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article imageIs your toilet a trash can?

By KJ Mullins     Mar 21, 2011 in Environment
Do you flush hair, food, cigarette butts or other things down your toilet? According to the fourth annual Canadian Water Attitudes Study, half of Canadians do. That half is also flushing six to 20 litres of clean fresh water away.
Those in Alberta (83 percent) are most likely to flush items that could be going into a waste bin. Not following that far behind at 65 percent are Quebecers who are least likely to use fresh water to flush away waste.
Younger Canadians may say that they are greener than their elders but when it comes to flushing items away they really aren't. A whopping 84 percent of the younger generation (18-25) have no qualms about using the toilet compared to 63 percent of seniors over 55.
It's not that Canadians don't know that toilet water is just as clean as tap water. Eight in ten know about water quality in their commodes. Over 75 percent also know that flushing the loo accounts for almost half of the water used at home.
“This data highlights, once again, that Canadians are not making the connection between their personal water use and the true value of water,” says Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair, Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade. “They claim to care about conserving it, yet knowingly engage in water wasting activities, including using fresh, clean water to dispose of garbage. Canadians need to understand that water is a finite resource and there are significant social and economic implications related to wasting it.”
On average a person in Canada uses 329 to 750 liters of water a day. In China that figure goes down to just 80 litres a day. Most Canadians think that they use less but habits like leaving the water running while doing dishes and hosing down the driveway adds up to the high totals.
Canadians may know the price of bottled water but the water in their own homes is a cost they are likely to not be aware of. Canadians in fact pay much less for the water in their homes compared to other nations like France and Germany. That lesser price may be a factor in the reason that Canadians waste more of their water. Canadians after all will turn off unused lights to reduce their electric bill but don't connect the dots when it comes to their water bill. Nine in ten Canadians make an effort to conserve electricity compared to the 78 percent that are attempting to conserve water.
The Canadian Water Attitudes Study is commissioned by RBC and Unilever and endorsed by the Canadian Partnership Initiative of the United Nations Water for Life Decade.
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