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Tips for greener, leaner septic tanks

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septic tank by SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr

Keeping your septic tank in tip top shape is pivotal for reliable long term use and essential for a trouble free system.

A lot of us make the same mistakes with our tanks and suffer from the same sorts of issues, so here are a number of good tips to prevent problems.

Properly Keeping Records

It is important to hold on to copies of all the sites system drawings and plans as well as installed equipment and all service records, these should be stored with the rest of your home appliance documents according to Septic tank company TG Wastewater. They suggest all applicable information should be recorded and receipts for all new parts or spares kept as it can make a big difference if something major goes wrong.

The Use of Laundry and Water

Wash loads should be spread throughout the week. Opt for dryer sheets over liquid fabric softener. Detergents that are biodegradable, low suds and low phosphate should be used.

Fixtures Which Leak

When you have fixtures which leak, a large amount of water is added to your wastewater system. You will maximize your system’s life, particularly the drain field, by detecting and repairing the leaking fixtures in a timely manner.

The Use of Water Softeners

It is more likely that discharge form softeners which are properly working and backwash depending on the use of water aka DIR as opposed to those that are timer operated will be better tolerated, if this is allowed by the local regulatory authority. These discharges however may possibly cause damage to other areas of your septic system.

Food Waste Disposal

If allowed by the local regulatory authority, the disposal of food waste garbage is acceptable. This could however bring about the need for frequent removal of solids from the septic tank. If the food quantities are large, they should be disposed of in the garbage can.

Oils, Fats and Grease

Too much grease which includes vegetable oils, animal fats and lard being sent down the drain could cause an overload of bacteria preventing it from being able to break down the waste fully.

Cleansers and Disinfectants

Chlorine, citric acid as well as any other biodegradable cleansers should be properly used, the manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed. Products which contain quaternary ammonia as well as any cleansers which are pine oil based should not be utilized. Use drain cleaners to unclog pipes as a very last resort.

Workroom and Garage Floor Drains

These floor drains should be diverted away from the septic system. Petroleum based items as well as sawdust and gas should never be put into the system.

Medicines

These should never be flushed down the drain. Treatment quality will be harmed by all antibiotic medicines. Any medications which are unused should be returned to the pharmacy or to the prescribing physician, if necessary thrown them away in the garbage.

Additives and Enzymes for the Septic Tank

All the bacteria required for proper operation is contained in the systems wastewater. It is unnecessary to add additives, these are generally more harmful than they are helpful.

What Are The Best Paper Products

Double or single ply white toilet paper products which are not quilted should be used. There are many color shades that paper contains which will not be eaten by the natural bacteria. It takes longer for brown, aka non bleached paper to break down, this can cause an increase in the frequency of your biosolids pump out. Napkins, paper towels, wipes and any other paper material which is thicker should not be flushed.

It is important to be very careful with the disinfection products as well as cleansers that are poured down the sink. By overusing antibacterials, heavy cleansers and disinfectants the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank which helps to digest the solid deposits will be killed. If you use antibacterial products for washing your hands, every time you wash you will be poisoning the bacteria in your septic tank.

Grease and oil should never be poured down the sinks, prior to washing, wipe off all greasy dishes with absorbent paper towels. The septic tanks soak away will become clogged with grease, this will make it waterproof and it is then impossible for soil to absorb any liquids and will require a new soakaway. Varnish, motor oils, White Spirit, petrol and chemical which are similar are not easy for the soil bacteria to break down, this will ruin the septic system. The condensate found in condensing boilers is very high in acids, this should never be allowed into the foul drains.

The Importance of protecting Your Soakaway

Your soakaway should never be driven over, a protective structure should be built over it or it should be covered with Tarmac or concrete, if there will only be foot traffic than gravel is fine. If possible, grass should be sown over the soakaway area, this is due to the fact that grass soaks up a lot of water. Here are some good tips.

You should pump the solids from your septic tank annually. If someone has ever told you they do not need to be emptied they are ignorant and should be ignored. The storage capability for sludge is twelve months, if you go past the twelve months and do not empty it the soakaway will be ruined.

Never attempt to lift your septic tank lid on your own, especially if you are all by yourself. You can very quickly be overcome by the gases in the tank and the bacteria it contains is very dangerous. In order to protect themselves from harm, those who work in the sewage industry undergo regular vaccine intakes to prevent Tetanus, Hepatitis, Diphtheria etc.

 

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Environment

Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living

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Eco-Living
Shutterstock Photos - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.

They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.

What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??

Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded. 

Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.

In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.

Mottainai

Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.

Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.

How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?

Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.

For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.

Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.

Their influence in the UK

The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.

Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.

In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.

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How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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eco-responsible
Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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