Monday, October 1, 2018

Monthly Micro-Actions: Think At the Sink




*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska Paré! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and is also a monthly guest blogger on my website! She writes about tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana  

As much as we’d like to believe our sinks are bottomless monster mouths; hungry to eat up anything and everything we feed them, they’re not and shouldn’t be used that way. The more food, fats, oils, grease and household hazardous waste we put down the drain or through the garbage disposal, the more impact they will have on our sewer lines, wastewater treatment systems, not to mention create environmental and public health hazards.


 

Maybe you’re reading this as you plunge your drain filled with last night’s spaghetti.. And there you stand, Drano in hand, ready to treat the buildup. STOP NOW and KEEP READING.

 

Did you know the active ingredient in Drano and other conventional drain cleaners is sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as caustic soda or lye? While the substance is not considered a pollutant, sodium hydroxide is an irritant that can burn skin and aggravate the nose, throat and respiratory airways[1].

 

A better option to putting chemicals down the drain would be to use a plunger, a drain snake (made from an old wire hanger) or a handful of baking soda mixed with a half cup of vinegar followed with boiling water, this typically does the trick!

 

Fighting the Impossible

 

Even top of the line strainers won’t stop every coffee ground or apple seed from going down the drain, but we need to do our best. Sinks are not trash cans and weren’t designed for this purpose. Clogged pipes and backed-up sewers are expensive repairs.  It doesn't matter how much hot water or Drano you pour down after it. Sooner or later it solidifies. Metro Vancouver residents spend $2 million every year to repair damage caused by grease. And that's not counting the costs to individual homeowners when their pipes get blocked.[2]

 

With the new Wastewater Treatment Project currently being built to serve the core municipalities of Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, View Royal, Langford and Colwood, and the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, it’s important to start developing good habits NOW so we can keep the operations and maintenance costs low.

 

Micro-Actions For October

 

We all need to do our part to help keep the wastewater process running smoothly. The next time you’re at you’re sink THINK, and consider how you can apply these suggestions and support a smooth running system:

 

  • Scrape food residues from plates, pots & pans before washing
  • Never put coffee grounds, eggshells or kitty litter down the drain or toilet
  • Use your garbage disposal sparingly
  • Put fruit & vegetables peels in the ‘organics’ bin
  • Collect excess fats & oils in a jar. Once settled, scoop into organics bin.
  • Dispose of household hazardous waste at the Hartland Landfill, HHW Collection Centre. The materials are then packed into containers and transported to the lower mainland and sent to the appropriate facilities for treatment or disposal.

 

 

 



[1] https://www.thoughtco.com/eco-friendly-drain-cleaners-1203933
[2] http://www.metrovancouver.org/grease