video a few years back. With horror, I realized I have been inadvertently contributing to and promoting the harm of marine life via the increase in single-use plastics.

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I want to point this out because, despite writing this blog series, I can’t claim to be a model environmentalist. I certainly do try – outside of countries where bottled water is mandatory for avoiding water-borne illnesses, I estimate I’ve discarded fewer than 10 plastic water bottles in the past 8 years. Even when I treat myself with an Odwalla chai (another huge spike of sugar, but good for camping trips), I try to save the bottles and reuse them for smoothies. I’m able to do this because I almost never leave the house without my carabiner-equipped water bottle, which can clip onto even the tiniest of purses, and therefore never have to succumb to using these pieces of junk (ugh, screw Nestlé, right?).

But look, I understand that there’s a general resistance to adopting eco-friendly practices, either because the uninitiated are uninformed about the ease of incorporating simple modifications in their daily life (don’t worry – I got you!), or because of accusations of hypocrisy amongst high-profile environmentalists like Leonardo DiCaprio. Therefore, I wanted to highlight an instance of waste that I myself participate in, and suggest alternatives for reducing my (and maybe your) impact in this specific circumstance.it-boba-time-3-638

A Boba Fanatic’s Guide to Reducing Environmental Impact

  1. Reduce consumption of other single-use plastic containers. In an either/or situation, would you choose boba over, say, coffee? In that case, minimize your footprint in other ways by bringing a reusable mug to your local coffee shop. (Actually, just do this in general – I’ve been using a screw-top mug for the past two years and have found that it keeps my chai warmer for longer, prevents spills when I’m biking and/or carrying it in my bag, and saves me $0.50 each time since I’m charged for a small. And, you know, saves the planet.)
  2. Drink less boba. A companion to the previous point, this is one that can be pretty tough to accomplish these days with boba shops aggressively popping up in urban areas. For example, near San Francisco’s Union Square, you can find seven cafes in a two block radius, and all of them have crazy long lines! If the proximity is not a prohibiting factor for you, I’d recommend meditating on a hatred of lines.menuboba1
  3. Patronize cafes with glass bottles. Again, this relates to the first point of reducing waste. From a quick Yelp search, Plentea and Boba Delight seem to be the only two in SF that offer mason jars instead of the typical flimsy plastic cups, but I’ll be doing some research this week to determine whether it’s possible to bring your own. Stay tuned. (Shoutout: 500 Startups’ welcome package included these handled mason jars with lids and straws, which I now use for smoothies. Also could be a good alternative for boba!)
  4. Cut your straws lengthwise prior to disposing. My boyfriend recently gave me a super thoughtful gift: a serrated pocket knife. Not only am I more prepared to cut fruit in the woods, protect myself from a potential mugger, and open beer bottles, I can also now slice my boba straws on the go! While the plastic of the straws might still end up in the esophagus of a poor sea turtle, I hope this process will destroy the straws’ structural integrity and prevent it from jamming up an innocent windpipe.seaturtlestraw
  5. Eliminate single-use straws. If you watched that heart-breaking video above, you probably feel the same way I do about straws: they’re pretty evil. However, they’re also a necessity when drinking boba, so what can be done? According to Amazon, there are a ton of options for steel or glass extra-wide straws, complete with cleaning brushes. Though the idea of carrying around a sticky straw isn’t very appealing, this problem can be easily resolved by matching it with a recycled plastic sleeve – complete with cute anime characters or poop emojis, whatever is most popular at the moment.

I dream of a future in which we buy only bulk items, use cloth grocery bags and glass jars, and prepare everything with purely organic, sustainably-harvested materials. However, considering I can’t even kick my boba habit (and the fact that we’ve exceeded 400ppm), I know there’s a lot of work to still do. Hopefully this article showcases some of the small ways we can begin to dial back our reliance on limited resources and foster a more eco-friendly mindset, both personally and socially.

Now excuse me, I’m about to bike to the boba shop with my mason jar and reusable straw to suck on that sweet, sweet poison: boba.

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About A26Z: Good by Design

A26Z: Good by Design is a year-long project promoting actionable sustainability practices in various industries. I started this personal “capstone project” to commemorate turning 26, and will release 26 new “exhibits” until the series concludes one day prior to my 27th birthday.

