Sinks offer many different ways to green your home. By making sure that they are free of leaks, made from eco-friendly materials and you avoid using toxic drain cleaners, you can help save water and reduce the amount of toxins used in your home and released into the environment.
The following in an excerpt from the book “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home”.
By following the tips below, you can begin to reduce your water consumption and the effects your sinks are having on the environment.
✔ Fix leaky faucets – A simple bathroom faucet repair can save you money and benefit the environment as well. Since a leaking faucet wastes more water than you realize, a quick repair is important.
Faucet leaks are usually caused by a worn out washer. Unfortunately, you need to disassemble the faucet to fix this. There are four main types of faucets, based on their internal mechanisms: compression, disc, cartridge, and ball. Your first step in fixing a faucet is to determine what type it is. If the faucet has a single handle that controls both hot and cold, it is either a ball, disc, or cartridge faucet. If it has two controls, one each for hot and cold, it is probably a compression faucet, though some types of compression faucets have disc mechanisms. The best way to tell which kind of faucet you have is to disassemble it. For step-by-step instructions on how to repair your leaky faucet, we suggest this site: http://www.hometips.com/repair-fix/faucet-dripping.html.
✔ Install a low-flow faucet aerator - Installing low-flow faucet aerators is one of the most effective water conservation steps you can do for your home. Inexpensive and simple to install, low-flow faucet aerators can reduce your home water consumption (if installed in showers too) as much as 50%, and reduce your energy cost of heating the water also by as much as 50%.
✔ Keep your pipes clean - The first step in keeping your pipes clean and clear is to practice prevention. Use traps and screens over drains to prevent larger particles and hair from going down the drain. In addition, use a natural, nontoxic drain cleaner on occasion to further prevent buildup. Avoid highly toxic commercial drain cleaners. They are ladened with dangerous chemicals which not only present a health hazard while you are using them, but they also pollute our water supplies. Below are instruction how to make a safe, nontoxic drain cleaner.30
- Mix 1/4 cup salt with 1 cup baking soda and pour down the drain. Let it sit for 3 to 6 hours.
- Boil 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup water in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl.
- Pour the boiling vinegar solution down the drain. The mixture will fizz and quite a bit of foam may come up the drain and into the sink. Boil more of the mixture and repeat 1 to 2 more times after the fizzing stops.
- Turn on the faucet and flush the vinegar and baking soda out of the drain to avoid damage to the pipes from the acidic solution.
✔ Buy a sink made from eco-friendly materials – While most common sinks and basins are made from stainless steel, stone, porcelain or acrylics, it can be tough to find a product that works well in the green home. However, there are many new green options becoming available.
- Recycled concrete – Concrete sinks are now becoming more green as manufacturers begin mixing these sinks with recycled materials such as 100% post consumer glass, recycled porcelain, coal fly ash and organic compounds to create beautiful and durable designs.
- Recycled aluminum, bronze and copper – Recycled metals are fast becoming an environmentally friendly sink option for your home because they use post consumer and industrial scrap aluminum, bronze and industrial salvaged copper.
- Recycled glass – Recycled glass sinks are probably more suited to the bathroom as they are not as durable as concrete or recycled metal sinks. The greenest option is to buy recycled glass this is locally sourced from post consumer waste such as recycled beverage bottles and industrial glass from windows, windshields and construction sites.