We’ve refined our map of the greywater cycle that we envision for restaurants and the greater community. Now we’re diving into more detailed research on every step of the process. How will greywater be collected and transported from the restaurants? How will it be filtered and treated? Etc, etc, etc.

Today we’re mapping out the cycle of greywater that we envision for the Evanston community. We love the idea of recycling water in restaurants to help create green space in the city!

  1. Camera: Samsung SGH-T959V
  2. Aperture: f/2.638671875
  3. Exposure: 1/24th
  4. Focal Length: 3mm
Brainstorming! Throwing any idea we can come up with on a post-it, and then sorting them across different categories to draw out the similarities and see which ones best fit our ideal standards for a solution: Daring, Feasible, and Applicable. Brainstorming! Throwing any idea we can come up with on a post-it, and then sorting them across different categories to draw out the similarities and see which ones best fit our ideal standards for a solution: Daring, Feasible, and Applicable. Brainstorming! Throwing any idea we can come up with on a post-it, and then sorting them across different categories to draw out the similarities and see which ones best fit our ideal standards for a solution: Daring, Feasible, and Applicable.

Brainstorming! Throwing any idea we can come up with on a post-it, and then sorting them across different categories to draw out the similarities and see which ones best fit our ideal standards for a solution: Daring, Feasible, and Applicable.

To further drill this image into your head, we bring you yet another map of the movement of water and people in restaurants. (We’re more tech-savvy now!) Keep checking back as we continue to develop our skills and devise solutions to this serious problem.

Another more physical mapping of water use in restaurants and the interactions involved. Another more physical mapping of water use in restaurants and the interactions involved.

Another more physical mapping of water use in restaurants and the interactions involved.

Change in workspace for the day = lots of post-its on a little whiteboard. 

With phase one of our observations complete, we’ve mapped the movement of people and water in restaurants.

KEY
Black: objects and appliances that involve water 
Red: people
Pink: interactions between  people
Purple: interactions between people and water-using objects
Green: green practices that conserve water
Orange: barriers to conserving water

We’re working on a bigger, more detailed, and much more epic expansion of this map as I type this! Stay tuned for more.
 

  1. Camera: Samsung SGH-T959V
  2. Aperture: f/2.638671875
  3. Exposure: 1/21th
  4. Focal Length: 3mm

Why conserve water? Number one: it’s not a limitless resource. This gif from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln shows drought conditions throughout the US over the last 12 weeks. Not so pretty. There are text descriptions at the website that discuss in detail the specific effects on each region, but we’ll copy and paste the one for the Midwest here:

The Midwest: Most of the region registered above-normal temperatures for the period ending Tuesday morning. In fact, preliminary data show that July came in at 5-10 degrees above normal for the month of July. The region continues to be impacted not only by oppressive heat, but also by depleted soil moisture, desiccated pastures and widespread crop damages, livestock culling and elevated fire risk. Recent concerns have now turned to soybeans and water supply as the drought’s duration persists. Some fared a bit better than others; southern Minnesota and southern and eastern Wisconsin benefitted the most from rains, leading to general 1-category improvements this week. Rains also fell across northern Indiana and southern Michigan, leaving things pretty much unchanged from last week. That said, there is a slight expansion of D3/D4 across western and central Indiana. Much of southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky also saw measurable improvement on the order of 1-category this week, pushing the drought to the west. Longer-term impacts still remain even given the short-term relief, but parts of eastern Kentucky and Ohio are seeing a rebound in streamflows, which is a good sign. In the western half of the region, things continue to worsen across Missouri and Arkansas, with continued deterioration and encroachment of D3 and even D4.

So where is water used in a restaurant? We’re sketching out diagrams to help us figure out what commonly-used points could be good places where we could focus. Let’s count the points of water use: hand sinks, bathrooms, mop and bucket, ice machine, table water, dish sinks, dishwasher, cooking water, soda guns, outside cleaning…

Conserving water in a restaurant (or anywhere) happens on multiple levels. In this restaurant kitchen we see:

  • Green-friendly appliances. Restaurant and commercial dishwashers go through really high-power cycles to get dishes clean in two minutes or less (40 seconds, anyone?). These machines can use a whole lot of water, but there are still green models available, like the Ecolab one pictured here, that get the job done while minimizing water and energy use.
  • Water-conserving cleaning materials. The average dishwashing soap used in a sink comes in liquid form, and a good amount of water can be used in their production. Dry dish soaps that come in powder or pellet form (in those blue containers on top of the dishwasher) save water even before being used in a restaurant.
  • Flow-reducing nozzles. That sprayer hanging down in the middle is used to remove most of the food stuck on a plate before it gets more thoroughly washed. Sprayers can use a lot of water to get a high-pressure stream for the best clean, but lower-flow models exist. There are also flow-limiting nozzles and aerators that can be attached to a sprayer, faucet, or most any water outlet that keep water use down without affecting cleaning ability.
  • Pooling water in tubs. Water conservation doesn’t just happen through technology—different behaviors can also save a lot of water. Filling a tub with water and soap and using that for an initial dish-cleaning step instead of keeping a faucet running the whole time is a great way to keep excess water consumption down.