If you liked this post, please make it official by clicking the “like” button below! Of course, comments are welcome – I’d love to learn more about what companies and individuals are doing to address this problem, and am open to suggestions on future topics. To stay updated on upcoming topics in the A26Z: Good By Design series, please subscribe. Thanks for reading!

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The Case Against Schwag Schwag

schwag (US informal)

  1. noun. products given away free, typically for promotional purposes
  2. adj. term to describe anything that is low grade.

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Tell me if this has happened to you.

You go to a conference and return with, let’s say, three types of bag clips, seven pens, a plastic piggie bank, and an umbrella. It never rains in California anymore, everything’s online, and you typically wear a backpack – but it was free, so now it’s yours.

I’ll be honest; that list isn’t random. It’s just a few of the things I walked away with when participating in a Women in Business conference a few years ago. In addition to the things I did want – or thought I could use somehow – I also ended up with a stack of papers: some advertisements for some services targeted for an older demographic, some promotions for office supplies, and nothing I’d ever looked at again.

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Also spelled “swag.” Jane the Virgin agreesalmost everyone views these bags as generally useless.

What’s the problem?

What I described above is the experience of just one person at one conference. Compound that by the reportedly millions of conference-goers annually, and you end up with a lot of wasted material. As this Bartizan article notes, “When it comes to printing materials for trade shows and conferences, think about whether having a physical copy will benefit the potential customer and your brand. Will anyone read the material you’re providing? Is there a better way to present it?” To be fair, the marketing industry has come a long way in embracing and experimenting with new media, but the old standard of print-based advertising and cheap knick-knacks has deep roots – and for reasons that are pretty easy to understand.

A small gardening service, for example, might prefer to print fliers to stick on homeowners’ doors, a direct marketing tactic that allows the business to evaluate a potential customer’s need quickly by just looking at their yard. Referrals need to start somewhere, and outside of Yelp, Angie’s List, and local neighborhood message boards, it can be difficult to get visibility otherwise. However, these services are typically on a much smaller scale than, say, a well-funded startup that allocates marketing spend on glossy cardstock fliers to stick under wiper blades and branded T-shirts to hand out at hackathons. What happens to the 90% of fliers that end up on the ground or in the trash? What was the ROI on the 10% that survived?

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Does size matter?

I think I speak for everyone when I say yes, size matters. Conferences, marathons, graduations, and concerts – fertile ground for useless junk – are dangerous because of their scale. Make an error in one date, and you have to throw out thousands of brochures. Spell a name wrong, and you have to reprint hundreds of commemorative T-shirts. Think about those championship T-shirts for losing teams – I doubt there are enough ironic hipsters to buy up all of the 2016 NBA Champs paraphernalia that flooded the underground market after the Warriors (tragically) lost the Finals.

Conservation Tip #1: Follow Toyota’s example of lean manufacturing by only producing what you need at the moment. Not only will you catch mistakes faster due to smaller batch processing, but you can get iterative feedback on what works and create a continuously improved product. For printed material, that can mean keeping only one or two copies on hand and providing a link to an online version, or creating a virtual “folder” that pools all selected collateral into one set of files that’s emailed after the event. For physical material, that can mean reducing the number of schwag that’s given out and making products more generic so that they can be re-used in other circumstances. Tl;dr: Reduce, reuse.

Startup Stock Photos

Who’s the audience?

Another issue at large events is a lack of understanding of what the average attendee actually needs (and doesn’t already have). For example, it’s safe to assume that basketball fans would enjoy a free door-mounted hoop, enough to ignore a little corporate branding splashed across the backboard. It’s not safe to assume that they’ll appreciate your HR company’s logo across the chest of a low-quality T-shirt, even if you give it to them for free. Why? Because they came to the game for a sports-related experience, and your shirt doesn’t fit into that narrative. Of course, many people will take whatever freebies they’re given even if they never plan to use them (I’ve been guilty of this myself), so it’s the responsibility of the ethical marketer to control the brand image and spend by ensuring that the right products end up in the right hands.

