Greywater use has become so widespread in many parts of Australia that it is now more a case of who isn’t using greywater to keep their gardens alive. This is great news for water conservation efforts. Greywater use is not an exact science, though, and successful greywater irrigation depends on a number of factors including soil type, plant type and ultimately which chemicals and elements make up your greywater.
Typically, laundry and bathroom water are the most common and safest waste waters to use, depending on which products you are using. Thanks to Robert Patterson of Lanfax Laboratories and his independent study of laundry detergents we have a better idea of which laundry products are safe for greywater irrigation. This data is a valuable resource for people using laundry water to irrigate their gardens, yet there was a need for similar studies for bathroom products.
In conjunction with Associate Professor Barry Meehan and RMIT University’s Environmental Science Department, the ATA set about filling this information gap. The plan was to analyse typical ingredients in a number of bathroom products and assess the potential impact on soils.
ATA conducted a member survey to identify the most popular products in four bathroom product categories: shampoos, conditioners, solid soaps and body washes. Within these categories a further distinction was made according to whether the product was mainstream, generic or ‘eco friendly’.
All 44 products tested in the study were brands identified by ATA members who were watering their gardens with bathroom greywater. Product samples used were provided by the ATA.