19 July 2022

Ways to re-use water for your business

We recently wrote about how saving water can reduce the cost of running your business, so we thought we’d share how to do that, in a little more detail. Of course, every business is going to be different, and some suggestions will be more workable for some businesses than others, but for many businesses, reusing wastewater which is suitable for re-use, called grey water, may be the key.

Install a recycling system

For a relatively small cost, you can have a recycling system installed to filter your grey water out through designated piping if you have:

  • An office kitchen with sink and/or dishwasher
  • A shower or shower-like facility such as in an internal gym, dog wash or salon
  • A washing machine function, particularly for laundromats, or industry with a requirement to use a washing machine.

Water harnessed from these areas could be used for secondary purposes such as cleaning and garden irrigation.

Keep your pipes clean

The first step to ensuring wastewater practices are sustainable is to ‘treat’ the water from contaminants and make it good for use. The simplest way to do this is to have your pipes be free of debris, mould and other contaminants in the first place. Grey water, ranges in quality depending on where it’s coming from (laundry will be cleaner than kitchen, for example), how clean your pipes are, and the systems you’ve put in place.

Using low- or no-tox detergents is a simple and effective way of clearing out the bad stuff and keeping it consistently clean for a higher quality grey water. Products that use a lot of chemicals or fillers can create build-up in your pipes that will be included in your grey water; poorer quality grey water can kill your plants and can be dangerous to wildlife, office pets and even people if there’s skin contact, or it’s ingested.

Home grown manufacturer of environmentally friendly cleaning and household products Tri Nature said it’s good to pick a brand that practices “gentle chemistry”, a term that means it is “gentle to both the user and to the environment”. Brian McLean, Director of Technical Services said

“Each of our naturally based ingredients are free from phosphates, nitrates and non-productive fillers to ensure that we can freely recycle grey wastewater into all our garden and grassed areas”.

If you choose a brand that includes these nasties they will be “a major contributor to chemical sludge build up in both your household and municipal piping systems” which ultimately leads to grey water being unviable for use.

Ways to use your grey water

Really, any area of your work process that requires water for non-drinking purposes, grey water can take its place. It can, of course, be directly related to your business or industry, and we have a handy industry-specific guide on water conservation habits. Or, it can be for things that are simply required to maintain the ambiance or functionality of your workspace (such as landscaped areas, indoor plants, community gardens, veggie patches in schools, indoor and outdoor cleaning… the list is endless).

Don’t forget, there are a number of do’s and don’ts to be considered when installing and using a greywater system. These vary on the type of system used and the level of treatment. Find out more here.

We asked local business, Tri Nature (who has created, manufactured and distributed their products from Newcastle for over 30 years) to share their specific water saving habits that have made a big difference in how they run, and sustain, their business.

“We divide our recycled water into two separate holding tanks, this is used for the initial washout of our manufacturing tanks after each batch which is then pumped through to the second tank used for our factory floor cleaning and then recycled back into its tank again. We then use this for the watering of our outdoor grassed area, approximately 1 hectare, leaving our grass beautifully green and healthy”.

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