Water use in commerce depends on the type of business. In addition to larger industries, garages, hairdressers, launderettes, cleaners, food processors, restaurants, hotels, printers, gardening centres, etc. have a significant role in consumption of water and waste discharges through municipal systems or water courses. One of the most damaging pressures of businesses on water is accidental run-off – letting toxic substances/chemicals run off to drains/watercourses and illegal waste disposal into rivers, lakes, bays and wetland areas.

Businesses contribute greatly to water consumption, pollution and quality and some tips below might help your business to become more water-friendly and cost-effective:

  • Conserve water and use water saving devices (install dual flush toilets, fix push tap buttons on sinks which can cut down water usage by 50%)
  • Do not leave taps dripping – one drop wasted per second wastes 10,000 litres per year
  • Fix leaky taps
  • Use hazardous waste containers/disposal for waste toxic products  and dispose of all hazardous substances appropriately and avoid discharging these to waters – Your Local Authority will provide facilities for collecting these
  • Use products and chemicals that are environmentally friendly and least harmful to the aquatic environment (your health will benefit as well and this strategy can be put to significant market advantage)
  • Ensure that premises adjacent to water bodies are not impacting negatively on the ecology of the aquatic habitat through surface run-off or physical modifications.

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Tips for Hairdressers

  •  Reduce towel use where possible -lessen the need to wash towels therefore saving water
  • Use hair dye products with less harmful ingredients and reduce the use of peroxides and perming chemicals (your and customers’ health will benefit from this and this ‘kinder to nature, kinder to you’ approach can be used as marketing strategy also)
  • Reduce water wastage – don’t have taps running unnecessarily
  • Re-cycle foils
  • Use hazardous waste containers

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Tips for Garages

  •  Provision of storm water attenuation and retention / by-pass separators to eliminate the potential for water pollution.
  • Integration of renewable water systems to reduce water wastage.
  • Install rainwater collection system with a retention tank sized to allow for up to 4 days of water use in urinals and wash down services.
  • Check regularly of any water leaks to ensure water is not wasted due to unchecked leakage of underground water supply pipes.

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 Washing Vehicles

  1. Use eco friendly washing products, warm water and a sponge when washing your vehicle.
  2. Never leave the hose running when you wash your vehicle.
  3. Use a squeeze type (pistol grip) nozzle on the hose, or use another sponge and several buckets of clean water for hand rinsing.
  4. Eliminating the pre-wash routine, which will cut down on water usage and save you time.
  5. When rinsing, use a gentle spray from the hose instead of a high velocity stream of water. Again you will cut down on water usage.

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By following the tips above your business will benefit by:

  • Reducing costs (water rates and wastewater can cost as much as 1% of your business’s turnover)
  • Improving the reputation of the enterprise and enhances brand image – through marketing and communicating of improved performance.
  • Reducing liability, hazardous risk and consequently improving employees’ safety and health
  • Increasing employee morale and productivity through closer alignment of company values with the personal values of the employees.

For more information how to become more environmentally friendly, resource efficient and save money please visit greenbusiness website