Conservation Tip #2: Do some market research to understand what products or information your target demographic would rep the most enthusiastically. Produce only high-quality material, whether it’s a well-designed interactive pamphlet or a creative customizable magnet. This must-read Brafton article summarizes it well: “Content marketing is not, as a colleague put it, an all-you-can eat buffet. But some companies treat it that way. The more-is-more mentality only works when there are enough resources and time to invest in each individual piece.”
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: you should be proud of your work. Anticipate what other vendors might be distributing, and try to make your offering unique and most importantly useful. (For instance, I’d be much more likely to use one nice ballpoint pen than ten rollerball pens, and would use that ball-point way more often. Bigger ROI for the company, more enjoyment for me, less junk for the environment.) Your company and your career will thank you.

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Who’s really in charge?

Without a steady hand on a company’s marketing budget, paid advertising can quickly balloon out of control. There are three ways of circumventing this problem: slow or stop paid campaigns, default to cheaper materials or methods, and/or find a sponsor or partner to cross-promote.

In the vein of the third option, I recently received a package of branded magnets as part of a StickerMule promotion. The magnets were of high quality, exactly as I have come to expect from StickerMule products, but I don’t have any use for them. Why would I put up a Chrome orb or a MailChimp monkey on my fridge, mailbox, or anywhere else? What am I supposed to do with these useless magnets? Most importantly, how do I recycle them?

It’s easy to understand StickerMule’s strategy – hit up existing clients with diversified brand offerings and offer goodies to both test quality and make consumers feel like they owe the company something – but there must be a way to improve it. What happens before, during, and after the user experience of engaging with these materials, and how can companies and individuals reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating or recycling these attempts? Here are a few suggestions.

Conservation Tips #3 – 5:

  • Reduce: Send one customizable magnet that users could color in or otherwise decorate themselves.
    However, if Facebook, Google, and Dribbble had indeed paid StickerMule for the promotion, there’s less financial incentive to limit the number of magnets given away for free. This is a tricky situation because StickerMule doesn’t have its own branding on these magnets (good for consumers, bad for marketing), so they only benefit when they distribute the goods themselves. Even so, sending just one or two, rather than six, would extend their available stock and expand their audience. 
  • Reuse: Provide a return envelope for any unused magnets.
    Admittedly, this would increase the amount of waste if the envelope is pre-printed, but would be a net positive for the company who could reclaim precious marketing assets. 
  • Reinvent: Include sticky sheets so recipients could tape over magnets they don’t plan to use.
    The downside of this is that cross-promoters wouldn’t be happy about consumers modifying their magnets, but users already have the ability to do much worse, so it’s literally out of the marketing manager’s hands.

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How do you change the channel?

Technology might hasten the human race’s ultimate demise, but eschewing it in favor of exploiting limited resources will have the same result. The big question is, how do we use technology to reduce the burden on the environment, and how can we rethink traditional models of communication to be more sustainable?

Most people are familiar with eco-friendly materials, like recycled paper or soy-ink printer cartridges that you can send back to the manufacturer. These are great initiatives, but in order to flip the script and combat growing deforestation and pollution, there are still several other shifts in perspective needed. Outside of reducing resource waste on products or assets that no one needs, the marketing industry needs to hold itself to higher standards, rallying mom-and-pop shops and multinational corporations alike to establish basic green guidelines.

This might take the form of agencies taking on more ethical work (or refusing to work with companies who have a proven track record of human rights violations or environmental abuse). ACT Responsible, whose vision is to “inspire, promote and federate communication on social and environmental responsibility,” is a comprehensive resource. It could result in industry leaders establishing sustainable development goals – UFI (the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) has provided an excellent model for the conference space. Perhaps companies have to limit the types of resources used, or curtail excess when a production reaches a certain size. Maybe it’s as simple as creating a CSR department which audits and measures campaigns’ ROI and impact, so that teams are forced to think more closely about their strategies.

Clearly, there are no simple solutions, and no assurance that companies will even follow these rules. But it’s a start, and we can’t get anywhere without starting. As anyone who’s interacted with a teenager knows, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. The marketing industry is well aware of this adage – now it’s time to start living by it.


Exhibit A (Schwag) Image

About A26Z: Good by Design

A26Z: Good by Design is a year-long project promoting actionable sustainability practices in various industries. I started this personal “capstone project” to commemorate turning 26, and will release a new “exhibit” every other Thursday until the 26-part series concludes the day prior to my 27th birthday.

