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When the national lockdown restrictions were first lifted, people across the UK began to filter back into offices, restaurants, and pubs. Now there’s evidence that many people have chosen to stay home, and it comes from an unlikely source: water waste.

What Washroom waste can tell us

Washroom waste generated by UK organisations has dropped by almost half since the start of the Covid lockdown, indicating not only an initial drop in building occupancy, but that a significant cutback still remains.

This comes from the phs Index, a report on how Covid-19 impacted UK organisations over the past 6 months, with a specific focus on hygiene. The findings shine light on people’s lingering anxieties around Covid precautions as well as providing insight into building occupancy. It says nearly one in five consumers admitted they did not feel confident about hygiene measures within local businesses, and over a quarter of consumers did not feel confident in the social distancing measures within these premises.

Buildings are especially quiet in London; 38% quieter than pre-Covid, and the amount of waste collected in the Capital was down 73% over the same period. Environmental wins like less waste and washroom water along with better air quality may be the unexpected silver linings of the Covid-crisis, but can we continue to make our services more green and efficient in the future?

With new lockdown restrictions on the way, London is sure to grow even quieter. The question will be, when will people feel comfortable returning to their offices and local haunts once restrictions are lifted, and will a gradual shift to working from home mean a mass exodus from major cities around the world?

The leaky loo problem

In other non-Covid-related water-waste news – while lockdown saved some water, dual flush toilet systems could be wasting millions of litres every day according to an investigation by the BBC. Marketed as high-efficiency water-saving washroom solutions, with different flush options for liquids and solids, these fancy loos “are now wasting more water than they save due to a combination of leaky mechanisms and confusing flush buttons”, one water company told the BBC.

The Chief Executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) told the BBC that the drop valve system is, in fact, more prone to leakage. The problem isn’t only technical though; the efficiency manager at Thames Water says that their research shows that as many as 50% of their customers are either choosing the wrong button or pushing both.

How you can reduce your water waste

To start – if you’re considering refurbishing your washrooms, perhaps try to avoid these troublesome toilets.

If you’re looking to reduce your business’s water waste overall, contact us at ESS. We’ll conduct a water audit that can tell you where you are using the most water, as well as identify any leaks or wasted water. Then we’ll work with you towards making your business as efficient and sustainable as it can be.


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