Show us how you choose to save water on social media this #LoveWaterDay!
From the 18th – 24th October it's National Water Week, and to celebrate Hunter Water are inviting the Lower Hunter community to get involved in the main event, Love Water Day 2021 on 23rd October!
To get a little water-inspired we checked out three Hunter businesses to see what they're doing to be water-wise.
Love Water Day is all about showing how you connect to water and what you're doing, no matter how big or small, to save water and conserve it for the future. So share with us the ways you save water by tagging in #LoveWaterDay and @ourhunterwater in your posts!
Momo Wholefood & Herb Urban
Momo’s Wholefood café owner Linda Lodue and her team don’t like wasting water and do whatever they can to never tip water down the drain. So when it came to refreshing the Momo space Linda worked with Jared Lawlor from Herb Urban to deliver both a spectacular and water-efficient green display, as Linda explained,
“I pictured having plants cascading down our feature wall for a long time, however because the wall is so high I didn’t know how to go about installing and watering them. Jared is one of our customers and when I spoke to him about my idea, Herb Urban seemed like the perfect solution.”
“Jared designed the structure using his clever sensor and cloud farming technology which allowed us to have this stunning ornamental plant wall that's really easy to maintain and uses minimal water. It could have been quite water consuming, around 50 plants have been used in total, but Jared’s sensor system tells us when the plants need to be watered which makes it a lot less labour intensive and also means we’re not killing them.”
“We installed the plants in April and even in that short time they've grown so much, and not one plant has been lost. It’s really nice for both our staff and customers to have something so visual and interactive and to be able to bring some nature and life into the space without feeling guilty about how much water we're using."
Newcastle’s Earp Bros. Tiles have long been at the forefront of sustainability, it was calculated recently their water savings from Earp's green certified tiles have saved a massive 23 million litres of water! So when the family-run business launched Earp Distilling in 2019, their focus on sustainability naturally carried over into the distillery.
Speaking with Head Distiller Michael Earp, Michael detailed some of the initiatives that Earp Distilling has put in place to help reduce their water usage,
“Distilling is a water intensive process, it uses between 8-15 litres of waste material per litre of alcohol. The distilling process involves mashing, fermenting, sparging (rinsing), distilling, cooling, cleaning, and packaging and we’ve been able to save water throughout this whole process by,
- Investing in equipment that is 70% more efficient than traditional copper still equipment.
- Cleaning is a simple rinsing process as the stills are inert stainless steel, not copper that oxidises and requires caustic chemicals and multiple rinsing and washing.
- All cooling (including the building air conditioning) uses a closed loop recycled water system.
- All stillage (distillation waste) is collected and transported to farms for food and irrigation rather than entered into the sewer system. This is important as the waste is acidic and has a high bio-oxygen demand.
- Our filtration system uses stainless tanks for reverse osmosis filtration, holding the R/O by product water for cleaning and irrigation of surrounding gardens.
Whilst many of the water-saving initiatives have been relatively easy to implement, Michael explains there have naturally been some challenges,
“Often it’s the small 1%'ers that build into worthwhile change. What we've found is sustainability doesn't have to involve significant costs with the right mindset and prior planning."
"Challenges have of course presented themselves along the way such as compliance issues, investing in equipment, doing the research, instilling a culture within your organisation of reducing waste, and space is an increasingly rare commodity."
"One area we're looking into is installing tanks and capturing rainwater available from the roof area, and we may be able to recycle the water heated process water for future floor heating and make better use of R/O by product water. We try to be as sustainable as possible and small improvements are always possible, but do have a long way to go."
The name Sandy Chong is synonymous with the hairdressing industry, both in Newcastle and beyond. Sandy's commitment to remaining at the forefront of her industry has ensured the longevity of her Newcastle East End salon, Suki.
Taking on the role of CEO of the Australian Hairdressing Council and also Director of the Council of the Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) Sandy's time is not so much spent on the floor these days, however, her dedication and innovative business thinking have ensured Suki continues to be one of Newcastle's most well recognised hair salons.
Much of this can be attributed to the many initiatives Sandy has implemented throughout the salon's more 35 year history, one of which being the businesses Green Salon Select accreditation. Recognised by The Australian Hairdressing Council, Green Salon Select acknowledges Suki's sustainable practices in all areas of the business. Speaking with Sandy she explained in more detail why this accreditation has been so important to the business,
"Water is being used all day every day Suki is open with guests, and as we are committed to sustainable practices we are very conscious of any waste in all areas of our business. Being a regional salon we are also conscious of drought-affected areas and do not want to contribute to wastage of this valuable resource."
When asked about some of the ways in which the salon has gone about reducing its water usage Sandy details,
"We have been able to reduce our water usage dramatically by installing Eco Heads, we had them installed as soon as they landed in Australia in 2014. Eco Heads are a unique product as they use 65% less water, yet give us better pressure to remove the shampoo, conditioner, and colour, making the service faster and more enjoyable for our guests."
"Our sustainable practices mean we have less chemical waste so less water wastage to clean colour bowls, colour brushes etc, and our excess chemical waste is recycled with 85% turned back into water for the industry. As well as this it is used for sprinkler systems when laying tarmac for roads.
"We also use single-use biodegradable towels so we're not using a washing machine or dryer, which saves us water, electricity, and even labour."
While saving water and money may seem like the obvious benefits to operating the business sustainably, there are many more benefits as Sandy explains,
"Not only is it simply better for our community, business, and clients but what I've found is many of our like-minded clients have sourced us out because of our accreditation. It also makes me happy to be able to contribute in as many ways as I can for a better environment, and our staff loves that this is our ethos and culture."
It's Smart Business to Love Water. Hunter Water is committed help you make Smart Water Choices for your business. Find out how to reduce water usage, save money on usage charges, reduce wastewater and energy costs and contribute to the protection of our precious water resource. Visit hunterwater.com.au/business.