If you liked this post, please make it official by clicking the “like” button below! Of course, comments are welcome – I’d love to learn more about what companies and individuals are doing to address this problem, and am open to suggestions on future topics. To stay updated on upcoming topics in the A26Z: Good By Design series, please subscribe. Thanks for reading!

Why Every Cafe Should Schmear Your Bagel

Have you ever ordered a bagel and schmear and been handed a flimsy plastic spoon and a tiny plastic tub? Have you then had a burning desire to throw the un-schmeared bagel back at your bored, bespectacled barista and yell “FINISH THE JOB?!” If so, you might identify with this story.

(Spoiler Alert: This story is not about bagels.)


My anger has nothing to do with bagels (nor baristas), and everything to do with the concepts of waste and corporate social responsibility. 

Compare these two scenarios.

Scenario 1: You order a bagel. The bagelier slices and toasts the bagel, then uses a dedicated knife to apply cream cheese from a large vat. The knife is then replaced in the vat, and you’re handed the warm, cut, and schmeared bagel wrapped in a paper sleeve and a single napkin.

Scenario 2: You order a bagel. The bagelier asks you, “for here or to go” and you confirm that it’s “for here.” The bagelier slices and toasts the bagel, then puts it on a paper plate along with a plastic tub of schmear and a plastic knife. By the time that he’s called you, the bagel has begun to cool, and between the time you pick up the bagel, pop open the top of the tub, and apply the cream cheese, your bagel is nearly room temperature. You then throw away the knife, tub, and plate all within eyesight of your bagelier.

Not only is the first example more efficient time-wise (note that the bagelier treats every order as a to-go, increasing the speed of delivery), but it also makes more sense environmentally, economically, and experientially. Let’s break that down.

Environmentally: Imagine 100 people ordered a bagel with cream cheese. At the first cafe, the byproduct would be 100 paper sleeves – not a big waste considering the necessity of the sleeve in preventing a mid-meal schmear smear, and actually saving water by serving the dual role of plate. At the second cafe, the byproduct would be 100 plastic tubs (which have to be cleaned before recycled), 100 plastic knives (same as above), and 100 paper plates (which are usually completely untouched but are by and large thrown out). Even compostable utensils are useless compared to the first scenario, as reduction is always more sustainable and less resource-intensive than recycling. Also, despite decades of recycling, people still don’t know how to separate, so compostable and recyclable items oftentimes join the journey to the landfill.

Economically: The true pain point for effecting change is the low price of resources. Based on a quick scan of WebstaurantStore.com, we can roughly estimate that restaurants spend only $0.02 per knife, around $0.04 for the lid and tub, and $0.05 per plate. For $0.11 a customer, it seems unlikely that any cafe will change its policy based on price, especially with the considerable markup of the food items covering the excess. However, the restaurant business already operates on very thin margins, and $11 lost per day on 100 inefficient bagels can stack up over the year. If a cafe operates 350 days out of the year, that’s $3,850 lost revenue – maybe that’s enough of an incentive for a small business to consider alternatives.

Experientially: When do you buy a bagel in a cafe? If you’re like me, it’s when you’re already on your way to somewhere else and want a quick bite to eat in transit. Operative word: quick. If I wanted to schmear my own bagel, I would buy all of the materials at home, and it would take me the exact same amount of time as waiting for the bagel maker to toast it in store. The immediate experience of buying a bagel is diminished by the work that I now have to do to complete the transaction, and that makes me not want to return to the cafe. UX (user experience) design is not limited to tech – it’s critical that every establishment evaluate what outcome they’d consider optimal and what steps are necessary to achieve that ideal objective. (Jeff Axup’s blog, aptly named Restaurant UX, provides more examples.) If I’m turned off by this wasteful practice and blasé attitude towards customers, I’m not going to eat at that cafe again, which costs the cafe future profits.

As consumers, we have incredible power to affect supply-chain economics, through boycotts, product recalls, and simple behavioral changes. However, for the most part, we default to a price-comparison when choosing everyday goods. This is a normal function of being a cost-conscious consumer, particularly in a society of widening inequality.

Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the business – of all of those in the supply chain, really – to think deeply about what resources they offer and how often they’re made available. There’s a big difference between handing someone a bagel with a knife, for instance, and pointing them in the direction of the accoutrement kiosk. When companies take a deeper look at the lifecycle of their products and identify even one area of improvement, they are taking a step towards reducing society’s so-called “dependence” on finite resources and reimagining a process in which human-centered design reigns supreme.

As a human, that’s a future I’d like to see. Now schmear my damn bagel.

 

Sustainability Series - Bagel #2

4 Quick Tips on Staying Water-Positive (a.k.a. “El Niño Won’t Save Us If We Don’t Save Ourselves”)

An El Niño winter is good news for California, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to solve all of our problems. In fact, due to the fragility of dehydrated root systems and crumbling soil, we’re at an increased risk for flooding, wind damage, and mudslides. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to manage water flow and dispersion.

  1. Make sure your building has at least one large rain barrel. If you live in a single-family home, two or three is even better. If set up correctly, they can replace tap water for several indoor and outdoor purposes throughout the year (reducing your water bill in a time when utility companies are trying to figure out how to use economics to punish water-abusive behavior).
  2. If you can, strip concrete in your backyard and/or driveway and replace it with bricks or other porous material. This will allow more rainwater to enter the underlying aquifer, meaning a larger buffer against future droughts.
  3. Plant trees! I understand the hesitation to landscape while in a drought, but the upcoming storms downplay that concern. Done correctly (i.e. establishing simple homemade drip irrigation and support systems), planting trees and other organic material can help keep the ground from becoming oversaturated, and yields benefits when California is again covered in trees!
  4. Continue to limit water consumption throughout the winter. If we keep treating water like a feast-or-famine commodity, we have to prepare ourselves for the consequences of running out of water within our lifetime. I’ve severely limited my water consumption already, so it’s extremely frustrating to witness others leave taps running, take hour-long showers, and in general ignore the fact that we’re in crisis and TOGETHER need to take serious steps to mitigate our impact on the earth.

This, combined with my earlier tips on reducing your carbon footprint, can be read as a cheat sheet at sustainability. So flex your power – knowledge! – and do your part to literally “save the world.” I can promise you (unless your job is related to solving major humanitarian, medical, or ecological problems) this is a necessary and fundamental step that underpins any future developments, and we won’t get anywhere unless we cover the basics first.

10 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint and Save the Planet

We’re in a four-year drought, and while the extent to which we are is up for debate, it’s best to resort to worst-case scenarios when the climate is at stake.

Last year, KQED posted a article called “How Much Water Do Californians Use and What Does A 20 Percent Cut Look Like?” In it, they compiled some very handy statistics, namely the 2011 average for household water consumption (360+ gallons a day), the split between average external and internal water usage (53% – or 190 gallons – on landscaping, car washes, etc; 47% – or 170 gallons – on showers, toilet flushes, food preparation, etc.), and an in-depth breakdown of percentage usage for various functions.

If you need more convincing that climate change is both real and of immediate concern, check out the Stanford Roundtable on Climate [video]. One important point from the all-star panel was from Bina Venkataraman (director of global policy initiatives of the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard), who noted that wealthy residents in Hillsborough account for three times (on average, per capita) the energy consumption as compared to individuals in the working-class neighborhood in East Palo Alto. This relates to a larger issue about cap and trade politics, which I’ll discuss in a future post, but the statistic alone highlights the troubling obsession with conspicuous consumption as a status symbol. Only when the symbol of wealth becomes scarcity, something I think is becoming more likely with the nouveau riche’s minimalist design sense, will any change occur amongst the biggest wasters.

There are a few obvious solutions that come from this data:

