water consumption

Putting Shame Messages To Work for the Environment


Organizations may use "shame" messages to get people to act.  Sometimes to give to a charity, for instance or other times to  change behaviors.

Whatever the case, they can be useful.

A few years back, researchers wanted to see if different types of shame messages might encourage residents to scale back on energy consumption.

An experiment was carried out in neighborhoods in the San Diego area.  Four different messages were left on doors, all asking that residents scale back on energy use.  

The different notes were the following:

1.    Please reduce energy to reduce the expenditure of resources on the planet

2.    Please reduce energy to save money at the end of the month on your own bill

3.    Please do this for future generations so that your children will have access to these resources

4.    The majority of your neighbors are regularly undertaking efforts to reduce energy in their homes. Please follow.

A month later, the researchers checked the electricity meters on the houses.  They discovered that the residents that received the first three messages made no changes, there were no reductions in energy consumption. 

However, the fourth one did produce results. Less energy was used in those homes.

"This is an example of 'prosocial' behavior," says Klaus Reichardt, CEO, and founder of Waterless Co., manufacturers of No-Water urinals. "This is when people band together to support each other and society as a whole."

In another experiment in Florida, 627 households were divided into two groups:

1.  Residents in group one were told to follow current water restrictions in place, i.e., only water their lawns on designated days

2.  Residents in group two were reminded (using street signs in their neighborhood), if the recent rainfall was meeting the watering needs of their lawn."

The researchers reported an “astonishing” 61 percent decrease in lawn watering in the second group. Further, many continued to not water their lawns after recent rains. **

"In this case, the shame message just had to appeal to common sense," says Reichardt. "There simply is no reason to water lawns after it rains."

For more information on the features and benefits of Waterless Urinals, contact a Waterless Co representative.



How Pepsi and Coke are Saving Water... it's easier thank you think?

A 2016 report by the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) had some promising news about how the beverage industry - companies that make pop drinks, beer, distilleries, wineries, bottling companies, etc., - are finding ways to save millions of gallons of water each year. And what is so surprising, most attribute it to something straightforward that we all can do… but more about that later.

beverage industry

The BIER report involved 1,500 global facilities in the beverage industry owned or operated by 19 different companies.  While the companies were not mentioned, we know they included some major brands - and major water users -  like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, MillerCoors, New Belgium Brewing, and Fetzer Vineyards. 

The study not only looked at water consumption but energy as well.  This is likely because there is such a close connection between water and energy.  The more water a facility uses, the more it costs to deliver and remove the water from the location.  In California, approximately 19 percent of the energy utilized in the state is just for moving and removing water. 

But these costs also go up when we figure heating the water.  While beverage companies now use a variety of different techniques to clean and sterilize the equipment they use, often this requires hot water. The more hot water they must use, the more energy they must purchase, adding to their operating costs.

Here is what the study reported:

Reviewing data for the years 2011, 2013, and 2015, 71 percent of the facilities in the study were able to reduce water consumption.  And as a result of this, 64 percent were able to reduce their energy use.

The report also noted that some companies, such as Pepsi, have been working to reduce their water consumption for more than a decade. From 2006 to 2016, Pepsi has reduced the amount of water they need to make their beverages by 26 percent and expects to bring this down another 25 percent by 2025.

So how are these companies reducing consumption? 

Apparently only fixing leaks in their facilities is at the top of the list. “We started with low-hanging fruit like fixing leaks,” says Greg Koch, global head of water stewardship for Coca-Cola.

water leak

Roberta Barbieri with Pepsi also listed fixing leaks as a major contributor in reducing their water consumption. This tells us all how important it is to fix leaks, in both homes and commercial locations.  However, with the leak problem addressed, how do these and other beverage giants plan on reducing water consumption? 

Among the steps they are taking now and in the future include the following:

•    Using ionized air instead of water to rinse bottles and beverage equipment

•    Installing recovery systems to collect water as well as reuse systems, to help recycle water so that it can be used for other purposes, from irrigation to using mechanical devices such as HVAC equipment

•    Implementing systems that use water more efficiently when it comes to agriculture, for instance, steps wineries can take to reduce the amount of water to grow grapes.

And while it was not mentioned in the report, many of these beverage companies have looked for other ways to reduce water consumption such as in their restrooms.  In many cases, low-flow restroom fixtures as well as no-flow fixtures, such as waterless urinals, are installed.  While this might not be true in a beverage facility, in many locations, more water is used in restrooms than any other area of the facility.  This is why it is invariably the first place to look when building owners decide to use water more efficiently.

For more information on ways to reduce consumption and use water more efficiently, contact a Waterless Co representative.