Capitalist Showers, Economics Showers, and using less water.

I saw my friend Kitzzy’s tweet about navy showers a while ago, and I’ve been trying them out. No, “navy shower” isn’t what you might think.

Basically, it’s a braindead-simple way to reduce water and electricity/gas usage, with no inconvenience to you. Plus, I always seem to take quicker showers, which means I can clear out another blog or two from my RSS feeds.

Before I go off from this, I wanted to share a trick, if you’re interested in trying this out.

Pro tip: I recommend not shutting off the water completely. I find it is useful to wash soap off of your hand when you want to go turn the handle — very slippery otherwise. The Navy probably has foot-activated water valves.

Anyways, this navy shower concept got me thinking about minimizing consumption and efficiently using resources. It’s an economics issue — how do I get the most use/value out of a fixed amount of resources? From here, I started thinking about business.

It should be no surprise that businesses want to minimize use of resources. The less they have to spend on getting raw materials, the more those resources can be applied to other things, like salaries, and stock dividends. It’s even more aggressive in small businesses with slim margins, where becoming more efficient can mean the ability to hire more employees and grow, or purchase better equipment.

And this is where capitalism and the eco-movement intersect. Going with the “saving water” idea; let’s say you’re a business that makes Gadgets, and it takes 1000 gallons of water to make a Gadget. If you figure out how to make a Gadget with 600 gallons of water, you’ve already got a savings on your hands. One of your costs has been cut by 40%. Hooray! Fire up the yacht!

This is how businesses have worked for a very long time. “Efficient use of resources” should be a mantra in every group. But now with the eco-movement, companies are doubly-motivated to use resources more efficiently. Because now, when they become more efficient, they can advertise their “greenness” and get a PR boost on top of their new found financial savings. Some of them even charge more for their new “green” product, giving them a bigger return on the investment.

So that’s it. Your daily dose of economics and business. Of course, if you still want to do more to reduce your use of resources, try navy showering with a friend.