    1. Stop washing your car. If you’re worried about how your car will look, start taking public transit. Public transit is not only good for the environment and the government, but it also encourages citizens to reduce their driving and legislators to extend transportation routes more widely.
    2. Replace your lawn with drought-resistant crops. If you’re set on having a green lawn, there are a variety of drought-resistant grasses that are relatively easy to install. But if you’re interested in taking your open space one step further, consider planting a small garden with rotating crops. These serve to fertilize the ground, provide free groceries, and foster more appreciation of the food cycle.
    3. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” I have to admit, I’m still not a huge fan of this initiative. But considering nearly a fifth of residential water usage is dedicated to toilet flushes, it seems wasteful to use between 3.5 – 7 gallons of water every time you think you have to pee. (That being said, if you’re somewhat stinky in the restroom, consider changing your diet and drinking more water, so at least it’s going through you instead of the septic tank directly!)
    4. Use a bucket to collect your cold shower water. In this drought, even taking a three-minute shower makes me feel guilty, and it’s partially because of all of the water I let go directly down the drain while I wait for the shower to heat up. No longer! Putting a bucket under the faucet helps offset water consumption by providing clean water to water plants, wash dishes, flush the toilet, and – depending on your level of comfort – use as drinking water.
    5. Turn off/down your shower while soaping up. This is fairly obvious to most people, but upon witnessing my friend’s roommate regularly taking hour-long showers full blast with no break (in an apartment with only one bathroom, no less!), it bears repeating. Yes, it might be cold. Yes, the shower is a great place to think. I’d recommend in that case making your shower quick, putting on a warm robe, and meditating – you’d be doing the planet and yourself a favor (plus excessively hot showers can lead to yeast infections, so..).
      Alternatively, consider heating your water on the stove and taking a bucket shower – they’re surprisingly satisfying and extremely water-efficient, and a step up from Burning Man-esque sponge baths (which we might have to resort to next).
    6. Check your equipment. (Not that way.) 18% of residential water usage stems from leaks, so do an extensive check of your dwelling’s plumbing and fix broken items immediately. If you have the ability to do so, change out your low-efficiency appliances for energy-saving models (refrigerators, toilets, washing machines, shower heads, etc.).
    7. Stop washing your clothes as often. I’m not sure if I’ll be revealing too much here, but here goes: I only wash my clothes/sheets once every 3 – 4 weeks, meaning I only use the machine 13 – 17 times a year. As a petite (relatively) sedentary woman, I do have smaller laundry loads than the average 6’6″ basketball player, so I understand the occasional need to do laundry somewhat more frequently. But if you’re doing your laundry any more than twice a month, you need to reconsider your habits and/or the knee-jerk reaction to put anything you wore once directly into your washing machine.
    8. Soak your dishes, then completely scrub and wash before rinsing. The following (horrifying) pattern is all too common:
      1. Run water full force with nothing underneath;
      2. Pour detergent directly into dish while water is running;
      3. Put dish under running water;
      4. Scrub under running water;
      5. Rinse thoroughly, essentially re-washing the dish by brute force;
      6. Put dish into dish dryer while the water is running;
      7. Chat with someone / eat a sandwich / leave the room completely while the water is running.

      Everything about this is wrong. The best way to wash your dishes is actually much simpler:

      1. Clear your dish-drainer to make room for new dishes.
      2. Quickly run some water over your dishes; leave them to soak for five minutes. (Water should be off.)
      3. Put a small amount of detergent on a sponge. (Water should be off.)
      4. Fold the sponge in half, then run a small amount of water over the sponge. Squeeze it to generate suds. (Water should be off.)
      5. Scrub your dishes thoroughly, using both sides of the sponge if necessary. (Water should be off.)
      6. Pile all dirty dishes in one area of sink or countertop. (Water should be off.)
      7. Using a low flow of water, rinse all dishes in one swoop, and load into dish-drainer.

      Bam. It’s that easy. Tell your friends.

    9. Use fewer dishes when cooking. Whenever possible, try to use the same cutting boards, utensils, and pots and pans to prepare your food, and make a lot of leftovers. I’ve never been one to make a big messy meal (I’m the opposite of a gourmand), but this lesson was never more applicable than when I was washing dishes during my shifts at Lightning in a Bottle and Burning Man. At the latter, the lack of water made my one-woman task even more frustrating, and the cooks’ reluctance to use fewer dishes surprised me during a festival centered around the principle of “Leave No Trace.”
    10. Get a carabiner for your metal water bottle. Don’t have a metal water bottle? That’s your first step. I’ve had a Klean Kanteen since my freshman year of college, and as bruised and battered as it is now (it has been to more than 20 countries!), it has beautifully saved me from using several plastic bottles over the years. I made it easier for myself (and therefore more appealing to carry) by putting a carabiner through the top loop and attaching it to bags, belts, and backpacks. Drinking water is the first most noble use of water, so cherish it while you can!